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How to Save Dry Chicken: Tips and Tricks

There are many ways to avoid the dreaded taste of dry chicken. Taste of Home suggests brining your bird to infuse it with extra flavor and moisture before cooking and The Kitchn recommends choosing the cut of chicken carefully and going with chicken thighs if you are prone to overcooking. If you want a chicken breast, pound it out so it’s the same thickness and cooks evenly. Covering chicken is also a good idea because doing so will keep moisture in your pan and ensure a juicy entree. Most importantly, use a thermometer to ensure that your chicken reaches a safe temperature of 165 degrees — and also that it doesn’t go over.

Hindsight is 20/20. And, as they say, “Life happens.” So, sometimes you can end up with chicken that is accidentally overdone. Luckily, if dried-out fowl has you calling foul, there are a few methods that can take your chicken from parched to perfect.

Shred it and warm with stock

Shredded chicken in pan

Slicing or shredding leftover chicken is the first step to infusing moisture back into a dried-out bird. According to The Cold Wire, cutting overcooked protein will allow any liquid you use to bypass the dry exterior and infuse moisture throughout the meat. It can be sliced with a knife or torn between two forks into bite-sized pieces.

Chicken stock or broth is the best liquid to impart flavor and moisture back into dry chicken. Warm your broth over a medium heat until it is hot but not boiling. Place your shredded chicken in the pan until it is barely covered with enough broth to coat the chicken. You want just enough liquid to warm and reconstitute but not so much that it turns to chicken soup. This method is simply reheating the chicken and adding moisture, so be careful not to boil it in the liquid or cook it for a long time. Nobody needs double-dry chicken in their lives.

Sauce, dress, and dip dry chicken

Chicken wings in BBQ sauce

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Sauce makes everything better, and it can even redeem sawdust-style chicken. Many sauces, dressings, and dips are made with an oil base that acts as a hero to save you from a dry dinner. When it comes to fixing dry chicken, don’t be afraid to dip it, dress it, and slather on the sauce. Spoon University says that sauce is the key to salvaging dry chicken. Again, the recommendation here is to shred the chicken so that rich sauce can get into every crevice. Pesto, BBQ, and soy sauce will impart moisture and pack a punch in the flavor department.

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If you don’t want to sauce your chicken, you can battle dryness by putting a dip on the side. Chicken’s versatile flavor pairs well with any of your favorite dips from hummus to salsa and the oil or liquid in a dip will do wonders for a dry bite.

Don’t forget the dressing. This mainly oil-based condiment will restore moisture and add a zesty kick of flavor that might taste better than the chicken did the first time around.

Make it another dish

Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Sometimes chicken gets so dry that there is no other choice than to use it as an ingredient in a different dish. This might be the best fix for overcooked protein, especially when used in a dish that features a decadent sauce and other flavorful ingredients. eHow suggests salvaging dry chicken by dicing or shredding it and throwing it into the pasta dish of your choice. A hearty marinara or rich Alfredo sauce will work wonders at restoring moisture and adding flavor to a parched piece of chicken. Substitute rice for pasta to create a teriyaki chicken dish or creamy chicken risotto.

When life gives you dry chicken, make chicken salad. The main ingredient in this dish is mayonnaise, an oil-based condiment that will make your chicken so moist that nobody will ever know how close it came to being jerky. A casserole has the same effect on dry chicken, as it is usually a cream or oil-based sauce mixed with other ingredients that mask the displeasing flavor of overcooked chicken, per The Cold Wire.

Return moisture to parched poultry by combining it with liquids like stocks or soups, and make it delicious again by mixing it with creamy or oil-based sauces and dips. Following a few simple tips will ensure that dry chicken still has a place at the table.

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