Chicken Myths & Truths + Healthy Chicken Recipes

Find out the truth about some common chicken myths and enjoy over 35 nutritious and delicious chicken recipes.

Find out the truth about some common chicken myths about how chickens are raised and how to cook chicken safely. Plus over 35 healthy and delicious chicken recipes @jlevinsonrd.

This post was written as part of my ongoing sponsored partnership with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’ve mentioned before when it comes to food, there’s a month or special day to celebrate everything—December is National Pear Month; November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month (not to be confused with National Peanut Month in March); there’s even a day devoted to donuts! We know September is known for back-to-school chaos, but it’s also Fruit & Veggies More Matters Month and National Chicken Month.

I don’t know about you, but chicken is a staple in our house. I make it at least once a week because it’s generally quick and easy to make, budget-friendly, an excellent source of protein, low in saturated fat and sodium, extremely versatile and kid-friendly.

In honor of National Chicken Month, and in partnership with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, I want to share a few common myths and facts about chicken; which will hopefully help you feel more confident to cook it in your kitchen and feed it to your family. Once you’re ready to get cooking, check out the versatility of this protein for yourself with the 35+ nutritious and delicious recipes below!

Myth #1: Most chickens are raised with artificial or added hormones.

Truth: The use of hormones in chickens and eggs is forbidden by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Chicken packages labeled “no added hormones” or “hormone free” are unnecessary, and used primarily as a marketing strategy to increase purchases of those brands. If the label includes those statements, look closely at the package and you’ll see a statement that says no hormones are used in the production of any poultry raised in the U.S. Another reason to always read the fine print!

Myth #2: “Free-range” chickens are better for you.

Truth: Let’s start out with a definition of this term. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), “free-range” means that chickens have access to the outdoors for at least some part of the day, whether the chickens choose to go outside or not. There are no requirements for the length of time the chicken must spend outdoors, the size of the outdoor area, or the type of groundcover. According to the National Chicken Council, less than one percent of chickens nationwide are raised as “free-range.” Also, don’t assume that just because a chicken is “free-range” it’s organic—all organic chickens are “free-range,” but not the other way around.

Related to “free-range,” you may see labels for “cage-free,” which doesn’t mean much since no chickens for consumption are raised in cages. Most chickens are raised in houses where they are free to walk around.

Myth #3: You should wash chicken before cooking.

Truth: I grew up watching my mother wash her chickens before she marinated or seasoned them, but that’s one thing I don’t follow in her footsteps! The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service does not recommend washing raw poultry (and other meats). When you wash raw poultry, bacteria from the raw meat and juices can spread to other foods, utensils, and kitchen surfaces — which leads to cross-contamination and potential foodborne illness. The best way to kill the bacteria: cook your poultry and meats to the correct temperature (an internal temperature of 165°F for chicken).

Myth #4: Chicken can be thawed on the countertop.

Truth: DO NOT thaw chicken on the countertop! The safest way to thaw chicken is in the refrigerator, but if you don’t take the chicken out of the freezer early enough, the alternative is to defrost it in cold water. To do so safely, submerge chicken in cold water in it’s original leak-proof package or a water-tight plastic bag and change the water every 30 minutes.

When defrosting chicken in the refrigerator, it takes 24 hours to thaw a 4- to 5-pound whole chicken and 3 to 9 hours to thaw cut up parts. Once thawed it can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two. Using the cold-water method, it takes about 2 hours to thaw a 3- to 4-pound package and the chicken must be cooked immediately.

Now that you know the truth about chicken, let’s get cooking! Here are over 35 recipes made with chicken—everything from soups and salads, to pizza and burgers, to one-pan dishes and more. Plus, there’s a cooking method for everyone here! So really, no more excuses for why you can’t eat chicken (unless you’re allergic or vegetarian, of course)!

Salads and Soups:

Barbi Salad @LivelyTable

Barbi Salad @ Lively Table

Apricot Pineapple Chicken Salad @ Nutritioulicious

Chicken Tortilla Soup @ Family. Food. Fiesta.

Chicken Vegetable Udon Soup @ Nutritioulicious

Classic Jewish Chicken Soup @Nutritioulicious

Tacos, Pizza and Burgers:

Avocado Chicken Burgers @lclivingston

Avocado Chicken Burgers @ The Lean Green Bean

BBQ Puled Chicken Hummus Pizza @ My Cape Cod Kitchen

Chicken Tacos @ Real Living Nutrition

Gluten Free Blackberry Chicken Flatbread @ Lively Table

Crock Pot Chicken Ranch Tacos @ Living Well Kitchen

One-Pan Dishes:

One Pot Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa @whitneylenglish

One-Pot Mediterranean Quinoa Chicken @To Live and Diet in LA

One Skillet Lemon Chicken with Asparagus @ A Pinch of Grace

One Pan Chicken and Mushrooms @ KISS in the Kitchen

One Skillet Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Bake @ Lively Table

Salsa Chicken @ Food, Pleasure and Health

Healthy Chicken Paprika Skillet @ Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Italian Inspired Dishes:

Lemon Chicken Piccata @minutritionist

Lemon Chicken Piccata @ The Nutritionist Reviews

Easy Chicken Paillard @ Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Chicken Cacciatore @ Nutrition Starring You

Italian-Seasoned Sautéed Chicken Breasts @ Nutritious Eats

Asian Inspired Dishes:

Thai Peanut Chicken Satay @jlevinsonrd

Thai Peanut Chicken Satay @ Nutritioulicious

Chicken Pad Thai @ Lively Table

Thai Stuffed Chicken with Cilantro, Ginger and Almond Marinade @ Nourish. Breathe. Thrive.

Thai Chicken Salad @ Nutritioulicious

Miso Chicken @ Lively Table


Easy Bruschetta Chicken @LivelyTable

Easy Bruschetta Chicken @Lively Table

Grilled Lemon Fennel Chicken @ Erin Dishes Nutrition

Summer Chicken Kebabs with Herb Sauce @ Nutritioulicious

Kiwi Lime Chicken @ Hungry Hobby

Greek Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce @ Lively Table

Baked and Roasted:

Roasted Chicken with Fennel, Carrots, & Dried Plums @jlevinsonrd

Roasted Chicken with Fennel, Carrots, & Dried Plums @ Nutritioulicious

Maple + Mustard Chicken with Balsamic Roasted Figs & Grapes @ Nourish. Breathe. Thrive.

Coconut-Lime Chicken @ Nutritioulicious

Parmesan and Pecan Crusted Oven Fried Chicken @ Nutritious Eats

Roasted Chicken with Artichokes, Peppers, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes @ Nutritioulicious

Pistachio-Stuffed Chicken Breasts @ Nutritioulicious

Do you have any concerns about chicken I didn’t address here?

What’s your favorite chicken recipe?

Find out the truth about some common chicken myths about how chickens are raised and how to cook chicken safely. Plus over 35 healthy and delicious chicken recipes @jlevinsonrd.

35+ healthy and delicious chicken recipes the whole family can enjoy @jlevinsonrd.

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61 Responses to Chicken Myths & Truths + Healthy Chicken Recipes

  1. Kaleigh says:

    This is a great post! My mom never washed chicken, but she did thaw it on the counter top! Oops! Chicken is definitely a staple in our house. Can’t wait to try all of these delicious recipes!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Kaleigh! Oh no! You better send her this post!! Thanks for contributing to the roundup!

  2. Diane boyd says:

    Great discussion of frequently misunderstood chicken facts, and those recipes! YUM!!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Diane. With all the labels these days it can be really confusing for consumers to know what to buy. Hopefully this post will help reach some people who have those questions. Enjoy the recipes!

  3. Ashley says:

    I love the list of myths & truths! My family growing up was definitely doing a few things incorrectly 😉 I still remind my mom to thaw her chicken in the fridge! Can’t wait to try these recipes!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Ashley! I don’t feel so bad about my mom washing her chicken now that I know a bunch of other RDs grew up w their mom making some food safety mistakes, lol!

  4. Taylor Kiser says:

    Great job on busting some popular myths about chicken! Love this list of recipes – you can never have too many when it comes to chicken!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Taylor! I totally agree – always looking for ways to shake things up with chicken!

  5. Paige Kumpf says:

    Great clarification! My mom calls all chicken organic if it’s “antibiotic free” – oy

    • Jessica says:

      It’s so confusing so I don’t blame her, lol!

  6. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for all this info! I have always wondered about free range! I’d love to hear your take on Organic chicken vs. regular!

    • Jessica says:

      You’re most welcome Laura. Great question about Organic vs regular. According to the USDA, the organic label doesn’t indicate that the product is safer or is superior from a quality and nutrition standpoint. To be called organic, the USDA says the following “As for organic meat, regulations require that animals are raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones.” We know that chickens are not given hormones, and as for antibiotics, they are used sparingly and at the farmer’s discretion when chickens are sick (just like humans get them when they are sick). If antibiotics are administered, federal rule is that all antibiotics must be cleared from the animal’s system before they leave the farm. All that is to say that I think it’s personal preference. I personally do not buy organic chicken unless the store is out of conventional chicken and/or it’s on sale.

  7. GiGi Eats says:

    I friggin’ ADOREEEEE CHICKEN – especially this CHICKEN SHAWARMA recipe I made a few months back. It’s by far the best chicken I have ever made – but that could change after trying a few of these recipes!

    • Jessica says:

      Yum! I bet that was delish! Maybe a close runner up to your recent chicken smoothie?! 😉 lol!

  8. Chicken is a staple in our house as well so I was really eager to read this post. Thanks for sharing these great “truths” and wonderful recipes!

    • Jessica says:

      Hope you found the information useful and interesting. Did you learn anything new? I hope you did! Keep on enjoying chicken nights!

  9. Love that you busted these myths on chicken! That’s a great list of chicken recipes!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Lindsay. I love busting myths!!

  10. Interesting tidbit about cage-free chickens–didn’t know that. Really great round-up of myths!

    • Jessica says:

      I thought so too Sally! Glad you found it helpful and interesting. Thanks!

  11. Katie Cavuto says:

    Chicken is a household favorite for us too! Great post on the Chicken Myths, there is SO much information out there – and thanks for including my Thai Stuffed Chicken – that one’s huge hit in our house!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Katie – there is so much info and misinformation! Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  12. Wow, those are wonderful recipes and really easy to understand information about chicken! Thanks so much for sharing, Jessica. Now I’m definitely in the mood for chicken!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Shannon! Glad it was easy to understand!

  13. Thanks for such great info dispelling common myths re: Chicken. What a lovely round-up of chicken dishes!!!

    • Jessica says:

      You’re most welcome! Thanks for your feedback!

  14. omg myth 3, I still argue with my mum about this one! She’s adamant that we need to wash the raw chicken! One of my fave recipes….

    • Jessica says:

      Haha…me too!

  15. This is great – I’m always looking for new chicken recipes to trial! I recently read a book that shed a lot of light on the misconceptions we have on chicken and other everyday foods. It was quite fascinating!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Alisa. Hope there are some new faves in the roundup here. I bet that book was interesting. What’s it called?

  16. Emily says:

    This is a great post to dispel so many myths about chicken out there! I’ve never heard of washing your chicken, so that made me LOL a little bit 😂😂

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Emily! Yes, washing chicken is very old school and unfortunately still something people do!

  17. Laura says:

    Thanks for sharing these! It can be hard sometimes with all the mixed information that floats around!

    • Jessica says:

      You’re most welcome! I totally agree!

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  19. Abbey says:

    Awesome reminders not to thaw on the kitchen counter!!! So dangerous (yet so common!)

    • Jessica says:

      Yes! I’m always surprised when people tell me that’s how they thaw their meat!

  20. WOAH I had no no no idea you should thaw chicken on the countertop. I do that all the time. I’m so glad I read this!

    • Jessica says:

      Chrissa, you should NOT thaw chicken on the countertop! I think that’s what you meant to say, but want to make sure no one’s confused!

  21. Isn’t there an episode of Real Housewives where one of them tries to soap and wash the chicken??

    • Jessica says:

      haha that’s hilarious! Leave it to a Real Housewife to do that 😉

  22. this is one of my favvvvv post and had to share it on my social media..esp about thawing – it drives me nuts.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Dixya – so glad you enjoyed it and really appreciate you sharing it!

  23. Thanks for sharing this GREAT information about chicken. Food safety is super important for me as a Professional Home Economist and I always share info about proper thawing methods!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank YOU Melissa! So glad you enjoyed the post and to know you’re a food safety enthusiast!

  24. Carmy says:

    I was taught to wash my chicken before cooking too! I just do a quick rinse out of habit now.

    • Jessica says:

      Time to go back to not washing it Carmy!!

  25. So guilty of defrosting meat on the countertop, but also very diligent about watching it…it goes back in the ‘fridge the minute it’s even somewhat defrosted. Or I use the water method if I need to speed things up. Also guilty of rinsing chicken breasts before cooking them. Whoops!

    • Jessica says:

      Uh oh! Well I sure hope this post helps you with your food safety practices Tara!

  26. Ilka says:

    I always wash my chicken, too before using it. Actually I pretty much was everything before eating it. Food Safety is really important.

  27. Such a great myth buster post! I love that you included washing chicken – I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come across that do that (out of habit from what parents taught, I’m sure), when in reality it just splashes bacteria all over your kitchen..eeek.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Chrissy! Yes, it’s so crazy how many people do it, or used to do it – myself included!

  28. Angela says:

    This a great post! Very informative and I love all the chicken recipes you shared.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks so much Angela!

  29. Esther says:

    Thanks for clearing up some common myths! And for the awesome list of recipes! I am going to have to bookmark this page and come back for inspiration 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      You’re most welcome! Glad it was helpful and hope you enjoy the recipes!

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  33. kelly says:

    wowwwwwwww. wonderful chicken. Just look at it, just want to eat all

    • Jessica says:

      haha..I’m so glad you enjoy chicken!

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