Hint: You probably already have it in your fridge!
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A single mayo chicken breast served with a green salad with tomatoes
Credit: Meredith Food Studios

Don't settle for dry, boring chicken breasts. One simple ingredient will add flavor and keep them from drying out every time: mayo.

You read that correctly, mayonnaise isn't just for sandwiches and macaroni salads. Oh no, it's great for ensuring juicy, tender chicken too.

Mayonnaise is a flavorful emulsion of eggs, oil, vinegar, and seasonings. We already add it to so many dishes, like hamburgers, potato salads, and dressings, to keep things moist. So it makes sense that coating chicken with mayo would result in a tender and juicy meal.

Baking and grilling chicken can dry out the meat — especially lean chicken breast — and there's seriously nothing worse than dry chicken. Because chicken isn't a very fatty cut of meat, you'll want to add some fat to keep the meat hydrated. Most recipes use butter or oil for cooking chicken, but mayo is the better fat option when it comes to producing juicy chicken.

While it cooks, the chicken will absorb fat from the egg and oil in the mayo, keeping it moist while adding flavor. But don't worry mayo-haters, it's not an intense mayonnaise flavor that permeates the chicken. Plus, if you let your chicken marinate in the mayonnaise for a bit before cooking, the acid from the vinegar in mayo will help tenderize the meat for an even juicier bite.

Juicy chicken isn't the only benefit of using mayo, either. Have you ever tried to coat your chicken with oil and seasonings only to find the seasonings left on the bottom of the pan after the chicken is cooked? That's because the oil can just slide right off the chicken as it's cooking, but not mayo.

Mayo is thick enough to stay in place even after being heated. And other ingredients will stick to it too. So gone are the days of finding naked spots on your Parmesan-crusted chicken.

Slathering mayonnaise on chicken also produces a crispy golden-brown crust in less time than other fat sources. When grilled or baked, mayonnaise sparks a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction occurs when proteins react with sugars — and heating speeds up the process, producing a beautiful brown color and caramelized flavor.

whole roasted chicken on a plate garnished with fresh thyme and lemon slices
Credit: Allrecipes

Mayo Chicken Recipes

When you're ready to try out the mayo method for yourself, use one of these delicious mayo chicken recipes for the juiciest chicken you've ever tasted:

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