Are you tired of rubbery, overcooked boneless skinless chicken breasts? Have you eaten way too many of these flavorless hockey pucks at weddings, business lunches, and plated dinner events? Yeah, me too.
Yet, I love having a few perfectly cooked, succulent cooked chicken breasts ready and waiting in my refrigerator to be tossed into a Caeser salad, cubed on top of a rice dish, or sliced for a healthy sandwich instead of chemical-laden deli meat. They are such a time saver.
After many trials and errors – okay, epic fails on some, I have discovered an almost foolproof system of obtaining that perfectly moist boneless skinless chicken breast consistently each time you make them.
What is that system? First, is soaking the breasts in a marinade/brine that involves some sugar, salt, and spices. The salt used in the marinade will change the structure of the protein fibers so that they absorb more of the liquid and all those luscious flavors from the herbs and spices that you add. The brown sugar will not only help to flavor the meat but also help brown the outside of the meat. Unlike a brine, you do not want to rinse this off of the chicken. You want to keep as much flavor on the chicken.
Second, is a reverse searing of the meat. Reverse searing is a process that involves cooking the meat at a lower temperature in an oven or ‘cool’ section of a grill followed by searing the outside over a hotter temperature, such as a cast-iron skillet or ‘hot part’ of a grill.
TIPS FOR MAKING PERFECTLY MOIST CHICKEN BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS
- Pick chicken breasts that are approximately the same size. This will help to ensure that each breast is perfectly cooked.
- If your chicken breasts are very thick, either butterfly them by slicing the breast horizontally, creating two fillets or use a meat mallet to flatten out the thicker part until the breast is a uniform thickness.
- When making the brine/marinade, be sure to use Kosher salt because their flat, flaky texture dissolves very well in liquid.
- Use fat when cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Use a good quality vegetable oil to keep moisture in the meat. Butter is a great fat as it will add both moisture and flavor.
- Allow your cooked chicken to rest before serving. You want to keep those delicious juices in the meat.
Finally an easy recipe to get a beautifully moist boneless, skinless, chicken breast. Full of flavor, this recipe is a game changer.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (approximately all the same size)
For the brine/marinade:
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (4 tablespoons for the brine/marinade and 1 tablespoon to oil the baking pan)
- 4 tablespoons white wine, chicken broth or water (I like using 2 tablespoons each of wine and broth)
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried poultry seasoning
For reverse searing:
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons chicken seasoning (I like to use McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Seasoning Blend)
- Begin by making the brine/marinade. In a large zip top plastic food storage bag, combine 4 tablespoons of oil, wine, broth, and/or water, the crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and the poultry seasoning. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to incorporate the ingredients. Add the chicken breasts, firmly seal the bag closed and gently massage the chicken with the marinade and spices. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove the bag of chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Lightly grease a baking pan with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and set aside.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the brine/marinade and place in the prepared baking pan. DO NOT RINSE THE CHICKEN. Throw away the remaining brine/marinade.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts and bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.
- While the chicken bakes, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the cornstarch and chicken seasoning until the cornstarch is fully incorporated with the butter and spices. Set aside.
- Preheat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat on your stovetop until very hot – about 7-10 minutes. You can tell if the skillet is hot enough by dropping a bead of water onto it. If the bead sizzles and ‘dances’ across the pan as it evaporates, then the skillet is hot enough to sear your meat.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the oven. Brush each breast with the butter/cornstarch/spice mixture and place, buttered side down in the hot skillet.
- Sear the chicken for about 5 minutes until golden brown with slightly crisped edges.
- Brush the butter/cornstarch/spice mixture on top of the chicken breasts and turn the breasts. Sear this side of the chicken for another 5 minutes until equally browned with crisped edges.
- Test the temperature once more. If the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees, remove the breast from the skillet and place on a dish. Loosely tent the dish with foil and allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.
Cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts will keep for up to 4 days when stored tightly covered in the refrigerator or up to 6 months when stored tightly covered in the freezer.
- Serving Size: Serves 4
OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY ENJOY:
- Seared Sea Scallops With Lemon Cream Sauce And A Balsamic Drizzle
- Herbed Roasted Pork Loin
- Ultimate Tomahawk Steak