What to Do with Split Chicken Breasts

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on March 2, 2009

split-chicken-breast-pin

For the first 25-ish years of my life I was a “boneless skinless snob.” It was THE only cut of chicken that I bought in college, after college, and for the first 3 years I spent in the Dominican Republic. I would travel over an hour one way to the “American grocery store” for a few packages of B/S chicken!

One HOT afternoon in the Dominican Republic, I thought I’d be brave and try to get past my “squemish-ness” issues and get past my B/S snobbish-ness. I walked straight past my fruit and veggie guy at the local open air market to the chicken counter. I looked nowhere other than the chicken man’s face, as I was afraid of what I might see. (There are no regulations for food in the DR. At least none that I am aware of. Or none that are strictly enforced!)

“Quisiera un pollo por favor.” (I’d like a chicken please.)

“Si claro.” (Yes, of course.) The chicken man busies himself getting my chicken ready. He got my chicken from his fridge. * sigh of relief* Then threw it up on the scale.

“Ciento viente pesos.” (120 pesos.) He tells me as he’s putting the chicken into a black trash bag for me. No tray, no plastic wrap. A trash bag. *breath of anxiety* OK. OK. Relax. This is just how they do it.

But wait. Feet. There are still feet on this chicken that he is putting in the trash bag. Feet. What? I don’t want any feet on my chicken. Who eats chicken feet anyways??? Not this B/S snob!

“Um, permiso, senor, sin pies por favor.” (Um, excuse me, sir, no feet please.)

“Pero es parte del pollo.” (But it’s part of the chicken.) Yep. Got that. Don’t want ‘em!!!

“Si, yo se, pero yo no quiero los pies.” (Yes, I know, but I don’t want the feet.) “Yo pagare por los pies y puede darles a otra persona.” (I’ll pay for the feet and you can give them to someone else.)

“OK.” With a puzzled look in his eye.

“Gracias senor.” (Thanks sir.)

“A su orden.” (Directly translated. At your service. Really means, happy to help.)

I share this to let you know that was the moment that I no longer considered myself a B/S snob. You’d think it would make me more of a snob, but no. It didn’t. It forced me to get over myself and learn what to do with an almost whole chicken!

Since getting over my squemish-ness and snobbiness, I have started buying bone in split chicken breasts (and sometimes a whole chicken) for 3 reasons.

  1. They are cheaper by the pound that B/S breasts.
  2. I can use them to make my own chicken broth since I don’t like to use store bought broth. It is loaded with preservatives, high in sodium and just not as good for you as homemade!
  3. I can buy a large package and prepare them for upcoming meals with chicken. This saves on time and dishes for future preparation!

Split Chicken Breasts 1 Here is my trusty monthly meal calendar that is on my fridge. My March menu plan tells me that we’ll be having Chicken Fajitas and Honey Lime Chicken in the next few weeks, and Ginger Chicken Stirfry last weekend.

Here’s what I did to prepare the chicken for these meals:

Split Chicken Breasts 2

Here are the split breasts as they came out of the package.

Split Chicken Breasts 3First, I peeled off the skin. Sorta like the feet. I’m not a fan of the skin!

Split Chicken Breasts 4Next, I cut along the bone on the side of the breast as closely as I could, to keep the breast in one piece. After pulling off the breast meat, I then cut out the tenderloin piece that was underneath it. Leaving, as you see above, the breast, the tenderloin and the bones with a little meat on them. I cut all 6 split breasts like shown above.
Split Chicken Breasts 5I put all 6 bone pieces into the crockpot filled with water up, leaving about 1.5 inches from the top. I added a few garlic cloves, some Italian seasoning and 2 Tbsp vinegar (Jenn from Frugal Upstate shared this tip on the Keeping it Centsible Blog Talk Radio Show last week. Adding vinegar helps leach the calcium out of the bones and into the broth!) I set it on low for 8 hours and let the crockpot make me some free broth.

Split Chicken Breasts 6Once the broth was going, I finished up with the chicken breasts. I placed 2 breasts and tenderloins into another Ziploc baggies with a $.37 can of Rotel tomatoes for my upcoming Chicken Fajitas. I placed 2 breasts and tenderloins in another Ziploc with 2 Tbsp honey and 2 Tbsp lime juice. Both Ziplocs went into the freezer. To thaw, I place the tightly sealed Ziplocs into a bowl of warm water. In about 30 minutes, the chicken is ready to be sliced and cooked.

Tip: Cutting frozen or partially thawed chicken is much easier than cutting fresh chicken meat.
The other 2 breasts I marinated to make the Ginger Chicken Stirfry we had Saturday night.
When the broth was finished in the crockpot, I let it cool completely. Once cooled, it can be placed in Ziploc baggies or other freezer friendly storage container and put into the freezer for use in future recipes. I froze baggies with 4 cups of broth each.

I have chicken ready for 3 meals, along with at least 4 meals worth of homemade chicken broth…for just $6.37! It doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

What is your favorite cut of chicken? Are you a B/S snob? Do you prefer to cook the whole chicken to get your chicken to use for future meals? I’d love to hear your favorite chicken “tips” or recipes!

P.S. I’ll be sharing this over at WFMW at We are THAT family!

(And here’s some ideas for what to do with chicken breasts, and what to do with chicken thighs!)

See more $5 Dinners Cooking Tutorials here

{ 121 comments… read them below or add one }

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Paula January 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm

How do you cut out the tenderloin — I’m not sure where it is. :)

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Tiffany January 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

I don’t like the idea of chicken feet either. But being married to my hubby who is Hispanic, you get use to it. lol They use chicken feet in tamales or just covered in a chili sauce. I, myself, wouldn’t touch chicken feet but we do have chickens and he has cooked them before. I’m looking for an idea of what to do with the split chicken breasts he bought me.. so far. no luck. I don’t have many other ingredients. So, I’ll keep looking.

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Tammy March 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Thank you for this easy-to-do how-to! Just what I needed. I ‘heart’ my crockpot and love getting a good deal, but I too am a b/s snob… I’m ready to convert now – thanks to you!

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Leanne Dupont August 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I, too, am a b/s chicken breast snob, and we really can’t afford for me to be one. So, seeing that my local Kroger had split breasts on sale for 99 cents a lb, I googled “what to do with split chicken breasts” and came upon your site. You made cutting them up look so easy, so, I moved completely out of my comfort zone and bought 6lbs of them. I’m about to cut them up right now and I’m actually excited to do so (my, have things changed ).

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JENNIFER October 16, 2012 at 10:48 am

So I am also a B/S snob and the other day they were all out of them! So I thought…hmmm I will try the bone in. Then I didn’t know what to do with them! Thanks for the post, it helped me greatly!

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susan March 13, 2013 at 10:36 am

Thanks for the info. I just realized I would save $1.70 per pound. Yikes!

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Tammy March 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I have always been a b/s chicken fiend, but lately I’m seeing the wisdom in bone-in. The last one I cooked, I cut the skin off and threw into crockpot whole. Covered in barbeque sauce, my family LOVED it. I made it on a girls’ night out and I didn’t even get left overs.

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james ha January 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

oh split chicken breasts are the absolute best! i put 4 or 5 in the crock-pot with nothing else – no water or sauce at all – maybe salt and pepper. cook on low 7-8 hrs until they start falling off the bones. remove all chicken from pot and separate all the bones and the skin leaving a big bowl of shredded chicken that lasts all week for tacos, enchiladas, chicken salad, etc.

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Deanna Furrey March 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

I know chicken feet are weird, but actually if you add them when you make bone broth, they will help give it more collagen. I had a hard time with it too, but hey, just think of it this way: chicken feet are better than chicken heads! :)

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