If chicken breasts are your favourite part of the chicken, then you’ll know that everything changes when you brine them. When cooked properly brined chicken breasts are juicy, tender and delicious. If you are a health conscious person who enjoys succulent chicken breasts with a zesty green salad, you’ll never go back to eating plain chicken breasts again. Brining chicken might sound like black magic to some, but it certainly isn’t. In fact, you just need to follow a few simple steps, give the chicken a bit of time to absorb the moisture and flavours, and voila! All you need is a few minutes the night before, and your brined chicken breasts will be ready for the following day. After that, you can enjoy the brined chicken breasts whole or you can cut them into strips.
brined chicken breasts
Brining chicken might sound like it was invented in this modern day and age but in actual fact has been around since The Middle Ages. There are multiple accounts in historical books about applying wet and dry brines, which are the two types of brining techniques. For brined chicken breasts, the most common one used today is to apply a wet brine.
what is brining?
The brine is basically a solution of water and salt. The salt within the brine solution aids in breaking down the fibers inside the chicken, getting water into the actual cells of the meat. In addition, the salty brine will dissolve some of the muscle proteins which usually contract when they cook. So, without the brine, the muscle proteins contract and squeeze out all the moisture contained inside the chicken. As the brine dissolves these muscle proteins, the latter will be weakened and contract a lot less during the cooking process. The result is beautiful juicy, brined chicken breasts. To learn even more information about the brining process and the different ways you can brine meat, click here.
how to brine chicken
If you are keen on learning how to brine an entire chicken, go here. You'll read about all there is to know about the different brining methods. Also, not only will you learn how to deal with an entire chicken, but you'll also receive some very helpful information and tricks as far as brining is concerned. For example, you will find out why you should wait until your brining solution cools down before you put the chicken inside. Any ideas? Click here to find out about the big no-no when it comes to brining.
how to brine chicken breasts
Personally, I think chicken breasts can be on the dry side when cooked in the traditional way, such as being baked in the oven or pan-fried. It is the healthiest part of the chicken though since it's lean with minimal fat content.
When you brine your chicken breasts, the best way to handle them is to gently place them inside your brining solution. Leave them in for a couple of hours so the water has a chance to get absorbed into the muscle cells of the chicken. My advice is to leave the chicken breasts overnight and take them out the next day when you make dinner.
Please note to never reuse the same brining solution for another cut of meat. For example, if you want to make brined chicken wings or brined chicken thighs. First, the brine won't work as well, and second it will encourage bacterial growth! Always make a new brining solution.
How to cut chicken breasts
Sometimes, people opt for buying just the chicken breasts instead of the whole chicken. This is because it’s much easier to buy them pre-packed than with faffing about in the kitchen and putting your knife skills to the test. In addition to buying the pre-packed chicken breasts to save time, they can also be cheap.
Only a few home cooks can actually dissect an entire chicken. You shouldn't worry, however, because removing boneless and skinless chicken breast doesn't require you to be a top chef. Plus, if you learn how to butcher an entire chicken properly, you can reuse other cuts for other delicious chicken recipes, like this one.
First, place the chicken evenly on a flat surface. First, take your boning knife and place it at the joint of the chicken wings, cutting the chicken wings off. Next, cut the skin of the thighs, spreading the things slightly apart from the chicken. Next, take your knife and separate the thigh from the bone, taking your knife around through the joint and remove! Do the same for the other thigh.
By now, you should have wingless and thigh-less chicken. Now, take your fingers and feel the center bone of the chicken breast. Take your knife and gently make an incision. The knife should follow along the rib cage, cutting down right down to the rib, to the end of the chicken. Cut through the wishbone and pull it our with your fingers. Now, you should have a deboned a chicken breast. Finally, remove the skin and pull off the tender loin. Now, you'll have two clean prime cuts of chicken breasts reading for brining.
how to cook chicken breasts
Once you have your brined chicken breasts ready, I recommend quickly crisping the skin side in a frying pan. You can then fry the smaller fillets and make a flavourful chicken tikka recipe. Or, cut the breasts into strips and make this chicken korma.
Fancy even more chicken recipes? Check out this top oven chicken recipe.
What would you use brined chicken breasts for?Print
Brined Chicken Breasts
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
Brined chicken breasts are the best way to enjoy this prime cut of chicken. Follow a few simple steps, create your brine and a delicious result will follow.
- 2 litres (8 cups) water
- 60ml (4 tbsp) salt
- 60ml (4 tbsp) sugar
- 8 chicken breasts
- Place the water, salt and sugar in a large pot and heat.
- Stir until everything is dissolved.
- Wait for the liquid to cool down before brining the chicken in it.
- The quantity of brine needed depends on the quantity of chicken used and the size of the container you store it in. The goal is to have all the wings completely submerged in the brine, preferably overnight. If you don’t have enough brine, simply make another batch.
- Psssst, on days I’m really lazy I don’t even heat the water and stir the salt and sugar straight in. The results are still fantastic.
- Feel free to experiment with the salt, sugar and water ratios.
- This is the most basic recipe you can find. You can add different ingredients to jazz up the brine’s flavour, such as carrot, onion, celery, pepper and all kinds of herbs.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 289
- Sugar: 6.1 g
- Sodium: 2015 mg
- Fat: 10.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 6.1 g
- Protein: 40.5 g
- Cholesterol: 125 mg
Eating! lol 🙂
I will use it for a chicken soup with vermicelli and vegetable sauce.
I’d use them in an avocado salad
Probably within a nutritious and comforting soup
to be honest i'm not entirely sure, in soups maybe
I wouldn't use them as I don't eat meat
make a good homemade broth
In a salad
I would grill them with herbs.
A lovely chicken curry!
Love a chicken salad with potato salad and coleslaw x
Roasting with winter vegetables
as an ingredient within a soup
I need the book.... maybe ceasar salad
I'd use them with a bean salad.
I’d use them in a Thai green chicken curry!
Roasted with Lemon and Garlic
I'd use them in a salad.
I would use them in a soup.
I'd use then in Caesars salad.
id use them for a salad
I'd make a chicken,bacon and avocado salad
I would use them in a green salad 🙂 I love a basic chicken salad and this sounds like it would really enhance it!
I think kung po or sweet and sour chicken. Thanks
Ideal for a quick roast chicken dinner with all the potatos and veg roasted together with the chicken, roughly 45 mins cookingt cooked and if the chicken is cooked sooner it can be removed and kept warm until the rest is ready. Brined chicken will be moist and tasty, not dry and bland.
I'd stick them in my chicken, bacon and avocado salad.
I'd use them for all sorts, we eat loads of chicken!
I'd use them in salads and sandwiches
Mmmm, just eating!
Any chicken recipes I eat lots of chicken I like sweet and sour also lemon chicken and garlic chicken
I would use them for a chicken salad
These looks so lovely, I’d serve them with a Thai green papaya salad. And then have them again with a Japanese carrot salad
In a stirfry!
I would cut them up and use them in a stir fry with lots of crunchy veg and teriyaki sauce
Not sure, probably grill them with herbs.
I would use them to make a chicken ceasar salad, together with crispy smoked bacon.
Chicken Caesar salad, YUM
I never knew brining is so important
I had those giant chicken breast w/skin and bones. This recipe looked the best for my first time brining. Chicken came out perfectly! I rinsed chicken before putting in my instant pot on a trivet and removed before chicken was done and threw on BBQ until chicken reached 160-165°. I didn't need to add any seasoning. I wanted to keep chicken neutral.
Even after thawing later, was still very moist and tender!
Easy recipe. The chicken was divine when I baked it in the oven with some bbq sauce.