10 Quick and Clever Chicken Hacks for Busy Cooks

For busy cooks, preparing delicious and wholesome meals can often feel like a daunting task. Fortunately, with a few clever chicken hacks up your sleeve, you can save time and effort in the kitchen without compromising on taste. From making the most of leftover bones to using the slow cooker for tender chicken dishes, these time-saving tricks will have you serving up scrumptious chicken meals in no time.


Hack #1: Homemade Chicken Stock from Leftover Bones

Never let leftover chicken bones go to waste again! Instead of discarding them, save them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When you have enough accumulated, throw them in a pot with some water, onions, carrots, celery, and herbs to create a flavorful homemade chicken stock. Use this versatile liquid gold as a base for soups, stews, and sauces to elevate the taste of your dishes without spending extra time on preparation.


Hack #2: Butterfly the Chicken for Faster Cooking

Butterflying, or spatchcocking, a whole chicken is a game-changer when it comes to quick and even cooking. This technique involves removing the backbone and flattening the chicken, reducing the cooking time significantly. Simply cut along both sides of the backbone, remove it, and press the chicken flat. Season and grill or roast for juicy, perfectly cooked chicken in half the time.


Hack #3: Pre-Marinate and Freeze Chicken

Save time on marinating chicken by doing it in advance and freezing it for later use. Place chicken pieces in individual ziplock bags or airtight containers with your favorite marinade. Store them in the freezer, and when you're ready to cook, simply thaw and proceed with your preferred cooking method. This hack not only saves time but also infuses the chicken with more flavor as it marinates while defrosting.


Hack #4: Use a Slow Cooker for Effortless and Tender Chicken

Busy cooks swear by the convenience of a slow cooker. Toss in chicken thighs or breasts with your choice of seasoning, some broth or sauce, and let it cook on low heat for a few hours. The result? Tender and succulent chicken that practically falls off the bone. Plus, you can multitask while the slow cooker does all the work!


Hack #5: Double Up on Batch Cooking

When cooking chicken for a recipe, double the quantity and save the extras for later. Cooked chicken can be used in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or pasta dishes, providing you with quick and hassle-free meal options throughout the week. Store the cooked chicken in the refrigerator or freezer, and you'll have a ready-to-eat protein source on hand whenever you need it.


Hack #6: Cook Chicken with Vegetables in Foil Packets

Create easy and flavorful chicken and vegetable dinners by cooking them together in foil packets. Simply place seasoned chicken breasts or thighs on a sheet of aluminum foil, add your favorite vegetables, and fold the foil to create a sealed packet. Pop it in the oven or grill, and you'll have a delicious and mess-free meal with minimal cleanup.


Hack #7: Pre-Cut Chicken Pieces for Quick Meal Prep

Simplify meal prep by purchasing pre-cut chicken pieces like tenders, strips, or cubes. These convenient options save you the time and effort of portioning and cutting the chicken, making it easier to throw together quick stir-fries, salads, or skewers.


Hack #8: Use Rotisserie Chicken for Effortless Meals

For the ultimate time-saving hack, rely on store-bought rotisserie chicken. It's already cooked and full of flavor, making it a versatile ingredient for a variety of dishes. Use it in salads, sandwiches, tacos, casseroles, or soups, and enjoy a delicious meal without any cooking effort.


Hack #9: Utilize the Instant Pot for Quick Chicken Dishes

The Instant Pot is a lifesaver for busy cooks, offering speedy cooking times and tender results. Whether you're making shredded chicken for tacos or a flavorful curry, the Instant Pot can significantly cut down on cooking time while keeping the chicken juicy and flavorful.


Hack #10: Make Use of Leftover Chicken in Fried Rice

Don't let leftover cooked chicken go to waste! Transform it into a delicious fried rice by combining it with cooked rice, vegetables, and some soy sauce or your favorite stir-fry sauce. This simple and quick dish is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner and is a great way to repurpose chicken leftovers.

With these 10 quick and clever chicken hacks, busy cooks can savor delicious chicken meals without spending hours in the kitchen. From making homemade chicken stock from leftover bones to utilizing the slow cooker for tender dishes, these time-saving tricks will revolutionize the way you cook chicken. Embrace these hacks and enjoy hassle-free cooking, all while savoring mouthwatering chicken dishes that will impress even the most discerning foodies. Happy cooking!