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How To Tenderize Chicken Gizzards (with Baking Soda!)

How To Tenderize Chicken Gizzards (with Baking Soda!)

Texture counts for a lot when cooking different cuts of meat and poultry, and one of the drawbacks of using gizzards is that they’re pretty tough unless you prepare them correctly.

So, what’s the secret to how to tenderize chicken gizzards? Baking soda!

Using baking soda to tenderize meat is a simple and easy method for tenderizing meats like beef, poultry, and pork, and it’s an excellent option for tenderizing chicken gizzards.

Why Does Baking Soda Tenderize Meat?

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda, 8 Ounce (Pack of 3)

Baking soda works to increase the pH at the surface of the meat, which prevents the proteins at the surface level from bonding.

As a result, the meat remains moist and tender when cooked. Baking soda is a popular option for ensuring a tender result when stir-frying poultry and meat.

How to Tenderize Chicken Gizzards with Baking Soda?

Tenderizing chicken gizzards with baking soda isn’t tricky. Here are the steps.

1. Mix baking soda and water in a bowl. Use one teaspoon of baking soda and a half cup of water for every 12 ounces of chicken gizzards.

2. Place the gizzards in the baking soda solution to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes. No need to cover, heat, chill, or do anything but let the gizzards soak.

3. Give the gizzards a quick rinse to free them of their thin layer of baking soda. Don’t worry if you don’t get every ounce of baking soda off the gizzards; it’s not harmful. 

4. Cook gizzards using your preferred method, and enjoy the delight of tender gizzards that aren’t chewy or tough to eat.

What Happens When You Leave Meat in Baking Soda for Hours?

Conventional wisdom regarding baking soda and tenderizing suggests that just 15 minutes is enough when tenderizing small cuts of meat and pieces like chicken gizzards or neck bones.

However, what will happen if you leave the meat in the baking soda solution for more than the recommended 15 or 20 minutes? 

A team at Cook’s Illustrated conducted an experiment to find out. The results were encouraging for forgetful cooks.

Fortunately, you don’t need to worry too much about leaving the chicken gizzards in the baking soda for more than 20 minutes. Even if you reach a half hour or 45 minutes, you shouldn’t experience any negative effects when cooking.

The reason it doesn’t cause any problem to leave the meat in the baking soda for a long time is that the chemical reaction that occurs when you first place the gizzards into the solution happens pretty quickly. After that initial phase, further or significant chemical reactions don’t really happen.

Therefore, don’t worry if you’re in a hurry and you forget that the gizzards are soaking. They’re likely just fine, and you should prepare them as you normally would in your recipe. 

However, it doesn’t take more than about 15 or 20 minutes to get the desired effect from the baking soda, so don’t leave your gizzards in the solution longer, thinking that you might get an improved result.

Just set your timer for 15 minutes, and that’s all you’ll need for excellently tenderized chicken gizzards.

Using Baking Soda to Tenderize Isn’t the Same as Boiling or Water-Velveting Meat

Baking soda is an excellent maneuver for tenderizing meat like chicken gizzards, but it’s a different process from water-velveting, which is a process where you marinate meat as you might when oil-blanching it, but you use boiling water and a small amount of oil to tenderize the meat.

Water-velveting is a technique routinely used in Chinese kitchens, and it’s one of the reasons the meat in most Chinese dishes is so tender after stir-frying. You may want to experiment with water-velveting and baking soda tenderizing to figure out what style suits your recipes best. 

All things considered, using baking soda to tenderize chicken gizzards is an easier and quicker process than using boiling water to tenderize them.

Water-velveting can take as long as 45 minutes, during which you have a hot pot of boiling water on your stovetop.

On the other hand, using baking soda to tenderize gizzards takes a third of the time and doesn’t require that you heat up the kitchen before it’s absolutely necessary and you commence cooking the gizzards after they’re tender. 

Like all cooking techniques, it’s best to experiment with various options and stick with what works best for you. You can even experiment while you tenderize and refine your technique.

Should You Boil and Baking Soda Your Gizzards?

Baking soda is an excellent alternative to boiling your chicken gizzards before you prepare them, but should you try both for an even more tender result? It comes down to preference as to which method you should use, but you don’t need to employ both. 

Using both methods one after the other won’t result in chicken gizzards that are any more tender than they might be after using a single method. It’s not worth the extra time you might spend using both meat tenderizing methods.

If you plan on stir-frying your gizzards or preparing them in any way other than boiling them for something like chicken gizzard and onion soup, consider the baking soda option since it’s quicker and doesn’t require you to cook your gizzards twice by boiling first and then using an additional step to prepare them for use in soup, chili, or other dishes.

How to Tenderize Chicken Gizzards with Baking Soda FAQ

How do you soften up chicken gizzards?

Baking soda tenderizes chicken gizzards in just 15 minutes, or you can boil the gizzards in a process known as water-velveting for about 45 minutes.

How do you make gizzards less tough?

Frying gizzards for too long can toughen them and make them less enjoyable to eat. Tenderizing the gizzards before frying helps make them less difficult to chew.

How long does it take for boil gizzards to get them tender?

Tenderizing gizzards by boiling them takes 30 to 45 minutes. Tenderizing chicken gizzards with baking soda takes just 15 minutes. Both methods work well.

How do you use baking soda to tenderize chicken?

Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a half cup of water for every 12 ounces of chicken and let the chicken soak for 15 minutes. You can tenderize any part of the chicken using this method.