Eating chicken straight off the bone tastes delicious, but it requires a little extra work to prepare. For bone-in chicken breast recipes on the stove top, prepare to increase the cooking time slightly, to ensure you've cooked it all the way through.
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Cooking Bone-in Chicken
The thing that makes bone-in chicken different from chicken off the bone is exactly what it sounds like — the bones are left in the meat. Bone-in chicken thighs are usually a bit cheaper than other cuts, and they're more likely to retain their flavor when cooked. You can also purchase chicken with or without the skin. Each cut tastes slightly different, so decide ahead of time what you're looking for.
Many people love bone-in chicken because it stays juicy, even after being subjected to heat. How you cook it will depend on which type of meat you buy.
To cook bone-in chicken breast recipes on the stove top, coat the chicken breasts with seasoning and oil or butter, cut deep pockets in them to help the breasts cook more thoroughly and fry them in a skillet until they're golden brown on both sides. Typically, it's best to finish cooking the breasts in the oven, to make sure the meat cooks evenly through the center.
To keep track of this, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature when you think the chicken is done. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, the center of the meat should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure safety.
A cast-iron skillet is a great choice for stove-top cooking, according to an article by Dee Decker, Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Cast iron heats evenly and is extremely versatile in terms of cooking — you can use a cast-iron skillet in the oven too. Plus, it's naturally nonstick if you season it properly.
Read more: How to Reheat Chicken Without Drying It Out
Pan-Sauteed Chicken Thighs
The process for cooking bone-in chicken thighs is similar to the process used for chicken breasts. You'll still toss them in the skillet with oil over heat. This time, though, don't cook them as long — chicken thighs are smaller than breast pieces, so they'll only need around 10 to 15 minutes total (depending on size). Some recipes split cooking time between the stove and the oven to lock in the flavor.
Once you've cooked your chicken, you can freeze leftovers to eat later on in the coming weeks. The Food and Drug Administration asserts that frozen cooked poultry dishes are good for about four to six months, and they should be placed in an airtight container or resealable bag.
If you're cooking diced chicken in the oven, expect the process to be a lot quicker. To help prevent the meat from drying out, it's best to coat it with some type of sauce or oil — like our Sesame and Sunflower Seed-Crusted Chicken Tenders. These particular cuts need to cook for 15 to 17 minutes before serving, flipping once. To speed up the process, you can also saute pan-cooked chicken on the stove.
Ultimately, the key to successful stove-top chicken preparation is making sure it stays tender and moist, without the dryness that comes from overcooking. The inside shouldn't be pink at all, but it also shouldn't be cooked so much that flavor is lost. Once you've mastered the art of cooking pan-sauteed chicken thighs or breasts, you can enjoy this healthy protein as part of your regular dinner rotation.
Read more: How to Bake a Plain Chicken Breast