If you struggle with getting juicy tender chicken, then I’ve got all the tips and tricks for cooking the most tender chicken you’ve ever had.
Chicken is one of the most common proteins we eat. Of course we want chicken that is cooked through but how long does it take chicken to cook until it’s tender and not dry and flavorless.
The general rule is to cook chicken until the internal temperature at the meatiest part reaches 165º for a chicken breast and 165º to 175º for a chicken thigh. How long it takes depends on your cooking method.
Table of contents
How long to cook Chicken breast (bone-in) at 350º
The easiest, and my favorite way to cook a chicken breast, is to start with a bone in chicken breast with skin. Drizzle it with olive oil and seasoning and bake it.
A bone in chicken breast will have more flavor and the skin will keep it moist while it bakes. You can always remove the skin if you don’t want to eat it but leaving it on during the cooking process makes a big difference.
How long will it take for chicken to cook at 350º using this method, about 35 minutes depending on how thick the chicken breast is. It’s so quick and easy!
Cooking chicken breasts using this method is great when you want to make chicken chili or have a recipe that calls for cooked chicken. Try making a large batch and freezing it for when you want to make a one pot chicken and rice recipe or game day Buffalo chicken dip.
How long to cook Chicken on Stove
If you want to use a skillet to cook a chicken breast, you’ll want to choose a boneless skinless chicken breast. The first step is to pound it thin so that one part is not thicker than another.
If the chicken breasts are very large, you can just slice it horizontally in two, otherwise, use a meat mallet or whatever you have that’s handy, and pound it between two pieces of plastic wrap until it’s about ½ inch thick. Pat dry and add any seasoning.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add the chicken and cook on one side for about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium and cook the other side. Once you’ve turned it you can add some butter for extra flavor!
When it has reached 165º remove it and let it rest for 5 minutes tented under some aluminum foil. This will help seal in all the juices.
This method is great for making Chicken with Mozzarella and Tomatoes or Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes.
How long to cook chicken in air fryer
To cook a medium chicken breast in the air fryer at 375º, it will take about 10-12 minutes. Flip it half way through.
How long to cook chicken in instant pot
Boneless chicken breasts will take about 10 minutes on high pressure to cook in an instant pot. This does not include the time it takes for the instant pot to warm up.
How long to cook chicken in crock pot
Chicken breasts only take about 3 hours on low to cook in a crock pot. Longer than that and they will dry out.
How long to cook chicken on the grill
Chicken breasts take about 10 minutes to cook on a gas grill over direct heat, depending on how thick they are.
How long to cook chicken in the oven
Bone in chicken breasts will take about 35-40 minutes in the oven, boneless chicken breasts will take about 20-30 minutes.
How to tell if chicken is done
The best way to be certain that chicken is cooked through is to use an internal thermometer. This is the one kitchen gadget that I can’t live without. Whether I’m using it to check chicken meatballs or cooking steaks. It’s a one time purchase that lasts forever. However, if you don’t have one handy, you’ll need to cut into the thickest part of the breast and make sure there is no pink color.
When checking with the internal thermometer, place it in the thickest part of the chicken.
How to make tender chicken breasts
- My go-to method for tender chicken breasts is to let them soak in buttermilk for at least 30 minutes but ideally overnight. The high acidity in buttermilk helps tenderize the chicken. If you let it soak for longer than 24 hours, it can make it rubbery. Before cooking, you will want to rinse off the buttermilk and pat it dry. This will make your Queso Chicken, or whatever recipe you’re making so much more tender.
Pro tip: If you’re out of buttermilk, you can make your own with just two ingredients. Here are three different methods for how to make your own buttermilk.
- Another method for tender chicken breasts is to wet brine the chicken by placing it in a bowl of water with a handful of salt. It will take at least 30 minutes to see any benefits. You can also brine it overnight. Much longer and you risk the chicken breaking down and becoming salty and mushy. If brining overnight, you’ll need to refrigerate it. If doing a quick brine, use lukewarm water and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes. Make sure you rinse the salt brine off and pat dry before cooking.
- A final method for tender chicken is to dry brine it. This works best for chicken with skin like thighs or wings. Salt is placed all over the chicken and it sits uncovered in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. The salt draws moisture from the skin creating an extra crispy skin when cooked. You can check out a dry brine used on these chicken wings.
Leftover chicken breast recipes
Now that you have mastered cooking tender chicken breasts, make extra and use in these recipes that call for cooked chicken.
How long to cook chicken FAQs
Raw chicken contains bacteria that is killed when cooked to 165º. If you undercook chicken you run the risk of getting food poisoning.
If using a wet or dry brine, it should not brine for more than 24 hours.
When handling raw chicken, you run the risk of contaminating other food with bacteria that can cause food poisoning. So you’ll need to clean all surfaces that have come in contact with raw chicken, including the sink. Simply wiping things down will not do the trick.
There is a two step process you should use any time you have dealt with raw chicken.
Step 1: First clean the surfaces with hot soapy water, use a paper towel so as not to contaminate your dish cloth. If using a dish cloth, place it in the laundry to be washed in hot water as soon as you have finished wiping it down
Step 2: Wiping down with hot water is not enough to kill all of the bacteria, some bacteria found on chicken can live on your counter for up to four hours after simple washing the surface. So once the surface is dry, you need to sanitize the surfaces including your sink.
You can use a sanitizing wipe or spray to sanitize the surfaces. For more information you can check out the USDA’s suggestions.
Don’t forget to do the same process with any utensils you have used that have come in contact with raw chicken, like a cutting board. I try to put all of these in the dishwasher.
You can substitute chicken stock for broth, they can be used interchangeably. Chicken stock is made from bones and has more flavor than broth. Bone broth is a type of stock that has even more nutrients and flavor than traditional stock.
Chicken does not need to be covered when baking or roasting in the oven.
Bone in Chicken Breast
- 4 bone in chicken breasts with skin
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Add buttermilk to chicken in a ziplock bag or airtight container and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Rinse and pat chicken dry with a paper towel. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper both sides. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 35 minutes until internal temperature at the thickest part is 165º.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Make sure you rinse off the buttermilk before preparing the chicken.
- You can add any seasoning you like before baking, try taco seasoning, or herbs de Provence or seasoned salt.
- Chicken can vary in size which will affect the cooking time. If you have. very large pieces, it may take longer than 35 minutes, so be sure to rely on a meat thermometer.
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