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How do you grill chicken breast without drying it out?
Chicken doesn’t get the same love as a big juicy steak, because oftentimes people overcook it and dry it out.
There are two techniques that will help you grill super juicy chicken breasts every time.
First, chicken is a very mild protein, so adding some flavor before you cook it helps big time. You can either brine it in a salt water solution or you can marinate it in a vinegar-based dressing.
When using a brine, you can let it soak overnight. With marinades however, limit your soak time to no more than 4 hours. Otherwise, the chicken could end up rubbery.
The second and most important technique is to cook your chicken to the proper temperature.
USDA has declared the safe temp for chicken is 165F degrees. That means, when your chicken reaches that internal temperature, remove it form the grill and let it rest.
If you let it keep cooking, the moisture will begin to evaporate and cook out, which will leave you with a dry chicken breast.
Follow the recipe below for grilled chicken breasts on your Ninja Foodi Indoor Grill or your Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill.
For detailed instructions for a traditional grill or pellet grill, visit my recipe for the Juiciest Grilled Chicken Breasts.
The easiest way to make grilled chicken breasts is to marinate them in a vinaigrette, which is a natural meat tenderizer.
Substitutions: You can use other vinaigrette-based salad dressings as the marinade. Italian dressing is a great option.
How to cook grilled chicken breasts on a Ninja Grill
- STEP ONE: Place the chicken breasts in a zip-top bag or large bowl with the balsamic vinaigrette. Seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the meat and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- STEP TWO: Set the Ninja Grill to grill. Set the temperature to medium and the time to 30 minutes.
- STEP THREE: Remove the chicken breasts from the bag. Pat them dry and season all sides with the chicken seasoning.
- STEP FOUR: Place the breasts on the grill and close the lid. Grill for 7 minutes.
NINJA PRO TIP: For the best presentation, cook with the smooth side down first.
- STEP FIVE: Flip the chicken and cook for another 15 minutes or until the thickest part of the breast registers at an internal temperature of 165F degrees.
When measuring the internal temperature of chicken, place your instant read thermometer in through the side of the breast into the thickest part.
- STEP SIX: Remove the breasts from the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
How to serve grilled chicken breasts
Once the chicken breasts have rested, you can serve them whole or slice them and fan them onto a plate.
A garnish of fresh sliced herbs always makes for a pretty presentation. Fresh basil or parsley are great choices.
The slices can also be incorporated into other amazing dishes like a chicken caesar grilled chicken wrap. Get a tortilla and spread it with caesar dressing. Layer in some grilled chicken slices and lettuce and roll it up.
If you want BBQ chicken, brush on some barbecue sauce during the last minute of the cook, or serve some sauce on the side.
If you have leftover Ninja grilled chicken breasts, you can store them whole or slice them and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Grilling extra tender chicken breasts is great for meal prep.
You can also freeze leftover chicken breasts for up to six months. For best results, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
The best thing about leftover chicken is that it can be eaten hot or cold and mixed into any kind of dish from breakfast omelets to lunch wraps to taco dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Turn your Ninja Grill setting to medium heat, it will take about 20-22 minutes to grill a chicken breast. Cooking at a lower temperature like medium will allow the inside to cook through before the outside gets too much char.
The most accurate way to tell if a chicken breast has finished cooking is to measure the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. If you don’t have one, you can slice into the breast to see what the juices look like. If they run clear, it’s cooked. If they are still pink, it needs to keep cooking.
Absolutely. They are low in saturated fat and calories compared to several other proteins. If you cook them properly, they’ll be super juicy and won’t need added gravy or butter to make them delicious.
Sides that go great with grilled chicken
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Ninja Grilled Chicken Breasts
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- 2 tbsp poultry seasoning
- Marinate: Place the chicken breasts in a zip-top bag with the salad dressing. Seal. Massage the dressing into the meat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 4 hours.
- Heat Grill: Set the Ninja Grill to the grill function. Set the temperature to medium and the time to 30 minutes.
- Season: Remove the chicken from the bag. Pat it dry and season all sides with the chicken rub.
- Grill: Place the chicken on the grill, smooth side down. Grill for 7 minutes. Flip. Grill for 12-15 more minutes to an internal temperature of 165F degrees.
- Rest: Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Then, slice and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.