How to Make Tender Chicken

Knowing how to cook tender chicken will earn you the appreciation of even the fussiest eaters. This article will teach you how to make succulent, tender chicken.

Tender Chicken 101

A tender piece of chicken can elevate a good dinner to a family favourite. With a nutritional profile that’s high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol, chicken can be part of a healthy diet for anyone, from kids to bodybuilders to foodies. Extremely versatile, the humble chicken has a mild flavour that adapts to different flavours and cooking methods. It’s widely available, affordable and easy to cook — perfect for everyday meals and entertaining alike. 

Shopping for Chicken

When you’re shopping for chicken, you have many options. These include fresh chicken, frozen chicken, whole chicken and chicken parts. The most popular cuts of chicken are the breast, leg, thigh and wing. Save money by buying your family’s favourite chicken parts in bulk and portioning them out in freezer bags, then thaw in the refrigerator overnight for next day’s dinner. As a general rule, the dark meat (chicken wings, legs and thighs) is more tender than the white meat (breasts). In addition to being more affordable, dark meat with the bone in and the skin on has more flavour and stays juicier while you cook. 

Roast Chicken

Roast chicken makes a comforting, homey meal any time of year. A whole chicken is also very affordable. To keep your roast chicken tender, leave the skin on, stuff the inner cavity and baste the outside of the chicken to keep it moist from the inside out. You can add root vegetables and potatoes to the pan to make it a one-pot meal, so there are fewer dishes to clean. This dish is low-maintenance once it’s in the oven, and it’s super convenient — you can use the leftovers for sandwiches and soups the next day. 

Grilled Chicken

When the weather’s hot and you want to give your oven a break, grilling is a great alternative to roasted or stovetop chicken. The high heat of the barbecue cuts down on cooking time and keeps the mess outdoors, so there are no pots or pans to scrub. Since high heat can dry out chicken, try using skin-on dark meat to keep it juicy. Finished with your favourite barbecue sauce or marinade, barbecued chicken develops a finger-licking, crispy finish that takes budget-friendly chicken pieces to a higher standard for dinner. For a real treat, add chicken wings to the grill — it’s a healthier cooking method than deep frying. 

Sautéed Chicken

Sautéed chicken is a fast and versatile way to cook chicken — especially boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Sautéing means to fry lightly in a pan until golden brown, which helps the chicken hold onto its juices and flavour. For extra juicy, fast-cooking chicken, tenderize your chicken breasts with a meat mallet or rolling pin before frying. Be sure to make a sauce from the delicious browned bits on the bottom of the pan for a tasty extra.

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a down-home Southern classic. For extra tender fried chicken, soak your chicken pieces in buttermilk before frying. There are many modern ways to get the crunchy outside and juicy inside of fried chicken while saving time, money and calories. White meat chicken tenders are already pre-cut, roll easily in breadcrumbs and bake in the oven until golden brown. A kid favourite, oven-fried chicken makes an easy, family-friendly weekday meal.  

Poached Chicken

Poaching immerses the meat in a gently simmering liquid until it’s cooked through. Perfect for chicken salad and shredded chicken dishes, poached chicken is a sure-fire way to cook tender, succulent chicken. Best of all, this cooking method is fat-free, fast and easy. It works particularly well with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, since the cooking liquid adds plenty of moisture to this typically drier meat. To cut costs, re-use the poaching liquid in your soups or to cook rice or veggies.  


Marinades are fast and easy to make: simply combine a fat (like oil), an acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) with spices and herbs of your choice. Marinades not only add flavour to your dish, they can also help tenderize your chicken before cooking. Yogurt is a popular marinade in Indian cooking, while in the South, buttermilk is often used before frying chicken. Using a marinade is a great way to add flavour and moisture to boneless chicken breasts, without adding extra calories. 

Sauces & Gravies

Take your chicken dinner to the next level with a velvety barbecue sauce or gravy. The fastest and most affordable way to make a sauce is to use what’s already in your frying pan or baking tray. After boiling on high heat, what remains is concentrated liquid flavour that also adds moisture to your chicken. A win-win scenario — sauces not only conceal a slightly overcooked chicken, they can also add extra flavour to side dishes such as potatoes and rice. 

Tender Chicken Tips:

• For the juiciest chicken, soak your chicken in brine (a mixture of water, salt and spices) overnight
• Buy a meat thermometer and monitor the temperature of your chicken closely while cooking to prevent it from drying out and from being undercooked.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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