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How to Meal Prep Chicken for a Week of Delicious Dining

Meal prepping with chicken has grown in popularity, and for good reason.

From promoting healthier dietary choices to trimming your budget, meal prepping with chicken is a culinary trend that’s here to stay.

I’ve personally discovered the transformative impact of this practice, and in this guide, I’ll give you a rundown on everything you need to know, along with a sprinkle of tips and mouthwatering recipes

The Importance of Meal Prepping

Finding a balance between a demanding schedule and a nutritious diet is a challenge we’re all familiar with. This is where meal prepping enters the stage.

Dedicating a few hours each week to prepare my meals ahead of time, I’ve found myself enjoying wholesome, home-cooked meals even during the busiest of times.

It effectively eliminates the pitfalls of resorting to unhealthy, processed foods when I’m short on time.

As an added bonus, meal prepping also cuts down on food waste and reduces my inclination to eat out or order takeout, leading to significant savings over time.

Why Choose Chicken for Meal Prep

Chicken is the star of the meal prep stage. It’s a lean protein that’s as versatile as it is delicious, and it’s friendly on the wallet too.

From the homely comforts of a stir-fry to a zesty salad, chicken has proven itself to be a culinary chameleon, adapting to various recipes with ease.

Plus, it’s a nutritional powerhouse, rich in essential proteins, vitamins, and minerals, making it a prime choice for anyone seeking a balanced diet.

Selecting and Storing Chicken for Meal Prep

The journey to a flavorful chicken meal prep begins with selecting the best-quality chicken and storing it properly. Here’s how.

1. Selecting Fresh Chicken

Fresh chicken should have firm flesh and a clean smell. Steer clear of chicken with a slimy texture, discoloration, or a foul smell, as these could be indications of spoilage.

2. Proper Refrigeration

Once you’ve got your chicken, store it in the refrigerator, keeping it below 40°F (4°C) to prevent bacterial growth and to preserve its freshness. Always ensure your chicken is securely wrapped or stored in a sealed container to prevent any cross-contamination.

3. Freezing for Extended Storage

If you’re not planning to cook the chicken within a few days, freezing is your best bet. Use airtight freezer bags or containers and try to squeeze out as much air as possible. Don’t forget to label the packages with the date.

4. Thoroughly Defrosting

Defrost your chicken completely before cooking. The safest method is to shift it from the freezer to the refrigerator overnight. You could also use the defrost function of your microwave or submerge the chicken in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes). Remember, room temperature thawing can promote bacterial growth.

5. Safe Handling

Hygiene is paramount when handling chicken. Ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling, and use separate utensils and cutting boards for raw chicken to avoid cross-contamination.

Understanding Labels and Quality

Navigating the plethora of labels on chicken packages can be daunting. However, understanding these labels can help you make informed choices.

Labels like “antibiotic-free,” “free-range,” and “organic” tell you about the farming practices that were used to raise the chicken.

Based on your personal beliefs and preferences, you can select the chicken that aligns best with your values.

How to meal prep chicken

Seasoning and Flavoring Chicken for Meal Prep

The seasoning stage allows you to transform a simple piece of chicken into a culinary masterpiece.

Depending on the flavors you’re after, you can choose from a variety of spices, herbs, marinades, and rubs.

Dry Rubs

Marinating chicken not only imparts flavor but also tenderizes the meat.

Marinades typically contain an acid component (like lemon juice or vinegar), oil, and flavorings (like herbs, spices, and sweeteners).

For instance, a zesty marinade could be made with lime juice, olive oil, chopped cilantro, and a hint of honey.

Marinate your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for a subtle flavor, or up to 24 hours for a deeper flavor infusion.


A dry rub is a mixture of herbs and spices that’s rubbed onto the chicken before cooking.

It creates a flavorful crust that locks in the juices. Dry rubs work well for quick-cooking methods like grilling or pan-searing.

A simple dry rub could include paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and sea salt. For a spicy twist, you can add some chili powder or cayenne pepper.

Simple Seasoning

Sometimes, less is more. A simple seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper can enhance the natural flavor of chicken without overpowering it.

This is especially great when the chicken is part of a complex dish with other prominent flavors.


Brining is a method that involves soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution, sometimes with added sugar, spices, and herbs.

It results in a juicier and more flavorful chicken, particularly when you’re cooking it for a long time, like roasting or smoking.

Methods for Cooking Chicken

The method you choose for cooking chicken can greatly influence the meal’s final texture and flavor.

And no matter the cooking method, always ensure the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safety.

A meat thermometer is a handy tool to verify. Here are some of the most popular techniques.

Baking or Roasting

This is a dry-heat method that circulates hot air around the chicken, creating a crispy exterior while keeping the interior juicy.

This method is ideal for large cuts like whole chickens or chicken breasts, and it’s great for healthy, hands-off cooking.

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Season the chicken as desired. Place it on a roasting rack inside a baking dish or roasting pan.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check this – insert it into the thickest part of the chicken, not touching any bones.
  4. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.


Grilling imparts a smoky flavor to the chicken and creates enticing grill marks. Marinated chicken or chicken with a dry rub works especially well on the grill.

Always preheat the grill before adding the chicken and be careful to avoid flare-ups that could char the meat.

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Season or marinate the chicken as desired.
  3. Place the chicken on the grill, close the lid, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), turning once midway through. This will typically take about 6-8 minutes per side for chicken breasts.
  4. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing to let the juices settle.

Slow Cooking

This method is perfect for busy cooks who love to “set it and forget it.”

Just place your seasoned chicken in a slow cooker with some liquid (like broth or a sauce), and let it cook on low heat for several hours.

This method tenderizes the chicken and infuses it with flavor, making it great for pulled chicken dishes.

  1. Season the chicken and place it into the slow cooker.
  2. Add some liquid, like broth, sauce, or water until the chicken is about halfway submerged.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the chicken is tender and its internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  4. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and let it rest for a few minutes before shredding or slicing.


Poaching involves simmering the chicken in a flavorful liquid like broth or wine until it’s fully cooked.

This gentle cooking method keeps the chicken moist and tender, which is great for shredding into salads or using in soup recipes.

  1. Place the chicken in a large pot. Add enough liquid (broth, water, or wine) to cover the chicken. Add any desired aromatics like garlic, onions, or herbs.
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer.
  3. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool before shredding or dicing.


This is a quick, high-heat cooking method that sears the chicken and locks in its flavors. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces for even and fast cooking.

Always preheat the wok or skillet, and add the chicken in batches to prevent overcrowding, which can lead to steaming rather than frying.

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season as desired.
  2. Preheat a wok or a large skillet over high heat. Add a bit of oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom.
  3. Add the chicken in batches, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Stir frequently.
  4. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is browned and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and repeat with the remaining batches. Add more oil if needed.

Side Dish Inspiration

A meal is more than just its main course; it’s a symphony of flavors, textures, and colors that come together to create an experience.

When it comes to complementing chicken, the options are as diverse as they are delicious.

Let’s explore some side dish ideas that can transform your chicken meal prep into a gastronomic delight.

  1. Roasted Vegetables: Oven-roast an assortment of vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts. Their sweet caramelized flavors pair well with chicken.
  2. Steamed Broccoli: Light and nutritious, steamed broccoli makes a wholesome accompaniment. Toss it with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon zest, and a sprinkle of sea salt for added flavor.
  3. Quinoa: This protein-rich grain adds a hearty dimension to the meal. Cook it in chicken broth for a flavor boost.
  4. Brown Rice: A versatile side dish, brown rice complements chicken wonderfully. Add a bay leaf and a dash of olive oil while cooking for a tasty twist.
  5. Mixed Greens or Salad: A fresh salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette can balance out the richness of the chicken.
  6. Legumes: Cooked lentils or chickpeas can add texture and protein to your meal. Toss them in a simple dressing for a delicious side dish.

Storage and Reheating Guidelines

After putting effort and care into preparing your meal, it’s essential to ensure that it remains fresh and safe to consume.

The secret to enjoying your meal prep all week lies in the proper storage and reheating techniques.

In the following section, we’ll share crucial tips on how to maintain the quality, safety, and flavors of your chicken meal prep.

  1. Cooling: Let the cooked chicken cool down completely before storing to prevent moisture build-up.
  2. Storing: Use airtight containers or meal prep boxes to store the chicken. This keeps the chicken fresh and prevents bacterial growth.
  3. Refrigeration: Refrigerate the prepared meals promptly to maintain their quality and safety.
  4. Reheating: When ready to eat, you can use the microwave, stovetop, or oven for reheating.
  5. Safety Check: Ensure the reheated chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to avoid foodborne illnesses. Use a food thermometer to check this.
How to Meal Prep Chicken

Meal Prep Chicken Recipes

Embarking on your meal prep journey doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste, variety, or creativity.

In fact, the world of chicken recipes is vast and full of rich flavors waiting to be explored.

In this section, we will dive into a collection of handpicked chicken recipes tailored for meal prep.

Mediterranean Chicken Wraps

Immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean with these flavorful wraps.

Packed with spiced chicken, fresh vegetables, and a tangy sauce, they offer a fantastic way to make your meal prep exciting and colorful.

Servings: 2


  • 2 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  • Tzatziki sauce (store-bought or homemade)


  1. Lay the whole-wheat tortillas flat on a clean surface.
  2. Divide the sliced grilled chicken breast equally between the tortillas.
  3. Add half a cup of mixed greens to each tortilla.
  4. Sprinkle the halved cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumber evenly over the greens.
  5. Crumble one tablespoon of feta cheese onto each tortilla.
  6. Drizzle tzatziki sauce over the ingredients.
  7. Fold the sides of the tortilla inward, then roll it tightly to form a wrap.
  8. Cut each wrap in half and serve.

Southwest Chicken Quinoa Bowl

This recipe is a hearty, nutrition-packed delight that marries the robust flavors of Southwest cuisine with the wholesome goodness of quinoa.

It’s a satisfying meal that’s as nourishing as it is tasty.

Servings: 2


  • 2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh lime juice, to taste


  1. In a bowl, layer the cooked quinoa.
  2. Add the sliced grilled chicken breast on top.
  3. Sprinkle the black beans and corn kernels over the chicken.
  4. Scatter the diced avocado and halved cherry tomatoes on the bowl.
  5. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the ingredients.
  6. Toss gently to combine.

Lemon Herb Baked Chicken

An effortless yet flavorful classic, this dish shines with the light, citrusy notes of lemon combined with a medley of herbs. It’s a surefire way to elevate the humble chicken, transforming it into a scrumptious meal that’s both comforting and refreshing.

Servings: 2

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, dried rosemary, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish.
  4. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring it’s evenly coated.
  5. Let the chicken marinate for at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours for more flavor.
  6. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
  7. Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
  8. Slice the chicken and pair with your choice of side dishes.

Asian-inspired Stir-Fry

A delightful fusion of taste and texture awaits you in this Asian-inspired stir-fry. With bite-sized chicken pieces quickly seared and tossed with an array of vegetables and a flavorful sauce, it’s a speedy and scrumptious way to satisfy your meal prep needs.

Servings: 2


  • 1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup snap peas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish


  1. In a bowl, combine the sliced chicken breast, soy sauce, grated ginger, and minced garlic.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the marinated chicken to the hot skillet and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until it is lightly browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the sliced bell peppers, broccoli florets, julienned carrot, and snap peas. Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  5. Return the cooked chicken to the skillet with the vegetables.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue stir-frying for another 1-2 minutes to combine the flavors.
  7. Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if desired.
  8. Serve the stir-fry over steamed rice or noodles for a complete meal.

Herbed Lemon Poached Chicken

This recipe takes a gentle cooking method and adds a flavorful twist. The chicken is simmered in a fragrant blend of lemon and herbs, resulting in a tender, juicy dish that’s brimming with subtle yet satisfying flavors.

Servings: 2


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large saucepan or pot, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, crushed garlic, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bring the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
  3. Carefully add the chicken breasts to the simmering broth.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the chicken simmer in the poaching liquid for about 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).
  5. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and let it rest for a few minutes.
  6. Slice or shred the poached chicken and use it in salads, sandwiches, or as a protein source in other recipes.

BBQ Pulled Chicken

This slow-cooked marvel is the ultimate comfort food.

Cooked gently over several hours, the chicken absorbs the rich, smoky BBQ sauce, resulting in a pull-apart tender and mouth-watering good meal that will be a hit any day of the week.

Servings: 2


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Hamburger buns or rolls for serving


  1. In a slow cooker, combine barbecue sauce, chicken broth or water, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the chicken breasts to the slow cooker and ensure they are coated with the sauce mixture.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours until the chicken is tender and easily shreds.
  4. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred the meat.
  5. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and stir it into the sauce.
  6. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for an additional 10-15 minutes on low heat.
  7. Serve the BBQ pulled chicken on hamburger buns or rolls

Wrapping Up

Meal prepping with chicken offers countless ways to savor diverse, healthy, and delicious meals throughout your week.

Each stage – from selecting quality chicken, choosing seasonings and cooking methods, pairing with nutritious sides, to appropriate storage – is a key piece in the meal prep puzzle.

Remember, meal prepping is not only convenient but also empowers you with control over your nutrition.

With these tips and techniques, your chicken meal prep is set to be safe, tasty, and nourishing. Happy meal prepping!