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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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Chicken curry is a family favourite, but you can really impress everyone with this recipe that uses a whole chicken! This whole chicken curry recipe can be made in a slow cooker or in a casserole dish. It definitely packs a punch, so have naan breads and yogurt to hand to cool it down and if you prefer milder flavours. This is a really good recipe for when you've got friends coming round as it looks really impressive and yet it's really easy to make. The creamed coconut gives the curry a really smooth, silky texture and mixes really well with all the herbs and spices the chicken cooks in.
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.(120 ratings)
This hearty family-sized chicken casserole recipe 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.(250 ratings)
Hairy Bikers' Thai chicken and coconut curry is the perfect quick and easy dinner from The Hairy Bikers' new 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(112 ratings)
This delicious slow-cooked chicken stew is a hearty meal the whole family will love. 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. This recipe serves 4 people and is full of flavour thanks to the garlic, rosemary and white wine which infuses this dish. After cooking this stew in your slow cooker, the chicken will be extra tender and moist, falling off the bone. If you'd like to cut the cost of this meal use chicken thighs as they're one of the cheaper cuts of meat, but you still get plenty of meat on the bone. This recipes serves 4 people.(78 ratings)
These vol au vents make perfect party food. With 4 different vol au vent fillings - they'll be gone in a flash! This easy recipe uses readymade pastry. Fill these ready-made vol-au-vent cases with these four varieties of filling including mushroom, chicken, prawn and ham and pineapple for some easy but impressive party canapés. Your friends and family are going to be impressed with this delicious range of easy to make vol au vents. To make a batch of 24 it will take around 40 mins to prepare and cook. Each vol au vent is made with a cream cheese filling which makes them cheap to rustle up too - perfect if you're doing a party spread on a budget.(88 ratings)
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.(1 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.(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.(320 ratings)
Cream of chicken soup is comfort food at its best and the ultimate cure for when you need warming up on a cold day, are feeling a bit under the weather or you are craving some hearty homemade food. It's so easy to make and so tasty that this dish will quickly become a family favourite. It's great to make on one of those days when you don't fancy spending hours in the kitchen, and it will leave you feeling really satisfied and happy afterwards!(2 ratings)
Chorizo isn’t just for paella, it’s great with pasta too! This super-quick chicken and chorizo pasta recipe is full of flavour and perfect for a speedy week-night supper. Juicy chicken pieces and spicy chorizo blend beautifully with the basil-infused tomato sauce. Choose chunky pasta shapes like penne or farfalle to trap the sauce, and serve with lashings of grated Parmesan cheese. This dish only takes 5 mins to prepare and 15 mins to cook, which makes it the ideal mid-week meal that’s quick and easy and the kids will love it too. If you're catering for more than 4 people, we'd recommend doubling the ingredients, that way you're sure to have leftovers for the lunch the next day too.(127 ratings)
Chinese wonton soup makes a healthy and nutritious chunky soup that's so easy to make at home using readymade wonton wrappers. Watch our video to see how easy it is to make the wontons and how the soup comes together very quickly and easily. It's much better for you than a takeaway, but has all those lovely Chinese flavours - and it's a lot cheaper too! The whole family will love this soup that's really worth making the extra effort for.
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)
Healthy chicken casserole for cold winter nights, made with plenty of veg and butter beans for a filling meal that's good for you too. The whole family is going to love this recipe, which is packed with nutrients but also something to look forward to. Serve on its own or with crusty bread.(71 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.(1 ratings)
This Hairy Bikers' Spanish-style chicken bake recipe is a perfect one-pot wonder. The Hairy Bikers have captured the classic flavours of Spain in one dish - and it's one of their diet dishes too! At just 370 calories per serving, you'd think this dish would be lacking in flavour - far from it! The powerful flavours of paprika and chorizo give the chicken a lovely Spanish twist. This delicious chicken bake serves 4 people and will take about 1hr and 15 mins to make in total. It’s well worth the wait! The Hairy Bikers use chicken thighs in this recipe to cut down the cost but feel free to use your favourite cut of chicken instead e.g. chicken breast or drumsticks. And the best thing about this recipe - it's all made in one pot! Less washing up and a delicious family meal - what more could you want? This recipe is part of the Hairy Dieters series.(553 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.(4 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.