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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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American chicken burgers are packed with a tender chicken fillet, beef tomato, bacon and sandwiched in ciabatta bread. This burger would be perfect for enjoying in the summer months cooked on the BBQ. Serve with chips, homemade 'slaw and freshly prepared salad.(1 ratings)
Slow cooker Asian chicken thighs is so easy to make as there's no need to marinate before slow cooking. Each chicken thigh is marinated in Asian flavours and served with sticky rice and a sprinkling of spring onions(3 ratings)
Hearty and warming, Slimming World's chicken soup is really simple to make. Packed full of flavours, this is comfort food at its best. It's a guilt-free lunch or light dinner that takes under an hour to rustle up. Serve with crusty bread.(3 ratings)
A great savoury dish with a dash of mustard to add spice that takes minutes to make(330 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.(1 ratings)
Thai chicken and lemongrass cakes are packed with oriental herbs such as fresh lemongrass and fragrant coriander. Serve them at a party with a sweet chilli dipping sauce for a totally modern take on traditional canapes - your guests will be asking you for the recipe!(3 ratings)
Do your family love chicken Kievs? Learn how to make a healthy version at home with this handy diet recipe from Rosemary Conley(51 ratings)
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.(296 ratings)
This delicious roast chicken recipe is made with flavourful chicken drumsticks and is so easy you could make it midweek. Just one pan and 10 mins prep is all you need!(25 ratings)
This delicious family-sized Slimming World's rustic garlic chicken tray bake is simple and healthy all in one. It may take some time to make but is well worth the effort. This recipe uses chicken thighs which means it shouldn't break the bank to make. Serving 6 people, this dish would make the perfect roast dinner alternative with less washing up!(82 ratings)
Hearty and delicious Tex-Mex chicken burgers are perfect for sharing. Cook on the BBQ or on a frying pan on the hob. Serve with a crisp, freshly prepared salad with avocados and tomatoes. These burgers are super speedy to make and can be rustled up in under 30 minutes.
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.(208 ratings)
This chicken fusion salad is a delicious, easy recipe that's perfect for using up leftovers from your Sunday roast. With a range of crunchy veggies and sesame seeds and vibrant flavour from mint, chillis and ginger, it takes just 30 minutes to make and the only thing you'll need to cook is the rice noodles. At just 417 calories per serving, it's great as part of a healthy eating plan too.(5 ratings)
Chicken tandoori skewers with coconut sauce are really simple to make and are cooked in just 25 minutes. We'd recommend making them in advance so they have plenty of time to marinate before you cook and serve them.(1 ratings)
Follow along with Ainsley as he shows how to make a healthy pasta dish in next to no time. With a hint of warming horseradish sauce, this dish is full of flavour and costs just £1.25 a head(45 ratings)
Hot and spicy chicken stewers are the perfect way to spice up your buffet table as they make a great change from chicken satay, and low calorie too! Serve with the sweet chilli dipping sauce for a canape that'll be the talk of the party(2 ratings)
If you've got a slow cooker, cook this delicious chicken stew for up to 6 hours for a lovely rich flavour. Just as delicious in the oven, this slow-cooked chicken stew is perfect for weekday family meals(57 ratings)
When you're trying to avoid gluten, cooking comfort food can be a challenge, but with this easy gluten-free chicken and leek pie recipe, whipping up your favourite pie couldn't be simpler. Packed with big chunks of meat, savoury leeks and rich, creamy sauce, you'll never know the difference - and once you've mastered gluten-free pastry you can make all sorts of other classics too!(3 ratings)