The Secret To Making Chicken Breast Taste Much Better Than A Hockey Puck

September 19, 2011   44 Comments

Snack Girl hasn't sucked on a hockey puck lately, but she has grilled skinless chicken breast past the point of edible.

Stewed Chicken Breast Recipe

In fact, my husband will not eat skinless chicken breast because he says it is too dry. This is a shame because 4 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast is very low in saturated fat and only 128 calories.

A four ounce steak has 224 calories and almost 20% of your daily value of saturated fat (so sad).

When you take the fat out of the chicken, you lose a lot of the flavor and moistness. On the other hand, you get a nutritionist's DREAM because skinless, boneless chicken breast is easy to find, high in protein, and low in fat.

This is the poster child for a healthy meat choice. (I know bacon wasn't even nominated for the poster.)

What to do?

You need to treat chicken breast like any other tough piece of meat and cook it slowly. Cooking it at a high temperature for a long time in a slow cooker allows moisture from the braising liquid to seep in to the chicken.

Basically, you are stewing it and my favorite sauce for stewing (when I am feeling lazy - which is all the time) is jarred salsa. I love this black bean and corn Mrs. Renfro's salsa that is just perfect for making chicken breast into a "Mexican" stew.

We take the stewed chicken and serve it on tortillas with avocado, cheese, diced tomatoes, lettuce and have a taco night. This can be a great snack all on its own - and will completely fill you up until meal time.

For those out there who hate to cook, this recipe isn't really cooking - but it will make you LOOK like you cooked something. You are just putting 2 ingredients (chicken breast and salsa) in a slow cooker and turning it on.

My 5 year old could handle this recipe (if he could just open a jar).

What are your tricks for cooking chicken breasts?


Stewed Chicken Breast Recipe

(no reviews yet)

(serves 8)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
1 jar thick prepared salsa (high quality)
1 lime (optional)

Coat a medium or large slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Add chicken breasts and pour salsa over them. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

When cooked, shred chicken with a fork and squeeze lime juice into stew. Mix, taste, and adjust for salt. Serve over tortillas or rice.

This stew will keep in the fridge for a week - and will freeze well.

one serving = 139 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1.9 g carbohydrates, 23.9 g protein, 0 g fiber, 326 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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This sounds so delicious and easy!

Considering the cost of pre prepared chicken breasts, could this recipe be adapted to a whole chicken, or chicken pieces?

I put a lot of water in the pan when I'm cooking chicken, almost boiling it. It doesn't brown (that is, it cooks, and unpinks, but doesn't get scorch marks or get goldeny), but that's not a big deal to me. But the water keeps it from getting dry at all - nice, moist, juicy chicken, with no added fat!

@Anna - I think this would work with chicken pieces (needs to be cut up to fit under salsa) but I would remove the skin.

Yes, boned chicken breasts are pricey!

I cracked the mystery of cooking juicy boneless, skinless chicken breasts when I first moved out years ago: Broiler/Toaster Ovens. My fist boneless, skinless chicken breast spurted when I cut into it, it was so juicy. I usually just throw on a little garlic salt and they come out quite tasty.

I haven't bought chicken breasts in about a year. I use drumsticks and thighs for everything. Although the breasts are high in protein, they offer little additional nutritional value. The dark meat contains more nutrients, and is cheaper to boot.

Two words: meat tenderizer. This makes all the difference for us when we use boneless skinless, whether grilled, stovetop, or oven-prepared. It always comes out SO tender!

Marinading the chicken overnight also helps to maintain the moistness. McCormick's makes a lot of great flavors! To save calories, you can replace half of the oil in their recipe with water and it still tastes great.

The secret to making chicken that is tasty is to start out with a product not from a factory farm. I find this makes a HUGE difference. When the chicken is from a family farm = much more tasty and moist. Better for you too. Often Factory Farmed chicken is injected with salt water.

I cook my boneless skinless chicken breast on the stovetop until heated through then I add a jar of salsa and cook long enough to warm the salsa up.

I love this idea for cooking chicken breast, since I totally agree that on the grill it can come out dry and yucky. I like to cook it in my cast iron skillet with some cooking wine to keep some juicy-ness in there, but I can't wait to try this crock pot idea. Brilliant!

This sounds interesting. I also just posted a great chicken breast recipe. Orange Cornflake Crusted Chicken.

Thank you! I am one that would pass on grilled chicken breast as well because it's so dry. This is a great idea!

Love this!! I'll be trying this sometime this week! Thanks!

Thx for the recipe. Since losing 93 lbs, I was starting to run out of ways to prepare chicken :)

I use salsa for all sorts of foods. Boca burger TACOS are a favorite.

LOL You are so funny. been awhile since I've had hockey pucks. I found that chicken breasts are best when cooked on the bone, skinless of course. Our Big Green Egg cooks them and they are so moist, The last time I cooked boneless brests, I cooked them so long you could hardly swallow them because they got stuck in your throat.


Lisa, love the recipe!!! Love the article!!! please keep it up! But what gets me the most is it's only 3 ingredients!!! Kudos Keep up the good job!Stop by when you have a chance your all invited!

I usually don't measure any of these ingredients but this is 1 of my favorite chicken dishes:


1 Can Coconut Milk - I like the cold pressed

Juice & Pulp From 1-2 Limes or several Key Limes

1/4-1/2 C Cilantro chopped

1 Jalapeno Pepper minced - more if you like HOT

2-3 Cloves Garlic minced or 1/2 t garlic powder

1/2-1 t Sea Salt

Mix all of this together & add chicken.

Marinate at least 3 hours.(overnight is better)

Discard marinade & bake chicken @ time & temp you'd normally do for the size of pieces used.

It's great with rice or to put on tortillas with salsa.

One of the easiest things for me with boneless, skinless chicken breasts is to marinate them. Even this is easy, when I bring them home I break them down, add my fav low fat salad dressing and stick in the freezer, as they defrost they marinaate themselves and with so many different flavors it's easy to indulge my whims.

My two favorite ways to fix boneless chicken breasts: 1) wash breasts, place in saucepan with 1 box of chicken broth, begin simmering, add celery, spices, GARLIC, S&P to taste, fresh celery, onions, etc. . . . . simmer semi covered until you have a delicious broth/soup and lots of chicken meat that you can make into chicken salad (with some crunchy veggies and dressing of choice) and make into sandwiches or serve on a bed of crisp greens, top with a few cruncy slivered almonds, yum! . . . 2) pound breasts with garlic and fresh lemon, pepper, place in broiler as someone mentioned before, and broil until just cooked without drying out. Either of these methods is very satisfying and EASY, can be eaten hot or cold. :-)

My husband will NOT eat salsa (even the mild kind) and I really dislike boiled chicken. I'd love some other suggestions. TIA.

Your chicken should not have more than 75mg of sodium per serving, if it does, it has been injected with sodium!! I don't understand why even chicken has to be messed with by meat companies!

What size jar of salsa?

Recipe sounds DELISH!!! :)

@Yvonne - oops - I think they are 15 ounces - large jar of salsa - I will check and add it in the recipe.

I do this all the time! My fiance calls it "Maria Chicken." I adapted the recipe from a friend. I do one or two breasts of chicken, a bag of organic frozen corn, a jar of salsa and fresh diced tomatoes (not from a can). I serve it similar to you, but my fiance likes it over brown rice!

How much does one serving measure out to be? Also, the recipe does not include the tortilla therefore, I am assuming the point count will be higher than that accurate? Thank you for this great sounding yummy!

MON Night Quick Baked Chicken Breast
-1 Pkg. chicken breast (bone in w/skin)
-1 can greenbeans (or fresh)

-uncooked long grain brown rice (we like Basmati)

Put 1/2 C or so of uncooked rice in bottom of a med roasting pan (sm. handful per serving)

Dump can of greenbeans on top of that (or fresh)

Wash chicken breasts and lay on top of green beans

A little butter or olive oil on top of breasts, your choice of seasoning (recommend garlic & onion, Rosmary, s&p

Add a little (just a little) chicken broth after cooking awhile if it looks dry (shouldn't but just in case)

Cover, and bake at 325 degrees until done. Covering traps all the juices and flavor and whallah! dinner in less than an hour :-)

I've only done this in conventional oven, not microwave, because it needs a bit of time for the flavors to blend. I've cooked this for company before. You could use stuffing but higher calories/carbs. Maybe try in convection oven, just reduce cooking time.

I love making salsa chicken in the slow cooker. Another trick for juicy chicken breasts is to pound them to an even thickness so they cook more evenly and are less likely to dry out. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is to sprinkle them with lemon pepper. Cook in a skillet on top of the stove just until done and then drizzle them with fresh lemon juice. I got this idea from an Ellie Krieger book, where she says she learned it from Mark Bittman.


Grilled chicken is the best! But to get that really nice grilled and not burnt flavour - marinate over night - then pre-cook in oven til just about done - finally add just a little bbq sauce and throw on the grill for the marks and final cooking. Mmmmmm chicken never tasted so good

I made this tonight and added yellow and orange bell peppers and zucchini and it was really moist and tasty! My husband and kids like it also and that doesn't happen often.

Has any one realized Reynolds makes a liner for that crockpot - no more cleaning the pot except for possibly wiping out the condensation!

House people, we have been set free!

Hi Lisa! I made this last night for my hubby and he LOVED it! I had a few bites and it was amazing! I'm just getting into using a crock pot but this recipe is something we will do again! : )

Okay, so I've seen a similar recipe to this before. Do you have any other suggestions on what to use when you aren't feeling like Mexican? What other liquids would work? Thanks!

Also, any variations for pork? My husband is allergic to chicken.

Hi Snack Girl,
Check out the link above!
I've already book marked your post.

Hi Snack Girl,

I got your message regarding what other liquids other then salsa? You can try Teriyaki. Also try Italian/Ranch/Caesar salad dressing! Also try apple & pineapple juice as well.And if you like smaoked food as well, try a few shots of liquid smoke!

Tried it but the chicken kept jumping out of the crock pot.

This is my favorite way to cook chicken breasts.

I sent this recipe to my husband, and he made it last night (which of course made it 100% better!). The chicken was fantastic. He mixed a really good chunky salsa (not as much liquid) with some Pace salsa (which had more liquid), and added some Adobo and taco seasoning. It smelled just as good as it tasted! Highly recommend it!

I marinate boneless and skinless chicken breasts for about an hour then cook them for about 4 minutes on a George Foreman grill. They come out juicy and perfect every time. I'm not a gadget person....but this grill is amazing. Best purchase ever. It grills lots of things besides chicken...onions, portobello mushrooms.....dinner in a snap.

Not to be contradictory, but your assertion that chicken breast is a tough meat and NEEDS to be tenderized with slow cooking is just.. wrong. Slow cooking is great (and easy) as this tasty recipe illustrates, but there is absolutely NO reason why anyone with a little oil/butter, salt, pepper and a thick frying pan (can't say enough good things about cast iron!) can't make the juiciest chicken you've ever tasted in under 20 minutes.

I suggest you take a look at this recipe here:…

Wonderful site, he takes the mystery out of cooking delicious, juicy cuts of meat without the need for marinades or flavoring.

I am making this tomorrow with Newmans black bean and corn salsa.

Simply want to ‘stew’ chicken breasts to add to pre package chicken soup mixings

Boil or simmer in water

How long??

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