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Do You Cut Chicken With or Against the Grain?

Last Updated on November 13, 2022 by Lauren Beck

If you’re not sure how to slice chicken breast, you’re not alone. It’s a common question with no easy answer. The truth is, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Slicing with the grain will result in longer, tougher slices of meat, while slicing against the grain will yield shorter, more tender pieces.

When slicing chicken breast, the grain refers to the lines of muscle fibers that run throughout the meat. If you were to look at a cross section of chicken breast, you would see these lines running horizontally. Slicing with the grain means that you’re cutting along these lines, while slicing against the grain means cutting across them.

So, do you cut chicken with or against the grain? It depends on your personal preference and what you’re using the chicken for. If you’re looking for something quick and easy that can be thrown into a stir-fry or onto a salad, slicing against the grain is probably your best bet. The shorter, more tender slices of meat will cook quickly and be easy to chew.

How to Cut Against the Grain?

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to slice chicken breast against the grain:

  1. Place your chicken breast on a cutting board, with the thinner side facing up.
  2. Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken breast in half horizontally, cutting through the center of the meat.
  3. Turn each half so that the cut side is facing down.
  4. Slice the chicken breast into thin strips, cutting against the grain.
  5. Enjoy!

What Knife to Use When Cutting Chicken?

A sharp knife is always your best bet when cutting chicken. A dull knife will not only make the job more difficult, but it can also be dangerous. A sharp knife will glide through the meat more easily, making for cleaner, safer cuts.

When choosing a knife to use, look for one that’s comfortable in your hand and has a sharp, serrated blade. A serrated knife is ideal for cutting meat because the saw-like teeth make it easier to slice through tough surfaces.

Can You Cut Chicken Breasts in Half?

Yes, you can cut chicken breasts in half. In fact, this is a great way to get more even slices of meat. To do so, simply place your chicken breast on a cutting board, with the thinner side facing up. Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken breast in half horizontally, cutting through the center of the meat.

Should You Cut Chicken Breasts Before Cooking? 

It’s up to you. Some people prefer to cook chicken breasts whole, while others prefer to cut them into smaller pieces before cooking. If you’re uncertain, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and cook the chicken breasts whole. This will help ensure that they’re cooked through properly and avoid any potential food safety issues.

How to Slice Chicken Breast for Stir-Fries?

cutting chicken breast

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to slice chicken breast for stir-fries:

  1. Place your chicken breast on a cutting board, with the thinner side facing up.
  2. Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken breast in half horizontally, cutting through the center of the meat.
  3. Turn each half so that the cut side is facing down.
  4. Slice the chicken breast into thin strips, cutting against the grain.

How to Cut Chicken Breast Into Strips?

Here are easy step-by-step instructions (with photos) for how to cut chicken breast into strips. We use this method most often when making grilled chicken, chicken fingers, or stir-fries.

  1. Start with a boneless, skinless chicken breast. If your chicken breast is extra large, you may want to cut it in half crosswise first.
  2. Place the chicken breast on a cutting board, and hold it steady with your non-dominant hand.
  3. Use a sharp knife to make a lengthwise cut down the center of the chicken breast, following the natural curve of the meat.
  4. Next, make 1-2 inch slices perpendicular to the first cut, making sure to cut against the grain.
  5. Finally, cut each of those strips into smaller pieces, also cutting against the grain.

How to Cut Chicken Into Cubes?

Cubes of chicken are perfect for stir-fries, kabobs, or salads. To cut chicken into cubes, start with a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch strips, and then cut each strip into 1-inch cubes [1]. It’s that easy!

Common Mistakes Beginners Make When Cutting Chicken Breasts

Here are some of the most common mistakes beginners make when cutting chicken breasts:

  • Not using a sharp knife – A dull knife will make the job more difficult and can also be dangerous. Always use a sharp knife when cutting chicken.
  • Not cutting against the grain – When slicing chicken breast, be sure to cut against the grain. This will result in more tender, flavorful meat.
  • Not knowing how to hold the chicken – It’s important to keep the chicken steady while you’re cutting it. The best way to do this is to place your non-dominant hand on top of the chicken breast, fingers spread out. This will help you keep a firm grip while you’re slicing.
  • Slicing the chicken too thick or thin – Slices that are too thick will take longer to cook through, while slices that are too thin may dry out. Aim for slices that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.

Conclusion

Cutting chicken breast can be done in a variety of ways, depending on your needs. Be sure to use a sharp knife and cut against the grain for the best results. And remember, if you’re ever unsure about how to do something, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and cook the chicken breasts whole.

Reference:

  1. https://www.livestrong.com/article/459747-how-to-cube-chicken/
Lauren Beck
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