How to soften chicken

Prepare chicken breast properly - from juicy to crispy

Chicken breast from the oven

Chicken breast fillet from the oven

This is how it works: To cook your chicken breast in the oven, you need a baking dish or roaster, butter and baking paper ... and an oven, of course. The chicken breast fillet is then baked at a high temperature of 200 ° C for 25 to a maximum of 35 minutes. This preparation method is not particularly low in fat because the baking dish, baking paper and chicken breasts are coated with butter, vegetable oil or clarified butter. The added fat provides flavor and protects the meat from the high temperature in the oven.

You have to pay attention to: Since the fillet is exposed to such a high temperature in the oven, the parchment paper is imperative to protect it from drying out. If you are preparing your chicken breast with the skin on, you can omit the parchment paper, as the fat in the skin protects the fillet sufficiently from the heat.

It is best to lightly plate your pieces of meat beforehand so that they cook evenly everywhere. It is important that you grease everything well and that you place the baking paper directly over the meat so that the shape of the chicken breasts emerges and there is as little air as possible underneath.

As with all methods, it is essential to adhere to the cooking times. Therefore, after 30 minutes, take your poultry out of the oven and also out of the hot casserole dish to stop the cooking process.

Rating: Baked chicken breast doesn't have to mean that it will get dry. If you stick to the cooking time exactly, this can get around a good result. However, every oven works a little differently and therefore the exact cooking time can vary from device to device. So I find this cooking method a bit difficult to prepare super juicy meat. Nevertheless, it will be nice and tender. Due to the high temperature in the oven, the texture of the meat changes, so that the fillet is slightly frayed due to the slight dehydration, which is nothing bad. On the contrary - the texture and the taste reminded me of a grilled chicken from my favorite french fry shop - wonderful!

grilled chicken breast

Grill the chicken breast fillet

This is how it works: Chicken breast from the grill is of course at the forefront in summer. If you grill with charcoal, the meat gets a wonderful smoky aroma and the high, dry heat of up to 300 ° C ensures that a very crispy crust is created. Grilling has the advantage of being able to cook without additional fat and still creating a particularly smoky taste through the fire. In just a few minutes, your meat is ready and ready to be cleaned. Alternatively, you can of course prepare it on the gas grill or in a grill pan, but then the charcoal will lack the special aroma.

You have to pay attention to: The chicken breast is exposed to very high heat when grilling, so it can get much too dry very quickly. It is therefore important that you plate it beforehand so that it has an even thickness everywhere. This is the only way it can cook in all places at the same time, without one part being too dry and another, thicker part still half raw. In addition, you should definitely take it off the grill after a few minutes or continue cooking over indirect heat so that it does not become tough. It is also advisable to marinate the meat for a few hours beforehand. The aromas can soak into the meat fibers while it is still raw. Meat that has already been grilled no longer absorbs flavors well.

Rating: With this type of preparation, the fillet takes on an unmistakable, smoky taste that you cannot otherwise achieve. It tastes particularly good with baguettes and salads in summer. However, this rarely makes it juicy and tender, as the intense heat of the grill is difficult to regulate.

Fried chicken breast

Fry the chicken breast fillet

This is how it works: When roasting, your chicken breast gets quite hot on the collar. The fat in the pan takes on temperatures between 160 and 200 ° C, so the cooking time is particularly important with this method. It is important to find the best combination of cooking time and temperature so that the desired core temperature of your meat is reached with the lowest possible and only brief overheating of the outer areas. There is a large temperature gradient when roasting, as the outer layer of meat is directly exposed to high heat. If it is already cooked on the outside, it takes a little more time inside to reach the correct core temperature. The breast becomes hotter and therefore drier on the outside.

You have to pay attention to: It is important that you first lightly plate your meat so that it can cook evenly. Clarified butter or sunflower oil is best for frying, as other vegetable oils such as olive oil or butter burn faster. In order to avoid drying out and toughening of your chicken breasts, precise timing at the right temperature is essential. Heat your fat over medium to high heat. You should then sear your evenly thick fillets for a maximum of 4-5 minutes on each side. An uncoated frying pan is best, as it can be used to create toasted aromas and the important crust that protects the meat from drying out too much.

Rating: This cooking method proves to be difficult when it comes to preparing nicely juicy, non-tough meat. It is not always possible not to let the fat in the pan get too hot and to take the meat out of the pan at exactly the right moment. Due to the high heat supply, the chicken breast becomes too dry on the outside in most cases until it is cooked on the inside and the connective tissue also becomes fibrous. If you want to have a quick lunch, e.g. to add meat to your salad, this cooking method is still suitable.

Cooked chicken breast

Cook the chicken breast fillet

This is how it works:If you pay attention to the calorie intake in your diet, it is best to cook your chicken breast, as no additional fat is required for this cooking method. This type of preparation, in which the meat is completely covered with water and simmering gently, is particularly gentle, as a maximum heat supply of 100 ° C is not exceeded. The constant, relatively low temperature ensures that, unlike e.g. roasting, the meat is cooked evenly from the inside and outside without a temperature gradient. Added flavors such as wine, broth, garlic or fresh herbs give the chicken breast flavor.

You have to pay attention to: Since you don't roast your meat beforehand with this cooking method, there are no roasted aromas that give it additional taste. It is therefore important to season the meat sufficiently. If you only cook the chicken breast in water, the result will be rather bland. Unfortunately, in addition to its taste, the meat also releases some of its valuable nutrients into the cooking water. So if you make a soup or stew based on the cooking water, you won't lose it. Otherwise, you could use the water as a base for a delicious sauce. It is important that you take the chicken out of the water after 8 to a maximum of 12 minutes so as not to overcook it.

Rating: The meat becomes juicy and tender. It tastes like the aromas that have been added to the cooking water, the inherent taste of the chicken breast takes a back seat. Due to the loss of the taste of the chicken and some nutrients, I am of the opinion that this cooking method is particularly suitable if you use the meat and the cooking water for a soup or stew. One advantage is that you can cook large quantities of chicken breasts very quickly.

Chicken breast fillet cooked at low temperature

Slow cook the chicken breast fillet

This is how it works: With slow cooking, the chicken breast is not exposed to high temperatures (60 to max. 80 ° C), but the cooking time is extended. The water bound in the meat escapes from 50 ° C. The hotter you cook, the more liquid the fillet loses. From 70 ° C, the connective tissue of the meat changes, so that it becomes increasingly soft as the temperature rises. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the meat and is between 15 and 20 minutes for chicken breast fillet.

You have to pay attention to: So that aromatic roasted substances develop, you should first sear the meat in hot fat in a saucepan. Make sure that you don't sear the fillets on one side for more than a minute. It is also important that you then turn the chicken breasts directly, reduce the heat supply significantly and cover the pot with a lid. The rule here: never lift the lid in between to check the meat. Because for the perfect core temperature it is very important that a constant temperature is kept in the pot.

Rating: Slow cooking takes the place of roasting, but avoids an uneven heat supply and thus the chicken breasts from drying out. It takes a little more time to prepare and requires patience not to look into the pot in between, but the result is worth it! 20 minutes is a reasonable cooking time for everyday life, in which you can already prepare your other ingredients. The meat has a light roasted aroma due to the short searing and is very tender and juicy despite the slightly developed meat fibers. A little tip: you can lightly salt it beforehand for more seasoning. To do this, soak the meat in cold salted water with any spices for 15 minutes, drain, dab, done.

Chicken breast from the sous-vide cooker

Chicken breast fillet from the sous vide cooker

This is how it works:"Sous vide" is French and means "Under vacuum". With this type of preparation, the meat is cooked in airtight plastic bags at very low temperatures between 60 and 70 ° C in a water bath. The low temperature requires a cooking time of at least 2 hours - this ensures that the core temperature is high enough and the meat can be eaten without any health concerns. The chicken breast fillet does not lose any liquid due to the vacuum and remains particularly juicy. The low, constant temperature ensures that the whole fillet is cooked evenly.

You have to pay attention to: Sous-vide cooking allows you to precisely determine the texture and juiciness of your chicken breast. At 60 ° C and 2 hours of cooking time, it becomes particularly juicy - no meat fibers develop. You can't get this consistency with any other cooking method. Then the meat is best suited to be served hot. If you prefer to eat your fillet cold in a salad, you should cook it at 70 ° C for 2 hours. The tissue of the chicken breast contracts minimally, but remains incomparably tender and juicy. Spices develop much more strongly under vacuum than under normal conditions. Therefore, you should be careful not to over-season the meat.

Rating: This cooking method requires planning and a lot of time. If you have this time, however, it is always worth cooking with a sous-vide device. The meat becomes indescribably tender and juicy. If the chicken breast is too pale for you (it is very light / white after cooking), you can briefly sear it in the pan for a maximum of 1 minute per side. Another advantage is that you only have to vacuum seal the fillets and turn on the device. The rest of the work runs by itself After two hours you take it out of the water bath and you can enjoy it. One disadvantage is that this cooking method is not at all suitable for everyday use. Who has more than two hours to prepare their meal at lunchtime? Nevertheless: very recommendable!

Chicken breast from the beefer

Beef the chicken breast fillet

This is how it works:The beefer is for real meat fans. At extremely high heat of up to 800 ° C, the meat gets a particularly crispy crust. The device is heated with gas and works exclusively with top heat. In this way, the liquid escaping from the chicken breast does not come into contact with the flame and does not evaporate or burn, but is caught in the gastro tray under the grate and can be used for a sauce, for example. The chicken is then "peezed" for 4 minutes on each side and given a special, smoky aroma.

You have to pay attention to: Chicken breast is very low in fat, so it can dry out very quickly. When roasting beef, it is important that you place the fillets on the lowest grate level so that they are as far away from the burner as possible. With this cooking method, too, it is best to plate the pieces of meat so that they are of the same thickness and can cook evenly. The very short cooking time is essential for this type of preparation. If you leave the meat in the beefer for just 1 minute too long, it will become completely tough and dry.

Rating: If you are a real grill and meat fanatic, the beefer should not be missing in your home. However, you can make even better use of the device with large, particularly thick beef or pork steaks. Since chicken is not allowed to be eaten raw, the special cooking advantages of beefers (crispy on the outside, pink to rare on the inside) are not so important. It gives the breast fillet a great aroma, but the enormous heat quickly makes it a bit brittle.

Conclusion: the winning cooking method (s)

After my test of all these cooking trousers, I came to a clear result - or two: there is a taste winner and an everyday winner.

The chicken breast fillet is definitely by far the juiciest and tastiest when you cook it in the sous-vide cooker. The tenderness of the meat and the intensity of its own taste cannot be topped with any other cooking method. Regardless of whether it is simply cooked with lemon, garlic and bay leaf in a vacuum or lightly seared afterwards - everyone should have tried the chicken breast fillet from the sous vide cooker.

My winning method for everyday life is cooking at low temperatures. It does not require any special equipment, it only takes you 20 minutes and the meat gets a light, crispy crust by briefly searing and becomes evenly juicy and tender. In my opinion, the good cooking result is definitely worth the little extra time required. When it comes to juiciness, the Blitz variant from the pan doesn't come close.