Food & Nutrition

7 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cooking Chicken

Hate it when chicken breasts are dry and tough? Tweak your technique to make sure your chicken stays juicy and delicious.

Perfecting a family favorite

Taste of Home

Cooking the perfect chicken breast is a skill many home cooks aspire to have in their culinary toolbox. Chicken is versatile and affordable—and healthy, too. But chicken that’s dried out and tough? No, thank you! To help make sure you get a moist and always-delicious chicken breast, avoid these kitchen mistakes.

Starting with skinless chicken breast

Raw chicken breast fillets on wooden backgroundBon Appetit/Shutterstock

A lot of us go straight for the boneless, skinless fillets at the meat counter. It makes sense—they’re easy to work with, and we’ve all heard that the skin is unhealthy. But keeping the skin on while it’s cooking helps keep the chicken moist. (You can always take it off before you dig in.)

Not marinating or brining the meat

Chicken breastFredograf/Shutterstock

Chicken breasts can be dry. After all, they’re not as fatty as other parts of the bird. But a marinade, brine, or rub goes a long way in adding flavor to the meat and keeping it moist. If you’re going for simple, that’s OK—a basic salt and pepper rub is just fine. Want to get a little creative? Try a grilled basil chicken or this not-so-basic paprika dry rub recipe—or buy one pre-made. Check out all 100 of our chicken breast recipes.

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