Learn how to cut chicken breasts into strips and cubes to cook faster while keeping a good texture!
Cutting chicken breasts is simple and doesn’t require fancy tools or techniques, but you will need a sharp chef’s knife and a plastic cutting board.
The wrong knife or a dull one can injure and make it harder to slice. A plastic board or surface is essential to hold the chicken in place and it’s easier to disinfect.
In this post, I share how to slice and cube chicken breasts, but each method also works for boneless skinless thighs.
If you are meal prepping or slicing and dicing chicken ahead of time to save time in the kitchen, you can cut the chicken up to 2 days beforehand to shave off a good 15 minutes from kitchen duty later in the week.
With that in mind, let’s get started!
Cutting Chicken Breasts
Cutting chicken breast into cubes, strips, or butterflied halves is an efficient way to cook great-tasting chicken quickly.
You’ll notice most chicken breasts are thicker in the top portion while the bottom is thin and tapers off, like a teardrop. If you cook it while it’s uneven, the bottom tip will finish before the thicker part and dry the meat out.
If you cut the chicken into uniform shape and thickness, the pieces cook evenly, and the meat stays tender.
It also helps reduce the cooking time, which means you can get dinner on the table faster. It’s why recipes that use cut chicken such as fajitas, stir-fry, and pasta are popular weeknight dinners.
How to Cut Chicken Breasts into Strips
The steps below show you how to slice chicken against the grain. The thickness of each slice should be based on the recipe’s directions or your preference. Grab your chef’s knife, a plastic cutting board, and let’s do this.
Cutting Chicken into strips
Pat dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel to absorb any juices.
Place the chicken breasts on a plastic cutting board and hold it in place with one hand.
With a sharp knife, slice the chicken breasts against the grain, into the specified or preferred thickness.
If you aren’t sure how to cut across the grain, I quickly demonstrate how to in the video below. While I use steak in the video, the same technique also applies to chicken.
You can also sear the slices in a skillet and top them over a salad or serve plain with your favorite dippings sauces, there are so many ways to cook chicken, and you’ll find over 70+ insanely delicious dinner ideas in my Chicken. It’s What’s for Dinner eBook.
It also includes a helpful guide on the best ways to prepare each cut, whether it’s baked, fried, grilled, poached, or sauteed, so you can successfully cook delicious chicken night after night.
70+ Epic Chicken Recipes
If chicken is your go-to meal builder, you’re going to love the recipes inside this book!
How to Cut Chicken into Cubes
Cutting chicken breasts or thighs into cubes is just as easy as slicing, but it includes an extra step to cut the chicken crosswise. Here’s how to do it:
- Pat dry the chicken breasts with a paper towel to absorb any juices.
- Place the chicken breasts on a plastic cutting board and hold it in place with one hand.
- With a sharp knife, slice the chicken breasts against the grain, into ¼-inch thick slices.
- Once sliced, turn the knife and slice each slice into smaller, cubed pieces.
How to Use Cubed Chicken
Now that you have cubed chicken, you are ready to cook, and below are tasty recipes to try out. Some of the recipes call for large cubes, so make sure to read the directions before cubing the chicken.
Success Tips for Cutting Chicken Breasts
Below you’ll find helpful tips to help you cut chicken for delicious, cooked results.
What Knife to Use When Cutting Chicken
A sharp chef’s knife is essential to cut through raw chicken safely. It’s an excellent tool for dicing and slicing meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit. A proper chef’s knife is 8 to 10-inches in length with a smooth blade.
Do You Cut Chicken Against the Grain?
Whenever slicing raw or cooked chicken, it’s important to cut against the grain. Cutting with the grain means long fibers and tough meat. Going against the grain shortens the fibers and helps the meat stay tender.
Can You Cut Chicken Breasts in Half
This is also known as butterflying chicken, and it’s one of my favorite ways to prepare chicken breasts. It cuts the cooking time in half and keeps the chicken juicy and flavorful, and gives it a golden-brown sear on both sides.
Should You Cut Chicken Breasts Before Cooking?
Cutting the chicken before cooking depends on the recipe you are making and doesn’t affect the tenderness of the meat. Whether you slice it before or not, juicy chicken is a result of cooking the meat by temperature and the cooking method, is it baked or made on the stove-top?
Baked chicken breasts tend to dry out while pan-searing adds a golden, brown crust and locks in the juices.