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Looking for 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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This fried chicken salad platter is perfect served as a sharing dish for when you have friends round, or just as good as a main meal! There's nothing quite like making homemade fried chicken and you'll find yourself making this recipe again and again. Marinating the chicken in buttermilk helps make the meat extra tender, so it's really worth the time it takes. Once that's in the fridge, the rest won't take you long and the platter will be ready in under an hour.
Bored of the same old roast chicken? James Martin has given the recipe a Spanish-style twist by teaming it with red peppers and spicy chorizo. The wonderfully powerful flavours are the perfect complement to the chicken - which absorbs them right into the succulent meat. If that's not enough, you can finish off the dish with a drizzle of the punchy sherry vinegar and chilli sauce. James suggests adding new potatoes to the roasting pan to turn this recipe into a one-pot wonder.(297 ratings)
This delicious Slimming World's chicken and potato curry is so 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.(279 ratings)
Rich and creamy butter chicken, or Murg Makhani, is a delicious Indian recipe that's a real crowd pleaser. The perfect takeaway alternative, this family-friendly meal serves 6 people and will take around 1hr to prepare and cook. To get the best flavour, marinate the chicken hours or even the night before you'd like to cook it so it has plenty of time to absorb the flavour. Serve with rice and naan bread for dipping.(3 ratings)
Learn the best way to carve a roast chicken with no mess or waste. Our easy step-by-step method and video will make sure you get the most meat(1 ratings)
Warming dinners don't come much tastier than this! A subtle combination of warming spices, this chicken casserole is one to try(48 ratings)
Chicken taco bowls are quick and easy to make with leftover chicken, coriander, fresh lime and spicy sauce. They are ready in 10 mins and (you'll be pleased to know) just 288 calories per serving. The 'bowl' is made from the tortilla itself, which is shaped over the base of a small bowl or jug when warm to create a bowl that you can fill up. You can mix and match whatever you have in the fridge, as this is a fun way to make leftovers more interesting.
The kids are going to love making and eating these delicious cornflake chicken dippers. Each goujon is coated with a crunchy cornflake coating, which works wonders with the tender chicken. Delicious dunked in homemade cheese and chive dip.(11 ratings)
This mouth-watering Slimming World's spiced chicken and courgette couscous is a hearty lunch or light dinner that the whole family can enjoy. It's really easy to make and is a healthy option when you're trying to be good. This recipe serves 4 people and should take 40 mins to make. It’s the warming spices that make this satisfying supper so memorable.(21 ratings)
This hearty family-sized chicken casserole is perfect for making in the winter months. It’s a real winter warmer packed with veggies like mushrooms, onion, celery and carrot. This chicken casserole only takes 40 mins to cook and will serve up to 6 people. If you have any leftovers make sure you store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Use within 2 days and thoroughly reheat in the microwave or oven before serving again. This casserole would be perfect served with boiled or jacket potatoes. You can use all different cuts of chicken in this recipe – try chicken breast meat, thighs or drumsticks.(230 ratings)
Impress your friends and family with this quick and easy Thai chicken curry with aubergine and green beans made with ginger, cumin and red chillies. It's a fiery dish that can be ready on the table in just 25 mins.(2 ratings)
Watch how simple it is to check if your roast chicken is cooked through properly. This is the easiest way to check if the chicken is cooked through and safe to eat.
BBQ chicken baguettes are made with mini chicken fillest smothered in BBQ sauce and piled with onion rings and salad. Oh, and cheese - and garlic butter! These loaded baguettes are so easy to make and are great for a casual dinner. Line up all the ingredients and let everyone create their own, with as much or as little of each topping as they like.(2 ratings)
Greek-style stuffed chicken is made with spinach and feta and a mixed veg salad for a healthy dinner that's just 313 calories and ready in 30 mins. It's full of lovely light flavours, including tingly mint and sweet shallot - if the mint is a bit strong for you, try basil instead. Make it fresh and serve straight away, drizzled with juices from the pan.
Slimming World's Diet Cola chicken 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 you’ve never tasted this quirky classic loved by Slimming World members, you’re in for a treat. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked!(16 ratings)
New York kale and chicken Caesar salad has some really bold flavours - and that's why we love it! The secret is in the marinade, which is well worth the wait and full of big flavours like garlic, mustard and anchovies, which bring saltiness. Cook the chicken on the BBQ for all that lovely, smokey flavour, which works so well with this punchy dressing.
This flavoursome chicken and chorizo filo pie is really simple to make and tastes delicious. Infused with spicy chorizo and topped in crispy filo pastry, this pie is hearty, filling and full of flavour too. Ready in under 2hrs, this pie is well worth the wait. This recipes serves 6 people - any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day. Reheat thoroughly before serving.(8 ratings)
Coca-Cola chicken is a popular Chinese dish which has been made famous recently by Nigella Lawson. You need to use ordinary Coca-Cola, not diet, as it’s the sugar that helps to make the sticky glaze. We’ve used chicken wings which are inexpensive to buy and so good to nibble on in front of the TV or for party bites. They are good hot or cold and great with a little salad on the side or with a dip and some crudités. If you like, you can add a little grated fresh ginger and a few spring onions to the sauce to make it spicy too.(309 ratings)