Ina Garten Has an Easy Hack for Cooking Chicken Perfectly so It’s Never Dry

Ina Garten has many years of cooking experience and she often has some easy tricks to help solve novice cooks’ worries. The Barefoot Contessa star has an easy hack to perfectly cook or grill chicken and shared her advice about how to tell when chicken is done.

Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten smiles at a book signing with fans behind her
Ina Garten | Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Ina Garten shares her easy trick to cook chicken perfectly

Garten has an easy trick for perfectly cooked chicken that’s never dry. She lets the chicken rest after cooking it and that ensures it stays flavorful and juicy.

The Barefoot Contessa star responded to a fan’s question about cooking chicken on her website and shared her secret for perfectly cooked chicken. “I always get nervous when making chicken that it’s going to be undercooked. How do you know when it’s done?,” the fan asked on the website’s ‘Ask Ina’ page.

Garten explained the technique she uses to make sure chicken is cooked to perfection. “It’s really important to let meat rest after it comes out of the oven,” she explained. “Cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes. The reason you don’t want to overcook a chicken is because it will keep cooking under the foil and the juices will get back into the meat.”

“The best way to know if the chicken is done is to cut between the leg and the thigh. If the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear, it’s done,” she added.

Ina Garten uses the technique for grilling chicken, too

While demonstrating how to make her tequila citrus chicken recipe on Barefoot Contessa, Garten explained the ideal grilling time for chicken — again sharing how the rest period is so critical.

Garten placed the marinated chicken breasts on the grill and explained how long to grill the meat. “The chicken needs to cook for 5 minutes on the first side, skin-side down,” she said, then she flipped it and cooked it for 10 more minutes.

“So the chicken’s done — it’s barely cooked,” she explained as she removed it from the grill. “The key to chicken is that you want to let it rest under foil and it’ll finish cooking that way. And then it’s going to be fantastic — it’ll be tender and juicy.”

Ina Garten makes easy marinades for grilled chicken

Garten has also shared her easy grilled chicken marinades that are packed with fresh juice, spicy flavors, and tequila. Her tequila lime chicken marinade is a combination of lime juice, tequila, orange juice, chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped jalapeno pepper.

Garten’s tequila citrus chicken recipe has a similar marinade, but adds lemon juice for more bright flavor.

While squeezing the limes, Garten explained that it’s important to use fresh lime juice. “It makes all the difference in the world,” she explained, adding that the juice also tenderizes the chicken.

She recommends marinating the meat overnight. “The more it sits in the marinade, the better it tastes, so it’s a wonderful thing to do for entertaining,” the Barefoot Contessa star shared.

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.

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