The Parchment Paper Hack For Unbeatably Moist Chicken

Chicken is (arguably) the most versatile meat you can buy, and it's simple to prepare. You can cook it hundreds of different ways (maybe even thousands!), and it's hard to mess up the flavor of the meat no matter what spices or sauces you add. The main thing to avoid when making chicken is a dry texture, which can happen if you overcook the meat, cook it without any marinade, or cook it without knowing how to seal in all those juices.

One simple way to make juicy chicken breasts is to place a piece of parchment paper over the top of the meat before placing the pan in the oven. The addition of parchment prevents the chicken from drying too quickly. Another way of using parchment paper to prepare chicken breasts is to wrap a piece of chicken in parchment paper to create incredibly moist chicken that's also easy to clean up. Just toss the paper — no dirty pan! Both methods will create juicy chicken that can also be combined with vegetables for a complete meal in a package. 

A French start

To add extra flavor to your chicken breasts, sprinkle them with spices and some olive oil before covering them with parchment. It's not recommended that you use parchment on chicken with skin if you're trying to attain that crispy chicken skin flavor. But, breasts can be dry and parchment helps retain moisture. This method of cooking chicken allows the meat to cook in natural juices (and whatever liquid you add to the pan) without basting. The parchment method is referred to as dry poaching and can be done when cooking chicken breasts in large quantities or when making smaller meals. 

Dry poaching also works with turkey meat and can be useful when preparing chicken breasts with vegetables (such as carrots) to stop the vegetables from becoming dry and cracked. While you could cover a pan with another pan or lid, parchment paper allows the oven heat to penetrate the chicken more easily, resulting in an evenly cooked piece of meat.

Parchment paper vs. foil

If you have never tried the parchment paper cooking method, make sure that you purchase parchment cooking paper –- regular paper does not work in the oven and will catch fire! Some chefs also use aluminum foil to wrap meats and vegetables; some even prefer aluminum to parchment because it can be sealed tighter, but aluminum has some drawbacks that parchment does not. 

Foil can stick to some food while parchment does not. For example, if you use foil for chicken, you might find small pieces attached to the bottom of your meat. Foil can also withstand higher temperatures, making it ideal for cooking anything grilled or broiled. Still, parchment paper can work great for a variety of oven-roasted chicken dishes. Whether you're using them as whole cuts or cut up into kabobs, try placing a piece of parchment on top the next time you have to cook chicken breasts.