Chicken breast is one of the most popular proteins around, and it’s also one of the most versatile too.
It should be fully cooked while still being moist and tender.
But what happens when you take your chicken breast out from the oven or pan and it ends up rubbery?
It is such a disappointment to waste a nutritious protein source and produce a chewy and dry dish, right?
So let’s figure out what causes the leathery texture and how to avoid the same situation when cooking chicken breasts!
A chicken breast is a cut of meat from the breast section of a chicken.
It contains less fat than other parts, such as thighs and drumsticks, making it leaner and healthier to consume.
Chicken breast is usually sold boneless, skinless and with the tenderloin removed or kept intact.
You can also choose between deboning it yourself and opting for the boneless cut to easier and quicker when cooked.
Chicken breast is one of the most commonly consumed cuts of meat in the world, especially in Western and American cooking where it’s considered an indispensable ingredient for countless recipes including soups, grills, oven-baking, salads, and stir-fries.
Though milder in flavor compared to dark meat chicken like leg quarters or drumsticks, chicken breasts absorb flavors well while remaining tender when cooked properly.
Why is my chicken breast rubbery?
Chicken breasts are often the most expensive part of a chicken.
It is gonna be worth it if your cooked chicken breast is juicy, tender, and packed with flavor.
However, it’s no surprise that many people have asked themselves “why is my chicken breast rubbery?”
There are many reasons why your cooked chicken breast might turn out to be tough and chewy.
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Here are some of them:
Most of the time, the chicken breast that is dry and tough is because it has been overcooked.
This cut is already leaner than other cuts of chicken, making it easier to become dry.
Therefore, if you are not an experienced cook, a high chance your dish is not gonna be as expected.
The moisture is sucked out and the protein fibers lose their elasticity, especially when cooked without the skin.
A chewy chicken breast doesn’t always mean it is overcooked.
Undercooked chicken is also dense and hard to chew, which is similar to the rubbery texture of overcooked chicken.
However, in this case, it is more dangerous because you might get foodborne illnesses due to uncooked foods.
Sometimes, the fault is not yours when the chicken breast ends up with a weird texture.
If you assure that your meat is not overcooked or undercooked, chances are it is because of the chicken itself.
Some low-quality chickens come with woody breasts.
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They are often the result of an improper raising method to get the bird so big as quickly as possible, using chemicals or any growth agent.
Is chewy chicken undercooked or overcooked?
If you’re talking about a bone-in, dark meat chicken breast that’s been cooked to around 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73 degrees Celsius), then the answer is yes: it’s probably overcooked.
The reason that chewy chicken is considered undercooked is because of how much moisture is still present in the meat.
When chicken is cooked too long, the protein fibers contract and squeeze out the moisture they contain.
This causes them to become dry and tough.
In order to avoid this effect, try using a thermometer to check your chicken’s internal temperature before taking it off the heat.
You want to make sure it’s at least 165°F/73°C before serving—and 165°F/73°C will ensure that there’s enough moisture left in your meat for it not to be dry.
If your chicken reaches this temperature after about five minutes on each side in an oven set at 350°F/175°C or 425°F/220°C, then it should come out perfectly juicy and tender!
How do I stop my chicken breast from being rubbery?
Don’t worry or panic if your chicken breast is often chewy than expected because now you will learn some useful tips that help you avoid the rubbery texture the next time you cook this lean cut:
A brine is simply a saltwater solution with other flavors added to it, like herbs and spices.
To make a basic brine, you need about two cups of water for every cup of kosher or table salt (you can use less if you want) and up to four tablespoons of herbs or spices that you think might go well with the flavor profile of your chicken breast meat.
Mix everything together until it’s all dissolved, then add your raw chicken breasts and refrigerate them overnight.
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After they’ve soaked in this flavorful concoction for at least eight hours (but no more than 24), remove them from the liquid and cook them according to the recipe’s instructions so that they are perfectly juicy on the inside and crispy on top!
Using milk to soak your chicken breast for a couple of hours or overnight before cooking is another way to tenderize the meat and avoid rubbery chicken after cooking.
Don’t forget to put it in the fridge and cover it tightly to avoid cross-contamination.
A meat thermometer will help you determine if your chicken is cooked through or not and should be kept cooking or taken from the oven.
It should reach 165 degrees F which means your chicken breast is cooked to perfection without being dry and tough.
As you can see, there are many reasons why your chicken breast could taste rubbery as well as numerous tips to help you avoid it.
If you follow these tips, we’re sure that your next batch of chicken breasts will be delicious, juicy, and tender.
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