How to Tenderize Chicken for A Perfectly Even Cook (3 Expert Tips)

Velveting Chicken: Tenderise chicken the Chinese restaurant way!

Here’s how to velvet chicken:

  • For every 250g/8oz chicken breast strips or pieces, toss with 3/4 tsp baking soda (bi-carb)

  • Marinate for 20 minutes

  • Rinse well under running water, pat with paper towel to remove excess water

  • Cook per chosen recipe and marvel at the most tender chicken breast you’ve ever had, just like at Chinese restaurants!!!

I only tenderise chicken breast because it’s so lean. I find chicken thigh tender and juicy enough to use without tenderising.

What does Velveted Chicken taste like?

What does Velveted Chicken taste like?

Velveting chicken does not add any flavour so it tastes just like normal chicken. It is the texture that is affected. The chicken fibres are broken down so the chicken becomes much softer on the inside and surface. “Velvet” like – hence the name!


Does lemon juice soften chicken?

Does Lemon Juice Tenderize Chicken? Contrary to what we’ve been told, lemon juice and other acids such as vinegar don’t tenderize chicken or other meats. … Even if they could, the acids wouldn’t tenderize the meat, but cook it, resulting in a tough and rubbery piece of chicken.

What is a natural meat tenderizer?

Salt as Natural Meat Tenderizer

See also   What Do You Use Lard For?

Salt and its alkaline cousin, baking soda, both break down proteins in beef. A thick coating of kosher salt, sea salt or baking soda applied one hour before cooking will draw water from the meat, allowing some of the salt or soda to sink into the beef. This improves the meat’s texture.

Why is my chicken tough and chewy?

One of the leading causes of rubbery chicken is overcooking the meat. Chicken is to be cooked quickly with relatively high heat. Since most boneless skinless breasts aren’t the same thickness, it isn’t easy to cook them evenly. The best way to avoid overcooking is to make the chicken the same thickness all around.

What Meats Should You Tenderize?

The short answer is all of them! You can tenderize any meat that you’re going to have for dinner. However, should you is the better question. Should you tenderize chicken? 

Should you tenderize ribeye steak? Tenderizing the meat doesn’t only give you softer meat to cut into. It also gives you a more even cooking time. 

So if you are planning to cook up multiple chicken breasts and they are different sizes and thicknesses as they tend to be, you can tenderize them, so they are the same. 

Pay extra attention to the thicker end of the breasts and pound them down, so they are even with the rest. This will ensure a more even cooking process, giving you a juicier piece of meat as a result. 

The same goes for steaks. Lean steaks need tenderizing, so they aren’t so tough to cut into. They also need tenderizing so that they can soak in the marinade and whatever seasonings you put on them. 

Like chicken, you want to tenderize the steaks, so they are the same thickness throughout as well. This will give you an easier cooking time, resulting in a nice, juicy steak.

You can also tenderize meats like pork, veal, lamb, and all cuts of steaks. 

Tenderizing the tougher ones will make them softer and more flavorful. Tenderizing the already tender meats won’t do a lot, but it will help reshape them and make them easier to cook.

Why Tenderize Chicken?

Certain types of chicken recipes—like a stir-fry, for instance—explicitly call for tender chicken breast meat or thigh meat. Still, the flavor and mouthfeel of nearly any dish for which you cook chicken—such as buttermilk fried chicken, grilled chicken thighs, or something else entirely—can benefit from the tenderizing process because it evens out the chicken’ texture and makes it juicier.

Should you salt chicken before grilling?

Salt: The best thing you can do is to pre-season chicken with salt, especially a whole bird or thick bone-in, skin-on pieces. Just sprinkling a little salt on top of your chicken right before cooking it will only season the surface. … So not only will the chicken be tastier, but it will be much juicier, too.

Do you grill chicken with lid open or closed?

It’s simple. If the food you’re grilling is ¾ inch thick or less, don’t put the lid down. If it’s over ¾ inch—you guessed it—cover that sucker up.

Final Word

When deciding if you want to tenderize the meat you are getting ready to cook, you need to determine why you are doing it. Do you want the meat to be softer? 

Do you want to be able to add flavor or cook it more evenly? This will determine how to tenderize it and which side of the tenderizing mallet you should use. 

Remember that this is a quick process, and no good will come from over-pounding it, so pay attention to the thickness and how many puncture holes you are creating. Happy grilling!

How To Tenderize Chicken

We all want to enjoy a soft and tender chicken in our mouth with a flavorful combination. To achieve that effect, there are many ways to prepare your chicken.

So, how do you tenderize chicken? And what are wayscan you tenderize chicken?

Soaking In Fermented Dairy Products

As we know, soaking in buttermilk is the best way to tenderize chicken to get that soft and tender effect. You can maximize the use of the liquid by adding flavors to the chicken meat by seasoning the raw pieces of chicken before soaking them.

A simple seasoning style like pepper and salt is enough to spice up the meat. You can also use different ingredients to season your chicken to your desired flavor, like Cajun or Italian style.

Once you have seasoned the chicken well, prepare a container with enough room for your chicken to submerge in the milk.

Once you have placed them all inside, you can cover the container and put it in the refrigerator.

Normally, to allow the mixture to affect your meat, it takes around an hour for the acids and enzymes to break down some protein structure.

The longer you leave the mixture to do its job, the more tender and soft the meat will become. I would recommend you soak the chicken overnight to achieve the best result.

To know the steps to tenderize chicken in milk better, you can read more in my fried chicken marinated in milk recipe below!

Marinating In Acidic Products

Another way to tenderize the chicken is by marinating it with acidic products like vinegar, alcohol, or lemon juice.

These acids will work amazingly on your meat in a few hours. Furthermore, you can also mix them with different ingredients to create a flavorful taste.

However, the acidic marinade doesn’t work like soaking milk in terms of usage time as the acid in these components is stronger than the lactic acid in dairy products.

This results in breaking down the outside structure of the meat and leaving a stringy and dry effect on your meat.

Therefore, it is best to leave the acidic marinade for 5-6 hours to allow the meat to absorb the flavors without breaking all the surface texture.

Pounding The Meat

If you’re in a hurry, you can also tenderize the meat with some physical force. This is the oldest yet effective way to loosen any muscle tissues of the meat by using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or skillet.

This way is the most suitable when you need to fry or saute the chicken for a quick meal.

I would not recommend you prepare chicken for grilling in this way as physical force ruins the consistency and integrity of the meat outside.

This is the answer to how to tenderize chicken breasts as it works best on boneless pieces like cutlets or steaks instead of a roast.

Before pounding, you need to cover the meat with some saran wrap or plastic wrap to ensure the meat stays altogether when you pound them.

Then, use an appropriate force to pound on the meat until they are spread out thinly. This process can take around 2-3 minutes, depending on how thick the piece of meat is.

Does soaking chicken in milk tenderize it?

When using dairy products to tenderize your chicken, buttermilk, milk, and yogurt are all good. … They tenderize the chicken meat overnight, which will result in succulent, tender chicken when cooked the next day.

How do you use vinegar to tenderize chicken?

Just poke the meat all over with a fork and let it sit in a modest amount of straight vinegar (or a 2:1 mix of any warm liquid like stock, broth or water and vinegar) in a covered bowl in the fridge. Tenderness aside, vinegar’s sharp flavor is just the pairing for salty seasonings and smokiness.

Marinating Does Not Add Moisture to Chicken

Marinade is primarily oil plus some acidic liquids like vinegar, citrus juice and/or wine, all of which are mostly water with a small amount of acid. And we've already shown that acid doesn't penetrate the meat. But what about the oil? Well, no, oil doesn't penetrate the meat either. Because chicken is full of water, and of course water literally repels oil.

Matter of fact, why is there even oil in marinade? We'll get to that later.

Which leaves water. And water will not penetrate the meat either. Remember, raw chicken is already full of water. Chicken is made up of millions of protein cells, each one filled with water. In that sense, chicken is like a sponge that's already fully saturated. You can't take a saturated sponge, drop it in a bucket of water and have it continue to absorb all the water in the bucket. It's the same with chicken. No matter what you soak it in or for how long, it won't absorb any more liquid.


Can You Freeze Milk Marinate Chicken?

Milk marinated chicken has the same way of storing fried chicken. Therefore, you can definitely freeze them for many months in a freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.

Does Milk Tenderize Meat?

As mentioned above, the lactic acid in milk can be used to break down the collagen of all the meat and poultry. Depending on how tough the meat is, the soaking time can last longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can I make my chicken tender and soft?

To make your soft and tender at home, brine your chicken. This adds a nice flavour while ensuring the meat is tender.

Braise the meat slow and low, and by the time it’s cooked, it will be tender and juicy.

  • How do make sure my chicken doesn’t become rubbery when cooked?

A chicken becomes rubbery when it loses moisture during the cooking process.

Make sure you soak the chicken in a salted solution, and it will help break down muscle fibers, which tenderizes it.

  • Will cooking my chicken become tenderer if I cook longer?

Cooking chicken for longer can tenderize it. You simply add some water and allow it to boil, and by the time it’s ready, the meat will be loose and easy to remove from bones.

  • Why did my chicken become dry?

Some parts of the chicken, like the breasts, are most prone to getting dry. This usually happens when they are overcooked.

Since these chicken parts are lean, they should be cooked for a short time to maintain their moisture. The heat must also be right for excellent results.

You can enjoy tender chicken made in your local restaurant at any time. However, you can also use the ideas above to make your chicken at home.

Remember that there chicken parts or type you want to cook determines what methods you can use to tenderize it.

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