Chicken is a meat high in protein and low in fat. Cooking styles, including the use of marinades, can add a healthier twist while providing you with added flavor and tenderness. There's no one best way to cook marinated chicken.
Poultry or chicken thigh marinade can consist of lemon juice, garlic and other herbs as desired to bring out a unique flavor sure to please many palates. Or make a simple Italian dressing chicken marinade. Try overnight chicken marinade for baking with robust flavor.
Read more: How to Bake a Plain Chicken Breast
Baked Chicken Breast Marinade
Once you have marinated your chicken for two to eight hours, it is time to cook. Baking your marinated chicken is one of the healthiest ways to ensure it is tasty and juicy. Before baking, remember to drain your chicken of the marinade and lie your chicken in a lightly greased baking dish.
Place your chicken in a 350-degree-Fahrenheit heated oven. Baking at a temperature higher than 350 F will cause the outside of your chicken to cook faster, leaving the inside raw or undercooked. Cooking time depends on the chicken's weight and cut. For example, chicken breasts may require only 20 to 30 minutes while a whole chicken will require one to two hours.
Grill It Up
The onset of warmer weather may spark the desire to cook outdoors. Grilling your marinated chicken fulfills this desire as well as helps maintain healthy eating habits. According to Harvard Health Publishing, marinating food before grilling helps prevent formation of harmful carcinogens.
- After lighting your grill and allowing it to warm up, place aluminum foil over your cooking rack.
- Lightly spray the foil with nonstick olive oil to prevent the chicken from adhering to the foil.
- Once your grill is heated, place the cooking rack on the lowest setting.
- Place your drained, marinated chicken on the rack and close the lid to your grill.
- The side closest to the bottom will cook faster; therefore, after 30 minutes, you must turn the chicken over to cook it evenly.
Roasting Marinated Chicken
Roasting is often confused with baking, although the cooking styles are somewhat different. When roasting a chicken, you are attempting to brown it through frequent basting with marinade or oil. Roasted chicken is also cooked on a lower temperature than baked chicken.
- Heat your oven to 325 F and place your chicken in a nonstick roasting pan.
- Cover your chicken and cook it in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour to cook the inside.
- Remove the cover and baste your chicken with oil or marinade and cook uncovered for one to two hours, basting every 20 to 30 minutes.
- The oil or marinade will brown the outer skin of your chicken, leaving it crispy on the outside.
Use fresh marinade or boil used marinade prior to basting your cooking chicken to reduce risk of foodborne illness, as advised by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Stir-Fry Your Chicken
Stir-frying marinated chicken can give you a quick and healthy option for dinner. Instead of using vegetable or canola oils, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in your frying pan.
- Remove your chicken from the marinade, cut into bite-sized pieces and place in the pan to cook.
- Cover your chicken with the lid and allow it to fry at a medium temperature until browned. You will need to stir frequently.
- When fully cooked, add your choice of vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
- Add soy sauce or other stir-fry sauce.
- Replace the lid and allow to cook until vegetables are done to your liking.
- Serve over cooked brown rice to round out a healthy meal.
Read more: General Nutritional Facts About Chicken
Serve Chicken Safely
You need to make sure your chicken is fully cooked. To ensure safety, the internal temperature of chicken breasts should reach at least 165 F prior to serving, as advised by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Discard any leftovers that have been at room temperature for more than two hours. Eat leftovers within three to four days, as advised by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.