How To Save Overcooked Chicken

Chicken is a bit of a tricky thing to cook. While, yes, it's one of the simplest and most basic of foods, chicken must be cooked thoroughly if you want to avoid food poisoning, but there's a thin line between perfectly cooked chicken and overdone, dry, and rubbery chicken. The best way to tell if chicken is fully cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Chicken is considered done and safe for consumption when your thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit for chicken parts or 180 degrees Fahrenheit for a whole chicken (via Chicken Farmers of Canada).

However, even if you use a thermometer, that doesn't mean you're guaranteed perfectly cooked chicken every time. What if you don't check the temperature until it's too late? What if you have a sudden flame up on the grill that quick-cooks your chicken in a blink of an eye? Luckily, if you find yourself with some overcooked chicken on your hands, there's no need to settle for a dry dinner or toss your chicken in the trash and order takeout.

What to do about overcooked chicken

As She Knows reports, there are a few different ways you can save overcooked chicken, and the best method for you will depend on your dinner plans. While you won't be able to really serve the chicken as is, you can fix it up, add a little extra moisture, and reclaim the flavor that was lost in the overcooking process by using a few basic pantry staples.

If you've cooked your chicken to a charred, burnt crisp, see if you can remove the chicken's outer layer. It may be that the chicken is still juicy on the inside, even if the outside is a little worse for wear. If you do so and find the chicken still isn't very juicy or appealing, add some extra moisture. Barbecue (or another) sauce can help mask the dryness and the overcooked flavor. If barbecue doesn't quite go with the rest of your meal, consider slicing your chicken and tossing it with a little olive oil and the herbs and seasonings of your choice, whatever makes the most sense for your meal's overall flavor combinations. If, though, you really don't want to serve your guests the overcooked chicken plain, consider shredding it and mixing it into your favorite chicken salad recipe or using it in other recipes that call for shredded chicken, such as quesadillas, as a nacho topping, in soups, or on salads.