Chicken is by far the most affordable way to pack a filling protein. Better yet, as chicken doesn’t really have much of its own taste, it is the perfect meat to build a meal upon by injecting the chicken with any flavours you like.
This is exactly why chicken is a staple across cuisines and cultures.
However, as much as chicken is a big part of the modern diet, not everyone learns how to handle the protein. Chicken should be juicy and tender, not rubbery. So why is your chicken turning our rubbery?
Rubbery chicken is probably the result of overcooked chicken. Chicken that has been cooked for too long or left in a hot pan for too long has very little moisture left and so ends up rubbery and gross.
How To Avoid Overcooking Your Chicken
Considering the most probable cause of rubbery chicken is overcooked chicken, it is good to know how to avoid overcooking your chicken in the first place.
Most people would suggest simply following the recipe to the letter, which isn’t bad advice!
However, most recipes do not account for the fact that different ovens, stoves and grills may have different heat settings, changing the time the chicken needs to cook.
Only following a recipe and not using your own knowledge to cook chicken can very easily lead to overcooked and rubbery chicken. That is why you should use the cooking time given in any recipe as a guide rather than the gospel truth.
Instead, use a hands-on approach to test when your chicken needs to be removed from the heat.
Grab a metal fork and spear the chicken every so often as it cooks. There will be a time between the chicken being raw and rubbery and overcooked and rubbery that the fork slides easily into the chicken with little effort. This is when you should stop cooking the chicken.
Alternatively, use the fork to check the chicken once it changes colour. If the meat is hard to push your fork through, then remove it from the heat.
Tricks For Fixing Rubbery Chicken
The good news is that rubbery chicken is not the end of the world. There are a couple of ways that you can repurpose rubbery chicken so that your meat and your money don’t go to waste.
Once the chicken is cooked, there is no natural way to stop the chicken from being rubbery, but there are ways to stop the texture from ruining your dish.
You will need to be open to serving a meal that is not exactly the same as the one you had planned but can still be just as delicious!
Considering that rubbery chicken is likely due to a lack of moisture from overcooking it, it makes sense that the quick fix solution would be to add more moisture to your chicken dish.
The easiest way to do just that is by using plenty of sauce.
Chicken is often paired with a variety of sauces anyway. Using more sauce or adding a sauce to your dish last minute will not seem odd or out of place on the plate.
Though for the best results, you will want to mix the chicken in with the sauce to help better disguise its rubbery taste.
Shred It Up
As mentioned above, you cannot change the rubbery texture of chicken once it has been overcooked, but you can make it more manageable and easier to eat.
Shredding your chicken using two forks like how you would for BBQ-pulled chicken will pull the focus away from the texture of the chicken as it will be much less obvious on such a smaller scale.
If you are not a fan of shredded chicken, then you could chop the chicken into very thin slices instead. Similarly, this will move the focus of the dish from the texture of the chicken as it will be smaller and less noticeable.
You can even shred the chicken and then mix a sauce as we have in the previous point to completely hide the fact that you may have overcooked it a tad.
Best Methods For Cooking Chicken To Avoid A Rubbery Texture
Chicken is a far easier meat to cook than beef or veal, but it can still be tricky to achieve the perfect flavour if you are not a confident cook.
To make your time in the kitchen easier while also ensuring you serve delicious chicken every time, try using one of these cooking methods instead of just shoving the chicken into the oven:
- Slow Cooking – The key to any slow cooking is low heat for a long time with plenty of liquid. Slow-cooked chicken will not be exposed to high heat and will have a constant sauce of moisture in the form of the slow cooker broth or sauce, so it is less likely to dry out even though it is being cooked for a long time.
- Stewing – Similar to slow cooking, stewing your chicken can surround it with enough moisture to keep that chicken perfectly juicy as it cooks. However, chicken breast can still dry out as it is stewed, as it doesn’t have much fat. Chicken wings or thighs will work better for stewing.
- Steaming – Not only is steamed chicken incredibly healthy, as no fat or oil is used for cooking the chicken, but it can also be just as tasty as fried or grilled chicken. As the whole point of steaming is cooking chicken via moisture, there are few reasons that a steamed chicken will be rubbery. Encase the chicken with your desired seasoning and flavours.
Rubbery Chicken FAQs
If you have further questions about chicken and how to prevent it from going rubbery, check out these FAQs:
Yes, providing that you have cooked it through, then the rubbery chicken is okay to eat. Chances are, it is rubbery because it is overcooked.
A lack of moisture in the chicken will toughen it up. This can be because the original chicken lacked moisture or because it was overcooked. Try brining chicken before cooking it to lock in more moisture.
Where we obtain our information and verify the facts in this article:
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.