Cooking Chicken Breast With Rib Meat – The Complete Guide

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Chicken rib meat is found along the rib cage of the chicken and is a slightly darker meat than the breast to which it is attached.

Some butchers and processors will leave it attached because it is easier to break down or simply because it tastes great! 

This meat doesn’t taste much different than a chicken breast, but it can add some extra juiciness and a subtle layer of flavor when cooked together.

If you decide you don’t like the flavor or texture, you can easily trim it off after cooking, though it’s unlikely you’ll even notice it’s there. 

So, how do you cook chicken breast with rib meat? You can cook chicken breast with rib meat the exact same way you would cook a regular chicken breast. Just make sure that the internal temperature reaches 165°F

Read on to discover more about what chicken rib meat is, what it tastes like, and how to properly cook the best chicken breast with rib meat! 

What Is Chicken Rib Meat? 

If you’re like me, you’ve likely not heard of chicken rib meat until recently, or perhaps you saw it on an ingredient list and you’re wondering what the heck it is!

While the ribs on a chicken are much smaller than those found on a pig or a cow, the meat they contain makes a worthy addition to your plate.

Typically, rib meat will be found closely connected to the white meat of the breast, though it is technically dark meat. That means it is tender, juicy, and flavorful

Some butchers will purposefully break down chicken breasts and include the rib meat because it adds extra juiciness and flavor to what can otherwise be a rather dry piece of white meat.

The rib meat is found along the rib cage of the chicken and can be left on when butchering. 

Essentially, if you get rib meat in your breast, it just means the butcher has cut a little beyond the white meat of the breast.

This can be done either because it is easier or because it adds more flavor, or both! These cuts of chicken breast can also be cheaper, which is great for the budget.

What Tastes Better: Chicken Rib Meat Or Chicken Breast Meat?

Taste is an individual preference so it’s hard to say whether chicken rib meat is better or worse than chicken breast meat. Objectively, it has more fat and a bit more flavor than chicken breast, which makes it more appealing personally. 

Let’s face it: we mostly eat chicken breast because we’ve been told it’s better for us, but the actual nutritional difference between white and dark meat is pretty negligible.

While chicken breast has less fat, it can also have fewer vitamins and minerals. 

What I suggest is that you pick up a chicken breast with the rib meat still attached and see whether you actually prefer it to just a plain chicken breast.

If I had to put money on it, I would say you’ll likely enjoy the flavor and texture a little more with the chicken rib meat attached. 

With all that said, if you’re not a fan of dark meat in terms of texture or flavor then you might not enjoy the chicken rib meat.

But you also may find that the texture is different enough and close enough to the breast that you’ve got a new part of the chicken to enjoy. 

When in doubt, try it out! Head to your butcher and ask for a chicken breast with the rib meat attached. You may also find it labeled as such at the grocery store

Or you can pick up a whole chicken and break it down yourself (there are lots of tutorial videos online) to form your own opinion on chicken rib meat. 

If you find that you don’t enjoy the flavor of the rib meat, no problem. You can cook your chicken breast as usual and trim off the rib meat when it’s done cooking. 

Don’t throw this meat away though. You can use the rib meat combined with chicken bones, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and garlic to make a delicious stock.

The richness of the meat will add a lovely flavor to the stock that you can use for chicken soups, stews, sauces, or to cook your grains. 

What Does Chicken Rib Meat Taste Like? 

Chicken rib meat doesn’t have much of a different flavor from chicken breast meat. It is just slightly darker and contains a bit more fat.

So, you may find it slightly more flavorful and pleasant-tasting than just plain white chicken breast meat. 

Many folks who cook up a chicken breast with rib meat don’t even notice that it’s there once the cooking process is complete. If you’ve ever had a rotisserie chicken meal then you’ve likely eaten chicken rib meat without even knowing it. 

It’s also a component in many chicken nuggets. So if you’ve enjoyed chicken nuggets, either at home or from a restaurant, then it’s highly probable those nuggets had chicken rib meat as an ingredient. 

While the term might sound a little off-putting, the flavor is relatively mild, as most chicken meat is, and can even add juiciness to your standard chicken breast.

Next time you see a package of chicken breast with rib meat, give it a try! Your taste buds may be pleasantly surprised. 

Why Should You Include Chicken Rib Meat When Cooking? 

If you’ve found chicken breasts with the rib meat attached there are a few reasons not to trim it away before cooking.

First of all, nutritionally speaking there is very little difference between chicken breast meat and chicken rib meat, so if that’s a concern for you, don’t worry about it. 

Chicken rib meat is also very small. Chickens themselves aren’t very large, so the amount of rib meat they contain isn’t going to be huge either.

So if you’re concerned about the flavor or anything like that, chances are you won’t even notice that it’s there. Removing it is just an extra hassle you don’t need.

Another reason to include your chicken rib meat when you’re cooking is that it is often a slightly cheaper cut of meat.

Since it is easier to process and folks have been taught that white chicken breast is best, pure chicken breast is going to be more expensive to buy. 

Finally, including the chicken rib meat in your cooking process will help impart some extra moistness and a subtle layer of flavor from the small amount of extra fat it contains.

If you’re a fan of dark meat, but find chicken breasts dry, then including the rib meat could be a great compromise.

Keeping the chicken rib meat on the breast before cooking is ultimately easier, cheaper, nutritionally beneficial, and can actually help make your chicken breast more juicy and delicious.

So next time you see a package of chicken breast with rib meat, don’t be afraid to throw it in your shopping cart.

Why Is Chicken Rib Meat Cheaper Than Chicken Breast Meat? 

If you’ve seen packages of chicken breasts at the supermarket and noticed that the ones with the rib meat attached are cheaper, you might be wondering why.

Does this mean that the chicken rib meat is a lower quality? Does it mean that it doesn’t taste as good? 

The answer to both of those questions is a resounding no! As we’ve already discussed, chicken rib meat is nutritionally almost identical to chicken breast meat.

It may have slightly more fat, but it is still loaded with protein and contains other minerals. 

It also has a lovely texture and can be juicier than a regular chicken breast since it is considered a dark meat. While the flavor isn’t much different, it can be slightly richer than plain white chicken breast

The reason that chicken rib meat is cheaper than chicken breast is because of two things.

Firstly, breaking down a chicken breast and leaving the rib meat attached is a quicker and easier process than removing it. That means it takes less time to break down and time is money in business. 

Secondly, through decades of marketing, we’ve been told chicken breasts are the best part of the chicken to eat since they have less fat than the thighs.

While nutritionally, white and dark meat is pretty similar, this mindset means that chicken breasts are more desirable, and therefore more expensive.

So, why are chicken breasts with rib meat cheaper? They are quicker and easier to produce and culturally seen as less desirable than pure white meat.

Realistically, they are virtually indistinguishable, so throw them in your cart and save yourself some money. 

Do You Need To Change Anything When Cooking With Chicken Rib Meat? 

Now that you’re familiar with what chicken rib meat is, you might be wondering: do I have to change anything about the cooking process if it is attached to my chicken breast?

The short answer is absolutely not! Chicken rib meat does not cook any differently than breast meat

If you find a piece of chicken breast with the rib meat attached, you can simply cook it the way you had intended. If anything, the rib meat will help keep your chicken breast from drying out. 

Chicken breast should be cooked to an internal temperate of 165°F. The rib meat doesn’t need to be cooked to a higher temperature, so it will be fine whatever you do with your chicken breast. 

If you find a chicken breast with rib meat attached you can cook it exactly as you would regularly cook your chicken breast so long as you heat it to the proper internal temperature of 165°F

How To Cook A Chicken Breast With Rib Meat

As we’ve seen, you don’t really have to change anything about the cooking process if you’ve bought a chicken breast with the rib meat still attached.

This meat will add a little extra moisture and flavor to your breast, but ultimately you can cook it the exact same as you would any other chicken breast.

Below I’ve included a couple of different ways to prepare a perfect chicken breast. One is great to batch cook and use as protein during the week. You can throw it in salads or stirfries or wraps. The other is a delicious centerpiece to a main course. 

Easy Baked Chicken Breast With Rib Meat Recipe


  • 4 chicken breasts with rib meat
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder 
  • ½ tsp. onion powder 
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl toss together chicken breasts, olive oil, sea salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and pepper until fully coated. 
  3. Place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet with some space between each breast to ensure even cooking.
  4. Roast for 10 minutes, flip, and cook for another 8-10 minutes until juices run clear (pierce the thickest part to check) or the internal temperature reads 165°F. 
  5. Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes. 
  6. Slice into strips and serve over quinoa salad, in noodle bowls, in rice wraps, and much more!

Lemon And Garlic Roasted Chicken Breast With Rib Meat Recipe


  • 2 chicken breasts with rib meat attached
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. 
  2. Place your chicken breasts in a baking dish with the skin side facing up and pat the skin dry. 
  3. Zest your lemon into a small bowl and then cut it in half. Squeeze the juice of half of the lemon into the bowl. Cut the remaining half of the lemon into quarters and set aside. 
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the small bowl of lemon zest and juice and stir it together. 
  5. Rub the mixture onto the top and bottom of each chicken breast and place it back into the baking dish. Season with a pinch more sea salt and cracked black pepper.
  6. Place the chicken breasts in the oven and cook for 25-35 minutes or until an internal temperature reads 155°F. 
  7. Remove the chicken breast from the oven and tent with tinfoil. Let it rest 5-10 minutes so that it can reach an internal temperature of 165°F. 
  8. Enjoy! 

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