Woman hands washing chicken legs in kitchen sink.

Drying chicken before cooking is an important, but often overlooked, step that will keep meat juicy while making skin crispy. Because you are dealing with raw chicken, it is important to follow safe handling procedures. Always be aware of what the chicken has touched, and what you have touched after touching the chicken. Cleaning between steps and thoughtful preparation can prevent contamination. Drying chicken is like marinating - it requires a few hours of sitting time to be done properly, but can be done hours ahead of cooking.

Wash the chicken, including inside the cavity if using a whole chicken.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels or other kitchen paper. Place the chicken on a plate or plastic cutting board that has been covered with paper.

Put the chicken, uncovered, in the refrigerator for two to three hours.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Hold it over the sink to remove liquid and thoroughly pat dry again.


Salting the chicken before placing it in the refrigerator will remove even more liquid, but it may make chicken tough. For the best results for a crispy skin, salt the chicken after drying.

Some traditional methods for drying chicken include hanging chicken on a hook or rack and using a fan to dry it. This is impractical in most homes, but some people have modified this technique by using a hairdryer (set on cool) to dry their chicken.


Make sure not to let the chicken touch anything else in your refrigerator while drying. The danger of cross contamination increases with uncovered meats.

Thoroughly clean all surfaces raw chicken has touched with hot water and soap.