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How to Cook Popular Cuts of Chicken

While browsing your supermarket’s meat department, you’ll find a wide array of different cuts of chicken. Chicken is versatile, economical, and low in fat, making it a preferred meal choice.

When it comes to chicken, there’s a cut available for every recipe, from chicken legs and thighs to skinless breasts and whole roasters. But not every cut is ideal for every recipe or cooking method. Following are some popular cuts of chicken and the best ways to cook them.

  • Bone-in Chicken Breasts: Also available as “split breasts,” these are white meat chicken breasts with the skin and bone attached. Bone-in breasts may or may not include a back portion and are great for pan-frying, baking, broiling, and grilling.To bake, sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour.
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: Probably the most versatile and healthiest chicken cut available, boneless breasts have had their skin and bones removed. They are good for pan-frying, baking, grilling, and sauteing. They also work well cut up in casseroles and in slow-cooker and main-dish salad recipes.
  • Chicken Thighs: You can find dark meat chicken thighs bone-in or boneless. Chicken thighs work well in slow-cooker dishes, pan-fried, baked, grilled, or cut up in casseroles. Emeril Lagasse’s chicken and dumplings recipe combines chicken thighs and fresh vegetables with fluffy baking powder dumplings.
  • Bone-in Chicken Legs: Also known as “drumsticks,” dark meat chicken legs are inexpensive and easy to prepare. They are delicious barbecued on the grill or in the oven, roasted, baked, or pan-fried. Allrecipes features this simple BBQ chicken drumsticks recipe that your whole family will enjoy.
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Legs: Not as popular as drumsticks but just as tasty, boneless, skinless chicken legs are a whole leg without the bones and skin.
  • Chicken Wings: The white meat wing is made up of three parts, notes the Georgia Department of Agriculture: the upper section, also known as a drumette, the midsection, and the wing tip. Wings can be baked, grilled, or broiled and are best known for being barbecued. Try Popsugar’s healthier take on buffalo chicken wings.
  • Giblets: The giblets of a chicken are its heart, liver, and neck. Some people discard the giblets, but many keep them to add richness and flavor to dishes. Chopped giblets can be added to gravy or dressing, pan-fried, or sauteed.
  • Cut-Up Whole Chicken: This is an entire chicken already cut up for you. It includes two breast halves, two wings, two thighs, and two drumsticks. Cut-up chickens are frequently used for pan-frying, grilling, or baking.
  • Whole Roaster Chicken: Found fresh or frozen, whole chickens can be cut up into smaller pieces or baked whole. The leftover whole chicken frame can be used to make delicious chicken soup, like this recipe from Allrecipes.
  • Cornish Game Hens: Cornish hens are whole, immature chickens (usually around five weeks old). Because of their small size, the hens are usually roasted or grilled whole. They tend to be more expensive than other cuts of chicken.

With so many chicken recipes and cuts to choose from, you’ll likely never run out of meal options. To avoid food poisoning, it’s important to properly cook all cuts of chicken. According to, you should cook poultry to 165 degrees.

Visit the Wayfield Foods free shopping list organizer and start planning meals with your health in mind.

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