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How Do Restaurants Make Chicken So Tender? Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

Cooking is an art that not everyone can master, but almost all restaurants appear to have what it takes to make tasty chicken.

How do restaurants make chicken so tender?

It takes simple but special, specific techniques to end up with tender chicken on your plate.

Here are a few things that most restaurant owners use to ensure their customers enjoy tender and juicy chicken.

Excellent Marinating

A marinade changes how your chicken turns out when cooked. In restaurants, they marinate their chicken to lock in moisture and improve the taste.

The chicken is left for about four hours or overnight to allow the marinade to seep in. this gives the chicken a nice flavor and keeps it moist.

Use your favorite marinade, but the best should include egg white, buttermilk, or yoghurt.

How Do Restaurants Make Chicken So Tender?
How Do Restaurants Make Chicken So Tender? One way is marinating.

Velveting Chicken

Velveting a chicken is one of the most common methods of tenderizing a chicken in most restaurants.

It is easy; pieces or breast strips of the chicken meat are marinated with baking soda and allowed to rest for about 20 minutes.

The meat is then rinsed thoroughly under running water and patted with paper towels to eliminate excess water.

The chicken is ready for cooking using various recipes. It is the ideal way to tenderize chicken breast because they are lean and can quickly dry out and become tough when cooked.

We actually have an in depth article on using baking soda with chicken here.

Quick Brine

Brine is a salt and water solution and works like marinade though it doesn’t have spices or things like eggs and yogurt.

The chicken is left in the bine solution for hours. This allows a restaurant chicken to be tender and juicy because the moist penetrates deep.

Pounding the Poultry Meat

Pounding a chicken means beating it with a mallet until it becomes thin. This makes it easy to cook the meat on a pan or grill. It is ideal for boneless chicken recipes.

This is one of the methods used by restaurants to ensure their chicken is tender. Since the pounding breaks down fibers, the chicken cooks fast; this allows it to maintain moisture.

Schnitzel is an example of a delicious food made by pounding meat.

Time the Chicken Properly

Restaurants hire chefs who how long a chicken takes to cook. They also know the perfect temperature and have thermometers to ensure the chicken is cooked correctly and achieve desired results.

For example, when grilling a chicken on a grill it is allowed to cook for about two minutes on each side before leaving it in the oven for six minutes.

Not knowing the right temperature can cause the chicken to dry out and taste bad.

Use the Right Pots and Pans

The material used in making a pot or its shape influences the taste of food. If a chicken is not grilled in a restaurant, it is likely to be cooked on a skillet or any other pan.

The best pan or pot usually comes with a lid to lock in moisture and heat. Besides, you find a deep pot because a shallow one is likely to allow steam to evaporate.

How do restaurants make chicken so tender
Marinating chicken that will be moist and tender

High Fat Content

While most people claim to not like meat with high-fat content, a little fat makes the chicken tender and delicious.

When the chicken is cooked, the fat melts and moisturizes the meat giving an amazing flavor. This is mostly possible with chicken thighs.

Room Temperature Chicken

Restaurants will always get their chicken out of the freezer and let it thaw before it’s cooked. Cooking a room-temperature chicken ensures the chicken remains moist.

A frozen chicken may become tasteless and flavorless because it comes with too much water.

Most restaurants remove their chicken from the freezer early in the morning and rest for a couple of hours before cooking.

Refrigerated chicken only needs about 30 minutes to warm to room temperature.

A room temperature chicken is easy to marinate.

Room temperature chicken also cooks more evenly, as the temperature difference between the outside of the meat and the inside of the meat is much less than if you put cold chicken onto a cooking surface.

Using the Right Temperature

The cooking process used to cook a chicken determines how tender it becomes when finally ready.

According to professional chefs, restaurants cooks know that placing a chicken on a cold pan or grill cause moist to evaporate when the cooking surface starts heating.

The pan is allowed to heat before the chicken is placed, and it starts cooking as soon as it touches the pan or grills. This ensures no moisture is lost.


When the chicken is almost cooked, chefs cover it with foil paper. It prevents the chicken from losing water and drying out.

The foil retains the natural moisture of the chicken and locks in delicious flavor. This makes the chicken soft and tender.


Basting keeps the chicken moist and tender as it cooks. The basting process involves pouring butter or oil on the chicken while it’s on the pan.

It allows the chicken moisture to spread in the chicken. The chicken can be baked or grilled, but you have to remove it from the grill or oven to pour the butter or oil over it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my chicken tender and soft?

To make your soft and tender at home, brine your chicken. This adds a nice flavour while ensuring the meat is tender.

Braise the meat slow and low, and by the time it’s cooked, it will be tender and juicy.

How do I make sure my chicken doesn’t become rubbery when cooked?

A chicken becomes rubbery when it loses moisture during the cooking process.

Make sure you soak the chicken in a salted solution, and it will help break down muscle fibers, which tenderizes it.

Will cooking chicken longer make it more tender?

Cooking chicken for longer can tenderize it. You simply add some water and allow it to boil, and by the time it’s ready, the meat will be loose and easy to remove from bones.

Why is my chicken dry?

Some parts of the chicken, like the breasts, are most prone to getting dry. This usually happens when they are overcooked.

Since these chicken parts are lean, they should be cooked for a short time to maintain their moisture. The heat must also be right for excellent results.

You can enjoy tender chicken made in your local restaurant at any time. However, you can also use the ideas above to make your chicken at home.

Remember that the chicken parts or type you want to cook determines what methods you can use to tenderize it. When you want to know how to make chicken soft like restaurants, rely on the methods above.

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