Although everything tastes like chicken, how good chicken tastes is variable. Not only does the quality of the meat matter, but it also depends on the quality of the chef. Chicken is one of those meats that people often overcook and dry out, so it becomes almost inedible. There is a good reason for this though. People want to cook it enough, so it does not pose a health risk to anyone who eats it – no one wants undercooked chicken infected with salmonella bacteria.
However, there is an art to cooking the perfect chicken breast. And I learned it from my mother-in-law. She has the ability to make her chicken breast come out of the oven perfectly moist and tender every single time. After I learned that it wasn’t just a one-time thing – that she knew some kind of foolproof trick to make it happen – I asked her directly how she did it. The following is what she told me.
No matter if you’re making only one breast or a dozen, you can modify the following recipe to make it tender and juicy every single time you cook.
For the moistest chicken breast you ever ate, you’ll want the following ingredients.
- 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 4 tablespoons salt, dissolved in 6 cups of warm water
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
Those are the essential ingredients to make this happen. But if you want to make your chicken extra tasty, follow my mother-in-law’s suggestions and gather the following seasonings as well.
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
The perfect chicken breast always starts before you throw it into the oven or on the grill. It starts with the brine. Submerge your chicken breast in the salty water for four to eight hours. Store it in the fridge while you brine it. If you’ve run out of time, you can do a quick brine. Use warm water and submerge the chicken for fifteen to thirty minutes in a bowl that you leave on the countertop.
When the chicken is about done brining, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Remove the chicken from the salt brine and pat it dry. Then place your chicken breast in a baking dish.
Now slather the melted butter onto the chicken. Make sure you coat both sides with the delectable fat.
For the perfectly moist chicken breast, bake it for fifteen to twenty minutes. Always use a meat thermometer to make sure it does not get overcooked. You’re looking for a finishing temperature of 165 degrees for taste and moisture. The government recommends baking until 170 degrees to kill off the threat of salmonella.
HINT: If your chicken goes into the oven cold, the final baking time could be a lot longer than twenty minutes. Go by the meat thermometer to know when it is ready.
When the meat reaches the right temperature, take it out of the oven and let it rest. This helps the chicken gather its juices. Don’t cut it yet.
If this recipe doesn’t produce the juiciest chicken breast you’ve ever had, you can blame my mother-in-law. Just don’t tell her I said that!
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