Michele D. Lee/Demand Media

Chicken makes a pleasantly lighter alternative to red meats, and it’s quick and convenient to cook. That makes it a great partner for the popular George Foreman grill, which is similarly focused on quickness, convenience and light cooking. The appliance’s ease of use and ease of cleanup make it an excellent choice for easy, fast weeknight meals.

A Quick Foreman Grill Primer

If you’re new to using the George Foreman grill, cooking on one requires a bit of a mental adjustment. The important thing to know about this appliance is that your meals will come together really, really quickly. You’ll have to get into the habit of having all of your ingredients prepared and ready before you start, but that’s a good practice anyway.

The basic process is pretty simple. Just plug in and preheat the grill; then once the green light comes on to show that it’s ready, pop your food onto the plates and close the lid. The Foreman grill cooks your food simultaneously from the top and bottom by pressing heated plates right against it, so there’s no need to flip your food as it cooks.

Once you’ve cooked for the recommended time or your food reaches the recommended temperature, you’re done. Open the grill and take out your meal.

The George Foreman Grill for Chicken

The Foreman grill works well for chicken in general. The easiest things to cook in it are boneless, skinless breasts or thighs because they’re relatively flat, and both the top and bottom plates can make good contact with the meat. Bone-in pieces like whole chicken leg quarters take longer, partly because the top plate won’t be pressed against the chicken so firmly and partly just because bone-in, skin-on pieces take longer to cook by any method.

George Foreman Grill Cooking Times

If you comb through any collection of George Foreman grill recipes, you’ll see that the cooking time varies depending on the cut you use. A whole boneless, skinless chicken breast will generally take between 9 and 11 minutes, for example, according to the manufacturer’s own time and temperature chart.

Some individual recipes may call for specific, smaller portions of breast, with shorter cooking times. If speed is your goal, you can shorten your cooking times further by butterflying a breast or cutting it horizontally into cutlets. To push that to the extreme, you can use a meat mallet to pound the breasts very thin – into what the French call a paillard – and cook the pancake-thin cutlet in just a minute or two.

A bone-in chicken leg quarter, or bone-in thighs, will take 15 minutes or longer. It helps if you arrange the legs with the narrow end of the drumstick facing the hinge and the thickest part of the thigh facing away. The leg will fit more snugly between the top and bottom plates that way.

Cleaning Your Grill Afterwards

Unlike most grills, a George Foreman grill won’t leave you with a huge puddle of chicken fat to clean out of its innards when you’ve finished your meal. The fat drains out into the grill’s drip collector during cooking, so you’ll just need to empty it and give it a quick hand wash or put it on the top rack of your dishwasher.

The plates themselves may have some browned-on chicken juices, spices or marinade when you’re done or even some bits of stuck-on chicken. Newer models of the Foreman grill often have removable plates, which can easily be washed by hand – once they’ve cooled – or cleaned in your dishwasher.

For models with fixed grill plates, you’ll need to wash them with a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Never use harsh scrubbing powders or metal scrubbers, which can damage the plates. Use a well-rinsed cloth to wipe away any soap residue; then dry the plates with a clean towel or disposable paper towel when you’re done.