The Surprising Ingredient for Juicy, Super-Flavorful Chicken, According to TikTok

published Nov 14, 2022
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chicken coated with seasonings and sour cream.
Credit: Cory Fernandez

When it comes to cooking the tastiest, juiciest, and most tender chicken breasts, we have a lot of tricks. Dredging the chicken in a little bit of flour (à la chicken piccata) makes for a nice crust, brining chicken in pickle juice adds both moisture and flavor, and pounding the chicken ensures even and fast cooking.

In addition to the regular toolbox of seasonings and marinades, we recently discovered a new trick for giving seared chicken breasts tons of flavor. After adding your seasonings and spices, spread a tablespoon or two of sour cream all over your chicken breasts and marinate it briefly before searing it. This helps add a subtle tangy flavor, and the acidity in the sour cream helps to tenderize the chicken.

This simple-yet-smart hack for super-flavorful chicken comes to us from Stella Navarro-Kim (stellanspice on TikTok), who says she picked up the tip from her roommate. After coating the chicken with sour cream, Navarro-Kim marinates the chicken breasts for about 30 minutes before searing them in a hot oiled skillet for a few minutes on one side. She then adds butter to the pan and bastes the chicken. Finally, she lowers the heat and tops the skillet with a lid and continues to cook until the chicken is cooked through, about seven minutes.

As a lover of both chicken and sour cream, I had to try this trick for myself. I used chicken breast pieces that were sliced a bit thinner than the ones Navarro-Kim used and I used a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Sazón Completa, a common Latin American spice mix. Lastly, using the back of a spoon, I spread the chicken breasts with full-fat sour cream.

Credit: Photo: Cory Fernandez

After prepping the chicken, I seared it in an oiled skillet over medium-high heat for about four minutes per side. I didn’t cover the skillet with a lid, as I was working with thin cutlets that cooked quickly. I also skipped the butter.

Overall, I thought the chicken turned out great. It wasn’t rubbery or dry, and the best part was that the sour cream added a nice subtle tanginess, similar to other acidic ingredients like lime or lemon juice. The chicken was rich-tasting as well, even without the butter.

Marinating chicken in sour cream is similar to the technique of marinating chicken in yogurt and spices for dishes like tandoori chicken. In fact, many people in the comments on Navarro-Kim’s video say that they also use yogurt for cooking their chicken in a similar way. I think both sour cream and yogurt (or perhaps a mix of both) would be a great addition to just almost any seared chicken dish!

Buy: Breakstone’s All Natural Sour Cream, varies depending on location