How to Clean Chicken With Vinegar & Lemons


When you cook your favorite chicken dishes, clean, fresh ingredients are key. While many people simply rinse their chicken with cold water (or throw it in the pan straight out of the package), some people like to use a solution of white vinegar and lemon juice to clean and prep their chicken for cooking. The acidity of vinegar and lemons helps disinfect the chicken and tenderize the meat, and it also provides a clean base for rubs and marinades.

Things You'll Need

  • Raw chicken, whole or cut into pieces
  • Sink with running water
  • 2/3 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Shallow glass dish
  • Large bowl
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • Measuring spoons
  • Paper towels

Chicken pieces

  • Add your vinegar and lemon juice together in a shallow glass pan.

  • Rinse your chicken pieces in cold running water and set each piece in your lemon and vinegar solution. If your chicken pieces aren't covered, add another 2/3 cup lemon juice and 1 cup vinegar.

  • Soak your chicken for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.

Whole Chicken

  • Rinse your whole chicken under cold running water.

  • Add your lemon juice and vinegar together in a bowl large enough to contain your chicken. With your measuring spoon, pour 3 tbsp. of your solution into the chicken's body cavity.

  • Add 2 tbsp. flour to the chicken cavity with a spoon and rub it into the walls of the cavity with your fingers.

  • Rinse the cavity thoroughly and place the chicken in your lemon vinegar solution. Your chicken should be at least halfway immersed in the liquid. Add another 2/3 cup lemon juice and 1 cup vinegar if necessary.

  • Soak your chicken 15-20 minutes, turning once to ensure that both sides are immersed.

  • Rinse your chicken thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wash your hands and kitchen surfaces after handling raw chicken.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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