What is the best part of the chicken to use

I have to be honest, I’ve never really thought too hard about this.

Well, at least until I started cooking a lot more.

And learning little tips and getting to understand food better.

And what I’ve realised over this (still ongoing) cooking education.

Is that, it makes a lot of difference to your cooking skills.

And your flavours, if you just have a greater understanding of your food and what you’re cooking.

And believe me, I don’t like over-complicating life but this is at the heart of living, right?…

Good food.

So here is a very simple snapshot of the cuts of chicken and some ways to cook them best.

Cuts of chicken

Just like with beef and lamb, there are parts of the chicken that are better for some types of cooking methods than others.

So, you don’t want to fall into the classic trap of just buying chicken breasts.

Some of the best cooking can be done with different joints of the chicken and the dark meat.


A nice succulent white meat… but easy to over-cook and make dry.

It’s the leanest cut of the bird and, without the skin is even leaner.

(but who wants to lose the skin?!)

Chicken breasts are a good all-rounder, there’s no denying.

They’re great for pan-frying, stir-fries, pies, baking, roasted or barbequed.


The wings are on the bone and the cheapest cut.

And one of the tastiest!

We love to roast, grill and barbeque them to make the skin crispy and totally delicious.

Who doesn’t love chicken wings with a sticky, sweet glaze over them?

The ‘downside’ is they are a similar fat content to thighs and drumsticks.


Just like the wings, drumsticks are on the bone and are cheap.

They are the equivalent to the shin of a leg, I guess.

They’re great for barbecuing and thrown into one-pot dishes, like this sticky chicken, plum and spice traybake.


Probably the tastiest part of the chicken and from the top of the leg.

They’re really juicy and tender.

You can buy them bone-in, or bone out, and with the skin on or off.

The meat is darker and firmer so needs to be cooked slightly longer than a breast.

Because they’re firmer in texture, they’re also great for traybakes like one of my current favourites, roast chicken, sage and onion.

And in slow-cooked one-pot recipes.


Legs can be divided into drumsticks and thighs.

But, keep them whole and roast in the oven or grill them on the barbecue.


Whole chicken

As you may have read before, I’m now a fan of buying a whole chicken.

It’s far more economical and can last a whole week of cooking.

You can joint it yourself – see How to joint a chicken – or ask your butcher to do it.

But supermarkets are far more expensive when you buy chicken pieces separately from them.

And let’s not forget, stock.

Once, you’ve used your chicken, make homemade stock (here) and gain huge favour benefits.

So, enjoy your cooking with chicken.

It’s a great meat and provides a lot of health benefits with protein and good nutrients.

And it’s hugely versatile in the kitchen.

Reference: Jamie Oliver