5 Important Tips to Follow to Prevent Dry Chicken

updated Aug 30, 2022
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When chicken is moist and juicy, it can really affirm just why it’s in your dinner roster week after week. And yet, when it’s overcooked and as dry as sandpaper, it can seriously have you considering banishing the bird forever. Not so fast! There are five tips to ensure chicken breasts or thighs do not dry out when you’re pan-frying, baking or roasting them. Follow these tips and you will never have to chew your way through a piece of dry chicken again.

1. Always remember the power of chicken thighs.

If you’re at all worried about your chicken dinner being dry, skip the breast in favor of chicken thighs because they are practically foolproof. It’s nearly impossible to cook them to be any other way than moist and tender. They have a higher fat content than chicken breasts and also happen to be more wallet-friendly than breasts as well.

Get the recipes that prove it: 18 Ways to Serve Chicken Thighs for Dinner

2. When baking chicken breasts in the oven, dry-poach them.

If you’re really craving chicken breasts, just memorize the best ways to cook them in the oven. Using a method called “dry-poaching” is best. It involves covering the breasts with a piece of parchment paper before they go in the oven. This allows them to baste in their own juices so they cook up to be tender and juicy.

3. Or opt for a smart stovetop method for chicken breasts.

If you’d rather cook your chicken breasts on the stove, there’s another way to ensure they won’t dry out. It requires a little trust, as you must cover the pan and not peek for the 10 minutes the meat cooks, but it really does work!

4. Internal temperature is the best indicator for doneness.

We’re told that chicken is safe to eat when its juices run clear, the inside is no longer pink, and it registers at least 165°F in the thickest part of the meat. Checking the temperature is really the only surefire method for doneness, as sometimes fully cooked chicken can still retain a pinkish tinge. If you keep cooking it past 165°F, the meat will most definitely dry out, so always use that as your best indicator.

Understand why internal temperature is so important: Chicken Still Pink After Cooking? Don’t Panic

5. Milk is the secret to the juiciest roast chicken ever.

This method really is incredible — trust us. Roasting a whole chicken in lemon- and sage-infused milk not only ensures that every inch of meat will be as moist as it possibly can be, but it also results in a rich sauce for the chicken that you may find yourself finishing off with a spoon.