How to Fix Rubbery Chicken

Rubbery chicken can be a frustrating experience, ruining an otherwise delicious meal. Whether you’ve overcooked or undercooked the chicken or used a cooking method that dries out the meat, the result is the same—a less-than-appetizing texture. Additionally, certain conditions, such as woody breast or white striping in chicken, can also contribute to this issue. But fear not, there are various ways to prevent and fix rubbery chicken, and in this article, we’ll explore some useful tips and tricks to ensure tender and juicy chicken every time.

How to Fix Rubbery Chicken

Causes of Rubbery Chicken

  1. Overcooking and Undercooking: Overcooking chicken can lead to a dry and rubbery texture, as the proteins in the meat become excessively denatured. On the other hand, undercooking chicken can result in a tough and chewy consistency.
  2. Low-Fat Cooking Methods: Using cooking methods that lack sufficient fat, such as grilling or baking without added fats, can cause the chicken to dry out, leading to a rubbery texture.
  3. Woody Breast and White Striping Conditions: Some chicken breasts may develop conditions like “woody breast” or “white striping,” which are characterized by altered muscle fiber structure and fat deposition. These conditions can make the meat tougher and less tender.

How to Fix Rubbery Chicken

If, despite your best efforts, you still end up with rubbery chicken, don’t worry. There are several methods you can try to salvage the texture and flavor of the meat:

1. Salt the Chicken

Before cooking, consider salting the chicken. Salt acts as a tenderizer and enhances the flavor of the meat. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the chicken and let it sit for about 30 minutes before cooking.

2. Cook Thoroughly

If the chicken is undercooked, return it to the heat source and cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (73-74°C). Ensure it’s cooked all the way through to achieve a more tender texture.

3. Reheat with Broth

If you have leftover rubbery chicken, reheat it in a pan with some chicken broth. The broth will help add moisture back to the meat, making it more palatable. Cover the pan with foil to trap the moisture and prevent further drying.

4. Use Baking Soda

Try cutting the chicken into thin strips and spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle some baking soda over the chicken strips and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. The baking soda will help break down the protein fibers, resulting in a more tender texture.

5. Make a Sauce

Consider making a sauce to add moisture and flavor to the chicken. A flavorful sauce can help mask the rubbery texture and make the dish more enjoyable. Experiment with different sauces, such as barbecue, teriyaki, or creamy mushroom.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Before delving into how to fix rubbery chicken, let’s discuss some preventive measures to avoid encountering this problem in the first place:

1. Check Internal Temperature

Always use a reliable instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. The safe minimum temperature for chicken is 165°F (73-74°C). Cooking the meat to the correct temperature ensures it’s both safe to eat and tender.

2. Choose Organic Chicken

Opt for organic chicken that is no bigger than 7 pounds. Organic chickens are generally raised in a more humane manner and tend to have better texture and flavor.

3. Cut Uniformly

Cut the chicken pieces so that they’re uniform in size. This allows for even cooking, preventing some parts from overcooking while others remain undercooked. If uniformity isn’t possible, place larger pieces over the heat source and move smaller ones to the side.

4. Natural Growth

Look for chickens that have been raised at a natural pace. These chickens tend to have better muscle development and more tender meat.


Rubbery chicken is an unfortunate kitchen mishap, but with the right knowledge and techniques, you can prevent it from happening and fix it if it does occur. Checking the internal temperature, choosing organic chicken, cutting uniformly, and selecting chickens raised at a natural pace are excellent preventive measures. Additionally, salting the chicken, ensuring thorough cooking, reheating with broth, using baking soda, and incorporating flavorful sauces are effective ways to salvage rubbery chicken.

So, the next time you cook chicken, remember these tips to enjoy tender and juicy meat. Happy cooking and bon appétit! 🍗

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I fix rubbery chicken by marinating it?

Yes, marinating the chicken can help tenderize the meat and add flavor. Consider using a marinade with acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar to break down the protein fibers.

2. What is woody breast in chicken?

Woody breast is a condition that affects the texture of chicken meat, making it tough and chewy. It’s believed to be related to the bird’s muscle growth rate.

3. How do I know if my chicken is undercooked?

Always use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature. If the chicken hasn’t reached 165°F (73-74°C), it is undercooked and needs further cooking.

4. Can I fix rubbery chicken by braising it?

Yes, braising the chicken in a flavorful liquid can help soften the texture and make it more tender. Braising involves cooking the chicken slowly in a covered pot with liquid.

5. What other cooking methods can help avoid rubbery chicken?

Grilling, baking, and roasting are all good cooking methods that can help retain the moisture and tenderness of chicken. Avoid deep frying or cooking at very high temperatures, as these can dry out the meat.

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