How to Broil Chicken (With Recipe) – For Juicy Chicken Every Time
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Who doesn’t love the taste of grilled meat? There is just no comparison. It’s one of the things I miss about owning a home. We had a fire-pit out back and it got a ton of use. Grilling and BBQ is a huge thing in Austin and all over Texas for that matter. But here in the Northwest, it’s been much harder to grill. For one thing, the weather is not as conducive for it since it rains for half the year and the apartments we’re living in don’t allow charcoal grilling. And I know some people love their propane grill but it just doesn’t get the same flavor that charcoal does.
When you want to achieve a similar taste of grilling without the grill, there is oven broiling.
Now, most meats I’ve not had too many problems with using this cooking method but the one meat that I could never get right was chicken. It always came out way too dry no matter what I did until I started using this one trick. After my last post where I mentioned broiling chicken for your baby’s food rather than poaching, I realized it might be a good idea to show you in detail what I do. So today, I’m excited to share with you how to broil chicken in your oven using a simple trick that will keep it from drying out.
Broiling as a cooking method is much healthier than frying since there is less oil/fat involved and faster than baking (you’ll cut about 10 minutes off your cooking time). With this simple trick, you may find yourself opting to broil your chicken instead of baking or frying it.
So let’s get started!
How to Broil Chicken
Broiling meat whether it is done on a grill or in the oven is done with the same principle. The heat is direct and intense. And this method differs from baking and roasting because only one side of the meat gets exposed to the heat source at a time. Just think of your oven as an upsidedown grill where the heat source is on top instead of underneath.
As a general rule, you will want to broil foods that are quick cooking, inherently tender, relatively lean, and not very thick. So items like chicken breasts, hamburger patties, and fish fillets are perfect for broiling. One of the ways to control the temperature in broiling is similar to grilling and that is to move the placement of the meat to the heat source. The typical arrangement is for a space between 5- to 8-inches from the heat and the top of the food. If you are looking to brown very thick meats where the heat needs more time to penetrate without charring, simply place the oven rack further down away from the heating element.
Now in the case of boned chicken with the skins, this method works great. But if you are like most American families, boneless and skinless chicken is much more often used. It’s a time saver in that you don’t have to strip the meat off the bone before using it in a dish like in the case of a chicken pesto. You still want to keep the chicken further away from the heat but also add water to the broiling pan. This ensures that there is enough moisture in the oven to help keep the chicken from drying out while still achieving some browning on the outside of the breast. Using water also means you can cook thicker pieces of chicken without having to pound it thinner or run the risk of scorching.
However, using water may not achieve the kind of sear you might be looking for. The best ways around that are to either pan sear the chicken for few minutes or position the rack very close to the heat source and cook both sides for a few minutes until it develops a nice brown crust and then readjust the tray further away for the rest of the cooking time. Searing works wonderfully with chicken that still has the skin but I find it doesn’t work well with skinless. In the case of a marinaded or BBQ chicken breast, I cook the chicken first and with the last few minutes, I place the rack really close to get that sear I’m looking for.
As you well know, chicken breasts are such a finicky and unforgiving meat. Because it is low in fat, the margin of error is very small. A few minutes can be the difference between chicken that is just right and inedibly dry. First, use a meat thermometer. This is the only way to get an accurate reading. Second, the best thing I’ve found that prevents overcooking is to pull the chicken once it hits 160-162 Fahrenheit (71-72 Celcius) and let it rest for 5 minutes. While resting the meat continues to cook so it will reach 165 F in the end.
That about covers it! To help you get started on experimenting with your oven’s broiler function, I thought I’d give you an easy broiled chicken recipe that is a favorite in our household. So without further adieu, here’s the recipe!
Here's an easy broiled chicken recipe to get you started on the wonderful world of broiling chicken in your oven. This recipe is simple and full of flavor!
- 1-2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg ground
- 1 tsp. rosemary dried
- 1/2 tsp. thyme dried
Adjust oven rack to the middle placement or the third level from the top. The chicken will be approx. 5-inches from the heat source.
Preheat broiler (at 500 F if you are able to adjust temp.)
Pour 1-2 cups of water in broiler pan.
Coat chicken with olive oil on both sides.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
Sprinkle the top with the rest of the seasonings.
Place chicken on the broiler tray top side down.
Cook for 10 minutes and then turn.
Cook the top side up for 10-15 minutes until chicken has an internal temperature of 160-162 F.
Once done, pull out the chicken and let it rest on broiler tray for 5 minutes before cutting it or serving.
If looking to sear chicken, either pan sear the chicken for few minutes or position the rack very close to the heat source and cook both sides for 2-3 minutes until it develops a nice brown crust and then readjust the tray further away for the rest of the cooking time.
In the case of a marinaded or BBQ chicken breast, cook the chicken first and with the last 6 minutes, place the rack about 3-inches from the heat source and turn chicken 2-3 minutes so that both sides get a nice sear.
Cooking times are approximate since some oven do not allow for temperature adjustments using the broiler setting. Use an oven thermometer to find out what temperature your oven is set at and adjust cook time accordingly.
That’s all there is to it!
Broiling is such a healthier alternative to frying. And it has a shorter cook time than baking which is invaluable for a busy family. If you have never used your broiler function before, you have no idea what you are missing out on.
What is your favorite chicken recipe? Chances are there is a way you can broil it!
If you have any questions on how to broil your favorite chicken recipe or would like to share tips that have worked for you with broiling chicken, just leave a comment below. Alternatively, if you try my recipe, I would love to get your feedback on how it went. I look forward to hearing from you!