How do I make chicken ahead of time and not have it dry out?  

Roasted Chicken Thighs Provençalenlarge
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

About Our Expert

If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

Send Marge your cooking questions

Like Marge on Facebook

Browse Marge Perry's Recipes

Video Tips from Marge

The simplest answer to this is to cook chicken thighs, not chicken breasts. When lean chicken breasts are initially cooked to a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees, they are at their optimal point for moist, tender meat. Because they have so little fat, when you re-heat the meat, you get rid of the little bit of liquid (essentially water, or meat juices) that is there–the result is dry chicken. (And you can't get around this by cooking the chicken to a lower temperature initially: doing so creates a breeding ground for bacteria).

There is an important exception: if the chicken breasts are braised (cooked in liquid), you are unlikely to perceive them as dry. Chicken stew, for example, reheats well, especially if the meat is cut in bite-size pieces

Chicken thighs, on the other hand, can be cooked and reheated because the fat, which does not cook out as easily as liquid, keeps them tender and juicy much longer.

The rule of thumb here is that the leaner the meat, the more easily it dries out.

See our collection of Chicken Recipesfor more ways to cook chicken.

Recipe: Roasted Chicken Thighs Provençal

Marge Perry
Mar, 2012
1
advertisement
  1. Enter at least one ingredient