Parchment Packet Chicken

By Ann Fulton

This zero-cleanup technique delivers tender, juicy chicken and is helpful whenever a recipe calls for precooked chicken. Works with one chicken breast or many and offers endless flexibility with flavors!
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This zero-cleanup technique delivers tender, juicy chicken and is perfect on its own yet especially helpful for all those recipes calling for cooked chicken. Works with one chicken breast or many and offers endless flexibility with flavors.

 

Welcome to another edition of Fountain Avenue kids! Joey is in the house today, and this spunky 10-year-old loves school, soccer, and music. More recently, cooking has also become a favorite activity. Chicken Alfredo is his favorite meal, and that dish (as well as many others) becomes infinitely easier with the following technique. It’s like a fun origami project too!

I’ve long said that a recipe doesn’t have to be difficult to be delicious. And delicious and wholesome aren’t mutually exclusive!

This simple recipe illustrates both of those points quite well. It can be your go-to technique for tender, juicy chicken, and as a bonus, cleanup is practically nonexistent.

As Joey once said, “If dirty dishes are your enemy, this chicken will be your friend! And in the video below, Joey, shows us how truly simple it is.

As a side note, Joey and I have been working to perfect another recipe, which calls for cooked chicken, so stay tuned for that. It’s a more wholesome variation of a classic dish, and we’re pretty excited about it. After watching the video, you may be able to guess the what it is. 😊

 

The details: The easy parchment packet locks in moisture, which results in a texture that’s similar to poached chicken. The versatile method can be paired with favorite sauces (like barbecue), spice rubs (taco seasoning tends to be popular), or basic salt and pepper and a sprinkle of dried herbs (Joey likes oregano or Italian seasoning).  

Great for kids who like to help–the sprinkling and folding are fun–as well as adults who appreciate a super easy, reliable recipe that’s scalable. One packet accommodates one to four pieces of chicken, and more than one packet may be cooked at one time–ideal for families of all sizes and those who like to prep meals for the week ahead.

 

This zero-cleanup technique delivers tender, juicy chicken and is helpful whenever a recipe calls for precooked chicken. Works with one chicken breast or many and offers endless flexibility with flavors!

The most important tip: If for any reason your chicken seems tough or dry, shorten the cooking time the next time. (And do make again!) Chicken often cooks more quickly than we may think. 

The chicken is shreddable. The packets keep the steam in, mimicking the environment of a slow cooker, albeit in a much quicker way. As such, when the meat is cooked, you can pull it apart with two forks—or your fingers. Of course, chopping, slicing, or serving whole works too.

You can vary the flavor: Use your favorite spices, herbs, dry rub, sauce, or basic salt and pepper to add flavor and variety over time. The recipe’s inherent flexibility means that the resulting chicken can stand alone as the main protein on a dinner plate or be used in burrito bowls, pasta dishes, soups, casseroles, sandwiches (pulled chicken sandwich, perhaps?), and your favorite chicken salad.

Experiment: Once you try the basic chicken packets, feel free to experiment by adding vegetables that will cook in roughly the same time, like chopped broccoli, thinly sliced carrots, bell pepper, etc. You could get fancy and add artichokes, olives, and cherry tomatoes, and then add a sprinkle of crumbled feta at the end…

…or pick a theme like Mexican, flavoring the chicken with taco seasoning and adding extras like black beans, corn, and peppers, topping with cheddar cheese and avocado when done.

Just remember to leave space in the packets. If they’re too full, they may take longer to cook and may not cook evenly. A side of rice or another grain of choice is perfect for soaking up the natural juices. 

 

Think of parchment packet chicken when prepping school and work lunches. The task of creating protein-rich meals, often for multiple kids and adults, may suddenly feel a whole lot easier.   

Chicken in Parchment offers a convenient option in these recipes as well:

This zero-cleanup technique delivers tender, juicy chicken and is helpful whenever a recipe calls for precooked chicken. Works with one chicken breast or many and offers endless flexibility with flavors!

The technique is quick and easy: place the chicken on one side of a big piece of parchment paper and add your sauce or seasonings of choice. Then fold the paper over like a book, and make small, overlapping folds all the way around. 

This zero-cleanup technique delivers tender, juicy chicken and is helpful whenever a recipe calls for precooked chicken. Works with one chicken breast or many and offers endless flexibility with flavors!

Flavored with a sauce or seasoning of choice, the easy chicken will form a building block for so many meals. 

This zero-cleanup technique delivers tender, juicy chicken and is helpful whenever a recipe calls for precooked chicken. Works with one chicken breast or many and offers endless flexibility with flavors!

In my experience, I have found that kids really love to help with this recipe, and it’s a way for them to truly be helpful in the kitchen. The positive feelings that come from that are self-reinforcing, and that’s always a good thing. 

Parchment Packet Chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 1 to 4 servings (for additional servings, simply make a new packet)
This zero-cleanup recipe delivers tender, juicy chicken and is helpful anytime a recipe calls for already cooked chicken. Easy to cook one chicken breast or many, and you can flavor with your favorite sauces, herbs, and spice rubs!
Ingredients
  • 1- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Flavoring of choice: barbecue sauce, taco seasoning, curry paste, Sazón, harissa, peanut sauce, or other seasoning blend, dry rub, or spice of choice (even just salt and pepper and/or herbs of choice)
  • Parchment paper (may substitute foil)
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350℉ and place a long piece of parchment paper in front of you. Fold it in half like a book, creasing at the fold. (Eyeball a piece that is long enough to hold all the chicken breasts, side by side, with extra room for crimping.)

Unfold the parchment and place the chicken breasts on one side, in a single layer with a touch of space between them, if cooking more than one. Drizzle or sprinkle with sauce or seasoning of choice, flipping the chicken to get some on both sides. (Tip: I use about 1-2 tablespoons of a sauce, like barbecue sauce, per breast. When using a spice blend like taco or Sazón, I figure on 1 tablespoon per pound of meat.)

Fold the parchment paper back over. Then, starting at one end of the parchment, fold the edges over, working your way along all the sides until the packet is completely sealed.
Place the parchment packet on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before opening—and be careful of the hot steam.

Notes

How do I know the chicken is cooked through when I can’t see it? Small chicken breasts will take roughly 20 minutes, medium about 25, and very large breasts may take up to 30 minutes. Because all ovens vary, you may check by inserting a quick-read thermometer through the top of the packet and into the thick end of the chicken breast. It should read 160℉, as carryover cooking will take the internal temperature to the recommended temp of 165℉. You can also carefully unfold the packet if you prefer—just be careful of the hot steam that will escape. Ovens do vary, so check on the early side until you’re sure these times align. And if for any reason your chicken seems tough or dry, shorten the cooking time the next time. Chicken can cook through more quickly than we may think, and this chicken will be deliciously tender when just cooked through.

Can I cook tenders and cutlets this way? You can. The smaller size will mean they cook faster, so start checking around the 12-minute mark.

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Comments

  1. Yvonne
    (5/5)

    I made this tonight and it was very easy and the chicken tenders were done in about 15 minutes. So tender and juicy, I can’t believe my first try was a success!! Followed your instructions… it’s going to be my go to from now on. Thank you for the recipe!!

    Reply