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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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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.(19 ratings)
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)
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 easy chicken Kiev recipe is a classic! It doesn't take long to make and produces garlic infused sauce inside each tender chicken breast. An all-time classic recipe and easier to make than you think - add as little or as much garlic as you want. This recipe serves 2 people and will take 35 mins to cook. Each chicken breast is coated in a crisp, breadcrumb and Cornflake based coating which makes it extra delicious. Serve with new potatoes, homemade chips and plenty of fresh greens too.(20 ratings)
Here at GoodtoKnow, we think that homemade is always better than shop-bought and these cheesy chicken Kievs are proof of this theory! A creamy cheese filling surrounded by juicy chicken and crispy breadcrumbs, these are a real teatime treat - prepare them in advance so you've got something easy to pop in the oven when dinnertime arrives. This recipe serves 4 people and is the perfect dish for the whole family. It's a delicious cheesy twist on a classic! This recipe will take only 50 mins to prepare and cook.(4 ratings)
From the Hairy Bikers' BBC2 series, Twelve Days of Christmas, this chicken noodle soup is a brilliant way to make full use of chicken leftovers and will keep winter bugs away! This slow cooked soup will take around 2hrs and 40 mins in total but is well worth the wait. This classic Hairy Bikers recipe is comfort food at its finest. A great way of using up leftovers from your Sunday roast, this soup is the perfect option for lunch the next day. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!(27 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.
This is a really simple dish to prepare that looks incredibly impressive even though it only takes 40 mins to make! The goat’s cheese and bacon ensures that your chicken is incredibly moist every time and packs the chicken and the rest of the dish full of flavour. You’ll want to keep the leftovers for lunch the next day.(2 ratings)
Use leftover chicken from Sunday's roast and mix it in with bacon, herbs and potatoes to make this creamy bake.(39 ratings)
Chicken meatballs with a red veg sauce will soon become a real family favourite once you've given it a go. The meatballs have plenty of tasty Parmesan cheese and spring onions which makes them extra delicious. Making your own meatballs is very quick, as the whole recipe only takes half an hour. This is also an easy recipe to cook together as a family, as children can help to roll out the balls or press the buttons on the blender. Just leave the frying for the grown-ups! Sundried tomato purée and cherry tomato pasta sauce with fettucinne pasta make for an excellent sauce to go together with these chicken meatballs.
This chicken casserole recipe is a hearty, family-sized meal 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 1hr and 15 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. A portion of this delicious casserole works out at only 390 calories per serving and 13g of fat.(297 ratings)
This deliciously comforting easy chicken noodle soup will be welcomed all year round. There are no herbs or spices just tasty, fresh ingredients that provide simple flavour. Choose which noodles to use from a variety available. Use good fresh chicken stock if you can for maximum flavour. It’s extremely easy to make your own chicken stock by boiling up your leftover Sunday roast chicken with an onion, a carrot a few black peppercorns and whatever fresh or dried herbs you have to hand. Strain the stock and once it’s cold you can freeze it until you are ready to use in soups, stews and sauces.(23 ratings)
A classic homemade chicken broth with chunky vegetables and rice noodles - a healthy, low-fat lunch or dinner. Garnish with herbs and serve with crusty bread. This recipe serves 4 people and will take 1hr in total to make. It's a great way of using up leftovers in your kitchen cupboards and fridge. This broth can be frozen too if you have leftovers or have made too much and want to save some for another time. You can also store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container or jar for up to 2 days.(21 ratings)
Do your family love chicken Kievs? Learn how to make a healthy version at home with this handy diet recipe from Rosemary Conley. Stuffed with a tasty, flavour-packed filling of garlic and low-fat spread and topped in a crisp breadcrumb coating you just can't go wrong! Rosemary Conley's chicken Kiev and chips serves 4 people and takes only 40 mins to prepare and cook. This easy to make family meal shows you how to make homemade chips from scratch too. A portion of this Kiev recipe works out at only 339 calories and 3.7 fat per serving.(62 ratings)
A simple chicken breast is transformed with this deliciously ‘creamy’ dairy-free mushroom sauce. There are several dairy-free alternatives to cream available in most major supermarkets and health food shops – either oat based or soya based, just use the one you prefer. The sauce is quite rich so we’ve just served this dish with a selection of vegetables but you can add potatoes, rice or pasta if you’ve got hungry mouths to feed. Make the sauce with chicken stock for a quick mid week meal or dress it up by adding white wine for a weekend treat – either way it’s delicious.(4 ratings)
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 to be 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!(40 ratings)
This hearty American chicken burger would be perfect for enjoying in the summer months cooked on the BBQ. Serve with chips, homemade 'slaw and freshly prepared salad. The kids will love it!(2 ratings)
Roast chicken on a bed of pasta is perfectly complimented by crispy bacon and tender Savoy cabbage - the ideal weekday lunch!(23 ratings)