Tips for Deboning Chicken

I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on deboning a whole chicken for those who have never done it before. Mom used to do it all the time and finally after I had been married for some years and had kids I asked her to show me how she did it. I watched her debone the whole chicken which was an extremely helpful exercise. It’s not near as difficult as you might think.

I use cooked chicken this way in so many recipes. My Homemade Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken and Biscuit Casserole and my Slow Cooker Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup just for starters. I like to cook off whole chickens because then I also have my own homemade chicken stock that I can use in recipes as well. Rather than using a rotisserie chicken, where I have the meat but no broth. I prefer using a whole chicken with the skin on and the bones, because it makes a much richer and healthier broth than without that.

If you want to make a recipe that calls for bite-sized chicken pieces than learn how to debone your own chicken. It’s a lot more economical and not as hard as you might think. I do recommend deboning the chicken while it’s hot/warm rather than refrigerated. A refrigerated chicken is much harder to debone and see the different ligaments, tendons, gristle and fat that need to be removed when you debone the chicken.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

This is what a whole chicken looks like after it has cooked in the crockpot on high for 6 hours. The salted and peppered water has become a rich, healthy, and homemade broth great for use in soups, many chicken casserole recipes, cooking noodles, or anything else you use chicken bouillon or chicken broth for. 

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Cheesy Chicken Soup is a delicious option for using deboned chicken.

 

TIPS FOR DEBONING CHICKEN

1) After boiling chicken on the stove top or cooking chicken in the crockpot, allow the chicken to cool about an hour before deboning as it is extremely hot and difficult to work with without burning your hands.

2) Allow enough time in your schedule to consider this wait time plus the 15-20 minutes or so it actually takes to debone the chicken before being ready to make your recipes.

3) It is much easier to debone a hot chicken than one that has been refrigerated. The skin doesn’t come off the chicken easily once it has been refrigerated. It is also more difficult to pick out the gristle, tendons and fat if the chicken has been refrigerated. If you are deboning part of a rotisserie chicken it’s easier to do it before storing in the refrigerator.

4) Have your bowl ready to place the meat in and a trash bag to place all the scrap and bones. Plastic grocery bags from Wal-Mart are great for this. Once finished, tie up your scrap bag and put it in your trash.

5) I don’t like to leave chicken scrap trash or juice from raw meats in my kitchen trash because I’m finicky about odors, so I put it in our large garage trash can until it can go outside for trash pick up. If you put this outside overnight animals may get into it, so it’s better to put it out the day of trash delivery.

6) Don’t put raw meat juice down your disposal unless you want a really smelly disposal in a few days. The peels of oranges, lemons and grapefruit can be used in your disposal to freshen it up once this has been done.

7) 1 whole chicken, deboned, yields approximately 4 cups of usable meat.

8) You can keep fresh broth in the refrigerator for a week or freeze for later use.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

I cooked my chicken in a large crockpot. I added water and salt and pepper. You can add a little diced celery, onion and carrot (about 1/4 cup each) and other seasonings if you prefer, but I usually make a plain broth.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

This is what the chicken looked like after cooking 6 hours on high in the crockpot. It gets to a rapid boil so make sure you don’t overfill your crockpot and you find chicken broth all over your counter!

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Here’s I’m removing the chicken from the crockpot with large spatulas or slotted spoons.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Place the meat onto a work platter.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Skim through the broth with a slotted spoon to get out all extra bones, skin, fat, or meat that has fallen into the broth. Refrigerate or freeze the broth for another use.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

I have the meat in front of me, the bowl for the chicken on my right and the trash bag for bones and scrap on the other side of the platter.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Remove the skin from the chicken. This is so much easier to do when the chicken is still warm. Once it’s been refrigerated the skin adheres to the meat and you practically have to scrape it off. Save time and arrange to debone your chicken while still warm.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Remove bones, cartilage, tendons, gristle, fat and scrap.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

This comes off the drumsticks. When you’re going through the meat from the drumsticks you have to separate out all the gristle, tendons and fat. There is also a bone that must be removed.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

This is the kind of stuff that needs to be tossed out. Once you work with it you will recognize the texture of the meat verses anything else. Save the meat, toss the scrap!

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Here’s the beginning of my scrap pile. You can see skin, bones, gristle and some fat in this picture.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

This is the container where I’m going to place my meat. I pull it apart into bite-size pieces. I don’t make it too small though.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Here’s some more gristle I’m pulling off the bones. This is part of the thigh bone. I’m trying to remove some of the meat from the bone.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

The underneath side of the chicken is what remains. When I turn it right side up it is what’s left of the thighs.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

This is the back in the foreground.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Because the leftover broth has small pieces of bone, fat and gristle in it, I usually dispose of this.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Here’s the meat. One deboned chicken usually provides about 4 cups of meat.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Here’s the scrap pile.

 

Here’s what can be made with the chicken meat.

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings.  Yum, yum!

Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

Slow Cooker Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup is a healthy and delicious way to use up the chicken and broth.

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Tips For Preparing Holiday Turkey | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Step-by-step directions and pictures for preparing a #turkey for the #holidays. This method is incredibly easy for even a beginning cook.

 

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Tips For Deboning Chicken | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Great #cookingtips on #deboningchicken and making #homemade #chickenbroth. #chicken #glutenfree

16 Replies to "Tips for Deboning Chicken"

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  • comment-avatar
    Stephanie May 14, 2014 (8:54 am)

    This is a really great demonstration of how to debone a chicken! The pictures are helpful 🙂 But don’t throw away your scraps, you can use them to make an extremely healthful and delicious bone broth, and effectively triple your broth output! Just throw it all back in the crock pot and fill with water, add 1-2 tbsp of vinegar to help break down the calcium in the bones, and cook it for about 12 hours! You can add veggies if you want, but it’s just fine without. I don’t have to buy any chicken broth anymore, I make all of my own and it saves us a ton of money, especially since we only buy organic. Give it a try!

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa May 15, 2014 (4:40 am)

      What great ideas, Stephanie. Thanks so much for sharing them. I’ll have to give it a try.

  • comment-avatar
    Terry April 5, 2014 (2:07 pm)

    I would like to add one thing for your followers, I keep a box of surgical gloves in my kitchen. I use these for everything, deboning chicken, mixing meatloaf, chopping peppers. It keeps the hand washing down to a minimum and some people can’t stand the thought of touching cooked or raw meat.

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa April 5, 2014 (4:46 pm)

      Excellent suggestions. Thanks Terry.

  • comment-avatar
    Brent December 15, 2013 (8:00 am)

    I’ve never de-boned a cooked chicken before. I cooked my chicken in my slow cooker and now wondering how to get the meat off. I was going to put it in the fridge over night, but after reading your instructions, I’m better informed how to go about doing it. These tips and pictures are exactly what I needed. Thanks a heap!

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa December 15, 2013 (6:43 pm)

      I’m so glad you found this helpful. I’ve found when I am too busy or lazy to debone while the chicken is hot that it is a lot harder to do it after refrigeration. The gristle and fat don’t come off the bone as easily and it’s harder to see it and find it versus when the chicken is still hot. I make chicken like this all the time and then use in casseroles using cooked chicken.

    • comment-avatar
      Ryan August 14, 2015 (2:26 pm)

      I haven’t done that either. I find it’s easier to de-bone i while it’s still raw 🙂

      • comment-avatar
        Teresa August 14, 2015 (8:14 pm)

        I’ve never tried that.

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    flyfishbrat September 21, 2012 (10:09 pm)

    I love your post. I’m sending it to some young cooks I know who are always asking me to post something just like this. Your post will help them so much.

    • comment-avatar
      Teresa September 21, 2012 (10:14 pm)

      I hoped it would help. I know I shied away from doing this for years, but after I did this and turkey carcasses once or twice it is a lot easier after that.

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