Tip: Finishing Undercooked Chicken Breasts in the Oven

If there's a hang-up with roast chicken, it's usually that the breast meat gets too dry before the whole bird is finished cooking. But we often have the opposite problem, pulling the chicken out when the meat is still a tiny but underdone. We actually think this works out well, and we'll tell you why...

We once made a Cook's Illustrated lemon chicken that called for cutting up the finished roast chicken and placing the breasts, wings, and thighs back into the accumulated juices, skin side up, and returning the pan to the oven. We thought about that last night when our roast chicken was too pink.

The beauty of it is that the meat is sitting in a shallow pool of drippings, which keep it moist while it finishes cooking, and the skin continues to crisp up. Ours was in the oven for less than five more minutes before we took it out and plated it.

Of course, if you are adept at getting your chicken to just the right temperature, that works, too. But if you err on the side of undercooked, this is a great way to finish the chicken while adding a little more juice and flavor to the meat. Even if your chicken is well cooked, this step will get the skin extra crispy without drying out the meat.

Has anyone else tried this technique?

Related: From the Files: Roast Chicken!

(Image: Elizabeth Passarella)

5 Comments