When you’re trying to eat healthy meals, it’s a struggle to make certain things taste good. Like boneless, skinless chicken breast, for example. If you don’t know how to make chicken breast taste great, it’s hard to keep up good habits. Keep reading to learn how to make chicken breast taste good.
Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do so you won’t wind up with bland and boring chicken breast meals. Because it’s such lean meat, it has great potential to taste amazing if you just know what to do!
– Start with Quality Chicken Breasts
Before you even begin learning how to make chicken breast taste good, you need to go for quality. As such, don’t ever buy chicken past the “best by” date.
Additionally, skip anything that smells bad. If your fowl has gone afoul, you’ll know it. Raw chicken breast should be very mild in smell or have no smell at all. When chicken is of good quality, it should have a glossy and soft texture. There shouldn’t be anything sticky, slimy, or tacky about it.
The color of the chicken breast will also clue you into its quality. When uncooked, your chicken should be pink and fleshy colored. If it looks dull gray, that’s not chicken you want to eat.
– Try a Brine
Now that we’ve gone over quality control for your chicken breast, you are ready to make it taste good. A great way to do this is to start before you even cook them. Brining is a wonderful idea because it helps keep your meat moist for the cooking process ahead.
All it takes is a basic salt brine, though you can kick the flavors up even more by adding some fresh herbs or even some citrus peel. Even doing a quick brine for 30 minutes can add big flavor to your boring chicken breasts.
You’ll want to add 3 tablespoons of salt per every 4 cups of water for your brine. After putting your chicken in there for 30 minutes (or even longer if you have the time), you should pat it dry and then go on with the recipe you’re using it in. It will be best for roasting and grilling recipes, though when seasoning the final product, don’t forget that the brine deposited salt too. Be sure you taste accordingly at the end to avoid oversalting your chicken breast!
– Marinate with Something Marvelous
Even better, you can marinate your chicken breast to make it taste good. Simple ingredients can churn out some spectacular flavors here. The possibilities are endless when it comes to marinades. While you can use something store-bought, even some basic barbecue sauce or sriracha, combining a few flavors together is really going to jazz up that chicken breast all the more.
Try a teriyaki style with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar. Make a lemon-garlic infusion. Go for an Italian style with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh oregano. Skip the takeout and mix peanut oil with rice vinegar and soy sauce. Give it a tang with apple cider vinegar, canola oil, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt.
You can also use Greek yogurt with other ingredients to make tender and moist chicken every time. Experimenting is the best part though there are a few golden rules for marinating chicken breast to make it taste good. Marinades should be made of three parts oil to one part acidic ingredient, along with other seasonings such as spices from your spice rack, minced garlic, or a little natural sugar.
Of utmost importance is to refrain from marinating your chicken breast for too long. Thirty minutes is plenty, especially when using store-bought marinades. Though for any marinade, going longer than 90 minutes isn’t going to do anything except make for tough meat.
– Rub On the Spice
Be honest…do you use all the spices you have in your spice rack? There are probably tons of them that you dutifully skip over without a second thought. Change that, and you’ll find a great way to make chicken breast taste good. What’s great about making a spice mix or dry rub is that you can add big flavors without waiting for it to marinate.
Even if you keep it simple with salt and brown sugar, it will boost that chicken breast flavor. Got Cajun or creole seasoning? Those are other flavor-boosters that bode well for this typically bland meat.
But don’t stop there! You can really elevate your chicken breast with chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and lime zest for a summery taste that sizzles. Warm spices like cinnamon, ground ginger, cumin, and salt and pepper also pair well together. Try out some Mexican mole with chili powder, paprika, cumin, dried oregano, cocoa powder, salt, and brown sugar. Or make a classic winner with poultry seasoning from dried basil, rosemary, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.
– Perk It Up with Pesto
For a simple dinner you can make in a pinch; you can use pesto to make chicken breast taste better. It’s one of the easiest ways to enhance the flavors. Simply coat your chicken in jarred or homemade pesto, then roast it for 35 to 40 minutes in an oven set to 350F.
– Glide on the Glaze
Glazes are another superb way to make your chicken dinner a winner. The key is in choosing something that’s a bit sticky. Maple syrup is a great example, though give it some real oomph by mixing it with some Dijon mustard.
If you don’t have time to marinate your chicken, you can simply glaze it with barbecue sauce. And if you have any jams or marmalades, those also glaze gloriously. You can mix those fruity flavors with a little soy sauce for added umami and undeniably delicious chicken.
– Get Saucy
Since chicken breast has a mild, barely there taste, you can add flavors in many ways. One speedy way to do this is to make a tasty sauce that doesn’t require marinating or simmering time. A good place to start is by grabbing those fresh herbs. Chop them up and add citrus zest and olive oil for a bright and cheery flavor.
Butter, lemon, garlic, capers, and white wine can all instantly add dazzle to dull chicken dishes. For a super quick fix, grab a jar of chunky salsa and throw it in with your chicken.
Raid your fridge for other dips or sauces too. That hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki sauce, and ranch dressing are all prime candidates for making this a memorable meal.
– Let Your Slow Cooker Take Care of It
When time is fleeting at the end of your busy days, take a moment to plan with your slow cooker. Your chicken breast will taste amazing if you throw it in there with a little broth and bold flavors. A great way to do this in a pinch is to add salsa or salsa verde. Even better, throw in some chimichurri sauce. After it cooks, you can shred it with two forks and have a spectacular healthy chicken breast meal that tastes like it came from a restaurant.
You can do this with ranch seasoning and broth. Throw in hot sauce, too, if you’d like. While you’re at it, add some pepperoncini, and boy will those flavors sing!
– Braise It Up
Braising can also be a helpful technique in turning your ho-hum chicken breast into a wonderful meal. Simple tomato sauce can be used to braise it to perfection. Be sure you sear the meat first, and then you can let it braise in the sauce. Put the lid on top and let it cook for about 20 minutes for a delicious and nutritious dish.
– Go for a Bread Coating
Golden and crispy chicken breast is in your future if you bread it. You’ll first want to dip it into flour, then into an egg wash, and then into some type of bread crumbs. Panko breadcrumbs add an airier texture for more crunch. You can also crush up cornflakes and other cereals to use as a coating. There are gluten-free breadcrumbs too for anyone that can’t have traditional wheat-based products.
Or you can really jazz things up by adding shredded coconut. Serve it with a pineapple or mango salsa, and you’ll whisk your palate off to an island vacation getaway!
– Stuff It
Believe it or not, it’s easy to stuff chicken breasts. You will need to slice them open, so they look like a book. Then you can fill them with all sorts of things. Chopped veggies, herbs, and cheeses make wonderful fillings that will make chicken breast taste good. Bread them too, and they will be amazing.
Try brie with fresh prosciutto and tarragon, or for a simple and elegant meal, stuff them with Boursin cheese. It already has herbs mixed in, so it will save you a step! Any combination of veggies like spinach, zucchini, peppers, olives, and onions can be used. As usual, cheese makes it even better. You can also roll up charcuterie meats like ham, salami, and mortadella. There’s a lot of potential for making chicken breast your new favorite when you prepare it stuffed.
– Add a Dash of Flair
Sometimes, the reason your chicken breast may taste a bit meh is because you’re doing the same things over and over again. In that case, it’s time to play around with other styles of cuisine to create enjoyable flavors that will excite you. Rather than get takeout, you can make Thai dishes like tom kha gai, a coconut milk-based soup with hints of lemongrass. All those unique spices infuse the chicken while the broth keeps it tender.
Try a stir-fry like kung pao chicken loaded with peanuts, veggies, and spicy sauce. Think of all those scrumptious Indian curries where your chicken can simmer to perfection. Make a hearty Italian chicken parmigiana with rich tomato sauce and plenty of melted mozzarella. Or go with a chicken burrito bowl flanked with fresh slices of avocado and a heaping dose of salsa.
– Save Your Leftovers from Tasting Gamey
And finally, we need to address how chicken can taste a little on the gamey side the next day. If you’re reheating it in the microwave, that’s the number one way to make chicken breast as unappetizing as possible. Instead, consider breathing new life into those things.
Simmering that chicken in a little broth will both warm it up and help you turn it into a soup. But don’t stop there! Chop up your cooked chicken breast leftovers and throw them together with chopped peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Stuff that into a tortilla with cheese, and you’ll have a quesadilla for a lunch that doesn’t taste like yesterday’s leftovers.
You can do that with salads, rice bowls, fried rice, and plenty more. The key is to refrain from drying it out, as the microwave tends to do to chicken breast. By heating it on your stovetop or in your oven, it will taste great. Make sure you add something to it like broth, butter, or olive oil to keep it from becoming tough and chewy, and you’ll be all set!
See? Chicken breast CAN taste good when you know how to unlock your potential in the kitchen!