How to Cook Chicken


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Chicken is incredibly versatile and can be cooked many different ways. Each method of cooking helps bring out the individual flavors of chicken. In this article, we'll discuss the different varieties for cooking chicken, such as baking, sautéing, and roasting. We'll start with tips on how to successfully bake a chicken on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Bake Chicken

Baking is an oven-based technique that is considered to be among the healthiest methods for cooking chicken.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Dredge chicken pieces in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

  3. Melt 1/2 cup butter in large baking pan in oven. Remove pan from oven; roll chicken in butter to evenly coat.

    Melting the butter right in the baking pan saves work.
    Melting the butter right in the baking pan saves work.

  4. Arrange chicken, skin side down, in single layer in baking pan.

  5. Bake chicken 50 to 60 minutes or until no longer pink in center, turning pieces over after 30 minutes.

    Use tongs to turn the chicken.
    Use tongs to turn the chicken. If you pierce the pieces with a fork, the juices will run out and the chicken will be dry.
Poaching is another healthy way to prepare chicken. Learn more about this method in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Poach Chicken

Poaching is a technique that cooks chicken slowly and gently in a simmering, but not boiling, liquid that covers the food. The poaching liquid may be flavored or seasoned.
  1. Combine ingredients for poaching liquid in large saucepan or stockpot.

  2. Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels; add to poaching liquid.

  3. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and cover.

  4. Simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

  5. Remove chicken from liquid using tongs. Strain stock; refrigerate or freeze for another use.
Knowing how to properly brown chicken comes in handy for many recipes. Learn more on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Brown Chicken

Browning chicken is the first step in many recipes for cooking chicken.
  1. Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.

  3. Add chicken pieces to hot oil in a single layer without crowding.

  4. Cook 8 to 10 minutes per side or until chicken is browned; remove with tongs. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.

    Use tongs to avoid getting burned by spattering oil.
    Use tongs to avoid getting burned by spattering oil.

  5. Continue with your chicken recipe of choice, baking, braising, or simmering the chicken accordingly until it is no longer pink in center.
Find tips on braising chicken in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Braise Chicken

Braising is a moist-heat cooking method used to tenderize tough cuts of meat. Chicken is normally browned first and then braised.
  1. Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels.

  2. Heat oil in heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat.

  3. Add chicken pieces to hot oil in a single layer without crowding.

  4. Cook 8 to 10 minutes per side or until chicken is browned; remove with tongs. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.

    Remove chicken pieces to a clean plate after browning.
    Remove chicken pieces to a clean plate after browning.

  5. Add braising liquid and other ingredients per recipe to saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat.

  6. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or as recipe directs.

  7. Add chicken to ingredients in saucepan. Cover and simmer according to recipe directions, typically 40 to 45 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink in center.
Stir-frying chicken is a great method when you don't have a lot of time to cook. Find stir-frying tips on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Stir-Fry Chicken

Stir-frying quickly cooks bite-size pieces of chicken over very high heat in a small amount of oil.
  1. Place uncooked boneless, skinless chicken on cutting board.

  2. Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken crosswise across the grain into 1/4-inch strips.

    Slice across the grain for tender, consistent pieces.
    Slice across the grain for tender, consistent pieces.

  3. Heat wok or large skillet over high heat. (Test hot pan by adding drop of water to pan; if water sizzles, pan is sufficiently hot.)

  4. Add about 2 tablespoons oil to hot pan, swirling to coat all sides. Heat oil until hot -- about 30 seconds.

  5. Add chicken to wok; briskly toss and stir chicken with wok utensil or wooden spoon, keeping chicken in constant motion, 3 to 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

    Constant motion keeps the chicken from sticking.
    Constant motion keeps the chicken from sticking.

  6. Remove chicken; set aside and continue with recipe.
Sautéing chicken is another technique that is found in many recipes. Learn how to sauté on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Saute Chicken

Sautéing, or pan-frying, is the technique of rapidly cooking or browning food in a small amount of fat in a skillet.
  1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat until foamy.

    Be sure to melt butter over medium heat so it doesn't brown or burn.
    Be sure to melt butter over medium heat so it doesn't brown or burn.

  2. Add chicken to skillet in single layer; cook 6 to 8 minutes per side or until chicken is lightly browned.

  3. Cover; reduce heat to low.

  4. Cook 10 to 20 minutes, depending on type of chicken, or until chicken is tender and no longer pink in center.

    Don't crowd the chicken in the pan.
    Don't crowd the chicken in the pan.

A roasted chicken is a wonderful meal the whole family is sure to enjoy. Find out how to roast a chicken on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Roast a Chicken

Roasting is a technique often performed in the broiler.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle chicken halves with salt and pepper.

  2. Place chicken halves, skin side up, in single layer in large shallow baking pan. Brush chicken with butter.

  3. Roast chicken, basting frequently with butter, 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
No matter what method you use to cook a chicken, you'll appreciate tips to help you determine if the bird is done. Find them on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Check If a Chicken Is Done

There are a number of ways to determine if chicken is thoroughly cooked and ready to eat.

  • For whole chickens, a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, but not near bone or fat, should register 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit before removing from the oven.

  • For stuffed whole chicken, insert the thermometer into the center of the body cavity. When the stuffing registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken should be done. (Note: Chicken should only be stuffed just before roasting. Never stuff a chicken ahead of time.)

  • For roasted whole chicken breasts, the meat thermometer should register 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • To test bone-in chicken pieces, insert a fork in the chicken. It should go in with ease and the juices should run clear. However, the meat and juices nearest the bones might still be a little pink even though the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

  • Boneless chicken pieces are done when the centers are no longer pink; you can determine this by simply cutting into the chicken with a knife.

Use the tips in this article to expand your horizons and make a different chicken recipe every week -- or every day for that matter!

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page.
  • Grilling Chicken: Chicken on the grill is a less-mess and delicious way to prepare poultry. Find helpful tips on grilling chicken in this article.
  • Preparing Chicken: Learn some basic chicken preparation techniques in this article, including how to stuff a chicken, how to marinate chicken, and more.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.