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If you're looking for easy and delicious chicken recipes you've come to the right place. Chicken has got to be one of our favourite meats to cook with. It's cheap, versatile and is a real crowd-pleaser with the whole family. If you love cooking chicken, take a look at our guide for what type of chicken to buy, how to store, prepare and cook chicken and what tasty flavours you can use to create delicious chicken recipes.
Chicken is not only tasty, it's full of nutrients that your family needs. As well as being a great source of protein, it is also rich in vitamin B6 and B3, which help your body's metabolism by turning protein into energy. As well as providing a dose of potassium and amino acids, which aid your body's growth and maintenance, chicken is also full of selenium, which produces antioxidants and has been linked to cancer protection.
Beware of the skin! It may be very tasty but it can almost double the amount of fat in your chicken. Cook the chicken with the skin on but remove before eating to get all the flavours in your meat without all the fat - best of both worlds!
Types of chicken
Fresh or frozen?
Fresh chicken lasts 2-3 days in the fridge so if you're planning on using it immediately you should go for fresh chicken as it's easier to prepare. Make sure the chicken feels supple and doesn't smell funny to ensure it's fresh. You can freeze fresh chicken buy washing it, patting dry, wrapping in tight parcels and putting in the freezer. Always freeze chicken on the day you bought it.
Frozen chicken is often cheaper so if you're doing a big shop for the month a bag of frozen portions will save you some cash. Make sure the chicken is completely frozen and has no liquid in the package - as this means it has defrosted slightly. To defrost a chicken, you need to allow it to defrost in the fridge and not at room temperature - make sure you place it on a plate to collect any of the juices.
Chicken juices can contaminate other foods so make sure, however you store your chicken, that no juices can escape the packaging and get onto other foods.
It is very important to check the sell-by date when buying chicken. Do not buy or eat chicken even slightly past the sell-by date.
Cuts of chicken
Whole chicken. The best way to cook a whole chicken is, of course, to roast it. You can buy it with or without the giblets (organs) inside. The giblets can be used in a stock or gravy for extra flavour but they aren't for the squeamish! A little oil and lemon is all you need to bring out the flavours in your roast - or you could try something a little different with one of our roast chicken recipes.
Whole chickens are cheaper than buying the parts separately so if you're feeling brave you can buy a whole one and cut it down into joints. We have a step-by-step guide for how to joint chicken if you fancy giving it a go. If you don't fancy this, ask your butcher to do it for you.
Chicken breasts. Breasts have the lowest fat content of all cuts of chicken and you can buy them with or without the skin. Breasts are really versatile and can be stuffed, grilled, baked or fried and, when chopped, used in pasta dishes, salads, pies and many, many more recipes.
Chicken thighs. Thighs are a cheaper alternative to breasts and some people say they're a lot tastier as the meat is a little darker and has a richer flavour. They can be bought boned or boneless and can be used in a variety of different meals - casseroles, traybakes and stuffed are just some of our ways with chicken thighs.
Chicken drumsticks. Similar to thighs in taste and texture, drumsticks are good on the BBQ and are delicious baked with a tasty marinade. They're wonderfully messy as well so the kids will love eating them!
Chicken wings. The cheapest cut, wings are quite fatty and have very little meat on them compared to other cuts but they're delicious on the BBQ and make great party food snacks as you can eat them with your hands.
How to cook chicken
When preparing chicken you have to be a lot more careful than with other foods and meats. The bacteria on raw chicken can cause salmonella poisoning so it's important not to let it touch any other raw food or cooking utensils before it is cooked. When preparing you need to use separate chopping boards and utensils to other foods - or make sure you wash them thoroughly before using them again. Surfaces and utensils should be washed with warm soapy water to rid them of raw juices. Your hands are equally as important and must be washed regularly when handling chicken to ensure you don't contaminate other surfaces.
When cooking chicken you need to make sure it is cooked all the way through before serving. If you see any pink areas, it needs to be cooked longer. Thigh and drumstick meat will look a little grey when cooked. To check a whole chicken is cooked, insert a skewer into one of the joints and if the juices run clear, it's ready.
Ways to cook chicken
Baking is the healthiest way to cook chicken. It allows the juice and flavours to develop so the meat will need less seasoning once done.
Frying is less healthy but is great if you're in a hurry. Use one calorie oil spray rather than oil or butter if you want to keep the calorie down.
Barbecuing can be delicious but you have to be very careful about making sure it is cooked properly - check our guide for barbecuing chicken.
Poaching or steaming are other, slightly old-fashioned, ways to cook chicken but are also great as a healthier alternative to frying.
Slow cooking, if you overcook chicken in the oven it can become really dry but that doesn't mean you can't slow cook it. If you have a slow cooker you can add it to a rich sauce a cook for up to 8 hours for a deliciously rich flavour. See our slow cooker recipes for some ideas.
Flavours that complement chicken
- Cajun spices
- Curry powder
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These delicious, easy chicken enchiladas from Rosemary Conley are quick and easy and the whole family will love them. The perfect Friday night dinner! This recipe serves 4 people and will take only 55 mins to prepare and cook. At only 234 calories, this classic Mexican dish is sure to become a family favourite. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving. This delicious one-pot bake would be perfect served with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Refried beans make an extra side for this dish too! If you want to make these enchiladas vegetarian friendly, remove the chicken and replace with kidney beans. These low-cal chicken enchiladas are ideal if you're trying to be good too!(39 ratings)
Try this delicious Oriental chicken noodle soup recipe from Woman's Weekly. This quick soup is infused with ginger and chilli and serves 4 people. When you're under the weather, you can't get better than hot chicken soup to nurse you back to good health again. A portion of this healthy soup works out at only 287 calories per serving. This soup is really easy to make and is cheap too. If you're looking to cut the cost of this soup down even more, use precooked chicken thigh.(17 ratings)
Slimming World's diet Cola chicken recipe is simply delicious, made with tender pieces of chicken and served with plenty of fresh vegetables for lighter option. This mouth-watering meal is ready in under an hour and serves 4 people. The Diet Cola adds a sweet flavour and sticky texture along with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and passata. If youíve never tasted this quirky classic loved by Slimming World members, youíre in for a treat. Once youíve tried it, youíll be hooked! This delicious recipe only takes 40 mins to make and is well worth the wait. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving again and make sure the chicken is piping hot.(156 ratings)
Mary Berry's orange chicken recipe is a real family favourite. This roast chicken is infused with orange juice and drizzled in honey for a summery twist. With just a little preparation the day before, you can serve Mary's delicious roast chicken for your family's Sunday lunch. A quick but tasty marinate sets this dish apart from your standard roast chicken. This recipe serves 6 people and will take around 1hr and 30 mins to prepare and cook. It's the perfect alternative to your usual Sunday roast option. This Mary Berry classic is easy to make and any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. We'd recommend reheating thoroughly before serving or serve cold with a light, freshly prepared salad.(32 ratings)
Bill Granger's lemon chicken recipe is easy with an Oriental twist. Flavoured with Chinese spices, ginger, rice wine and tangy lemon, this chicken dish is bound to be a family favourite. This recipe will take around 25 mins to prepare and cook and serves 4 people. It's a great mid-week meal that the whole family can enjoy together. The lemon flavour works wonders with the ginger. The chicken is cooked so it's soft and tender. Serve your chicken pieces on a bed of rice and greens. You could also try serving the chicken with egg noodles tossed in soya sauce.(30 ratings)
This classic Southern-fried chicken recipe is so easy! Crispy on the outside, this Southern-style chicken's so much better than takeaway chicken. This recipe serves 4 people and will take around 45 mins to prepare and cook. This spicy chicken has a crisp batter with soft, tender pieces of cooked chicken inside. It's a real family favourite and is much healthier for you than your average takeaway (plus its probably just as quick to make too!) This recipe cheat's and uses readymade fajita spice mix which means the spice is subtle but if you want to bump up the fire factor we'd recommend adding a teaspoon of mild or hot chilli powder to the mix.(20 ratings)
The Hairy Bikers' chicken curry recipe is one that you'll want to make time and time again. Taking only 55 mins in total to prepare and cook and serving 6 people, this hearty chicken curry is the perfect takeaway alternative on a Saturday night. Bursting full of flavour this chicken curry is made with a homemade tarka masala sauce infused with garlic, root ginger and green chillies. This chicken in this recipe is cooked until tender and succulent. Serve with naan bread or rice. This recipe is taken from Mums Know Best: The Hairy Bikers' Family Cookbook.(254 ratings)
This easy chicken tikka masala recipe has got to be one of our favourite curry recipes. Chicken breast is cooked with ready made tikka masala paste and thickened with single cream and it's ready in just 35 mins. This simple recipe serves 4 people and is the perfect family choice on a Friday evening when you're looking for a healthier alternative to your usual takeaway. You can make this curry recipe cheaper to make too if you're watching the pennies by swapping chicken breast for chicken thighs instead, which are much cheaper to buy. This curry can be frozen as long as you use fresh chicken and not chicken that has been previously frozen. Make sure you defrost thoroughly in the fridge overnight or during the day and reheat until piping hot to serve. Serve with rice and naan bread. A portion of this classic chicken tikka masala recipe works out at only 350 calories per serving.(29 ratings)
Slimming World's chicken and potato curry recipe is so delicious and simple to make and guilt-free too making it the perfect Saturday night alternative to a takeaway. Curry is one the nation's favourite meals and it's not off the menu if you're counting the calories. Diet club Slimming World have taken the classic dish and made it nice and healthy - without losing out on any of the flavour. This recipe is so delicious, even those not following the diet can enjoy it. The potato in the mix means you don't need to serve it with rice and sides. This recipe serves 4 people and should take approximately 40 mins to make. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving.(355 ratings)
Hairy Bikers' Thai chicken and coconut curry recipe is the perfect quick and easy dinner from The Hairy Bikers' show, The Hairy Dieters. This delicious recipe takes a classic dish and reduces the calories to turn it into a healthy family meal. Serving 4 people, each portion of this delicious curry works out at only 283 calories per serving without rice. If you'd like to serve this curry with rice, we'd recommend jasmine rice or basmati rice. Aim to cook no more than 50g per person, so 200g in all. Press the freshly boiled rice into a 200ml metal pudding basin mould that youíve oiled lightly and lined with cling film, then turn out into the bowls before adding the hot curry. You only need 1 basin or mould as you can reuse it for all the servings(134 ratings)
Cheaper than a takeaway this delicious chicken bhuna recipe is easy to make which means it is perfect for a weekend supper. The thick, medium-hot, sauce made from a tasty blend of flavourings and vegetables perfectly coats and compliments the rich meat of chicken thighs. If you want to increase the heat of this yummy curry simply add more chillies. You could also make a vegetarian version by replacing the chicken with a selection of vegetables such as peppers, potatoes and cauliflower. For added effect serve in balti dishes with pickles, chutney and poppadoms or naan bread. This recipe serves 4 people and should take 55 mins to rustle up.(151 ratings)
This easy and delicious chicken soup recipe is a real classic. You'll want to make it over again. This recipe is great for using up leftover chicken. This recipe serves 6-8 people and takes around 3hrs to prepare and slow cook for the best flavour. A deliciously warm pick-me-up for when you're feeling under the weather, this comforting chicken soup recipe almost makes feeling ill worthwhile! The chicken in this recipe will keep you fuller for longer thanks to the protein in the chicken, add heaps of veggies counting towards your 5-a-day and you've got one healthy option for lunch time. This soup can be frozen in portions on the day it's made and can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the fridge. Reheat thoroughly before serving.(29 ratings)
This spicy grilled chicken recipe is an easy to prepare and popular family dish. It is versatile and is great to serve hot or cold. Cook the breasts on a griddle pan if you have one or in an ordinary frying pan if you donít. The spicy marinade really peps up chicken giving it a delicious flavour. Serve it with a simple salad and you have a really healthy meal. The recipe serves 4 people and will take 25 mins to prepare and cook plus time to marinade too. The longer you leave your cut of chicken to soak, the more flavour packed it will be. These chicken pieces can be cooked on the BBQ too. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving. Our spicy grilled chicken recipe would be perfect sandwich between two burger buns, served with freshly made salad or presented on a bed of saucy pasta.(1 ratings)
Spring chicken tray bake with green vegetables is so easy to make in 30 mins but good for you too, plus it's under 300 calories per portion! You can easily use boneless chicken thighs if you're cooking for kids, so you don't have to bother with stripping the meat off the bone. You can just as easily throw in some asparagus if you've got it at home, or any other seasonal greens you might have in the fridge. This is a simple midweek dinner that comes together in only 30 mins.(3 ratings)
This delicious chicken and mushroom pie recipe is the ultimate comfort food. This chicken and mushroom pie made with double cream, white wine and thyme is great on cold nights, but a family favourite all year long. This pie takes around 1hr and 15 mins to prepare and cook and serves 4 people. This rich and creamy pie is a real family winner. Serve with mashed potato or new potatoes and plenty of freshly cooked veggies including spinach, peas and broccoli. Even your little ones will love this hearty dish. This pie is a great comfort food option all year round. It'll keep you warm in the colder, winter months and will keep you fuller for longer in the spring sunshine.(213 ratings)
This chicken, leek and Cheddar bake recipe is the perfect midweek chicken bake for the family. It's easy to make and ready in half an hour. This delicious recipe serves 4 people and will take about 35 mins to rustle up. Packed with plenty of flavour, thanks to the buttery Cheddar cheese sauce and tangy leeks. This recipe uses chicken breasts but you could use other cuts of chicken too including thigh or wings to cut the cost down. Serve this hearty bake with new potatoes or on a bed of freshly cooked pasta. This bake is a great money saving meal the whole family can enjoy. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. We'd recommend reheating thoroughly before serving again. Make sure the chicken and sauce is piping hot.(149 ratings)
Gordon Ramsay's stuffed chicken breast recipe is the perfect weekend treat! Filled with ricotta cheese, these sage and Parma ham-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts are just too tasty! Perfect for dinner parties and it's quick too. Gordon Ramsay's stuffed chicken breast's are so simple to make and ready in just 30 mins. This recipe serves 4 people and uses only 7 ingredients in total making it a quick and easy option for a mid-week meal or when you fancy homemade over a takeaway at the weekend. The Parma ham slices give the chicken breasts a smoky flavour and the sage and ricotta stuffing is creamy and moreish.(133 ratings)
Looking to try something new on the BBQ? Impress your friends and family with this tasty American favourite, smoked beer can chicken. This beer can chicken recipe is super easy...(1 ratings)