People who are new to cooking or who have a new oven or air fryer often end up burning the chicken. There are also times when a chicken gets burnt because of a lack of focus or maybe you have tried out a new recipe.
Perhaps you turned the oven setting up too high or simply got busy and forgot the chicken in the oven.
Whatever the reason, unless the chicken is completely black all the way through, it may be possible to still use it. We have provided 5 fixes to help you out of a difficult situation.
How to Fix Burnt Chicken
Burning chicken when cooking it is a common mistake that many of us have made at one time or another, so please don’t be hard on yourself.
Once a chicken dish is burned, there is only so much you can do to save the dish, particularly when it has a crispy black exterior.
However, if only the dish’s bottom is slightly burned or perhaps just the skin, you can salvage it, but you will probably always be able to detect a smoky flavor. If the burnt taste isn’t too strong, we suggest that you try salvaging it.
However, if the burnt taste is too strong and permeates all the meat, just throw it out, consider it school fees, and move on with a new batch. Here are 5 things to try if you decide that the chicken can still be used.
1. Remove the skin and add breadcrumbs
In our first scenario, let us assume you are making chicken portions rather than roasting a whole chicken. First of all, you should remove the burnt outer layer of chicken skin and have a look at what is underneath.
If the meaty part is still okay, dip the chicken in buttermilk and beaten egg, then press a layer of breadcrumbs over this. Briefly shallow fry the chicken portions in hot oil until the crumbs are golden brown.
Don’t overdo this step! Remove the portions from the oil and drain them on paper towels. Serve them with creamy chicken gravy to provide moistness and disguise the burnt flavor.
The milkiness of the buttermilk and the creaminess of the gravy will go a long way to balancing any burnt taste.
2. Use a sauce
Again, remove the skin and the worst of the burnt bits. Remove the chicken meat from the bones. Discard the bones and set the meat aside. Next, prepare a sauce. This could be anything from a tangy barbeque sauce to an Italian tomato pasta sauce.
Alternatively, make a creamy mushroom and garlic sauce. Of course, you can always open a ready-made jar of pasta sauce. Once your sauce is ready, stir in the deboned chicken and heat it to boiling point.
The sauce will not only help to disguise the charred flavor but will also provide much-needed moisture for the dried-out chicken. Serve this new dish on pasta, rice, or mashed potato. We bet nobody will notice that the chicken was burnt.
We won’t tell if you don’t!
3. Use potatoes
Potato has an amazing quality of absorbing flavors. If you were making chicken with gravy or sauce, and the chicken has burnt because it stuck to the bottom of the saucepan, the first thing you need to do is remove the liquid part and shift it to a new pot.
Don’t scrape the bottom of the pot. Then, take out the chicken pieces that aren’t stuck to the bottom. (If some are stuck, just let them be and don’t try to use those.) Add the unburnt chicken to the gravy or sauce in the new pot.
Then, just cook them together again over low heat, adding a peeled potato or two to the mixture. The potato will absorb some of the burnt flavors. It will do its magic within about fifteen minutes so allow it to simmer for a bit. Remove and discard the potatoes before serving.
4. Use butter
If the chicken is only slightly burnt or if the majority of the parts are edible, you can use butter. First, remove any burnt bits with a sharp knife. You may have to remove the skin also. Next, melt some butter (add crushed garlic if you like) and brush the chicken with it.
Grill for a minute or two (watch carefully!) The butter will add a rich flavor plus some moistness to the chicken, and the slightly burnt parts will appear crispy and golden. In simpler words, you will be able to get away with it!
5. Make something else with the salvageable parts
Start by using a sharp knife and your fingers to remove any bits of chicken meat that are not burned. Put them in a bowl and discard the rest. The salvaged bits can now be used for other dishes.
What about mixing them with mayonnaise for chicken mayo sandwiches? Or use them in wraps or enchiladas. You could make a creamy casserole, stretching the chicken with vegetables, potato, and sauce.
If you are concerned about the burnt taste of the chicken negatively impacting your meal’s flavor, you don’t need to worry because the addition of these other ingredients should cover the burnt tones pretty well.
Another idea is to add chicken bits to savory spiced rice. Alternatively, how about mixing it with a sweet and sour Asian-style sauce and adding this to a vegetable stir fry and noodles? Perhaps you feel like making a chicken salad?
There are many possibilities so please don’t waste those chicken bits.
Tips to Prevent Burning Your Chicken Again
As you can see, sometimes even burnt chicken isn’t a disaster. We’ve given you 5 ways to fix it and now we are going to give you a few pointers that will help you in the future.
- Always use the medium heat setting while cooking chicken. In the oven, this is 180 degrees Celcius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because medium heat is enough to cook chicken evenly and leave it tender and juicy.
- If you are using the stovetop, keep stirring the chicken every few minutes to make sure the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan because that’s the first step of burning.
- Be especially watchful when you are using sweet marinades or sauces. Sugar burns very easily. It may be a good idea to brush the chicken with these towards the end of the cooking time.
- Use your stove timer or set an alarm on your phone. This will prevent you from forgetting that the chicken is on the stove when you get busy with other tasks.