My Husband Cracked the Code to the Juiciest, Most Flavorful Chicken Breast

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secret to most flavorful chicken breast

Chicken breast is a weeknight dinner workhorse, but it can also be a bit challenging to cook. Nobody wants to (or should!) eat undercooked chicken, but in an effort to prevent that you often end up with dry, overcooked meat. 

That was definitely the case in our house until pretty recently, when my husband (the same guy who makes the best-ever roasted carrots) cracked the code to flavorful, foolproof chicken breasts. Here’s what you need to know. 

Related: My Father-in-Law Cracked the Code to the Best-Ever Beef Stew

The Trick to the Most Flavorful Chicken Breasts

Matt is a fan of DIY seasoning blends and dry brining meats, and his chicken breast method combines those two methods. First, he makes a big batch of his chicken seasoning. He doesn’t like to write things down when he cooks, but his food editor wife (aka me) encourages him to do so whenever possible so there’s at least a hope that he/we can recreate the magic again. To make the rub, combine these ingredients in a small jar (to make it easy to store the leftovers). 

1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt 
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon gochugaru flakes
1 teaspoon MSG (optional, but highly recommended)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

You can adjust the ingredients based on what you have in your cabinet, but this is the mix that works for us. The onion and garlic powder give it that savory base, the paprika adds some nice color (if you use smoked paprika it’ll be smoky too), the oregano brings a bit of herby freshness, the gochugaru lends a mild heat (look for it at Asian markets) and the MSG turns all the flavors up to 11. 

Related: The Spicy New Costco Rotisserie Chicken Hack You’ve Got to Try

How to Make Chicken with Matt’s All-Purpose Seasoning Blend

Mixing all of the spices together might be the hardest part of this “recipe.” After the spice blend is mixed, you can pound the chicken breasts between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap to make them nice and even, which will help them cook more evenly, and then sprinkle liberally with the spice blend on both sides. 

Transfer the seasoned chicken to a small pan or plate and stick it in the fridge for an hour or two uncovered. This rest time will help the seasonings penetrate the meat and will dry out the surface of the chicken, which will help with browning. The dry brine will also help keep the meat stay nice and moist. Once it’s done resting, cook the chicken however you prefer: sauteeing, braising, baking or grilling all work with this method. 

And this rub is great on all sorts of meats. Matt has used it on chicken thighs and thin pork chops with delicious results and it would probably also be delicious on beef or lamb. 

Up next: The Secret Ingredient for Making Jarred Pasta Sauce Taste Like It Came From an Italian Restaurant

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