Chicken thighs are a classic in cooking and there are many ways to cook them. Here are several ways to cook chicken thighs along with some tasty recipe ideas.
Cooking chicken thighs in the oven
Cooking in the oven takes the longest time, but it’s also the one that gives crispy chicken thighs. To do this, preheat your oven to 180 ° C, place the chicken thighs in a dish and bake for 50 minutes. It is important to water the thighs from time to time with the cooking juices. Baking chicken thighs in the oven is often very popular.
Cooking chicken thighs in a pan
For a nice pan-frying chicken thighs, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan. Place the chicken thighs, pour a few centiliters of white wine, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Just before the end of cooking, remove the lid so that the excess liquid evaporates.
Cooking chicken thighs in casserole dish
Before cooking the chicken thighs in a casserole dish, it is recommended to sear them for a few minutes in a little fat until they turn a nice blonde shade. Then add a little broth (or white wine). Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
How long to bake boneless chicken thighs
For perfectly browned chicken thighs after cooking, it is recommended to brown them in a knob of butter or a drizzle of olive oil in a pan for a minute to make them take a nice golden color. Then bake them for 40-50 minutes, basting them regularly with their cooking juices.
The trick to making sure the chicken thighs are cooked properly?
It is important to know when the chicken thighs are well done because, overcooked, they become dry and lose their softness. That would be a shame!
To find out where you are cooking, you have to prick the fat of the thigh with the tip of a knife. If the juice that escapes is translucent and has no red streaks, then the thighs are ready to eat. If the flesh is still a little red or pink, then cooking should be prolonged.
And if you have chef’s equipment and have a cooking thermometer, know that the temperature to reach is at least 71 ° C.
The best recipes with chicken thighs
There are many recipes with chicken thighs, and you can find any to your liking without any problem. Want to swing the chicken? Here are some ideas.
The marinade is a good solution to sublimate the chicken thighs: the poultry should be allowed to soak in it for at least two hours in the fridge.
And if you want to travel, you can prepare a Mexican marinade. To do this, mix a few tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of tequila, two crushed garlic cloves and half a squeezed lime. Yum!
Multiple combinations of spices are possible: paprika, coriander, curry, turmeric, mustard… you have the choice according to your desires.
What accompaniments for chicken thighs?
As for the accompaniments, all mixes are also possible to replace the traditional mash or the classic potatoes.
If you want to keep a little taste of tradition, you can replace the potatoes with sweet potatoes, mashed; they are excellent and bring a little different touch. And in winter you can choose butternut, mashed and associated with sweet potato, it is a real comfort for the taste buds.
And to think outside the box, you can opt for a risotto, sautéed asparagus or a pan-fried mushroom. As chicken thighs go with almost anything, let yourself be guided by seasonal vegetables. And if you are looking for simplicity, a seasonal salad, light in summer and a little more substantial in winter can be the perfect accompaniment.
Prepare chicken breast properly
Chicken breast fillet is arguably the most popular cut of meat. But let’s be honest: it usually comes out too dry and tough on the plate.
The problem: When frying in the pan (probably the most common preparation method), it is difficult to control the temperature. Because it should go quickly, it is fried at the highest level. The result: a fibrous, brittle piece of meat that is a long way from being a real treat.
There must be a better way, I thought to myself, and I experimented a bit in the kitchen and tested 6 other cooking methods in addition to roasting in order to get to the point of the cooked, tender chicken breast.
I tried the following methods and rated them according to their suitability for everyday use and the cooking results:
- Chicken breast from the oven
- Fried chicken breast
- Cooked chicken breast
- Grilled chicken breast
- Chicken breast fillet cooked at low temperature
- Chicken breast from the cooker
- Chicken breast from the beefer
One thing first: After my test, I will probably never just put my chicken breast fillet in the pan again.
The keys to success are exact timing and the right temperature – depending on the cooking method, this can be better or worse controlled. It is important that the meat is still juicy on the inside, but is still fully cooked, as chicken meat, unlike meat from beef or pork, must not be eaten raw.
The basic principle when cooking chicken breast fillet is: the hotter the meat is cooked, the more liquid it loses. That is why a sure instinct is required. The texture of the chicken also changes the hotter it is cooked.
Chicken breast from the oven
The boneless 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, as 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 this: Since the fillet is exposed to such a high temperature in the oven, the baking paper is urgently needed to protect it from drying out. If you are preparing your chicken breast with the skin on, you can omit the baking 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.
Baked chicken breasts don’t have to mean that they will get dry. If you stick to the cooking time exactly, you 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 will fray slightly due to the slight dehydration, which is not a bad thing.
Grilled chicken breast
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 this: 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 a uniform 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 doesn’t become tough. It is also advisable to marinate the meat for a few hours beforehand. The flavors can soak into the meat fibers while it is still raw. Meat that has already been grilled no longer absorbs flavors well.
With this type of preparation, the fillet takes on an unmistakable, smoky taste that you would otherwise not be able to achieve. It tastes particularly good with baguettes and salads in summer. However, this rarely makes it juicy and tender, because the intense heat of the grill is difficult to regulate.
Fried chicken breast
When roasting, your chicken breast gets really 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 is getting hotter and therefore drier on the outside.
You have to pay attention to this: It is important that you first lightly coat 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. So, 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.
This cooking method turns out 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, for example to add meat to your salad, this cooking method is still suitable.
Cooked chicken breast
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, very low temperature ensures that the meat is cooked evenly from the inside and outside, unlike, for example, when roasting. Added flavors such as broth, garlic or fresh herbs give the chicken breast flavor.
You have to pay attention to this: Since you do not sear 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 cook the chicken breast in water only, 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 boiling 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 turns out 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 amounts of chicken breast very quickly.
Chicken breast fillet cooked at low temperature
With slow cooking, the chicken breast is not exposed to high temperatures (60 to max. 80 ° C), but the cooking time is extended. From 50 ° C, the water bound in the meat escapes.
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 this: So that aromatic roast substances form, you should first sear the meat in hot fat in a saucepan. Make sure 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 is: 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.
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 brief 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 for 15 minutes in cold salted water with any spices, drain, done.
Chicken breast from the cooker
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. Due to the vacuum, the chicken breast fillet does not lose any liquid and remains particularly juicy. The low, constant temperature ensures that the whole fillet is cooked evenly.
You have to pay attention to this: With cooker cooking, you can 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.
This cooking method requires planning and a lot of time. But if you have this time, 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 completely 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
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. 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 underneath 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.
What to watch out for: Chicken breast has a very low fat content, 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.
If you are a real grill and meat fanatic, the beefer should not be missing in your home. However, you can use the device even better with large, particularly thick steaks from beef or pork. Since chicken is not allowed to be eaten raw, the special cooking advantages of beefers (crispy outside, pink to rare inside) are not that 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 got a clear result – or two: there is a taste and an everyday winner.
The chicken breast fillet will definitely be by far the juiciest and tastiest when you cook it in the 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 cooker.
My winning method for everyday life is cooking at low temperatures. It does not require any special equipment, only costs 20 minutes and the meat gets a light, crispy crust after 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 flash variant from the pan doesn’t come close.