How to Brine Chicken Breast

March 6, 2024 40 Comments

Do you know how to brine chicken breast? It’s like magic!

I know I could use some magic right now.

The alchemy here is using a technique called “brining” to transform soft, rubbery chicken breast into something wonderful. It doesn’t take long and ensures that the chicken is moist.

Pickling is one of those things that we seem to only do for the big day, like Thanksgiving, but it’s an everyday tool. All the really good cooks in my life add these little steps to make their food taste better.

For example, my neighbor always has a fresh rosemary plant that she cuts when she needs it. It tastes so much better than dry!! Every time she invites me to dinner, I cancel my other plans.

Everyone knows that eating dried chicken is like sucking on a hockey puck. If you can help it, you will and It’s so easy to avoid it.

I also like to use my slow cooker to fill slow cooker chicken tacos and to make slow cooker whole chicken. I find that when I plan (and manage to get the chicken in the pot on time), my chicken stays moist. Slow cookers are great for keeping liquid inside the dish.

Brining, on the other hand, improves juiciness by ensuring that the meat absorbs liquid before cooking. This “extra liquid” prevents the chicken from becoming too dry, as the chicken will lose liquid as it cooks.

The best thing is that it only takes 15 minutes! The chicken does not need to sit in a saltwater bath for an entire day. This technique is a wet brine (not a dry brine that I can save for another day).

If you have an extra 15 minutes, this step will change your life. My kids, who usually demand chicken thighs because they find the breast too dry, love this version of chicken breast.

I used small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. They weighed about 5 to 6 ounces each and I think if your chicken breasts are larger, you should cut them into smaller pieces so the brine has a chance to infuse the chicken before cooking.

Use 1/4 cup kosher salt for the brining step. You can find it under normal salt in the supermarket and it gives better results. I use it as my regular salt because the larger grains make it easier to measure the amount I’m using.

My favorite kosher salt is diamond crystal. Did you know that Diamond Kosher salt has 53% less sodium by volume compared to regular table salt?

The salt crystals are much larger so it makes sense that there is less sodium. Once I started using it at my table in a small pinching bowl, I never went back to using the finer grain table salt.

It costs a lot more than regular table salt, but it’s not expensive (like Himalayan salt).

You mix the kosher salt into warm water in a large bowl, place the chicken in, and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Smoked paprika can be found alongside regular paprika and adds a great level of flavor to chicken. I use it a lot to give depth to a dish. It is not necessary here so don’t worry if you don’t have it.

I promise your chicken will be tender and juicy. Honestly, you will never cook chicken breast without brine again.

Magic can happen in your kitchen, I promise.

Serve this with a salad (I used baby arugula in the photo) and you have an easy, delicious, low carb dinner.

Have you ever tried brining chicken breast?

Brine Chicken Breast Recipe

4.1 of
Sixty-five opinions

Makes 7 breasts
Preparation time: 5 min
Cooking time: 15 min.
Total time: 20 min + 30 minutes brine

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Ingredients

7 boneless, skinless chicken pieces about 6 ounces each (2.5 pounds)
¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

First, mix ¼ cup kosher salt in a large bowl with 1 liter of warm water. Soak chicken breasts in salted water for 15 minutes, then rinse.

Heat oven to 450 F. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Brush the chicken on both sides with olive oil and rub the spice mixture on both sides.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the chicken registers an internal temperature of 170 F. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

nutritional information

a breast is 163 calories, 6.4 grams fat, 1.9 grams saturated fat, 0.3 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams sugar, 25.4 grams protein, 0 grams fiber, 234mg sodium, 2 green, 1 blue and 1 purple SmartPts

Point values ​​are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for informational purposes only. See all Snack Girl recipes

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