This surprising ingredient makes roast chicken so tender

Want to make your dinner extra-delicious? Cooking chicken with this household staple 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! It’s just as good as these 15 secret pantry ingredients that make your recipes yummier.

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Good Eats: 75+ chicken recipes you won't get bored of
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Good Eats: 75+ chicken recipes you won't get bored of

Grilled Chicken with Asian Marinated Tomatoes by Food & Wine

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Curried Maple-Mustard Chicken Breasts by Food & Wine

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Honey Balsamic Mustard Glazed Chicken by Chef Billy Parisi

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Buffalo Chicken Parm Poppers by Oh, Bite It | Amy Erickson

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Slow Cooker Coca-Cola Chicken by Oh, Bite It | Amy Erickson

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Spicy Barbecued Chicken with Miso Corn by Food & Wine

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Healthier Slow Cooker Crack Chicken by Slimming Eats

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Honey-Ginger Chicken with Lime by Food & Wine

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Roast Chicken Panzanella by Food & Wine

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Crisp Chicken Thighs with Peas and Carrots by Food & Wine

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Easy Chicken Fajitas With Thai Mango Slaw And Coconut Rice by Half Baked Harvest | Tieghan Gerard

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Whole Roast Chicken With 40 Brussels Sprouts by Food & Wine

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Buffalo Chicken Casserole by Campbell's Kitchen    

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Sesame-Ginger Chicken Meatballs by Food & Wine

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Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tarragon Creamed Corn by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Chicken, Fennel and Artichoke Fricassee by Martha Stewart

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Mini Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas by Campbell's Kitchen

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Five-Spice Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches by Food & Wine

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup by Melanie Makes | Melanie Bauer

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Sticky Sweet Chili Chicken Wings by Savory Nothings | Nora Rusev

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Fresh Harissa & Yogurt Spiced Chicken Sandwiches by JJ Begonia | Carlynn Woolsey

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Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup by Love and Olive Oil | Lindsay Landis

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Healthy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pizza by Savory Nothings | Nora Rusev

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Chicken Tikka Masala by Food & Wine

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Butter-Roasted Chicken with Soy-Garlic Glaze by Food & Wine

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Wintertime "Barbecue" Chicken by SELF

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Strawberry Basil Chicken by The Kitchen Prep | Dianna Muscari

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Butcher Shop Chicken by Food & Wine

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Chicken Chile Verde by Food & Wine

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Cambodian Red Curry Chicken Wings by Food & Wine

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Braised Chicken and Noodles in a Creamy Garlic Sauce by In Sock Monkey Slippers | Meredith Steele

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Turmeric Chicken & Rice by Food & Wine

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Slow Cooker Healthy Creamy Chicken Casserole by The Magical Slow Cooker | Sarah Olson

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White Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas with Pomegranate by Cooking and Beer | Justine Sulia

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Chicken Caesar Skewers by Food & Wine

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40 Glove Garlic Chicken by Today's Nest | Sam Henderson

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Chicken & Wild Rice Soup by Food & Wine

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Crock Pot Chicken and Chickpea Stew with Tomatoes by Chef Billy Parisi

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Tea-Brined and Double-Fried Hot Chicken by Food & Wine

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Chicken Paprikash Over Dumplings by Carrie's Experimental Kitchen | Carrie Farias

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Creamy Rice, Chicken And Spinach Dinner by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken by Food & Wine

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Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Chile-Yogurt Sauce by Food & Wine

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Thai Chicken Pizza by Bacon Egg & Cheese{cake} | Shelley Liu

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BBQ Pulled Chicken with Balsamic Onions and Slaw by Chef Billy Parisi

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Yuzu Kosho-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks by Perry's Plate | Natalie Perry

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Korean Fried Chicken by Simply Delicious | Alida Ryder

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Barbeque Chicken Quesadillas by Curtis Stone

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Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta With Chicken by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Chicken & Quinoa Salad with BBQ-Spiced Vinaigrette by JJ Begonia | Carlynn Woolsey

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Healthified Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings by The Skinny Fork | Amanda Plott

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Braised Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses by Own Your Kitchen | Anne Burrell

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Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Kingside Roast Chicken by Marc Murphy 

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Easy Skillet Chicken Parm by Prego

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Open-Face Buffalo Chicken Subs with Ranch Slaw by Domesticate ME! | Serena Wolf

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Mini Chicken Pot Pies by Campbell's Kitchen

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Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry by Food & Wine

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Easiest Chicken Tacos by Food & Wine

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Tagliatelle with Braised Chicken and Figs by Food & Wine

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Chicken Nuggets by Deceptively Delicious | Jessica Seinfeld

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Chicken Quinoa Meatballs by Chez Us | Denise Woodward and Lenny Ferreira

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Coffee-Spice Chicken and Fruit-Basil Salsa by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Spicy Asian-Chicken-Salad Lettuce Cups by Food & Wine

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Chicken Cordon Bleu by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Chicken and Cheese Poppers by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Caprese by Well Plated by Erin | Erin Clarke

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Easy Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Oven Fried Chicken Breasts by Food & Wine

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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 make 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. Before you get cooking, learn how to avoid the mistakes everyone makes when making chicken.

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Sheet pan chicken dinners
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Sheet pan chicken dinners
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Jamie Oliver got it right

Thankfully, Jamie Oliver’s famous recipe for chicken is easy to recreate 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. Bake it in the oven for an hour and a half, basting with the milk mixture after a while, and voilà: a seriously good chicken.

Chef Oliver 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 appétit! To make dinner even better, find out which 20 ways you’ve been cooking chicken breast all wrong.

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10 best cooking shortcuts from Joanna Gaines
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10 best cooking shortcuts from Joanna Gaines

Stock up on crescent rolls

To get that homemade feel you don’t always have to make everything 100% from scratch. In Magnolia Table, Joanna relies on refrigerated crescent roll dough for a few tasty recipes, like her quick orange-walnut sweet rolls and her classic chicken potpie. This cuts the prep time down significantly, and the results can taste just as good as something made all by hand.

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Save time with rotisserie chicken

While everyone loves a perfectly roasted chicken for dinner—and then the leftovers used in tasty dinners all week—it can be hard to find the time to roast one on a busy evening. That’s why Joanna grabs a grocery store rotisserie chicken to use in a handful of recipes, like her cozy chicken potpie.

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Turn tricky dishes into casseroles

Have a favorite dish that you always order at a restaurant but is just too tricky to make at home? Joanna says turn those into a casserole! She explains in her book that Chip loves eggs Benedict, but making individual servings at home can be a real hassle. So to get that same flavor with less work, Joanna turned it into an easy-to-make, easy-to-serve casserole. Genius! 

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Use store-bought crust

Pie crust serves as the foundation for so many of our favorite dishes—pie (obviously!), quiches and tarts—but making your own crust from scratch is sometimes too time-consuming. According to Joanna, don’t worry about it! She writes in Magnolia table that she subs store-bought crust for homemade all the time, especially when she’s whipping up a tasty quiche.

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Refrigerated biscuits are your friend

We all know that Joanna is a true Southern gal with an authentic recipe for buttermilk biscuits (you can check out how to make them right here), but we also know she’s a busy woman! That’s why when it comes to chicken and dumplings, Joanna says that you can easily substitute packaged biscuits for her biscuit and dumpling recipe.

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Focus on the main dish and take shortcuts on the sides

In Magnolia Table, Joanna explains how enchiladas are a family favorite in her house. The cheese-filled chicken enchiladas are the star of the show and the side dishes—beans and rice—are just supporting players. So when time is tight, focus on the main, and used packaged rice as a quick substitute. Joanna prefers Knorr brand Mexican rice mix.

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Transform your condiments 

We love our sandwiches layered with flavored aiolis, but we never think to make those fancy types of mayonnaise at home. After all, mayonnaise from scratch can be a real chore. But to get that same effect, Joanna takes her favorite mayonnaise (she says she prefers Hellman’s) and stirs in a handful of herbs and spices. For her version, add chopped chives, garlic, dill, parsley, paprika and a bit of lemon juice. Feel free to add your favorite flavors to dress up your sandwiches.

Have a boxed pancake mix on hand

While Magnolia Table has an exceptional recipe for fluffy pancakes, Joanna writes, “I always have a boxed mix in the pantry for when I just don’t have the time.” It’s always smart to have these backup plans, plus boxed mixes serve as a great foundation for all sorts of recipes like these pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes and even this five-star breaded catfish.

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Use basics as a base

Even the most unassuming ingredients can turn into a craveable snack. In Magnolia Table, Joanna describes how her friend makes the tastiest seasoned crackers, perfect for parties. Try our version with these seasoned crackers—only four ingredients!

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There's always pizza

No matter how carefully you plan or how carefully you read a recipe, sometimes dishes can just go wrong. If something goes wrong and your dinner flops, take this advice from Chip and Joanna from Magnolia Table, “there’s always pizza.”

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