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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 Chicken Chimichangas are filled with juicy chicken, sweetcorn, tomato salsa and spring onions. This tasty wrap is easy to make: fill the tortilla, fold it together and fry it quickly on a hot pan so it holds together more easily - clever! Chimichanga is traditionally known as a deep-fried burrito, but frying it on a pan requires a lot less oil! This is a fantastic dinner with classic Mexican flavours and suits well for a small evening meal with friends and they are also a handy packed lunch. Serve together with mashed avocado, coriander and cheese(1 ratings)
Using wholemeal bread instead of the usual white bread coating means we are upping our fibre intake, and we’ve lowered the calories by baking rather than deep-frying these bad boys.
Slimming World's mango chicken with coleslaw is ready in only 20 mins making it a great healthy lunch or light dinner that the whole family can enjoy in minutes. This summer dish is served with freshly made coleslaw packed with crunchy white cabbage, carrot, red onion and drizzled in lime juice. The tender cuts of chicken work wonders with the mango and paprika. It's a great way to transform your chicken thighs. Using chicken thighs is also a great way to cut down cost too so this dish certainly won't break the bank.(8 ratings)
Try this delicious Oriental chicken noodle soup recipe from Woman's Weekly. This quick soup taking only 10 mins to prep and 15 mins to cook and 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)
Hairy Bikers' cauliflower and chicken pilaf is a delicious, healthy lunch or light dinner option. It's so easy to make and tastes great too. This recipe serves 4 people and will take only 20 mins to prepare and cook. A portion of this mouth-watering pilaf works out at only 274 calories per serving. The Hairy Bikers say; 'Everyone loves a pilaf but the rice makes it quite a high calorie dish. But if you use cauliflower instead of rice you get all that lovely comforting flavour and texture with far fewer cals. We’re happy putting in the whole spices into our pilaf and we’re used to fishing them out as we eat but if you’re worried you could wrap them in a little bit of muslin.'(7 ratings)
This mouth-watering tomato baked chicken recipe serves 4 people and can be on the table in just 35 mins making it the perfect go-to mid-week meal for the whole family. Chicken thighs are cheap as chips, but if you don't know what to do with them we've got the answer - knock up this chicken and tomato casserole-style dish. It doesn't take much to make this rich tomato sauce; a readymade jar, some stock and herbs and you've got yourself a quick and easy meal on a budget. Serve with rice or potatoes.(108 ratings)
This classic one-pot chicken and prawn paella Spanish dish is not only delicious, but it also saves on the washing-up! Not all traditional paellas use chicken, but we like it better this way. Cooked in just 1hr this delicious paella serves 4 people. This classic dish is infused with chorizo sausage, onion, garlic, saffron and paprika. Serve with a cut of crusty bread and drizzle in lemon juice before serving. Make this paella extra healthy by swapping the rice for brown rice instead. This easy paella recipe is perfect if you want to bring a taste of your favourite summer holiday, home. This meal is great for sharing with the whole family. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving again. This recipe is just perfect served with freshly baked bread or crusty baguette for dipping into the meat and spice juices.(186 ratings)
Miso fried chicken is juicy on the inside and flavoured with delicious miso paste, which gives it a sweet and savoury edge. Miso paste is really easy to find and most large supermarkets will stock it. Everyone loves crispy fried chicken, but the miso adds a new flavour to it that makes it new and exciting; it's going to be your new go-to fried chicken recipe and everyone will be asking for the recipe! By frying the chicken to start with and then finishing it in a hot oven, you'll get perfectly tender meat with crispy skin.
The Hairy Bikers' Mexican chicken fajitas recipe are quick, easy and delicious - fast food and perfect for TV dinners. This recipe serves 2 people, so double quantities if you're feeding a bigger crowd. These classic fajitas will take around 40 mins to prepare and cook. The Hairy Bikers have done it again with yet another great dish for the dynamic cooking duo. Each piece of chicken is tenderly cooked and works wonders with the soft, spiced veggies and wrapped in flour tortillas. This recipe is great for using up leftover chicken too - just warm through and add to your wraps.(45 ratings)
This garlic and lemon roast chicken is a kitchen classic. With some seasoning and thyme springs, you can easily make a tasty roast dinner for your friends and family. It takes two hours to prepare, but this roast is definitely worth the wait. Serve it with some herb smashed baby roasties, courgette peashoot and pomegranate salad and ricotta and lemon veggies.(15 ratings)
This one-pot Spanish chicken and rice is a simple recipe you can knock up in 45 minutes, which makes it perfect for those nights when you're short on time but have hungry mouths to feed. This recipe serves six, which makes it the ideal no-fuss dinner option, especially as it all cooks in one dish. This means minimal washing up for you, and once you've stuck it all in the pot, you can let it cook on its own and you can get on with other things (like putting your feet up!). Apart from the boneless chicken thighs, most of the other ingredients you'll probably either already have in the fridge or the storecupboard, which makes it a cheap, simple and delicious dish for enjoying any night of the week.
Skinny satay is a healthier take on the Asian classic - this one is so quick and speedy to make, you can have it on the table in 30 minutes, which makes it the perfect no-hassle dinner solution. Wholewheat noodles are much better for you than egg noodles as they're higher in fibre, so it's worth making the little swap to make your dinner that little bit healthier! We've used chicken thighs in this recipe as they're more flavoursome than the breast meat, plus they're a bit fattier (this mostly melts away during the cooking process, so don't worry) which keeps the moisture in the meat and makes them juicier! The squeeze of lime at the end really makes this recipe, so don't forget to serve it with the lime wedges.
This tasty chicken chow mein recipe is a quick and easy to prepare healthy veg-filled dinner with lots of flavour. This delicious Chinese stir-fries recipe is a courtesy from celebrity chef Ken Hom, so you know it’s a good one. Stir-fries like this chicken chow mein, require a wok, so make sure you’ve got one in your kitchen before you start chopping up the ingredients. This chicken chow mein takes only 40mins in total to prepare, so you can have a delicious meal made from scratch on the dinner table in less than an hour. First off you’ll need to cook the noodles in boiling water, but don’t forget to set 10mins aside to marinate the chicken. Noodles can dried or fresh, fresh will taste much better. For the marinade, which really packs a pungent flavour in the chicken, you will need soy sauce, dry sherry, sesame oil, salt and freshly ground white pepper. Although this recipe includes chicken and certain vegetables like mange tout and onions, you can use swap or add any ingredients you’d like such as fish, meat, poultry or other vegetables. Enjoy this quick and simple dish after a busy day or just when you can’t be bothered making anything complicated.(49 ratings)
Love chicken chow mein? You can have this tasty dish in your dinner table in just 20 mins! This classic Chinese dish is incredibly easy, all you have to do is cook the noodles and stir fry all the ingredients together and voila! Start by mixing soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a bowl and adding the chicken to marinate for 10mins. This will give the chicken a flavoursome touch that makes all the difference. You can make this dish using beef, turkey, or even prawns – the choice is yours. It also allows you to pack as many vegetables as you like, from broccoli and carrots and mushrooms, so it’s a great way to eat all your vitamins in one go if you’ve had a busy day. This recipe makes enough for two meals, so enjoy with your other half or with a friend. If you’re flying solo for dinner, you can also save the leftovers in an airtight container for lunch the next day – it will keep for a couple of days.(25 ratings)
Slimminng World's chicken pappardelle recipe is light, tasty and quick to make too with a gorgeous garlic and veg passata sauce. This easy dish is a favourite. This recipe takes 1hr and 15 mins to make serving 4 people. It's the perfect family meal. This recipe is great for using up leftover chicken from your Sunday roast dinner too, just cook it for a shorter period of time making sure it is thoroughly reheated before serving. Leftovers of this dish prepared from scratch can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. It's perfect the next day served cold or hot for lunch.(51 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.(30 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 you’ve 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(146 ratings)
Learn how to make classic seafood paellawith this simple step-by-step recipe. Tender fresh prawns, succulent chicken and plenty of paella rice makes this dish a classic that you can make time and time again(302 ratings)