How to cook chicken 2 ways

Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive and it definitely doesn’t have to sacrifice taste. But even when we WANT to eat healthy, prepackaged processed foods and fast food just seem like that… practical.

If dinner is over and you’re hungry, that’s it simply give in to those unhealthy cravings because they can quickly satisfy your hunger.

But what if healthy meals made themselves? What if eating healthy was just as quick and easy as the pre-packaged stuff?

If you’re on this page, you know exactly how we’re going to make this… Meal Prep!

With your protein prepped and ready to go, the rest of the ingredients come together in no time and… BOOM! With cooked chicken in the fridge, your healthy meal will require little to no effort on your part.

If cooking chicken seems daunting, don’t worry. Below I describe how easy and life-changing it can be to prep chicken ahead of time.

There are two main approaches to seasoning your chicken for meal prep. So read on and get ready for a whole week of delicious, healthy AND EASY meals.

How to cook chicken for meal prep – Method 1

You can cook the chicken for specific recipes.

In this method, you follow the recipes using the seasoning or marinade and the cooking method for those recipes, but you only prepare the chicken a few days ahead of the rest. After you’ve marinated or seasoned your chicken breasts or thighs, keep the process simple with a simple cooking method of your choice.

If you’re a meal planner, this approach is for you.

The advantages of this method are that it gives you a variety of flavors and eliminates questions about what to prepare later in the week. You choose an ideal time for cooking. Weekends may be a better time to cook than weekdays. So, by shifting the bulk of your meal prep to a more convenient time, you’ve made healthy eating more convenient.

First, find some easy chicken recipes that you like. If you need ideas, you should try it. Pick a day of the week when you have a little more time to be in the kitchen—usually the weekend. Then pause the recipes after the chicken is cooked and finish the recipe later in the week when you’re ready to eat.

Even if you do the same steps you could have done all week, you’ll be amazed at how it will reduce your overall time in the kitchen, and you’ll be so much more empowered to make healthy choices when you do do quick chicken have on hand! Save prep, cooking and cleanup time when preparing multiple meals at once.

FMC Tip: Double any recipe and freeze half for later use!

Prepare Chicken for Meal Prep – Method 2

You can use a neutral seasoning and cooking method to cook chicken in bulk.

If you’re more of a spontaneous person and meal planning isn’t your thing, then keeping your life flexible with this approach is the way to go. Without committing to recipes, preparing meals with a neutral flavor of chicken can give you plenty of options throughout the week.

Use this method to get started if you’re a beginner at prep. Or if you’re an experienced prepper, this is a great approach for large batches of meal prep.

When you’re looking to substitute your prepared chicken into different recipes, it’s good to have a few in mind that you know are great options — that way you don’t find yourself stuck in the middle of the week with no ideas and stuff Food is calling you! Check out these options for more ideas.

Grab your favorite spice combo – something that can compliment your favorite recipes or that would be good on its own. For spice ideas, try our Everyday Blend as a starter and experiment until you find what suits your tastes best. If you’re planning on eating the chicken with a side of vegetables or complex carbs, other great appetizer options for flavor include Cajun chicken, BBQ chicken, lemon pepper, or just a little olive oil and some ground black pepper and sea salt.

Remember, that’s the purpose of meal prep make your life easier.

Mix things up from one week to the next until you find what fits your schedule and style.

FMC Tip: If you’re looking for a low-carb weekday meal, chicken and veggies can be on the table in under ten minutes on those busy chicken meal prep nights.

Whether you’re prepping a specific recipe or keeping your condiments neutral, cooking your chicken and popping it in the fridge is super easy – anyone can do it! – with these six easy steps…

How to cook chicken for meal prep in 6 easy steps:

  1. Whether you’re seasoning chicken in one flavor profile or preparing multiple flavors at once, marinate or season your chicken. Don’t forget salt and pepper.
  2. Choose your preferred cooking method or follow your recipes. Again, it’s all about creating a routine that works for you. So if you pull out the Instant Pot, use an air fryer, or prep those baking sheets to bake chicken, all cooking methods will work.
  3. Cook the boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, following standard cooking instructions for your cooking method. Remember to reach 165°F for a safe internal temperature to avoid undercooked chicken.
  4. After cooking, give the chicken about 10 minutes to rest to lock in those juices, then dice or shred.
  5. Pack your chicken in an airtight container. Place the containers in the refrigerator for use later that week, or place in the freezer for long-term storage.
  6. Reheat chicken for a super quick and easy chicken meal!

FMC Tip: If you want to know how to cook chicken without it going dry, the secret is to cook the chicken pieces whole. If you dice the chicken before cooking, you’ll lose a lot of the juice in the process. So leave the pieces whole until after the cooking and resting times are over, then chop them up!

How long can you hold Chicken for meal prep in the refrigerator?

According to the USDA, you shouldn’t leave your chicken in the fridge for more than 3-4 days. After that, you can decide for yourself if the chicken is still safe to eat. But remember that not every spoilage will give you clear warnings that you can see or smell, so when in doubt, it’s best to throw it away!

If you notice changes in smell, taste, or appearance over the week, these changes are particularly good warnings that your chicken may need to be thrown. Slimy chicken or signs of mold mean the chicken has gone bad and should not be eaten.

FMC Tip: Many meal preppers split their weekly prep into two days (often Sunday and Wednesday) to ensure their food stays fresh. You can also increase your meal prep times by putting some of the chicken in the freezer. Chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to three months if stored properly. If you’re looking for a great meal prep container, check out our stainless steel lunch box.

How to reheat chicken meal prep

Most people prefer the convenience of the microwave for reheating. You should zap your chicken over medium-high heat for 1 minute. If you find your chicken is getting a little dry while reheating, you can add a small drizzle of olive oil to the chicken before microwaving to lock in moisture and flavor.

You can also reheat in an air fryer, on the stovetop, or in the oven.

FMC Tip: If you want to avoid the extra olive oil but still want to know how to cook chicken without it going dry, you can also lightly cover your chicken with a microwave-safe lid to keep it moist while it reheats. Make sure the lid is not completely closed to allow steam to escape.

Can You Eat Cold Boiled Chicken?

Yes! If you don’t have access to a microwave or the patience to preheat the oven, you can enjoy your chicken cold.

Tip: Chicken salad is a great option to use leftover cooked chicken when you don’t have an easy way to reheat.

Let’s start!

Meal prep is great for everything from simple dishes like chicken and rice to more complicated meals where you substitute your prepared chicken for another recipe.

Whether you choose a burrito bowl, teriyaki chicken, or chicken taco, I hope you’ve been convinced of how easy, flexible, and delicious meal prep can be on your healthy eating journey.

Now that you know how to make meal prep chicken flavorful, let’s get started!

If you need a new meal prep recipe, here are a few that will make your mouth water and motivate you to give it a try:

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