A lot of people turn to skinless chicken breasts as their go-to for meals, believing that the skin is unhealthy or fatty for their diet. It turns out that there’s no issue with chicken having skin and, in fact, if you want to make the tastiest dishes, you should only buy the skin-on variety. For anyone who’s ever cooked up a boneless, skinless chicken breast only to find it’s dry or rubbery, this is the perfect solution.
Cooking experts are all in on buying chicken with the skin intact because it can add so much flavor and moisture to the meat. And if you’re still worried that eating the skin is unhealthy, you can always remove it when you grab a piece and put it on your plate. Nobody’s forcing you to eat the skin, after all.
If you still need evidence that it’s okay to consume chicken skin, check out what Amy Myrdal Miller, M.S., R.D. of The Culinary Institute of America told the Harvard School of Public Health. She explained that it can be perfectly healthy, noting: “If you’re serving chicken, there’s no need to strip the skin. Chicken skin has had a bad rap for being high in fat. But most of the fat in chicken skin is healthy, unsaturated fat — and cooking with the skin keeps the chicken flavorful and moist, so you don’t need to add as much salt or use a breaded coating.”
Compared to its boneless, skinless counterpart, the skin and bone of chicken can help seal in the flavor and moisture, with the skin providing some much needed extra fat to keep the moisture locked in. Plus it’s a bonus if the skin gets brown and crispy, which is absolutely delicious.
You’ll want to follow a few tricks to using this type of chicken in your recipes, however. If you’re oven roasting the meat, preheat the oven to 375°F and either cook the chicken completely in the oven or pan sear the meat first, which will add another flavor layer, as the outside is browned and the juices are sealed in before you even put the meat in the oven. It’s a small extra step that can yield delicious results.
If you cook the chicken completely on the stove top, you should do so slowly and by using low heat, as well as cooking the meat in a fat like butter or olive oil. Don’t be afraid to add a healthy fat to the pan.
You can also marinate the chicken with a fairly simple mixture to soak it in for a bit of time, or you can peel the skin back and season the meat directly with dried or fresh herbs as well as citrus. You may also choose to apply a barbeque sauce throughout the cooking process.
Many people weighed in on social media to discuss the skin-on variety of chicken, with one person noting: “If saturated fat was bad for you, how did heaps of civilizations survive on it for thousands of years…”