The Ultimate Guide to Cooking and Storing Chicken

Whether you want to fry up fajitas or prepare a Sunday roast, chicken is a versatile meat that can be used in many favourite meals. More than just a staple ingredient, chicken boasts many health benefits. This low-fat meat is rich in protein, vitamins and phosphorus.

If you’re planning a feast but need guidance on how to cook and store chicken, look no further than our complete guide. Learn the best ways to cook chicken and the safest and most hygienic storage methods.

1. Tips For Cooking Chicken

Let’s start by emphasising that chicken should never be eaten raw. Consuming chicken that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked can lead to Salmonella and other food poisonings. So learning how to cook chicken properly is vital.

How To Prepare Chicken

When preparing chicken of any form, you should follow these safety tips:

· Remove the meat from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking so it reaches room temperature

· Thoroughly wash your hands before and after handling raw chicken to reduce the risk of cross-contamination

· Thoroughly wash any utensils or equipment that touch raw chicken

If you’re cooking chicken breast, there isn’t much preparation needed. You may want to cut the breast into chunks or marinate it to add flavour.

A little more preparation is needed when cooking a whole chicken. It’s best to season the cavity before popping it in the oven; salt, pepper, and lemon are popular choices. Finally, spread butter over the meat.

How To Joint A Whole Chicken

Buying a whole chicken is more cost-effective than packs of breasts or thighs. You might want to pop the entire chicken into the oven when preparing a roast. Alternatively, you can separate each part; this is called jointing:

1. Remove the legs and thighs by popping out the joints, cutting around the oyster and following the bone structure

2. Take out the wings by finding the natural join between each wing and breast and cutting through

3. Remove the breasts by finding the breastbone and cutting down, sticking as close to the bone as possible; cut through the wishbone when you reach it

4. Use the leftover carcass to make a stock

How To Cook Chicken In An Oven

You typically cook whole chicken or breasts in the oven. This cooking method is healthier as less oil is used compared to frying. Here’s how to roast a whole chicken:

1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/ 180˚C fan

2. Put the chicken in the oven; cooking time will depend on the weight but is generally 25 minutes per 500g, plus an extra 25 minutes

3. Halfway through cooking, baste your chicken with juices from the roasting tray

4. At the end of your planned cooking time, pierce the skin; if the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked

5. Leave to rest for around 15 minutes

Wondering how long it takes to cook chicken breasts in the oven? It takes 20 to 25 minutes at 200˚C/ 180˚C fan for a golden, juicy result. Remember to rotate halfway through cooking.

How To Fry Chicken

Want to fry your chicken instead? Frying is an excellent way of rustling up a quick meal. Chicken breasts are also prone to drying out, so cooking quickly on high heat is a great solution. Cook on your hob in a few easy steps:

1. Drizzle olive oil into a pan and add your prepared chicken

2. Season with salt and pepper

3. Cook for around 10 minutes, turning regularly to ensure even results

4. Check that the meat is firm and isn’t pink before removing it from the heat

5. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes

Tips For Storing Chicken

Safety is just as important when storing chicken as it is when cooking. Whether raw or cooked, the chicken should be kept in a fridge or freezer and consumed promptly.

How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last In The Fridge?

Cooked chicken can be consumed up to four days later if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

If four days isn’t enough, how about storing cooked chicken in your freezer? Pop the meat into a freezer-safe container and consume it within three months. Again, allow plenty of time for thawing.

You’re now armed with all the tips and tricks you need to prepare, cook and store chicken. For more kitchen advice, read our measurements guide and vegetable storage blog.