How To Fix Woody Chicken Breast

How to fix woody chicken breast

In this guide, we will describe how to fix woody chicken breast and cook chicken with an emphasis on taste and texture. These tenderization techniques will give you the best chicken ever!

What is Woody Chicken Breast?

Woody chicken breast causes chicken breast meat to be hard and pale in color with poor quality texture. Woody chicken breast is safe to eat, but the texture is tougher. To avoid woody chicken breast, purchase from the farmers’ market, these free-range birds aren’t mass-produced and do not have this issue. Smaller birds are also less likely to have this condition.


How To Tenderize Woody Chicken Breast

Here are 4 hacks to tenderize woody chicken breast easily.

1. Use a Marinade

Try difference marinades and brines. Even sodas will do the trick. Kiwi and pineapple marinades also work well. All marinades tenderize differently. Acidic marinade, like vinegar or lime juice, may toughen the chicken breast.

Related: 34 Best Grilled Swordfish Recipes For Dinner

2. Soak in Yogurt or Buttermilk

Cooks soak chicken overnight in yogurt or buttermilk before making fried chicken. Yogurt and buttermilk contain enzymes and acids that break down proteins in chicken meat, causing the meat to become more tender.

3. Using a Meat Mallet Tenderizer

You can buy a meat mallet tenderizing tool Amazon. Or use a clean hammer. Just remove the chicken from the bone first. Then cover the chicken breast in plastic wrap, and pound the chicken breast to break down the fibers in the meat.

4. Velveting Chicken Breast

Velveting is a popular Chinese technique that is used to make chicken moist and tender. This easy technique involves briefly passing the chicken through hot oil or hot water.

This is how restaurants make chicken tender and juicy:

How to Make Velvet Chicken

  1. Cut 1 pound of chicken breasts into one-inch pieces
  2. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg white. Then combine the egg white, with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  3. Please the chicken and mixture into a zip-loc bag and shake until combined
  4. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 30 minutes
  5. Poach the chicken in salted, boiling water for 3 minutes until the chicken is cooked. The meat should turn white.
  6. Remove the cooked chicken from the stove and drain the water with a sieve.
  7. Dry the chicken with a paper town and fry it.

What does velveted chicken taste like?

Velveted chicken does not add any flavor and tastes like regular chicken. Chicken fibers are broken down during velvetization so the chicken becomes less tough.

How To Fix Rubbery Chicken Breast

Rubbery chicken breast is caused by overcooking. Lack of moisture can also cause rubbery chicken breast. The best way to fix rubbery chicken is to add moisture to the chicken breast with a white sauce. Braising the chicken breast in wine, vinegar, vermouth, beer, stock, or even water will work as well. Simmer slowly to make the chicken soft and tender again.

Rubbery chicken breast can also be repurposed in chicken soup, chicken salad, or chicken quesadilla.

How To Boil Chicken Breast

Cover the pot and bring chicken breasts to a boil. Reduce heat to vigorous simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until no longer pink/translucent. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken to ensure it has reached 165° F.

It’s fine to pull the chicken breast from the water and cut it open. If it’s still translucent, pink, or hasn’t reached an internal temperature of 165° F, just boil longer.

Hot Tip: Remove the foam that rises to the top with a large slotted spoon.

How tell if boiled chicken is done?

Color does not always indicate doneness. Even a fully cooked chicken can show a pinkish color. Chicken is done when the internal temperature is at least 165° F. Bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella are killed when the internal temperature reaches 165° F.

How To Boil Chicken Thighs

Bring chicken thighs to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a gentle boil. Cook for at least 40 minutes. Check the thickest part to check that the temperature has reached at least 165 °F (74 °C).

Carefully set the chicken aside but retain the cooking water as a chicken base for rice or soups. Or freeze the broth in ice cube trays to use as flavor boosters.

Is boiled chicken water healthy?

Boiled chicken contains cysteine which helps thin mucus in the lungs making it easier to breath. You can also reuse the liquid for cooking rice or as a soup base.

How To Boil Whole Chicken

Submerge the whole chicken in water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a vigorous simmer. Cook for at least 90 minutes. Check the thickest part to ensure that the temperature has reached at least 165 °F.

It’s fine to pull the chicken breast from the water and cut it open. If it’s still translucent, pink, or hasn’t reached an internal temperature of 165° F, just boil longer.

How To Boil Chicken Quarters

Place the chicken quarters in a large pot. Submerge the chicken in water. Season and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook for 45-60 minutes. Skim foam as needed.

It’s so clucking easy.

How To Boil Chicken Legs

Bring chicken legs to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook for 30-40 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken leg to see if the temperature has reached 165 °F (74 °C).

Drumsticks contain bones and lots of muscle so you’ll need to boil them longer than other parts of the chicken.

How To Boil Chicken Tenders

Bring your water to a boil. Cover the pot and lower the heat so it stays at a rapid simmer. Depending on the size of your chicken tenders, they should simmer for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Unbelievably flavorful and tender chicken.

How To Boil Chicken Wings

Put wings in a large pot with seasoning and enough water to cover. Bring to a rolling boil. Then cook at a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. After 10 minutes remove one piece from the pot and check.

If it needs more time check every few minutes. But don’t let them overcook.

How To Boil Chicken Step-By-Step

Follow these simple steps to make boiled chicken.

Season your water with salt and pepper. If you have carrots, onions, or fresh herbs you can add them too. All of your flavor is going to come from what you put in the pot. 


  • 3 chicken breasts
  • Enough water to cover the chicken
  • Salt & pepper, and seasonings
  • Carrots, celery and onions (optional)
  1. Place 3 chicken breasts into a medium-size pot. Spread the chicken breasts out along the bottom of the pot so the meat is not layered. If you do not have a pot large enough to support the chicken breasts, use a deep, covered skillet instead.
  2. Make sure that your chicken is completely defrosted if it was frozen. The frozen meat will affect the cooking time of the chicken and could potentially cause the meat to cook unevenly. If it is still frozen, finish defrosting the chicken in the refrigerator before cooking it.
  3. Fill the pot with water until all of the chicken breasts are submerged.
  4. Bring chicken to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Depending on the size: allow chicken to cook 25-30 minutes for 6 chicken breasts; and 8-15 minutes for 3 breasts. Always check the thickest part of the chicken to see if the temperature has reached 165 °F (74 °C). 

Tip: Use chicken broth instead of water to instantly boost the flavor!

How To Shred Chicken

After removing your boiled chicken from the pot let it rest about 10 minutes. This will make them cool enough to shred and help keep some of the moisture in so that they don’t dry out. Use two forks to shred your chicken or slice it up with a chef’s knife.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks and pull breasts apart. If you want smaller pieces of shredded chicken, you can shred the larger chunks with your hands.

You can also use a stand mixer to shred chicken! Place cooked chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, turn the mixer on medium and let it go until all the chicken is shredded.

Did you know?

Chicken salad is typically made with leftover shredded chicken but it can also be made with freshly boiled chicken. Chicken salad recipes are also great for leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

Chicken Cooking FAQS

What is the white stuff when boiling chicken?

The white foam is mostly protein. Poultry is denatured quickly through the cooking process, so it leaches out water which brings out soluble protein.

What is the difference between poaching, simmering, and boiling?


Poaching is cooking an item by submerging it in a liquid that is just barely simmering.To poach a food item, gently place it in a pot of simmering water that is heated between 160 and 180 degrees.

Poaching is a technique typically used for delicate foods including eggs, fish and fruits. In order to poach food effectively, it must be completely submerged in water.


Simmering requires the temperature of the liquid to be between 185 to 200 degrees. You will typically see small bubbles start to form in the liquid, but not enough to be considered a boil.

1. Fine simmer – A fine simmer is defined by a scarce amount of small bubbles rising to the surface of the water every two to three seconds.
2. Simmer – A simmer is identified by small but constant bubbles rising to the surface of the water.
3. Vigorous simmer – A vigorous simmer occurs when more constant bubbles rise to the surface giving off frequent wisps of steam.


Boiling requires liquid temperature to reach 212 degrees. You will know your broth, water or sauce is boiling because you will see large, frequent bubbles rising to the surface along with constant steam.

1. Boil – A boil is indicated by large bubbles forming in the pot and rising to the surface, producing constant steam.
2. Rolling boil – A rolling boil occurs when large bubbles erupt continuously on the surface of the liquid. These large bubbles maintain themselves even when they are stirred or food is added. A rolling boil can be easily identified by the distinct sound produced from the liquid.

What is blanching?

Blanching is a cooking process in which a food, usually a vegetable or fruit, is scalded in boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water to halt the cooking process. –Wikipedia

Can you simmer chicken too long?

Is chicken is boiled too rapidly, or for too long, the proteins contract tightly and squeeze the moisture out.

Can I boil chicken in the microwave?

Yes, It takes 4-5 minutes per chicken breast in a microwave. Place chicken in a dish and fill dish with water so the water level comes up about 1/3 of the way on the chicken. Cover and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Let them rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Can I boil chicken in a slow cooker?

Your slow cooker doesn’t actually “boil” the liquid, but the effect is the same.

  1. Place your cut chicken in your slow cooker. Add cooking liquid like water or broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until tender.

Can I boil chicken ahead of time for chicken salad?

You can boil chicken ahead of time for use later as long as you cover and refrigerate them. They’ll last for up to three days in the fridge. However fresh chicken is best for salad.

How long do I boil chicken for dogs?

  1. Place 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into a medium-size pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water until all of the chicken breasts are submerged.
  3. Cover the pot and boil the chicken for 12 minutes over high heat. Do not add salt or other seasonings.
  4. Drain any excess water from the cooked chicken. Place the cooked chicken breasts onto a plate and shred it into small pieces. Keep your dog’s size in mind when shredding the meat.
  5. Let the chicken cool off for 10-15 minutes. 

Can you boil chicken after marinating?

Yes. Bring your chicken marinade to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Marinating chicken adds extra juiciness and flavor. Cool in an ice bath before placing in the fridge.

How do I store boiled chicken?

After allowing boiled chicken to cool, place in an airtight storage container and leave it in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.

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