If you can batch cook chicken breasts early in the week, you will always have a 15 Minute Meal in the works. I know I’m always looking for great timesavers in the kitchen and I think this is the best one ever.
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I’m always dashing into the kitchen on a time crunch – trying to get a meal on the table in a hurry. At our house, if I don’t have dinner ready at 6:00 o’clock then my husband doesn’t get to eat dinner. He works a graveyard shift and wakes up just in time to shower, eat dinner, and head out the door.
So, I’ve got to be able to pull off some fast meals.
I do that by having a standard list of 15 Minute Meals. And, by always having some foods prepared ahead of time and in the fridge.
The thing that is going to save the most time is to have meat made ahead since it is generally the thing that takes the longest to cook. Once it’s cooked, you can easily store it in the refrigerator and add it to quick meals during the week.
The most versatile meat is chicken breast. I think everybody eats chicken, so it’s very easy to find recipes for your cooked chicken. For several ideas read Cook Once, Eat Twice (Chicken Breast Edition).
Another reason to batch cook chicken breasts is that by buying them in bulk you can easily save 50% of the cost. I buy mine from Zaycon Fresh, where I get farm-fresh meats delivered at prices that beat my grocery store. If you haven’t heard of them before, read my Zaycon Fresh Review to get all the details.
And, of course, the third reason? Having cooked chicken on hand will keep you from grabbing burgers or tacos when your kids are hungry.
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How to Batch Cook Chicken Breasts
You have several options for batch-cooked chicken. A couple of these options you don’t even have to do the cooking. If you’re in a pinch, let someone else do the cooking for you. Here are the ways that I recommend:
- Baked Chicken Breasts
- Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
- Slow-Cooker Chicken Breasts
- Rotisserie Chicken (buy pre-cooked)
- Pre-Cooked Chicken Breast Meat (buy frozen or fresh from the deli)
Baked Chicken Breasts
- Place the Chicken Breasts on a rimmed cookie sheet and sprinkle well with seasoning salt, salt & pepper, or rotisserie seasoning.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 20 Minutes. Chicken is finished when it registers 165 degrees internally.
Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
- Season Chicken Breasts with seasoning salt, salt & pepper, or rotisserie seasoning and place in Instant Pot.
- Add 1 cup of water or chicken broth to the pot.
- Seal lid and close vent. Press the chicken button, or adjust the time to 15 minutes.
- When time is up, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent.
Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts
- Season Chicken Breasts with seasoning salt, salt & pepper, or rotisserie seasoning and place in your slow cooker.
- Add 1 cup of water or chicken broth to the pot.
- Close the lid and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6. Chicken is finished when it registers 165 degrees internally.
How to Store Batch Cooked Chicken
Get Ready for Storing:
There are a lot of ways to store your chicken once it has been cooked. I actually like to store it a couple different ways so it is easy to use in recipes during the week.
Odds are, when I use it later in the week I’m not going to be serving whole breasts. To make my meals super quick during the week I go ahead and cut up the chicken a couple different ways so it can go straight into another meal without any additional chopping or cutting.
I slice half of it and I dice half of it. How you plan to use your chicken in your follow-up will determine how you prepare your chicken. If I dice it and a recipe calls for shredded chicken I don’t pay any attention – I’m not fussy like that – I’ll just put in what I have.
Just use whatever you like. Most people probably use Zipper top storage bags but I actually prefer to use either this type of reusable plastic containers or glass ones like these. The zipper bags get expensive to use and they’re pretty awkward in my fridge. The glass reusable containers are nice to see through and easily go in my dishwasher so they’re basically free to use.
If you cook more chicken than you can use during the week, feel free to freeze it. You’ll be able to pull it out anytime you need it.
How to Use Batch Cooked Chicken Breasts
Generally, all of your recipes that call for chicken can be modified in some way to use your cooked chicken. My standard thing to keep in mind, though, is not to overcook the chicken by adding it to a recipe that will cook too long.
Here are some suggestions:
- Soups: Add the chicken after the rest of the soup is fully cooked so it doesn’t get overcooked.
- Tortilla Soup
- White Chicken Chili
- Casseroles: This chicken is ideal in casseroles
- Mexican casseroles
- Chicken and Noodles
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Pasta: An excellent addition to
- Pasta salad
- Pesto Noodles
- Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Alfredo,
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Sauce Mix-ins: Some of the simplest recipes just need a sauce and they can be served on a bun, pizza crust, tortilla, or on top of a baked potato.
- Alfredo Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Pizza Sauce
- Sloppy Joe Sauce
Wow, can you see that you can make some incredible meals from batch cooked chicken breasts? And, imagine all the time you’ll save in the kitchen, the money you’ll save, and the sanity you’ll save. It’s a winner all the way around.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite meals for pre-cooked chicken. Have you ever intentionally pre-cooked chicken for meals later in the week?
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