The Absolute Best Way to Cook Chicken Breasts, According to 4 Chefs

My mother never cooked us chicken breasts when we were growing up, but there were always bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in the freezer for bubbling soups and stews, or crispy fried chicken. The only time we ever had breast meat for dinner was in samgyetang, whole rice-stuffed Cornish game hens boiled with garlic, ginseng, and jujubes (Korean dates). But even with that rich golden broth, the breast meat was much stringier and blander than the thigh and leg meat, so you’d have to eat it with a small dish of salt and confetti-gray McCormick black pepper for dipping, then quickly follow up with a swig of water because you were probably choking, it was so dry.

“Chicken skin is fatty and savory and delicious. Cooking meat on the bone yields a juicier bite,” says Josh Cohen, our test kitchen director. “If you take away the skin and the bone, you take away some flavor, texture, and moisture. There’s higher risk of the meat tasting bland or drying out.”