Gordon Ramsay's Tip For Juicy Chicken Breasts Involves Lots Of Butter

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Farm-fresh butter, rich and real, has been celebrated by chefs around the world, from the renowned 19th-century French chef and writer Auguste Escoffier (known for encouraging cooks to add more butter) to TV personality and cookbook author Paula Deen (famous for Gooey Butter Cake and her catchphrase, "Everything's better with butter, y'all").

We at Mashed could not agree more. So, if celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay wants to put lots of butter in his chicken dish or cleverly grate frozen butter into his ground beef, so be it. In an episode of "MasterChef Junior," replayed on TikTok, Ramsay taught the kids how to cook a perfect chicken breast by basting it with butter. The outcome was a rich and glossy breast. The video did not have an accompanying recipe to confirm the actual amount, but it was generous. (It should be noted that, although he is famous for his abrasive personality while hosting past cooking shows, he practices patience with this collection of next-generation chefs.)

In Gordon Ramsay Teaches Cooking I on Masterclass, the chef presents a similar recipe for how to cook juicy chicken breasts. In step 5, after flipping over the chicken breasts to cook on the other side, Ramsay adds 6 tablespoons of butter — that's 2 tablespoons short of an entire stick of butter. As the butter melts, he continues spooning it over the chicken breasts, basting the skin, then flips the chicken back over (skin side down) to baste on that side. 

Ramsay believes in using butter on chicken

When Bon Appétit asked the Scottish-born chef what three ingredients he could not live without, he said — you guessed it — butter, but added "in moderation." (Maldon salt and fresh herbs are Ramsay's other two must-have ingredients). 

"What does the butter do?" Ramsay asks as he narrates the MasterClass. "It gives more flavor to the chicken. Also, it starts to caramelize that nut brown flavor." Sure it's high in fat, but it lends a rich flavor and silkiness to every dish it touches. Food blogger Arnold Sawyer points out that butter has a low smoke point, meaning it can tolerate high temps without burning, and it is a good heat conductor, spreading its warmth and goodness around the pan to cook the chicken more evenly.

Ramsay's Instagram video was recently criticized for using, dare we say, too much butter. However, a flip through the 2020 "Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious" cookbook shows that no butter is used in Ramsay's chicken breast recipes. When Gordon Ramsay Burger opened in 2021 in the Windy City, the Chicago Tribune's restaurant reviewer confirmed that the burgers are basted in butter while on the grill. 

TikToker Maxine Sharf decided to try Ramsay's method, using two skin-on, boneless breasts of chicken; searing them in grapeseed oil with garlic and thyme; basting them in butter (Sharf used 6 tablespoons); and finishing them off in the oven. "Oh my gosh, this chicken is so juicy and delicious," she raved.