Mouthwatering and delicious chicken (better than restaurants!) is easy to make at home. The secret? Baking Soda!
Table of contents
- What is Baking Soda
- How baking soda works as a meat tenderizer
- Simple Steps on How to Tenderize Whole Chicken Breasts With Baking Soda
- How to Tenderize Small Pieces of Chicken Breast with Baking Soda (Traditional Chinese Velveting)
- Frequently Asked Questions
Tenderizing the meat is important, and you should not skip it. Not only does it make the meat soft, but it also ensures that the meat cooks evenly, guaranteeing consistently excellent meat.
What is Baking Soda
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, an alkaline chemical compound (NaHCO₃). Because it is alkaline and neutralizes acids, it is used to treat heartburn and is found in Alka-Seltzer. This same alkaline property is what makes it an excellent meat tenderizer.
How baking soda works as a meat tenderizer
What makes meat tough is the bonding of its protein particles. Therefore, alkalizing the surface of the meat makes it harder for protein particles to bond.
When baking soda is applied to the meat, it breaks the bonds making the meat tender. Scientifically, sodium bicarbonate is a compound that breaks down the bonds in the meat resulting in soft and delicious chicken grilled breasts.
The technique is very affordable and effective but must be implemented with caution.
It’s very easy to learn how to make chicken breast tender with baking soda. The greatest advantage of this technique is that it is not time-consuming.
If you are using large pieces of chicken, a baking soda marinade must be used. This is to allow the solution to penetrate into the meat, as well as to avoid uneven tenderizing between the inside and the outside of the meat.
For the traditional Chinese method of velveting chicken with baking soda, the meat must be cut into small, bite-sized pieces. For this method, the baking soda is applied as a powder.
Please review both methods below.
Simple Steps on How to Tenderize Whole Chicken Breasts With Baking Soda
Pound your meat – if using boneless meat
Start with pounding your meat with a meat mallet. It helps to break down bonds, which allow the bicarbonate solution to penetrate the meat.
When the meat is unevenly shaped, some pieces will cook faster than others, causing inconsistency in your chicken pieces’ taste as some shall be crispy.
But if you start with pounding the meat, you end up with even pieces.
Make a Baking Soda Solution
Mix 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 cup of water. This is enough for 1 pound of meat.
Soak the meat
After pounding the meat, soak it in a bicarbonate solution for 15 to 20 minutes. Any additional time will not yield better results.
Remove the chicken breasts from the solution and rinse the chicken in cool water to remove the baking soda.
This is a very key step, especially if the meat will be grilled.
Cook the meat
Once the desired results are achieved, the meat can be cooked as preferred. It is important to keep a close eye as the meat is already soft to avoid overcooking it.
How to Tenderize Small Pieces of Chicken Breast with Baking Soda (Traditional Chinese Velveting)
Cut your chicken into thin strips
Chicken nugget sized pieces will work as well.
Add Baking Soda
Use 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda for each pound of chicken. Sprinkle the baking soda over the chicken, and gently mix for an even coating.
Refrigerate the Chicken
Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, lean towards the 20 minutes if your pieces are smaller.
Rinse the Chicken
Rinse under cool, clean water, until the baking soda is all gone.
Cook the Meat
Cook via any method you prefer. The small pieces lend themselves to stir fry, fajitas, and pasta dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it true that baking soda will make my chicken crispy?
This happens because baking soda tends to raise the chicken meat pH, which leads to the breakdown of peptide bonds on the chicken. This allows the outside to end up crispy and browner.
Can I use baking powder instead of baking soda?
No, you cannot use baking soda and baking powder interchangeably. Baking powder contains both baking soda and an acid, which won’t tenderize your meat, and will also spoil the taste. Check this article for more on what is baking soda?
In most cases, the chicken breast is the least preferred part of the chicken, mostly because it tends to be a little tougher and dryer compared to other parts of the chicken.
But now you know that baking soda can help tenderize chicken breasts for a delicious and easy to chew meal.