Learn how to brine chicken breast with this simple step by step tutorial. It doesn't matter whether you are smoking, grilling, frying, or making curry with chicken breast, the brining process will help to keep the chicken moist and juicy.
Can you brine chicken breast
Have you ever wondered if you need to brine chicken breast before cooking it? well, honestly it is not necessary. However, brining boneless skinless chicken breast before cooking especially baking does help to keep it moist and juicy. Also, If you are planning to smoke, grill, or fry (whole) chicken breast then I would highly recommend that you brine it first.
Chicken breast is leaner meat; unlike chicken thighs or drumsticks, it doesn't have much fat. This means that chicken breast is more likely to dry out during cooking and can be easily overcooked. A simple step of brining help tenderizes the chicken breast, and keep it moist and juicy. This process is quick and you only require a handful of ingredients you may likely have on hand.
Even if you are still going to marinate the chicken, brining it first will add more flavor and make sure the chicken is evenly seasoned.
What is brining
Brining is the process of soaking meat (poultry, pork, or beef) in a saltwater solution. The salty water helps to break down the muscle fibers making the meat more tender and juicy.
The ratio of salt to water varies depending on the type of meat and how long you plan to brine it. That said other ingredients such as sugar, herbs, and spices can also be added to the brine. These additional ingredients will infuse more flavor into the meat as it brines.
You can also dry brine any meat but today we will be concentrating on wet brine. This is because it is easier to achieve an even distribution of salt and other seasonings using the wet method.
What you will need
To make a basic brine solution, you will need:
Water: room temperature or lukewarm water
Skinless and boneless chicken breast
Fresh garlic cloves, sub with garlic granules
Fresh or dry herbs
PS: note that kosher salt and sea salt are a lot denser than regular table salt. If you are using table salt, make sure to use less or even half of the amount specified in this recipe.
How to brine chicken breast
Fill a bowl with 1 liter of room temperature water, add ¼ cup kosher salt (coarse salt) to the water and stir until the salt has completely dissolved. If you want to infuse more flavor, feel free to add other ingredients such as sugar, peppercorn, fresh or dry herbs, garlic cloves, etc to the bowl.
Add chicken breast to the water and let it sit in brining mixture to brine for a minimum of 30 minutes at room temperature. 30 minutes-2 hours in the fridge. If you are short on time, 15 minutes will also work but it won't be as effective as the full 30 minutes.
Once the chicken has finished brining, remove it from the water and pat dry with paper towels. You can go on to marinate or cook the chicken as desired.
PS: make sure to discard the brine solution
How To Brine Chicken Breast
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 1 liter water: room temperature or lukewarm water
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
- Fill a bowl with water, add kosher salt (coarse salt) to the water and stir until the salt has completely dissolved. If you want to infuse more flavor, feel free to add other ingredients such as sugar, peppercorn, fresh or dry herbs, garlic cloves, etc to the bowl as well.
- Add the chicken breast to the water and let it sit in brining mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes at room temperature or30 minutes-2 hours in the fridge. If you are short on time, 15 minutes will also work but it won't be as effective as the full 30 minutes.
- Once the chicken has finished brining, remove it from the water and pat dry with paper towels. You can go on to marinate or cook the chicken as desired.
How long to brine chicken breast
For skinless boneless chicken breast, the minimum time to brine is 30 minutes. However, for juicier and more flavorful chicken breast, I would recommend that you brine it for at least 2 hours or even overnight if you can.
How long can I keep the chicken in the fridge after brining
You can keep the chicken in the fridge for up to 48 hours after brining.
Can you brine frozen chicken
Yes, you can brine chicken directly from frozen, however, it will take longer time than if the meat was completely or partially thawed. Make sure to keep the chicken and the brine solution at all times during this time.
Do I need to rinse the chicken after brining
No, you don't need to rinse the chicken. In fact, it is not recommended as this will remove all the seasoning that has been infused into the meat.
Best brine salt to water ratio
The amount of salt you use will depend on the type of salt and how long you plan to brine the meat. A good rule of thumb is ¼ cup of kosher salt per 1 liter of water. If you are using table salt, then you will want to reduce the amount of salt by almost half to avoid the meat from becoming too salty.
What type of chicken is best for brining
Both white meat and dark meat can be successfully brined. However, white meat such as chicken breast tends to dry out more easily and benefits more from the moistening effects of brining.
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