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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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This chicken and tomato pasta bake recipe is so easy! Nothing beats a chicken and tomato pasta bake for a delicious and filling mid-week supper. This one has a lovely rich garlic and tomato sauce and is topped with masses of melting mozzarella cheese. You can choose any shape of dried pasta for this dish we've used spirals but shells, twists or short-cut macaroni will work just as well. To prepare the bake in advance, leave the pasta and chicken and tomato sauce to cool in the dish (without the cheese topping). Cover and chill for up to 24 hrs. To bake from chilled, sprinkle with the cheese and cook at 200°C/400°F/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6 for 25-30 mins until piping hot.(221 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.'(8 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.(713 ratings)
This cheesy chicken pasta bake will serve 6 kids and is ready in just 40 mins. It's a great way of getting veg into their diet and you can replace the veg in the recipe with their favourites. The sauce is made from butter, chicken stock, milk and plenty of cheese to give it a creamy finish. This recipe uses chicken breasts but if you want to cut the cost down, use chicken thighs instead. Dust with Parmesan before serving. If you want to make this pasta extra naughty, crush crisps or dried onions on top of the bake before serving for an extra crunch of flavour.(174 ratings)
Slimming World's chicken and potato curry recipe is so delicious and 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.(423 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 ready-made vol-au-vent cases for some easy but impressive party canapés. 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. They're also our favourite retro party food!(104 ratings)
This easy stuffed chicken breast recipe is a Mary Berry classic. Tender and tasty chicken breasts, which Mary stuffs with sautéed onions, garlic, tarragon and cream cheese and pops in the oven for less than 30 mins. This recipe serves 6 people so is perfect for sharing with the whole family or if you've got guess round and want to impress. Each cut of chicken is stuffed with a homemade filling of onion, garlic and cream cheese and infused with plenty of herbs and spices. These stuffed chicken breasts are best served with new potatoes and plenty of freshly cooked greens like spinach and tenderstem broccoli. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat until piping hot when serving again.(111 ratings)
Slimming World's chicken, tarragon and lemon soup is so easy to make. As well as being perfect winter comfort food, Slimming World's chicken soup is a healthy option when it comes to both lunch and dinner. This delicious soup is bursting with flavours thanks to the tarragon and lemon, and the chicken pieces are soft and tender. It will take around 40 mins in total to make this soup - but it's well worth the wait! A batch of this soup serves around 4 people, can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days and can even be frozen if you don't get around to eating it all in one go. Make sure you defrost thoroughly in the fridge before reheating until piping hot.(1 ratings)
This delicious breakfast recipe would be just as good at lunch or dinner time. High in protein it's perfect for post-working out. Joe says, 'If you’ve ever eaten breakfast in an American diner, you’ll know they often have their own version of sautéed potatoes. This is the Body Coach version and I’m sure you’ll be coming back for more.'
Chicken and bacon risotto is a quick and easy meal for the whole family. Our recipe takes just 40 minutes and is great for the midweek rush! This recipe serves 4 people and is the perfect option for everyone to enjoy together. A portion of this dish works out at 575 calories. It's much healthier than readymade risotto and you have control over exactly what goes into it too like salt content and fat. We've used pudding rice and chicken thighs in our risotto to make our savoury meal for 4 even cheaper at just 97p per person! This dish is a great way of sneaking veg into your kids diets. Add handfuls of chopped spinach, grated mushrooms and any other veg you fancy to get your little ones eating some of their 5-a-day. This dish is best made and eaten on the same day but leftovers can be stored in the airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make sure you reheat thoroughly before serving, the rice needs to be piping hot.(68 ratings)
This quick creamy chicken pasta takes only 25 mins to rustle up. This dish also uses a great cheat which will save on time as well as money - tinned soup. The tinned mushroom soup makes a delicious, thick mushroom sauce for your chicken pasta dish. Add chopped mushrooms and a handful or two of spinach to get some of your 5-a-day in there too. This recipe serves 4 people and is the perfect midweek option for the whole family. A portion of this speedy pasta works out at only 370 calories per serving making it a great option if you're counting calories too. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight Tupperware in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before serving again.(193 ratings)
This delicious and healthy lemon chicken and pea risotto recipe is so easy to make at home. It will take only 45 mins to prepare and cook this dish which is pretty speedy for a risotto. This recipe serves 4-6 people. It's a great way of using up leftovers too - a portion of rice that's leftover in the cupboard, a serving a chicken from your roast dinner on Sunday or those frozen peas that have been rattling around in the freezer for months. Other vegetables like courgette, green beans or broccoli would also work well in this tasty risotto. You can use long grain rice if you don't have risotto rice. This dish is best made and eaten on the same day but if you have any leftovers make sure they cool quickly and pop into an airtight container in the fridge to store until needed. Reheat thoroughly until piping hot.(46 ratings)
This mouth-watering grilled lemon chicken with potatoes is so easy to make and perfect for the whole family. This super-satisfying chicken dish is ready in just 20 minutes. Add a sprinkling of curry powder, cumin and coriander for an extra kick. This recipe serves 4 people but if you're feeding more just double the quantities, we're sure any leftovers will get eaten the next day anyway! The lemon juice in this recipe really gives your cut a chicken a burst of flavour and works wonders with the softness of the potatoes and the tangy flavours of the olives too.(358 ratings)
This classic lemon chicken tray bake is a real crowd pleaser. Using chicken thighs makes this flavoursome tray bake cheap and delicious all at the same time. It makes an easy roast dinner alternative if you're having a lazy day. This recipe serves 4 people and will take around 2hrs and 15 mins to prepare and cook - it's well worth the wait and best to make in advance too so the chicken has plenty of time to marinate and absorb the flavours of the lemon and soya sauce before cooking. This dish is a great alternative to your usual Sunday roast dinner plus its an all-in-one, one-pot which means you save on washing up too.(62 ratings)
This one-pot Weight Watchers Cajun chicken is bursting with flavour and takes only 15 mins to prep, letting the oven do the hard work for you. Each tender cut of chicken is infused with Cajun spice, garlic and stewed in chicken stock. This family-sized dish serves around 4 people. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you want to add some more veggies to this dish to up your 5-a-day count we recommend tenderstem broccoli, spinach or a handful of tinned or frozen sweetcorn kernels.(24 ratings)
Slimming World's maple-glazed chicken breasts with cheesy ham and leek stuffing are a delicious dinner choice. The irresistible filling in these chicken breasts makes them ideal for a low-cost and fuss-free main course. It will take around 1hr to whip up this delicious feast but with only 10 mins prep time, the oven does all of the hard work for you. The tender chicken breast glazed in a sticky sweet maple sauce and the cheesy ham and leek stuffing makes this recipe extra special. This recipe serves 4 people and is a great choice for the whole family to enjoy - even if you're the only one on the Slimming World plan.(2 ratings)
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.(351 ratings)
If you're a fan of crepes then you're going to love this chicken and leek pancake recipe. It's perfect for lunch and dinner and especially good as part of a full pancake menu come Shrove Tuesday! The white sauce is flavoured with punchy mustard for a delicious kick that compliments the chicken beautifully. The best thing about this recipe is that it can almost entirely be made ahead of time, which is great for those days when you're so busy you won't have time to cook a full dinner from scratch but equally don't want to resort to freezer food. To get everything ready ahead of time simply make up your crepes and sauce and warm both through before serving when needed.(337 ratings)