Air-chilled Chicken Vs Water-chilled Chicken: What’s The Difference?

air chilled vs water chilled chicken

Many people just know that air-chilled chicken and water-chilled chicken are two types of chicken sold on the market.

But do you know that the way the chicken is stored before reaching our hands can affect the taste and texture of the meat?

In this article, we are going to explore the pros and cons of air-chilled chicken and water-chilled chicken in order to help you make your decision easier the next time you go shopping for chicken.

Let’s check it out!

What is air-chilled chicken?

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The term “air-chilled” is a new trend in the poultry industry.

Air chilling or air cold-chain technology is an alternative to traditional water chilling that can result in significant savings of both energy and water.

This process, developed by scientists at the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, uses compressed air for cooling rather than chilled water.

Chickens are placed into high-tech chambers individually where they are sprayed with blasts of cold air which lowers their body temperature before they are packaged for market.

Air-chilled chicken is also demonstrated to contain 80% fewer bacteria than its water-chilled counterpart.

It will be safe to be left in the fridge for up to two days.

Air-chilled chicken is not only safer for your health but also more flavorful and tender in texture.

What is water-chilled chicken?

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Water-chilled chicken is the most popular type of chicken that is sold on the market.

The chicken, after being slaughtered, is cooled down by soaking in cold and chlorinated water.

Normally, there will be a lot of chickens being water chilled per batch in a huge tub of water.

Although this process is time-saving and more efficient, it turns out to be packed with numerous drawbacks.

You will need a lot of water and energy for chilling chickens with water, and this is definitely not environmentally friendly.

Additionally, it is obvious that the chicken can absorb the water during this water chilling process, meaning you are paying for the added water in that chicken.

When cooking water-chilled chicken, the water tends to evaporate, and your chicken will end up drying and chewy.

Moreover, fact has shown that water-chilled chicken might contain more bacteria compared to chicken that is air-chilled.

What are the differences between air-chilled chicken vs water-chilled chicken?

As you can see, the way the chicken is processed before being sold can result in numerous differences in the chicken.

The comparison below will point out the differences between air-chilled chicken and water-chilled chicken:

 ComparisonAir-chilled chickenWater-chilled chicken
MethodEach chicken is cooled down with cold air in a separate chamberA large number of chickens are placed in a tub of chlorinated and cold water
TextureTender and juicyShrunken and dried when cooked
TasteMore flavorfulBlander
Safety conditionSafer, 80% fewer bacteriaMight contain more bacteria
CostHigherMore expensive

What are the similarities between air-chilled chicken vs water-chilled chicken?

Although there are a lot of differences between air-chilled chicken and water-chilled chicken in terms of methods, tastes, textures, and prices, these two kinds of chicken also share some similarities:

1. Air-chilled chicken and water-chilled chicken are rich sources of protein and nutrients

The first thing in common between air-chilled chicken and water-chilled chicken is that they are both rich sources of protein and many other essential nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, selenium, folate, niacin, iron, copper, B-vitamins, and amino acids.

These nutrients can benefit our health in many ways.

However, keep in mind that air-chilled chicken is safer in general because it lowers the risk of getting bacteria.

2. Air-chilled chicken and water-chilled chicken can be cooked in numerous ways

Another similarity between the air-chilled and water-chilled versions of chicken is that they can be cooked the same way.

Chicken is a versatile kind of meat that can work great in different cooking methods like deep-frying, grilling, baking, roasting, boiling, steaming, or braising.

Which one is better?

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After reading this article, we believe that you have a better understanding of air-chilled chicken and its water-chilled counterpart.

There is no doubt that air-chilling is a better method to process chicken.

Air-chilled chicken is safer with fewer bacteria, tastes more flavorful, and has a tender and juicy texture although there is a cost difference between these two types of poultry.

Choosing between air-chilled or water-chilled chicken will ultimately depend on your preference, budget, and availability in your area.

You can try them both and find your own answer.