Nina’s Tips & Techniques: Chicken Breast

Whenever I cook chicken breast it comes out dry. What am I doing wrong?

The number one reason chicken gets dry is that it is over-cooked. Make sure to cook your chicken to 165 degrees F and no longer. I also recommend that chicken breast gets roasted at a lower temperature as high heat tends to dry it out faster. Because it is so lean and usually sold without skin I often choose chicken breast as the best option to cut into small pieces for cooking in broth or liquid-based sauces (like Thai curry, light cream sauce, etc). Just make sure to simmer your chicken and not boil it – boiling will leave it dry as well.

I really like breaded chicken, but when I try to make it at home the breading always falls off, burns or the chicken is raw inside – help!

Breaded chicken is of course delicious and, while seeming simple, it actually requires a technique that is rather complex because you are dealing with a lot of ingredients that cook differently and all have to come together as one. As usual, instead of telling you all the things that might go wrong I will just tell you my own simple and effective tips for breading chicken. Make sure to use a three-part dredge – flour, beaten egg, then bread crumbs – I like panko bread crumbs because they are so light and crunchy. I like to slice my chicken breasts into thin strips before dredging them. If you bread the whole chicken breast the bread crumbs will burn before the chicken cooks through. I like to pan-fry my breaded chicken in about ¼ inch of high heat vegetable oil – about 5-7 minutes on each side. Then I drain the crisp strips on a cooling rack set over a sheet tray to collect any extra oil – placing them on paper towels will leave them soggy on the bottom. I also like to season them with salt and pepper when they come out of the oil – the salt will stick to the crispy breadcrumbs and make them super tasty.


Featured Recipe:
Chicken Breast with Shallots and Herb-Cream Gravy