Boning and Skinning a Chicken Breast (Video)

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts take up less space in the freezer. If you can’t buy them, it’s easy to do it yourself.  At the bottom of this article is a close up video showing how to bone and skin a chicken breast.

It actually takes me just over a minute to bone and skin a breast — I had to slow down to show what I was doing.

The first couple will probably take you longer, and you need to watch your fingers as they are near a very sharp (or what should be a very sharp) knife.  And yes, the first one or two maybe will leave more meat on the bone than you’d like — just toss the bones in a pot with some water, cook until done, and pull the meat off the bones and use it for chicken salad (plus you’ll get some great chicken broth).

The chicken breasts will take up about half the space they did before you boned them.  I like to put them individually in freezer bags — it makes them easier to tuck into odd places, they’ll thaw faster, and you can take out exactly how many you want.

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6 Comments
  • Melissa Watkins Alexander
    Posted at 10 November 2014 Reply

    And at the end make bone broth from the bones and skin and gristle in your pressure cooker. Don’t waste them!

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 10 November 2014 Reply

    Carolyn –

    Great video. I’m sure many folks used to US markets will find this quite helpful as they get into the islands.

    A couple of thoughts:

    Breaking down a complete chicken only takes a little longer than just a breast.

    When prepping for freezing I do all the boning ahead of time. I use one bowl for the meat and another for trimmings. Like you, the bones and trimmings go for stock.

    Before I start bagging (I use a vacuum sealer, but the process would be the same for Ziploc freezer bags), I get all the bags lined up and work with a “clean” hand (no chicken) and a “dirty” hand (touches chicken) so I can avoid any potential contamination of the outside of the bag, or of the part of the bag that is external to the seal.

    I usually bone legs and thighs also although that is fussy for many people. The dark meat works great for casseroles and tacos.

    Sometimes I have roasted a whole chicken and picked the meat off. Very handy for a casserole to take to a potluck. Pretty much the same process although the cutting is easier.

    Even in a bumpy anchorage this is all pretty easy to do.

    • Beth (PugetSoundCruiser)
      Posted at 24 May 2016 Reply

      Hi Dave,
      I totally concur with your “clean hand” and “dirty hand” method (also known as “sterile technique”) to avoid cross-contamination and to make sure raw chicken doesn’t get on the outside of the bag… and on the countertop… and in the frig/freezer – then back out and all over surfaces again when thawing a bag of chicken to cook.
      Many organisms that contaminate food and cause disease are sporing bacteria and don’t die when frozen or dry; they spring back to life and virulence as soon as temps and moisture allow. All it takes is a little awareness, and we can easily avoid such food borne illness. So worth it!
      Thanks for posting your tip.

  • Bruce (s/v Migration)
    Posted at 11 November 2014 Reply

    Hi Carolyn,
    What do you do with the freezer bags after you use the chicken?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 11 November 2014 Reply

      I usually use them for garbage, occasionally doggie pick-up. Or for other non-food storage once I wash them out — I just don’t reuse bags that have held raw chicken for other food.

  • Kimberly Fain Ward
    Posted at 06 July 2016 Reply

    All we could find in the DR were whole chickens…We learned that new skill, too!

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