Breading Your Chicken Could Be Key To Ensure Perfectly Moist Meat

If you've ever wondered why your chicken always seems too dry, regardless of cook time or temperature, you might be questioning your skills or why you put in the effort. Chicken can be tricky — moist meat can turn dry and stringy in a matter of moments, especially leaner breasts. Chicken thighs and legs are less prone to drying out due to the abundance of connective tissue. Both benefit from breading, though, especially for retaining moisture — the crisp exterior is just a bonus.

Using a breading or batter acts as insulation against the hot oil, whether you're pan-frying or deep-frying. If you were to deep fry a chicken breast tenderloin without a protective layer of breading or batter, the outside would be dry and stringy before the inside would be done — an unpleasant meal for sure. Instead of drying out your meat, the breading dries out, giving you moist meat and a crispy shell – a clear win-win in our book.

Breading your chicken isn't the only way to ensure moist chicken

If you're pan-frying or deep-frying your chicken, make sure the oil temperature isn't too high. Hot oil will cook the outside before the inside has had a chance to cook, which might result in a burnt crust and undercooked meat. This is especially true when you're deep-frying chicken and the outside turns from a delicious golden brown into dark brown, yet your chicken is still a few minutes from being cooked through. The best practice for fried chicken is to fry the chicken until the crust is golden brown on the outside, then finish cooking it in the oven to maintain that crunch and reach a food-safe temperature.

If breading is just another step you can't manage for dinner tonight, but don't want to sacrifice super moist chicken, you can opt for other methods. Gently poach your chicken or use the sous-vide to gradually bring the chicken up to temperature, ensuring moist and tender meat. You can also butterfly and pound out your chicken breasts into a uniform thickness and sauté with a little bit of oil and aromatics for a quick weeknight meal.