How to Broil Chicken (With Recipe) – For Juicy Chicken Every Time

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Who doesn’t love the taste of grilled meat? There is just no comparison. It’s one of the things I miss about owning a home. We had a fire-pit out back and it got a ton of use. Grilling and BBQ is a huge thing in Austin and all over Texas for that matter.  But here in the Northwest, it’s been much harder to grill. For one thing, the weather is not as conducive for it since it rains for half the year and the apartments we’re living in don’t allow charcoal grilling. And I know some people love their propane grill but it just doesn’t get the same flavor that charcoal does.

When you want to achieve a similar taste of grilling without the grill, there is oven broiling.

Now, most meats I’ve not had too many problems with using this cooking method but the one meat that I could never get right was chicken. It always came out way too dry no matter what I did until I started using this one trick. After my last post where I mentioned broiling chicken for your baby’s food rather than poaching, I realized it might be a good idea to show you in detail what I do. So today, I’m excited to share with you how to broil chicken in your oven using a simple trick that will keep it from drying out.

Broiling as a cooking method is much healthier than frying since there is less oil/fat involved and faster than baking (you’ll cut about 10 minutes off your cooking time). With this simple trick, you may find yourself opting to broil your chicken instead of baking or frying it.

So let’s get started!

How to Broil Chicken

Broiling meat whether it is done on a grill or in the oven is done with the same principle. The heat is direct and intense. And this method differs from baking and roasting because only one side of the meat gets exposed to the heat source at a time. Just think of your oven as an upsidedown grill where the heat source is on top instead of underneath.

As a general rule, you will want to broil foods that are quick cooking, inherently tender, relatively lean, and not very thick. So items like chicken breasts, hamburger patties, and fish fillets are perfect for broiling. One of the ways to control the temperature in broiling is similar to grilling and that is to move the placement of the meat to the heat source. The typical arrangement is for a space between 5- to 8-inches from the heat and the top of the food. If you are looking to brown very thick meats where the heat needs more time to penetrate without charring, simply place the oven rack further down away from the heating element.

Now in the case of boned chicken with the skins, this method works great. But if you are like most American families, boneless and skinless chicken is much more often used. It’s a time saver in that you don’t have to strip the meat off the bone before using it in a dish like in the case of a chicken pesto. You still want to keep the chicken further away from the heat but also add water to the broiling pan. This ensures that there is enough moisture in the oven to help keep the chicken from drying out while still achieving some browning on the outside of the breast. Using water also means you can cook thicker pieces of chicken without having to pound it thinner or run the risk of scorching.

However, using water may not achieve the kind of sear you might be looking for. The best ways around that are to either pan sear the chicken for few minutes or position the rack very close to the heat source and cook both sides for a few minutes until it develops a nice brown crust and then readjust the tray further away for the rest of the cooking time. Searing works wonderfully with chicken that still has the skin but I find it doesn’t work well with skinless. In the case of a marinaded or BBQ chicken breast, I cook the chicken first and with the last few minutes, I place the rack really close to get that sear I’m looking for.

As you well know, chicken breasts are such a finicky and unforgiving meat. Because it is low in fat, the margin of error is very small. A few minutes can be the difference between chicken that is just right and inedibly dry. First, use a meat thermometer. This is the only way to get an accurate reading. Second, the best thing I’ve found that prevents overcooking is to pull the chicken once it hits 160-162 Fahrenheit (71-72 Celcius) and let it rest for 5 minutes. While resting the meat continues to cook so it will reach 165 F in the end.

That about covers it! To help you get started on experimenting with your oven’s broiler function, I thought I’d give you an easy broiled chicken recipe that is a favorite in our household. So without further adieu, here’s the recipe!

That’s all there is to it!

Broiling is such a healthier alternative to frying. And it has a shorter cook time than baking which is invaluable for a busy family. If you have never used your broiler function before, you have no idea what you are missing out on.

What is your favorite chicken recipe? Chances are there is a way you can broil it!

If you have any questions on how to broil your favorite chicken recipe or would like to share tips that have worked for you with broiling chicken, just leave a comment below. Alternatively, if you try my recipe, I would love to get your feedback on how it went. I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy Broiling!

16 thoughts on “How to Broil Chicken (With Recipe) – For Juicy Chicken Every Time”

  • Great recipe! I don’t think I’ve ever used broiling to cook something in its entirety. I may have to give this a try. Thanks for the post!


    • Hi Branden and thanks for visiting my post!

      I didn’t broil much for years myself just because I knew nothing about it. And when I started experimenting with it, there were a bunch of failures for a while. Using water in the pan for broiling chicken only came as an idea to try about a year or so ago. I just never broiled chicken much before because I figured it wasn’t the right kind of meat to use.

      Please give it a try and let me know how it goes! I look forward to any feedback you might have.

    • Hi Nicole and thanks for visiting!

      I hope you do give it a go! Broiling is such an easy and healthy way to cook. If you have any questions or feedback on my recipe, please get in touch!

  • Hi,

    Due to my line of work I’m a big fan of chicken and exploring different ways to cook it! I’ve never had much joy broiling chicken, I’ll give your step by step guide a try and see how I get on!

    • Hi Nate! Thanks for visiting my post and taking the time to leave me a comment!

      I really got into broiling because of how easy, healthy, and fast it is. I’ll broil chicken ahead of time to put in a variety of dishes. Just season it with salt and pepper. It stores well in the fridge for about 5 days and you can pull from it as needed. I’ve made chicken alfredo, chicken pesto, chicken tacos, and a chicken curry all from the same batch of broiled chicken before. It’s a real time saver sometimes.

      And there’s some real flexibility to it. For example, if you know you’ll be putting it in tacos, just exchange the nutmeg, thyme, and rosemary for cumin, cayenne, and lime or any other seasonings you think would work well.

      Let me know how it works out for you! I really appreciate the feedback.

  • 5 stars
    Tina fantastic. This family loves chicken. My wife fry’s it the kids love it but as you said broiling it is a lot healthier. My wife has chicken on the menu this week and she said she’s definitely giving this a try. As she stated everything else Tina has recommended has been a hit and know’s this will be too. As always your articles are fantastic and keeping the family happy and healthy.

    • Thanks, David! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. I’m so glad your family likes it! I found this recipe does wonderfully on its own or in an alfredo sauce or with pesto. If you can’t tell by now, I love my pesto! 🙂

      Take care and much love to the family!

  • 4 stars
    Hi and thank you for this lovely recipe.

    I am going to try this soon because it sounds so healthy and I am looking to expand my menu for healthy food so i am glad that I came across this.

    • Hi Jennifer!

      Thanks for visiting my post and taking the time to leave me a comment! I appreciate any feedback you have. This cooking method leaves a lot of room for variation. If you have some other seasonings that you love, try those out instead. Really the important thing is to remember the water in the pan and pull the chicken at 160-162 F. That seems to be the sweet spot.

      Thanks again! Tina

  • 5 stars
    Thanks for this great guide! I don’t have much experience in broiling chicken so it was definitely useful to learn all about how it’s done. You said that broiling is a healthier alternative to frying, why is that? And are there any benefits that frying has over broiling? I imagine frying can be a more social event, right? It sounds like broiling is a quicker and healthier option; why do you think so few people do it in comparison with regular frying?

    • Hi Benji and thank you for visiting!

      These are great questions!

      I think broiling is a less used cooking method for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t think many people really know it is out there or what the broiler function on their oven does exactly. I know I didn’t until about 3-4 years ago. Second, for those who do know about broiling, I don’t think they understand how to utilize it correctly. If you aren’t using it right, the food can either come out incredibly dry (from long cook times due to being too far away from the heat source) or scorched from being too close.

      Frying (stir-frying, pan-frying and deep-frying) uses much more oil than broiling does which is why it is a healthier option like baking. It really depends though on what you are trying to do and what meat you are using. The benefits to frying are you can let the food and the seasonings fuse in the oil to develop a complexity of flavors that you can’t quite get with broiling. Also, many dishes and seasonings like fresh garlic just don’t work as well in broiling due to the dry heat. I’d say that there is much more variety to frying than there is to broiling and much larger range of foods that can be fried over broiled.

      I hope this helps! If you have any further questions or any feedback on how the recipe works for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Thanks again!

  • 5 stars
    Hi Tina,

    I’m so glad I ran into this broiled chicken recipe today! I have a huge box of boneless skinless chicken breasts in my freezer (they were on a great sale) and I just never seem to be able to cook it right. I guess I’ve been doing it all wrong. I would usually try to pan fry, or just follow recipes that have you bake it. It always ends up so dry, like you said.

    I went ahead and followed your recipe this morning since it sounds like you know what you’re talking about. And… juicy yummy chicken!!! Plus it’s so much healthier this way. You’ve opened up a whole new world of chicken for me. Thank you.

    I just had a quick question about the oil you used – I just used up the last of my olive oil. Would another type like vegetable oil or canola oil work as well?

    At any rate I’ll be bookmarking this to reference again. Awesome share!

    • Hi Rachel! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave me a comment, it’s greatly appreciated!

      I’m so glad you gave it try and it worked out!

      Any oil you use that can withstand high temperatures will do (including vegetable and canola oil). A personal favorite besides olive oil is coconut oil. In fact, for fish specifically, I use coconut oil instead of olive oil because it imparts a really good complimentary flavor to fish. I warm up the oil just enough to liquify it and put a light coating on. If your meat is cold or cool to touch the coconut oil will solidify again which makes it problematic for lots of seasonings so I’d suggest either make sure your meat is room temperature or don’t use much in the way of seasonings. Some others that I’ve had great results with are avocado, ghee, sesame, and peanut oil.

      I hope this helps! If you have any further questions please let me know. Thanks again!

  • Chicken is a favorite at home but we never had broiled chicken. It looks very easy to cook. Will try it this weekend.
    Also I like that it is a healthier choice. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • Hi Dira!

      Thanks for taking the time to check out my post and leave me a comment. I hope you really like my recipe and let me know if you have any questions!


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