Skinless, Boneless, Tasteless?
September 5, 2012 4:58 PM   Subscribe

What are some interesting things to do with skinless, boneless chicken breasts?

Mr. Blues and I are living in a very remote location, far from grocery stores. When we moved out here, we did a huge bulk shopping run and shipped and brought food with us.

Stupidly, we bought two giant bags of frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I'm now realizing that I am much more used to cooking whole chickens or thighs/drumsticks, and have no idea what to do with breasts other than ersatz grilling and poaching.

What are some good recipes and techniques? Our other ingredients are limited, but we can order non-perishables online. I hope not to have to resort to a pricey perishables order immediately.

Further limitation: no non-stick cookware, no Crock-Pot (though I am considering ordering one).
posted by charmcityblues to Food & Drink (51 answers total) 103 users marked this as a favorite has a great panko-crusted Milanese recipe.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:05 PM on September 5, 2012

I defrost them, slice them, and marinate in a mixture of the juice of one lemon, soy sauce, and ground sage.

Then I saute a chopped onion, a carrot or two, and some chopped mushrooms in a large pan and season with paprika, more ground sage, and salt if it needs it.

After those start to get soft I add the chicken bits and any left over marinade and a little water if it needs it and put the cover on and cook til the chicken is done. At some point in the cooking process (maybe a bit after adding the chicken) I also throw in a microwaved sliced potato which kind of falls apart in the pan and makes everything more cohesive.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:08 PM on September 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Chicken Fingers!

Marinate for a few hours in buttermilk with some hot sauce, run through breading, then Pan Fry.

Goes great on a salad.

Chicken Picatta
posted by bitdamaged at 5:08 PM on September 5, 2012

Curry powder is generally a life-saver for chicken. Do you have access to cream or tomato paste? Chicken tikka masala is really good AND cheap and easy.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:09 PM on September 5, 2012

If you order Thai curry paste and coconut milk online, you can make a variety of different curries and serve over rice. I like both green and red, myself. Many recipes call for vegetables; believe it or not a local Thai restaurant just puts mixed veg in there (like peas, carrots, corn) so you could easily use a can of peas, for example.
posted by cabingirl at 5:10 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

satay, saltimbocca, stir fry, pot pie... :)
posted by quiteliterally at 5:11 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

We love a chicken parmesan sort of thing. Boneless chicken breasts breaded with some sort of crumb (bread crumbs, panko, or we really prefer cornflake crumbs), mixed with a generous handful of parmesan cheese. Put on a foiled lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little bit of melted butter (optional if you are trying to cut calories). Bake at about 375-400 for half an hour or so. Crunchy cheesy goodness!!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 5:16 PM on September 5, 2012

I'm glad you asked me that.
posted by unSane at 5:17 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Stir fry with almost anything in terms of veggie you have around.
posted by HuronBob at 5:18 PM on September 5, 2012

We slow cook them in a crock pot, shred the meat and it to rice with cilantro and lime juice that tastes remarkably like the rice at Chipolte.
posted by COD at 5:21 PM on September 5, 2012

Grill, slice and wrap in tacos with cheese or lime and cabbage.

Grill or poach and make chicken salad. My favorite chicken salad recipe involves sauteing thin slices of onion, tossing in some curry powder and walnuts and stirring the whole thing around for a minute - then let it cool and stir it up with the (cooked) chicken and a little mayo.

Grill and stuff into kaiser rolls with whatever yummy things you have around - marinara sauce and parm, grilled veggies and goat cheese, hummus/tomato/olives/feta...

Saute with mushrooms and onions - add a touch of cream at the end if you have it.

Grill or poach and toss with pasta and pesto.

This looks amazing.

Allrecipes is a good resource if you don't already use it. Here are their Top 20 chicken breast recipes

And yes, definitely stir fry as Huronbob suggests!
posted by bunderful at 5:27 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Brine em.
posted by smoke at 5:27 PM on September 5, 2012

Chicken fingers are delicious. You can also make a delicious marinade with oil, apple cider vinegar, and your choice of spices and herbs. Yogurt, if you have it, will also marinade things well -- a mix of, say, yogurt and chutney is great. Try to marinate for 24 hours. Slow cooking and shredding with barbecue sauce. You can also make all these flavours into chicken salad.
posted by jeather at 5:33 PM on September 5, 2012

Hummus-stuffed chicken breasts are one of my favorite dinners and would be just as good without the spinach, or with something else substituted.

I'll admit this marinade looks a lil trashy but it yields unbelievably delicious and tender chicken.
posted by animalrainbow at 5:42 PM on September 5, 2012

My dinner last night was an oven cooked casserole with a mixture of wild rice cooked in apple juice, dried cranberries, and diced chicken breasts, with roasted pear slices. Toss the cooked rice, raw chicken, and cranberries in a bowl, season with something interesting (cinnamon, cumin, etc.), put in a baking dish that's been greased lightly, and cover wi roasted pear slices. Cover wi foil or a lid and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Variations are easy.
posted by brianogilvie at 5:55 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I used to buy and prepare foods on the weekends for the week for my family.

I would pound the chicken breasts thin, dip in egg , flour, egg again, breadcrumbs and either bake or fry. Cover each piece with foil and freeze. You can thaw/reheat in the oven with or without cheese on top for tasty chicken cutlets.

If you have more time, you can roll with a thin slice of prosciutto, slice of mozzarella cheese, hold closed with toothpicks, dip in egg, flour, brown in a pan, pour a half cup of white wine into pan, simmer, finish in the oven.

One more...Wrap uncooked chicken in aluminum foil with a pat of butter, Italian (or Provence) seasoning, a splash of wine and freeze. When ready to cook, take the packet and place on a cookie sheet or pan and bake at 350 for about 30 mins.
posted by Yellow at 6:00 PM on September 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

I use breasts to make good old chicken nuggets. Chop into nuggetty-sized chunks, dip in flour, then egg which has had mustard and garlic (or anything else you fancy) added to it, then breadcrumbs. Bake in a moderate oven for, I dunno, maybe 15 minutes? Much yummier than store-bought nuggets, and much healthier. Serve with a range of dipping sauces, again whatever takes your fancy.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 6:00 PM on September 5, 2012

We love the "slightly fancy pants" version of King Ranch Chicken Casserole on this page and it's pretty forgiving if you need to substitute ingredients (and we leave out the sour cream every time).
posted by routergirl at 6:01 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

The New York Times prepared an interactive feature with nine different recipes for chicken breast (3 poached, 3 sauteed, 3 roasted). Their point was to prove the variety of flavors that can go with this meat.
posted by hhc5 at 6:14 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did you get those giant Costco Perdue bags of frozen chicken breasts? You can cook those straight from frozen. We cover a cookie sheet with foil, add spices and sauces right on top of the chicken and cook a bunch at a time. Some get eaten right away, some frozen for later meals.

Also, definitely get the crock pot. It is an awesome bulk meal preparation device.
posted by booksherpa at 6:25 PM on September 5, 2012

I may be a simple country girl who likes bland food, but I like to bake a chicken breast (350 in the oven for about 30 minutes, keep it covered so it doesn't dry out), shred it with two forks, mix it with a spoonful of mayo, then eat it on toast. Mmmmm. Even better if you have the patience to let the chicken meld with the mayo in the fridge overnight.
posted by telegraph at 6:25 PM on September 5, 2012

Here is an easy one:

Put 4 chicken breasts in a greased baking dish
Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried herbs (I use Italian Seasoning)
Cover chicken with sliced fresh mushrooms
Cover each chicken breast/mushroom combo with one slice of swiss and one slice of mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 until done (about 25--35 minutes)

Not fancy, but good. Serve with peas and rice!
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 6:26 PM on September 5, 2012

Egg wash and roll in crushed cornflakes. Bake in the oven and make a sauce with hollandaise sauce (instant is ok) combined with yellow curry powder.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:27 PM on September 5, 2012

You can stuff your bra with them! Or, failing that, you can make fried chicken, the Heloise way:

1)soak the frozen chicken in water. you can add some salt to the water if it's frozen chicken. this, however, is optional. when it's room temperature. Now, while it's sopping wet...

2)dunk it in flour. Straight-up flour. I'm serious. Leave it in the flour for a few seconds. Make sure it gets covered all over.

it will be a disgusting terrifying unappetizing mess. Don't worry about it.

3)put it on some wax paper for thirty minutes. I know, I know, there's glue on your chicken. It's ok. Make sure you leave it sitting for a full thirty minutes, no less.

4)Fry it in an inch or so of hot shortening that has a few drops of yellow food colouring in. Put a lid on right away and cook it on medium. When it's brown on one side, turn it over once and only once.

5)sprinkle salt to taste on each hot peice as you remove it from the oil.

I promise you, Heloise has never failed me yet.
posted by windykites at 6:30 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another favorite:

Artichoke Chicken: from

1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise (I use 50/50 mayo and sour cream)
1 pinch garlic pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
bread crumbs (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, mix together the artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, and garlic pepper. Place chicken in a greased baking dish, and cover evenly with artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs if desired
Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and juices run clear.

Get the plain canned artichoke hearts and not marinated. I used marinated once and it gave the dish an off flavor.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 6:33 PM on September 5, 2012

I really love cold non-mayo-based chicken salads for lunch.

Bake the breasts until done (350F, 30-45 minutes, depending - just cut 'em open to check). Chill. Shred.

Mix in delicious flavorings and stuff - some sort of fat (oil, nut butter), some sort of spices, some sort of veg, something crunchy (celery, nuts, kohlrabi, whatever), sometimes some acid (vinegar, lemon juice) - just about anything goes, really.

The simplest version I've loved was basically just hot chili oil, garlic, almonds, cilantro, salt/pepper. The complicated versions get a bit fussy, but I'm into that sort of thing.

So tasty!
posted by 168 at 6:37 PM on September 5, 2012

You really want to try Chicken Piccata, if you haven't already.
posted by msamye at 6:41 PM on September 5, 2012

This is very unhealthy, but tastes SO good and is good for a splurge meal:

Apricot Chicken:

Put 4 chicken breasts in a greased baking dish. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Mix together: 1 bottle Russian dressing, 1 jar apricot preserves, 1 packet of Lipton's Onion Soup Mix.

Pour mixture over chicken. I also throw in some dried apricots in the sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 until done.

Sauce is great over rice--peas go well too.

For a caloric blow-out, however, serve with Au Gratin Potatoes instead of rice!
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 6:46 PM on September 5, 2012

Pound fairly thin (maybe 3/8"). Season with some all-purpose poultry seasoning, Old Bay, or even just salt and pepper. Saute. Serve on bun with a smear of mayo, lettuce, and tomato.
posted by lakeroon at 7:28 PM on September 5, 2012

I just want to echo what Yellow says about pounding before cooking. Especially for recipes like piccata, saltimbocca and marsala. It seems like a fuss and like it shouldn't make that big a difference but it is the reason those chicken dishes taste so good in restaurants. Get a mallet (or a rolling pin, or a can of vegetables held sideways), put some saran wrap or something on top of the chicken breasts and pound until they are a uniform thickness, like 1/2".

Quick and dirty oven-fried chicken: Coat breasts with a mixture of mayonnaise, lemon juice, ground pepper and dijon mustard. (I actually use a product called Lemonaise.) Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake covered at 350 until juices run clear.
posted by BibiRose at 7:35 PM on September 5, 2012

Response by poster: Did you get those giant Costco Perdue bags of frozen chicken breasts?

Yup. I had intended to get one bag of chicken breasts and one of other parts, but we were kind of crazed at that point. Buying that much food at once is so weird!
posted by charmcityblues at 7:55 PM on September 5, 2012

Super simple chicken n' rice:

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup minute rice
1 cup water

Mix into casserole dish, place chicken breasts on top. Salt and pepper over the top. Personally, I add some paprika.

Bake 350 for 1 hour.

You can double the soup and rice part of the recipe if you like.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:02 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I buy a shitload of that Costco chicken on a regular rotation (I try to skew more towards thighs, but breasts just go farther so it's a mix), and I tend to cook them in several-day batches to dress up later. The trick to getting a nice texture out of them is poaching: saute some onions (or you can go with cooking some spices/curry/garam masala/italian-ish seasoning in a little oil for a couple of minutes), put in a lot of water - like to half the height of the chicken or more - cover and cook at a low bubble. I cook them until they're still a little rosy inside; carryover is going to nearly finish them, and whatever you do to them next will make them completely done. Take them out and cover them for a while.

From there, you can use them for chicken tacos, with pasta or noodles, over salad, etc. The slow cook in lots of moisture almost always (every once in a while I have some that come out tough) leaves them soft and juicy and tolerant of whatever happens next.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:20 PM on September 5, 2012

Chicken tacos! Cut them up into smaller bite-sized bits and saute them in oil with chili powder, onions, garlic (or minced onions and garlic powder if you're in a hurry), salt, and pepper. Put into a taco shell with shredded cheddar/jack cheese, sour cream, and shredded lettuce (and salsa if you're into that sort of thing).
posted by JDHarper at 8:23 PM on September 5, 2012

If you have the How to cook everything book or app he has lists like "11 more ways to vary grilled or broiled boneless chicken" (the 11 being, mediteranian, herbed, spiced, north african, taragon mustard, curried, parmesan, thai, with garam masala, miso and sesame)
posted by shothotbot at 8:26 PM on September 5, 2012

Nthing the chicken and rice mentioned by Fleednnork. That is one of my all-time go-to recipes. Always turns out awsome.
posted by Lone_Wolf at 9:26 PM on September 5, 2012

This recipe for Chicken Guacamole Tostadas has become a favorite and a regular in our line-up ever since we found it. It's super-easy, too, but don't leave out the smoked paprika if you can help it.
posted by DingoMutt at 9:54 PM on September 5, 2012

Chicken and artichokes with garlic-anchovy sauce. It's a recipe in the Primal Blueprint cookbook; here's one version of it. (I am trapped under a cat and can't get the actual cookbook, which is across the room, but as I this looks right.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:59 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Stuff it or crust it with something! That'll keep it from drying out, and give you some flavor in each bite. I like this recipe for Chicken Breasts with Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Crust.

Milanese is always a good idea -- other people have given you plenty of recipes, but here's my favorite for good measure -- serve with a tomato-basil-red onion salad. Or buy a bottle of Frank's hot sauce and have Buffalo Night.

Chicken mole is delicious -- just buy a jar of Dona Maria brand and make in the sauce, according to the instructions on the side of the jar. Then eat with black beans, avocado slices, and salsa fresca. Add some huevos rancheros and you have the best brunch ever.

Or make satay! Here's a sauce.
posted by ostro at 11:45 PM on September 5, 2012

Chicken Kiev!
posted by pompomtom at 11:46 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just last night I made a variant of this recipe.

The key, really, is step 4, which is a basic pseudo-cream sauce:
4. Add the extra 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan and melt. Add the flour [3 Tbsp] and stir well to make a paste. Cook for 5 minutes, until a pale golden colour. Gradually add the hot stock, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened.

Then pour it over chicken and rice/pasta/cous cous/etc. You can add anything you like to the sauce to jazz it up and change the flavour. Last night was mushrooms, garlic, and parsley. I have been known to add peas.
posted by Eumachia L F at 3:08 AM on September 6, 2012

If you've got a grill, then make kebabs! Thaw the whole pieces, cut up into large chunks, and then marinate them in a sauce of your choosing. Sprinkle them with spices (which you can play with depending on your taste- Indian? Middle Eastern? Hawaiian?). When they're ready, put the pieces on bamboo skewers and grill them up. You can serve them up on a nice bed of rice or pasta, too.
posted by chatelaine at 9:45 AM on September 6, 2012

a basic pseudo-cream sauce

if you call it a roux, people will think you're 10x fancier! Fun times!

You can always make chicken noodle soup, too- which you could then re-freeze and have available to you whenever you're sick or sad or chilly!

I do chicken soup with big lazy chunks of potato, big lazy chunks of carrot, fried-until-translucent onion, a little garlic (or whole garlic cloves, they get soft and sweet and lovely), big broad egg noodles, chicken broth or stock, big lazy chunks of celery, and big lazy chunks of chicken. You can cook the whole breasts in the broth and rip them apart once they're cooked.

You can make dumplings on top if you want to go all out- just find the most basic easy baking-powder biscuit recipe you can find, add a little extra baking powder (about a quarter-again as much) and drop blobs of the dough in the soup when it's at a rolling boil. Comfort food!
posted by windykites at 2:23 PM on September 6, 2012

Mark Bittman's Express Chicken in Spicy Basil-Coconut Sauce: Take a teaspoon or so each of ground coriander, cinnamon, chili powder, and salt and rub into 4-6 chicken cutlets or boneless skinless breasts or whatever. Sear on both sides in some olive oil, set aside, and then cook a sliced red onion, some minced garlic, and a few finely chopped or sliced serrano or Thai chiles (if you want it spicier don't seed the chiles of course) in the same pan with a bit more olive oil if needed just 'til going soft, about 4 minutes. Put chicken back in with a cup or so of coconut milk and a small glug of fish sauce, plus some fresh chopped basil. Once the coconut milk starts bubbling turn the heat down to a steady simmer and cook until the chicken's done, about 3 or so minutes a side. Garnish with lime wedges and basil, cilantro, mint, or a mix of all three. Easy weeknight sorta-Thai-ish, lots of flavor and fast.

This Sumac Chicken is delicious (think lemony Mediterranean tang/brightness and moistness) and crazy easy--you can prep the chicken and let it sit a bit before you quickly cook it, allowing you time to make the salad or other side dishes or just relax or whatever. I got it off AskMe years ago and it was so good I MeMailed the person who shared it a zillion months later to rave and thank them.

Donna Hay's Five-Spice Chicken: I actually prefer this with cut up strips of pork, but it's yummy either way and a refreshing update on standard shake and bake style chicken.

Serves 4.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast fillets
all-purpose flour, for coating
2 eggs, lightly beaten
oil, to shallow fry

coating mixture:
2 1/2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder
2 cups fine fresh breadcrumbs or panko
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

If not thin/turned into cutlets already, cut the chicken breast fillets in half lengthways. Dust lightly in flour and set aside.

Combine all coating mixture ingredients. Dip chicken in the beaten egg and then press into coating mixture firmly.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken to the pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper. Serves with steamed Asian greens.

Another tactic that works way better texture-and-fragrance-wise than you'd expect is the French-style en papillote or as my campin' husband puts it "hobo dinner!": here's one example from Dorie Greenspan; Beth Hensperger has a vaguely similar take only you steam the stuff in foil on the stovetop.
posted by ifjuly at 4:07 PM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

BTW, you can procure sumac from Penzey's online or through mail order. I love the stuff, because I love lemony brightness in food.
posted by ifjuly at 4:24 PM on September 6, 2012

Also, this is probably too involved and requires fresh stuff it sounds like you might not have access to, but I'll throw it out there just in case because it is so, so ridiculously delicious: David Rosengarten's Chilaquiles. One of the best dinners I've ever made. Dunno what it is about the charred chiles and tomatillos and garlic and onion--super moist chicken--homemade sauce--homefried tortilla chip--creamy clean-tasting cheese combo, but it makes the best-tasting food in the world (the aforementioned Homesick Texan recipes work similar magic, as do some versions of potato tacos). Just so, so good.
posted by ifjuly at 4:31 PM on September 6, 2012

Chicken and Corn on Rice is classic Hong Kong comfort food that can be made with just chicken + canned corn + corn starch. If you have it, I'd also add in onions and an egg, but it tastes fine without it too.
posted by tinymegalo at 5:13 PM on September 6, 2012

I tend to eat a lot of chicken breasts. I'd say about half the time I just bake them with salsa - the salsa keeps the chicken pretty moist and thickens to a nice sauce. Preheat oven to 350, line a baking dish with tinfoil. Pour a jar of salsa over the chicken in the dish, making sure the chicken is covered but not swimming in the salsa. Cook it for about 45 minutes if it's frozen, about 30 if it's thawed. You can eat this with rice and/or beans. I'll often sautee some bell peppers and onions while the chicken is baking, too.

Really, you can use this method with any kind of sauce, I think: marinara, peanut sauce, etc (though I haven't tried it with any dairy-based sauces - not sure if they'd separate). I recently tried this maple mustard chicken recipe and it was pretty good, but next time I'm going to try it with a mix of honey and fish sauce instead of maple syrup.

If you want plain, cooked chicken for salads, soups, whatever, you can't go wrong with poaching them (link courtesy of Miko in this previous "cooking chicken breasts" thread).

Nthing the stir fry suggestion, but just make sure you slice the chicken very thin, or it will get dried out.
posted by lunasol at 12:32 PM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ctrl+F 'bacon'

0 results

Metafilter, I am disappoint. Here's what I made the other day:

Thin-sliced chicken breasts, folded over with swiss-gruyere blend, minced onions and garlic salt inside. Wrap the folded chicken breasts in bacon, about two slices per breast. Top with some bread crumbs and grated parmesan. Bake at 425 for 55 minutes. Serve with steamed brussels sprouts or sliced cucumbers and bleu cheese dressing.
posted by mullingitover at 1:02 PM on September 10, 2012

Parisian Chicken.

Requires vermouth though. So unless you anticipated making martinis it probably is not in your pantry (but it should be because Martinis!)
posted by srboisvert at 6:39 PM on September 10, 2012

For a fast meal, I get a cast iron pan pretty hot, season chicken breasts with spicy rub - I use a mix, but you could use salt, pepper, chili powder, sage, some cayenne. Faux-grill them in the hot pan. They're tasty & juicy.

Or, lemon chicken: coat with flour, saute in olive oil (or butter), then deglaze with lemon juice.
posted by theora55 at 5:45 PM on September 11, 2012

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