17 Jun How to Improve the Texture and Flavour of Chicken

Cooking Tips

How to Improve the Texture and Flavour of Chicken

17 June 2024


Salting chicken and red meats before cooking adds flavour to the meat and tenderises the flesh. This trick is one of the biggest take-homes from my course work.

When you get your chicken home from the store - be sure to unwrap it from any plastic. Pat it dry with paper kitchen towel and place it in a shallow dish. Season it with salt and place it uncovered in the fridge for up to 30 hours.

Refrigerating it uncovered helps dehydrate it a little which improves the opportunity for browning - when roasting or sauteing.

For best results - you need to salt the chicken for at least 1 - 2 hours. If you only have 1 - 2 hours, don't bother refrigerating the chicken, just dry it off with kitchen towel, sprinkle with salt and leave on the kitchen bench to come to room temperature before cooking. You must refrigerate raw chicken after 2 hours.

Cooked chicken should be rested for a minimum of 10 - 15 minutes before carving it. No harm is done by leaving it for an hour or two. Cooked chicken can only be kept out of the refrigerator for a maximum of 4 hours. Pay attention and protect it from  flys, dogs, cats and bugs .

Recipe Template

I use Red Diamond Kosher salt to salt chicken and other proteins. Kosher salt gets its name from the process of koshering. It is cut in such a way that it sticks easily to food, it dissolves easily and it happens to be less salty than regular sea salt - so it is very forgiving and prevents you over salting the food you cook.


1.5kg fresh free range whole chicken or chicken pieces

3 teaspoons of kosher salt or 2 teaspoons of regular sea salt


Paper kitchen towel

Shallow dish



Always select fresh free range chickens - preferably from your butcher or from a chicken shop rather than a super market.

Unwrap and pat dry the chicken. Place the chicken in a clean shallow glass, metal or plastic container.


Measure out and sprinkle over the salt, inside the cavity too.


If you are not cooking the chicken within the next few hours - refrigerate it uncovered in the lower part of the fridge - away from any fresh, uncovered produce.

If you have salted the chicken and then find you cannot cook it - you can freeze it - just label it as already salted and be sure to thaw it in the fridge, and then bring it to room temperature before cooking.


1 -2 hours before you are ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the fridge and place it on the bench to come to room temperature.

Be sure to pat the chicken dry before cooking - the salt often draws moisture out of the flesh.

Butchers and chicken shops will often truss whole chickens for you - a trussed chicekn will cook more evenly. If you cant do this yourself - ask the butcher to do it for you. 


Always select a pot or pan that can comfortably contain all of the chicken pieces - arranged separately in a single layer.

Select a pan just big enough to hold a whole chicken if roasting. If the pan is too big - all of the precious juices will burn off and you wont be left with anything to form a sauce. 

If poaching a chicken - select a pot or pan big enough to hold all of the vegetables and herbs and the measured amount of liquid. Too much liquid used to cover the chicken will make a weak broth that needs to be reduced.

If roasting a whole chicken - place the chicken breast side down into the preheated oven with its legs pointing to the back of the oven. Cook for about 20 - 30 minutes before turning over and finish cooking breast side up.

If you are making a pan sauce in the dish you cook the chicken in - be sure to taste it before adding any salt - keeping in mind the salt you have already added.


When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the heat and allow it to rest undisturbed for at least 10 - 15 minutes - up to an hour or two is perfectly alright too.

If you are resting a whole chicken - be sure to rest it breast side down.

A chicken poached in liquids is best left to rest in the liquids it has cooked in.

For further information on developing flavour in this way - be sure to consider one of our courses.


Notes by Elizabeth Peddey

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