How to Cook Juicy Chicken For Meal Prep

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Here’s the best way to cook the juiciest chicken for your weight loss meal prep.


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chicken meal prep

How to cook chicken for meal prep

To follow a diet plan, it's a great idea to have chicken cooked and ready to go to make salads and meals. Here's three ways to cook your chicken for the juiciest chicken ever.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Diabetic, Low Calorie, Low Fat
Keyword: chicken meal prep, chicken prep
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 3 lbs
Calories: 120cal
Author: Amy Roskelley

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breasts

1 lb chicken tenders

1 lb chicken thighs

  • 1 to taste salt
  • cooking spray optional

Instructions

  • Make the brine for 2 lbs total of chicken breasts and chicken tenders with 4 cups water, 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup sugar. Follow instructions using link in brine ingredient above.
  • Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees
  • Pre-heat air fryer to 425 degrees
  • Heat a nonstick skillet to medium high heat.
  • Remove chicken breasts and tenders from brine. Cook tenders on the heated skillet in two or three batches. Do not crowd chicken. cook until no longer pink.
  • Pound the chicken breasts so they are the same thickness. Put on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 425 for 10 minutes. Flip over. Cook for 4-5 more minutes, or until no longer pink.
  • Add chicken thighs to the pre-heated air fryer. Cook for 8 minutes. Open lid and flip. Cook for 3-4 more minutes, or until no longer pink.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 120cal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 2g
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthbeet or tag #healthbeet!

YouTube Transcript:

If you’re on any type of weight loss plan, and I know it’s been pivotal in my weight loss journey, is chicken is kind of a cornerstone of your meals. And if you have some cooked ahead of time, ready to go, you can make so many different foods.

If you’ve seen my daily meals, it’s just I take the chicken that’s already cooked out of the fridge, and I put it on a salad or put it with some sweet potato and rice for dinner and always with some vegetables. So let’s just get into it.

I’m just going to show you the step by step on what I’ve done.

  • So the first thing I did is the night before I want to cook up the chicken, I make a brine. With this brine, I use salt, sugar, lemon slices, and some herbs.
  • I’m making four cups of brine to brine two pounds of chicken. I’m going to do just chicken breasts and chicken tenderloins for the brine.
  • I’m going to boil the water with the sugar and salt and herbs to get the sugar and salt to dissolve.
  • And then I’m going to dump it into an ice bath to cool it down.

You don’t want to add your chicken to boiling water unless you want it cooked, so cool it down. After it cools down, then

  • add your chicken and
  • then put it in the fridge for the night. 12-13 hours is probably good.

Okay, now it is the next day. I am going to cook the chicken in three different ways.

  1. First, I’m going to cook the chicken tenders on a skillet to give it a nice caramelized crispy outside. 
  2. And then I’m going to cook some chicken breasts in the oven.
  3. And then I’m going to actually cook some chicken thighs in the air fryer. The chicken thighs work great in an air fryer because they’re so moist anyway. They don’t really dry out too much. But I like to do the other ones like this. 

So I’ll first preheat my oven to 425 degrees. I have one of these little half ovens so that I can this actually heats up really fast.

And then I’m going to line a baking sheet with tin foil.

While that’s happening, I’m going to heat up my skillet on just medium to start getting it warm, because you don’t want to put your chicken on your skillet until it’s pretty hot. If you want to caramelize, I don’t know if I should call it caramelized, sear the chicken!

Put some spray on that once that start heating up. I’m going to take my chicken out of the brine.

I usually just use a fork. I’ve got two chicken breasts.

Now, I’ll also pound it out just slightly to get it a little bit thinner. For pounding it, I put a little plastic wrap over the top. Otherwise the juices fly everywhere, and that is pretty gross.

But the reason I’m going to pound it is because I just want it to cook a little quicker, be a little more tender, and cook evenly. So I want both breasts to have the same thickness. So just a couple of pounds we’ll do.

I’m going to wait till the oven completely preheats before I put it in for the same reason, just to get that nice, hot, searing happening.

Yeah, if you can hear it sizzling, then you know you’re good. Really important I learned this during my culinary class, is don’t crowd your chicken.

Now my oven is ready for the chicken breasts. I’m just going to put a timer for about ten minutes on that, and then I’ll probably flip it and cook it for a couple more.

But if you crowd your chicken, it’s so wet and watery that you can’t get the nice bearing happening. So I’m just going to do half of them, I’ve got four in there. 

Now, while that’s cooking, I’m turning on my air fryer for the five to 425 in about ten minutes. So we’ll let that heat up. Then once I can see that it’s starting to brown on the bottom, then I’m going to flip them and let them cook on the other side. I’m not using a meat thermometer for chicken just because I just like to poke into it to make sure it’s not pink anymore, because I’m going to chop it up or eat this for me. 

So if I wanted to have a nice chicken breast that was not, like, punctured into, then I’d use the thermometer, but otherwise no need. When you can really just see if it’s milking, looks like it add a little bit of salt, air fryer is ready to add chicken to it. I like you. Inaudible (5:58-6:04). Now, I think my cinnamons are just about ready to flip. Yes. See, I like just a little bit of spear marks on it, and if I can get that, then I’ll turn the temperature down a little bit to put the other side, and then make sure that it gets all the way cooked through before it burns on the outside.

I can see that it’s still pink, so I’m going to keep them cooking, but I’ll flip them over and start getting the other side going and go for about eight more minutes.

My chicken thighs have been going about seven minutes. I’m going to open the air fryer and flip the thighs over. I do love a good, crispy chicken thigh. That looks good. So I’ll finish that off three, probably four more minutes.

Those are getting on those tenderloins. They’re pink inside still, so hopefully, actually, maybe it’s not. So I’ll just, like, rip it open. It’s about almost done.

I’m going to give it, like, two or three more minutes, and then that’ll be perfect for the way I like it. While everything’s finishing up, I’m just going to put the finished chicken on a clean tray. And you guys, I took a bite of this right out of the pan. It is so good. When I started brining my chicken, it was a game changer. I have never had chicken so moist and so full of flavor than when I started doing this.

So it’s like, don’t skip this step. If you want chicken breast or chicken tenderloin, don’t skip the brining step. Those sides are sizzling. And normally when I’m not on prep, I just put all the chicken in a container. So I’ll put all tenders in one container. But since I’m trying to be really exact and precise, I’m going to premeasure today so that when I take it out of the fridge, I’m not tempted to take extra bite, because I do I would not be doing if I wasn’t on prep, because I’m going to put them in individual containers and weigh them. 

But if I’m not, I’m just going to put everything in a regular container. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do with the chicken thighs, because I’ll probably have these will be for my husband. I’m just not going to probably eat them because I’m just doing chicken breasts for the next couple of weeks. So that is that. For the rest of these, I’m going to wait. So I have some old cup containers, so I’ll tear it out so that it’s at zero. 

And then I’m going to put in 5 ounces of chicken per container, which is actually about 6 ounces raw. So I should have showed you the difference because it’s kind of a big difference. And I really just want to eat it right now. It’s so juicy, guys. So that one was five, and then a couple of the chicken breasts. These shred really easily. I’m just touching it because I’m the only one eating this, but 3 ounces, almost 5 ounces.

Can I just really want to eat this one? Really, really good! Okay, so here’s my prepared chicken. I’m going to add some vegetables to these containers. Okay, it’s all done. Thanks for watching. Don’t forget to like and subscribe. I’m very excited about the meals I have to eat for the next few days. So if you want to make some chicken, I will put all the information in the description box and can’t wait to see you next time!

juicy chicken meal prep

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Amy,
    I absolutely love your personal story and your blog. You inspire me every day! I just tried your chicken meal prep recipe. It did not disappoint: it was juicy and flavorful. Thank you!!

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