How to Batch Cook Chicken (Recipe, Tips, and Tricks)
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If you’re like me, then you know how tough it can be to stick to a healthy diet, especially when you’re not a fan of bland and boring foods. But luckily, healthy foods don’t need to be bland or boring! And there’s one food that never fails to satisfy my taste buds and keep me on track with my health goals – and that’s chicken.
I’ve been through my fair share of diet struggles. But I’ve discovered that chicken is not only delicious, it’s also packed with high-quality protein and nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy.
So, if you’re ready to up your meal prep game and enjoy some delicious and nutritious chicken, then keep reading. I’m going to share my personal tips and tricks for cooking bulk chicken for the week so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your meals. Let’s do this!
How to Cook Bulk Chicken for the Week
Alright, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of cooking bulk chicken for the week! Before you start, it’s super important to plan and prepare. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way – there’s nothing worse than having a fridge full of uncooked chicken and no idea what to do with it.
Here are my personal tips and tricks for cooking bulk chicken for the week. With a little planning and preparation, you can have delicious and healthy meals all week long!
How Much Chicken
First, decide how much chicken you’ll need for the week. If you’re cooking for you and maybe one other person, about 3-4 pounds of chicken breast fillets should do the trick. If you have a larger family or want more leftovers, aim for 6-8 pounds.
Buying the Chicken
When it comes to buying chicken, going for the breast fillets is a no-brainer – they’re low in fat and high in protein. Chicken breast fillets provide about 165 calories from 31 grams of protein and about 3.5 grams of fat, while chicken thigh meat provides up to about 230 calories. But chicken wings have about 290 calories and 19.5 grams of fat in a 3.5-ounce serving.
I know that buying chicken breast fillets every week can add up in cost. That’s why I’ve found that buying bulk chicken is the way to go. It saves money and time in the long run when you buy in bulk.
If you do decide to buy in bulk, you can use your extra chicken to create new recipes and experiment with different flavors. If you happen to need any kitchen tools or equipment for your meal prep, be sure to check out our recommended products through our associate’s program as an affiliate for additional savings.
Next, choose your cooking method. Oven-baking is a great option, especially when cooking for a smaller group. Preheat your oven to 400°F, season your chicken with your favorite spices, and bake on a baking sheet for about 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
If you’re a fan of slow-cooker meals, then you may prefer to load up the crockpot and forget about it for the day. Simply add your seasoned chicken to the slow cooker with a bit of chicken broth or water, set it to low heat, and let it cook for about 4-6 hours.
Grilling is another tasty option, especially during the summer months. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, season your chicken, and grill for about 6-8 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
If you have an Instant Pot, you can use it to quickly cook your chicken to perfection. Simply add your seasoned chicken and a cup of chicken broth to the Instant Pot, set it to manual high pressure for 15 minutes, and do a natural release for 5 minutes before quick releasing the remaining pressure.
Seasoning and Marinating
When it comes to seasoning and marinating, the possibilities are endless. Sometimes I keep it simple with just olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, but other times I’ll whip out several flavorful marinates and bulk cook a variety of flavors. Marinate your chicken for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours) before cooking for maximum flavor.
Storing the Chicken
Last of all, storing your cooked chicken correctly is important to keep it fresh and safe to eat. I like to portion mine out into meal prep containers and store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just be sure to let it cool down to room temperature before storing, and always reheat to 165°F before eating.
Cooking bulk chicken for the week is a great way to make sure you always have tasty and healthy meals ready to go. It’s not only a time and money saver, but also a great opportunity to get creative with different cooking techniques and spices. Just make sure you store your cooked chicken correctly to keep it fresh and safe for future meals.
How to Use Batch Cooked Chicken Breasts
Now that you’ve batch cooked your chicken breasts, let’s talk about all the delicious ways you can use meal prepped chicken! Cooked chicken breasts is a super popular meal prep ingredient that can be used in so many different dishes! Here are some of my favorite chicken meal prep ideas:
- Salads: Add cooked chicken to your salads for a boost of protein and make your salad more filling. Combine it with greens, veggies, and a healthy dressing for a nutritious and delicious lunch.
- Stir-fries: Cooked chicken is perfect for stir-fries. They’re a quick and easy meals. Combine your chicken with your favorite vegetables and a healthy sauce, and BAM, you have a balanced meal in no time.
- Soups: Use your cooked chicken to make a healthy and comforting soup. Try a classic chicken noodle soup, or mix it up with a spicy chicken tortilla soup or a hearty chicken and vegetable soup.
- Wraps: Make a healthy wrap by stuffing a whole-wheat tortilla with cooked chicken, veggies, and a healthy sauce or hummus.
- Bowls: Make a healthy and filling bowl by combining cooked chicken with your favorite grains (like quinoa or brown rice), vegetables, and a healthy dressing or sauce.
When it comes to portioning and freezing your cooked chicken, it’s important to do it right so it stays fresh and safe to eat. I like to portion my chicken into meal prep containers and store them in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, just thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat to 165°F before eating. Super easy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still unsure about cooking meal prep chicken in bulk? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with these frequently asked questions and helpful tips.
Can You Put Frozen Chicken in Your Crockpot?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably forgotten to thaw your chicken before cooking it in the crockpot. So, can you put frozen chicken in your crockpot? The short answer is yes, but there are some important things to consider before doing so.
The biggest issue is that the chicken may not reach a safe internal temperature fast enough to kill any bacteria that may be present. Also, the longer the chicken spends in the “danger zone” temperature range (40-140°F), the greater the risk that it’ll grow bacteria and make you sick!
To safely cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s safe. The chicken should reach a temperature of 165°F to be considered safe to eat.
Also, it’s best to use a high setting on your slow cooker to cook frozen chicken, and you’ll probably need to add at least one hour to the cooking time. This will help make sure the chicken reaches that safe temperature as fast as possible.
Ultimately, if you’re not sure if the frozen chicken will be cooked thoroughly, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and use thawed chicken instead. Even though it will take a bit more time to thaw the chicken before you get started, it’s better than getting yourself super sick!
How Long Is Frozen Chicken Good For?
When it comes to storing chicken in the freezer, you’ll store you uncooked and your cooked chicken a bit differently.
Uncooked whole chicken can last up to a year in the freezer, and chicken pieces (like the breast or thighs) can last up to 9 months. It’s always best to use frozen chicken within 3-4 months for the best quality and flavor. Make sure to store raw chicken by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or put chicken in an airtight freezer bag. This helps avoid freezer burn and keeps the chicken’s texture and flavor fresh.
Cooked chicken can also be stored in the freezer. It has a slightly shorter shelflife and should be used within 2-6 months for the best quality and flavor. Before storing your cooked chicken, give it time to allow to cool to room temperature. Then divide it into portion sizes and wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap or use an airtight container or bag. Make sure the container or bag is freezer-friendly.
Chicken should be stored in the freezer at 0°F (-18°C) or lower to keep bacteria from growing on the chicken. Also, remember to always label the freezer bag or container with the date you froze the chicken to keep track of how long it has been in the freezer.
How Long Can You Keep Cooked Chicken in the Refridgerator?
Cooked chicken can last up to four days in the refrigerator. BUT… if you notice any changes in color, texture, or smell, it’s best to throw it out. To store cooked chicken, use an airtight container.
How Can I Cook Chicken in Bulk for a Large Family or Gathering?
If you’re cooking for a larger group or hosting an event, you may need to change the bulk chicken cooking method to meet your needs. Here are some strategies and tips to help you feed a crowd:
- Increase the amount of chicken: The basic recipe for bulk cooking chicken can easily be doubled or tripled depending on the size of your group. And don’t forget to double or triple the seasoning as well.
- Use multiple cooking pots: If you need to cook a large amount of chicken, you may need multiple pots, like multiple slow cookers or roasting pans. You’ll want to avoid overstuffing a single pot so the chicken can cook evenly and thoroughly.
- Adjust cooking time and temperature: When cooking larger amounts of chicken, you may need to increase the cooking time or temperature to make sure it cooks completely. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken and make sure it reaches 165°F (75°C) before serving.
- Offer different seasonings and flavorings: To keep a crowd happy, you may want to offer a variety of seasonings and flavorings. Some make like the chicken spicy while others would prefer to keep it plain.
- Serve in a variety of ways: Bulk cooked chicken can be served in a variety of ways. Some options include shredded chicken for tacos or sandwiches, sliced for salads, or whole as a main course.
By following these tips, you can make adjustments to keep your whole group happy and make sure everyone enjoys some delicious and flavorful chicken.
Let’s Get Cooking!
If you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to meal prep, bulk cooking chicken is the way to go! You can cook a large batch of chicken to use in tons of different meals throughout the week. Remember to correctly store your cooked and uncooked chicken, and don’t be afraid to get creative with seasonings and flavors to keep life interesting.
Get started with these easy recipe ideas for chicken meal prep:
Have fun cooking! And if you try any of these recipes, don’t forget to share a pic of your meal prep and tag me on social media!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, I'm Kevin
My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.
By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!