How to Brown Skinless Chicken

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An issue that many cooks have with using skinless chicken in their dishes is that it's more difficult to brown than chicken with the skin on. Brown, crispy chicken skin creates added flavor and texture, but you can still brown the outside of skinless chicken. Follow the same method to brown skinless chicken breasts or leg or thigh pieces.

In the Pan

  • To brown skinless chicken pieces in a pan on your stovetop, turn the heat up to medium-high and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Wait until the oil begins to ripple in the pan, then add the chicken. It should sizzle right away. Leave it to sear for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn each piece with tongs. The chicken shouldn't stick and should be a deep golden brown color. Finish it in the oven or on the stovetop, according to the cooking method you're using.

On the Grill

  • The high heat of a grill is an ideal place to brown skinless chicken. Turn the grill to high, and brush the chicken or the grates of the grill with olive oil so it won't stick. Set the chicken on the grill to brown. Move each piece one-quarter turn to create the cross-hatch look, and flip them over after about 5 minutes to brown the other side. Cook the pieces through over the hot grates or move them to a cooler part to finish cooking, as desired.

Adding a Coating

  • A light dusting of flour will help give skinless chicken the golden-brown exterior you are after. Season white flour with salt and pepper, then dredge the chicken pieces through it to coat them. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then cook the chicken evenly on all sides, until they are golden brown. The brown coating works well on its own or if you plan to add a glaze or sauce over the chicken when you serve it. Either way, it will remain crisp.

Safe Cooking

  • No matter which way you intend to brown your skinless chicken or how you choose to serve it, food safety is always the number one priority. When you feel the chicken is cooked through, insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part to determine its temperature. Chicken is considered safe to eat when the internal temperature is at 165 F. If you plan to cook the chicken on the stovetop with a sauce or glaze to finish it, you can stop the initial cooking at 160 F, but check it one more time before serving.

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