This Surprising Ingredient Makes Roast Chicken SO Tender

Want to make your dinner extra-delicious? Here's why cooking chicken in milk should be your next culinary trick.

As far as we’re concerned, cooking chicken is one of the most important skills every home chef should master. It takes a really, really good cook to make savory, tender chicken.

Chef Jamie Oliver knows how to whip up chicken that’s golden, juicy and delicious. His secret? Basting the chicken with milk.

It’s easy to be skeptical about the combo. But trust us!

Here’s Why Cooking Chicken in Milk Makes Sense

The calcium in milk is thought to kick-start a natural enzyme in the chicken that helps it tenderize. It also breaks up the acidity and heat. (That’s true for non-dairy milk, like coconut milk, too.) As an added bonus, the milk creates a creamy sauce that will keep a roast chicken even juicier.

When you think about it, the combo really starts to make sense. We’re huge fans of making chicken potpie and chicken with mushroom sauce, and both of those creamy, dreamy recipes contain milk.

Jamie Oliver Got It Right

Thankfully, Jamie Oliver’s famous recipe for chicken is easy to re-create at home. You start by seasoning your chicken and frying it on the stovetop until golden. (Yes—the whole chicken!)

From there, the chicken can be slid into the oven with cinnamon, sage leaves, lemon zest, unpeeled garlic cloves and a generous pint of milk. You bake in the oven for an hour and a half, basting with the milk when you remember, and voilà: a seriously good chicken.

Jamie suggests serving with wilted spinach or some mashed potatoes. However you plate things up, it’s clear that chicken in milk will be the star of your meal. Bon appetit! Once you’ve mastered this trick, try some chicken dinner ideas that are perfect for every night!

Roast Chicken Recipes That Come Out Perfect Every Time
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Kelsey Mulvey
Kelsey Mulvey is a freelance writer and editor based in New York. Her hobbies include wine, nachos and the occasional hibachi dinner.