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Cooking Basics

Best tips for cooking a juicy and flavorful chicken breast

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Chicken breast is versatile but can sometimes be difficult to cook right. (iStock)

Cook chicken breast perfectly every time with these simple tricks.

Flatten the chicken

One of the inherent problems with chicken breast is that one end is much thicker than the other. The amount of time needed to fully cook the thickest part of the chicken is much longer than what’s needed for the thinner section, leaving it overcooked and dried out. An easy fix? Use a heavy object, like a rolling pin, to pound and flatten each piece of chicken to make it one, uniform thickness.

Marinate the chicken

Marinades add flavor to otherwise bland chicken breast, and many of the common ingredients in your marinade can help break down the fibers in the chicken. That means your cooked chicken breast will be more tender as well as tastier.

Slice against the grain


If you’re going to slice your chicken before cooking it, make sure you’re slicing against the grain, or across the chicken breast in the direction that will produce shorter strips. All meat — including poultry — is made up of bundles of tough muscle fibers, and cutting those fibers apart will produce a more tender piece of cooked chicken.

More chef's tips for making a juicy chicken breast.

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