All The Reasons Why Your Chicken Is Dry

IMAGE Bianca Laxamana

It's always a little sad when you're disappointed by a dry piece of chicken. Dry chicken is stringy, tough, and unpleasant to eat. If you keep cooking chicken that is dry, you need to stop, take a breath, and read this article. Only then can you learn from your chicken cooking mistakes.

No one deserves to suffer through dry chicken ever again, so here are things that might have gone wrong to your chicken while you were preparing it:

Photo by Zoe del Rosario

1 You didn't rest the meat.

When you're hungry, it's easy to be impatient and immediately bite into freshly cooked, hot chicken. However, when you fail to rest your chicken for at least 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into the chicken, all the juices will escape with that first cut. You may get a great first bite, but sadly, the rest of the chicken will be disappointing because all its juiciness will have drained out. 

Avoid that by letting the chicken rest. Even as short as a few minutes can make a big difference in your chicken-eating experience! 

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2 You overcooked your chicken.

As with all meat, anything you overcook will dry out. Chicken is especially finicky. It's wonderful that it cooks fast, but it also means you can easily overcook it and quickly dry it out. 

Avoid this by regulating your heat when cooking chicken and to also test your chicken for doneness. Piercing the chicken in the thickest part to check for clear juices is the way to go. (No, that small cut will not result in all its juices draining out, so go ahead and check.) 

Photo by Patrick Martires

3 Your chicken is too lean. 

Skinless, white, and boneless chicken breast is almost a guarantee that overcooking this will result in you getting dry meat. When cooking chicken breasts, cook it with the bone in and the skin on which will help insulate it, protecting it from accidental overcooking. Without the fat, this lean part will easily overcook if you're not careful and watchful. If you're concerned about the fat, just remove it after cooking.

Avoid overcooking fillets by checking for doneness more frequently so you don't overcook it at all.

A better option? Choose dark meat for your fillets. Chicken thigh fillets hold moisture better because of its dark meat, and also, just so happens to be more flavorful.

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4 You didn't brine your chicken. 

Want a truly no-fail juicy chicken? For fried chicken or roast chicken, the trick is all about the brine. For us, the perfect brine recipe is 1 liter of water, four teaspoons of salt, and four teaspoons of sugar. Keep your fresh chicken there for at least four hours to overnight. You can then cook it after or freeze it. Trust us, this will change your chicken game. 

Well, what's left to do though? What if you already have a batch of dry chicken? Can you still save it? You bet! Check out our article below on how to save your overcooked, dry chicken meal.

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