Cooking chicken breasts is easy enough, but getting them moist and tender is an entirely different story. Whether you’re throwing them on the grill for a summer barbecue or searing them in a pan for a quick weeknight dinner, chicken breasts turn out dry and tough all too often. No matter which cooking method you use, there is one important step you should always take.
Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness before cooking them.
When each piece of chicken is a different size, they will cook at an uneven rate. If you don’t pound them out, some breasts will cook faster than others, leaving the thinner breasts dried out, while the thicker ones can be undercooked. Pounding also tenderizes the meat, making the cooked result more tender.
When it comes to tools, you can use a meat mallet if you have one. If you don’t, try a rolling pin, the back of a skillet or even the bottom of a mason jar, depending on the size of the chicken. Wrap the breasts in plastic wrap or wax paper, and pound until all the pieces are of an even thickness. Between a quarter inch and half inch is ideal, but the important part is making sure the width is as uniform as possible.
Say so long to dry, tough chicken breasts, and hello to tastier weeknight dinners.