Some recipes call specifically for either chicken thighs or chicken breasts and this is for good reason. The texture and flavor of both are completely different.
Thighs are darker meat that is more succulent, slightly tougher, and more flavorful. Breast meat is white and dries out very quickly if overcooked.
However, both cuts come from the same bird so substitution is possible without spoiling your dish. We’ll have a look today at how to swap them and what recipes work best for this.
Chicken Thigh To Breast Substitution
According to cooking experts, substituting chicken thighs for breasts is certainly possible. There are some things you’ll need to watch out for.
You will need to check the size of the breasts and thighs, the cooking method you’re going to use, and the flavor profiles involved.
Generally, two thighs will equal one breast. Unless you’re using a quick-cook method like stir-frying, it’s best to opt for bone-in breasts rather than boneless ones.
This is an important point to consider because thighs tend to retain their juiciness after cooking. So, if you need to replace chicken breasts for thighs, it’s best to go for breasts on the bones since these stay juicy and moist for longer.
You must consider the cooking time as well. This is because chicken breasts tend to overcook with even the slightest increase in temperature or cooking time.
However, if you need the dryness of the boned breasts for your recipe, we suggest that you cook your thigh meat for longer to obtain this.
In the majority of cases, swapping chicken thighs for breasts is possible for the majority of casserole, stew, or curry recipes, as moisture is retained for both cuts here. Thighs tend to be better for these long, slow methods.
For the most part, chicken breast meat is great since it has a higher protein value and lower fat content.
For this reason, if you want to substitute thighs for breasts, keep in mind that the protein value will be slightly lower and fat content will be higher.
Chicken breasts are suitable for most fast cooking methods like grilling, stir-frying, and BBQ which isn’t always the case with chicken thighs.
Generally, chicken thighs can be used in various recipes where chicken breast is needed except perhaps stir-fries. Sure, there are differences in the protein and fat content, but it’s not a huge gap.
Thighs require a longer cooking time and perhaps the skin removed if you want to cut down on the fat content.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that one can substitute thighs for breasts. Please cook thighs longer and slower to allow them to tenderize and cook through.
It is a good idea to marinade them prior to cooking as well. If you use breasts instead of thighs, reduce the cooking time to retain moisture and use a little more fat and sauce when you cook them.