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How to Debone Chicken Breast: Skin On, Skin off and Cooked

Do you think twice before buying boneless chicken breasts at the grocery store because bone-ins cost you cheaper? Or, are you confused because you want both: the bones for chicken stock and the boneless breasts for your signature dishes?

Fret not, learning how to debone chicken breasts can relieve you of these worries.

How to debone chicken breasts:

  1. Thaw the chicken.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut vertically into the thickest part of the meat.
  3. Cut along the bone of the chicken breast.
  4. Run your knife underneath the tenderloin.
  5. Cut around the wishbone when you reach the tip.
  6. Peel off skin with your fingers.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

We will be discussing these steps further ahead in the article. But first, you must be wondering why we prefer deboning chicken breasts ourselves when boneless and skinless chicken is easily available out there in the market.

Why debone chicken breast yourself?

debone chicken breast
Source: homemaderecipesfromscratch

There are a number of benefits that you can get if you learn how to debone chicken breasts yourself such as:

Save a few bucks

Chicken with bones cost you a lot less than boneless and skinless chicken. So if one can learn how to debone chicken breasts and save a few bucks, why not?

Bones for broth

Deboning a chicken yourself allows you to gather bones that you can save for later use. The most common use of chicken bones is to make bone broth that can be used in soups, casseroles, as well as other Chinese dishes.

Make custom cuts

Last but not the least, you can be deemed as a culinary hero in front of your friends if you learn this not-so-tricky manoeuvre. You also get to make the cuts to your own liking, which can be a potential advantage when making dishes such as Turducken.

Chicken tenders

Last but not the least, you get to keep the chicken tenders that make the yummiest chicken strips and other great recipes.

Things you need (preparation)

There are a couple of things that you need to master the art of learning how to debone chicken breasts such as:

  • A sharp knife: The key to deboning chicken breasts is a sharp knife, period. If you’re starting with a whole chicken, using a cleaver is best. Our personal favourites are the hand-made ones from HDMD. Afterwards, you can use a boning knife or a chef knife. Paring knives will work as well.
  • Cutting Board: Next, you will need to use a sturdy chopping board for deboning the chicken breasts.
  • Chicken breasts with bone: Lastly, you need the bone in chicken breasts in order to learn how to debone chicken breasts. According to CDC, do not wash chicken because your kitchen might get contaminated. Instead, use vinegar or baking soda in prior to clean your chicken breasts instead.

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How to debone chicken breasts and remove the skin

Deboning chicken breasts is easy to do once you get to know the basics, you could simply follow our step by step instructions below for deboning chicken breasts:

Step 1. Prepare your chicken: Prepare your chicken by making sure it is completely thawed. You can do this by soaking it in a bowl of water, or using the defrost settings in your microwave.

Step 2. Prepare your work station: With the breast side up, position your chicken breast onto the cutting board and pat dry.

Step 3. Remove the wings: For removing the wings, find the shoulder joint and cut off the tips using a pair of scissors or cleaver. These wings can be placed in the bag of bones that you will use later for your chicken stock.

remove the wings
Source: seriouseats

Step 4. Break the legs: You can break the legs by exposing the leg joint by pulling the leg backwards till you hear a pop sound. Next, run your knife along the leg joint to remove the legs.

Step 5. Cut vertically: Cutting vertically will allow you to locate the breast bone quickly.

Step 6. Peel the skin: For the next step, pull the skin by sliding your fingers into the cut you made in the previous step.

Step 7. Locate and cut the along the breastbone: Find the breast bone inside the cut, and run your knife between the breastbone and meat. Make sure you cut along the bone using a scraping motion. Next, cut underneath the tenderloin.

Step 8. Remove the wishbone: As you run your knife along the bone, you will reach the tip of the bone. Use your knife to cut around the V of the chicken wishbone.

Step 9. Repeat on the other side: Repeat on the other side of the chicken breast piece, cutting along as close to the ribcage as possible.

Step 10. Remove the tenderloin: You will notice that your chicken breast is denser on one end than the other. This extra layer of meat is the tenderloin which you can remove so that your chicken breasts are cooked evenly. Besides, this tender meat is great for chicken strips and other recipes.

Voila, you now have two boneless, skinless chicken breasts ready.

clean chicken breasts
Source: amazonaws

How to debone chicken breasts and leave the skin on

Many chefs argue that everyday chicken breasts tend to get dry when they cook and we agree. However, bone in and skin on isn’t a viable option for many chicken recipes even though bones add flavour and skin is supposed to keep the meat moist and juicy.

There is a solution to this problem, and it’s called the boneless, skin-on chicken breast version. Here are the step by step instructions for this solution:

skin on chicken breasts
Source: bigcommerce
  1. Place the chicken breast with the skin side down on the cutting board.
  2. Use your sharp knife to cut between the meat and the bone of the chicken breast.
  3. Slightly angle your knife and use a scraping motion to cut along the ribcage.
  4. Keep using a scraping motion to remove ribs and breastbone.
  5. Cut around the wishbone as you reach the tip of the breast piece.
  6. Remove the tenderloin.

And with that, you are now the proud owner of boneless, skin-on chicken breasts.

How to debone cooked chicken breasts

cooked chicken breasts
Source: club.cooking

Another way you can debone chicken breasts is by cooking them up first. Many people prefer this method of deboning chicken breasts as cooking them first allows them to gather a healthier, richer chicken stock with the skin and the bones.

Another reason they prefer it is because hot/warm chicken breasts are easier to debone since the bones come off easily. Cooked chicken breasts are also used in a number of salads and other recipes. Here are the instructions to debone cooked chicken breasts:

  1. Use raw chicken breasts and boil them in a crockpot. You can also bake them.
  2. Allow the breasts to cool down before deboning them.
  3. Peel off the skin from the chicken breasts. This is an optional step.
  4. Use your knife to cut vertically along the breast.
  5. Cut along the bone and remove the breastbone.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

Watching a video greatly aids in learning. Here is a video on how to debone cooked chicken breasts:

You can now use your cooked boneless chicken breasts in salads, sandwiches or any other recipe of your liking.

How to remove tendon from chicken breasts

removing tendon
Source: blogspot

Chicken breasts have a piece of meat underneath them called the tenderloin. The tenderloin in turn is attached to a white, strong tissue called the tendon. You might want to remove this part for a more satisfying eating experience.

Here are the step by step instructions for removing tendons from your chicken breasts:

  1. Remove the tenderloin from the chicken breasts.
  2. Hold the tip of the tendon with your finger.
  3. Angle your knife along the tendon and begin running it along the length of the chicken.

The tendon is now removed. If you still feel confused, watch this video instead:

Tips on how to debone chicken breasts

Now that you have mastered the art of deboning chicken breasts, here are a few handy tips to keep in mind:

  • Prepare a bone bag for storing the bones when deboning.
  • Sanitize your work station and cover your workspace to quickly clean-up afterwards.
  • Always use a sharpened knife. You can learn how to sharpen your knife here.
  • When deboning, you may use a paper towel to hold onto the edge and avoid slipping.
  • Cut as close to the bones as possible to minimize wastage.

Boneless chicken breast recipes

Finally, we’ve gathered a few recipes for you to try out:

Creamy garlic chicken breasts:

A scrumptious chicken dinner made of chicken breasts flavoured in a mouth-watering garlic cream sauce. Topped with caramelized onions and garlic, this is a definite winner.

Oven-baked chicken breasts

oven baked chicken breasts
Source: cafedelites

This simple and easy oven baked recipe involves skinless, boneless chicken breasts seasoned in flavourful, delicious sauces before they are baked to perfection. The caramelized, golden baked chicken breasts are to die for.

Pan roasted, crispy skinned chicken breasts:

Source: simplyscratch

Finally, this skin-on, boneless chicken breasts recipe involves getting the chicken skin super crispy before being sent to the oven. Seasoned with good old salt and pepper, the chicken breasts are served with a light yet flavourful herb sauce that is the epitome of culinary perfection.

FAQs on chicken breasts

How long does deboning a chicken breast take?

Deboning chicken breasts takes approximately 15-20 minutes depending on practice. You must also consider the wait time if you are cooking the chicken first.

What’s the best knife for deboning chicken breasts?

The best knife for deboning chicken breasts is a sharp chef knife, preferably 10 inches long.

We hope this article has helped you gain an understanding of how to debone chicken breasts. If you want to start deboning right away, discover our collection of razor sharp, handmade knives at HDMD. Happy Deboning!

From the shop

HDMD™ - Serbian Chef Knife

HDMD™ - Utility Chef Knife

HDMD™ - Hand Forged Chef Knife

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