Learn all the tips and tricks on how to mince chicken using one of the 4 methods: food processor, blender, meat grinder, or the traditional technique of mincing by hand.
When my son went through a phase of eating only ground meat, I was excited to try making my own minced meat using chicken or other proteins.
By making your own meat mince you do not have to worry about additives, sodium, or its freshness.
I started with purchasing an actual meat grinder, just like the one my mom used to have.
Interesting, how growing up in Ukraine, store-bought meats were not popular, so every household had a manual or electrical meat grinder.
My electrical meat grinder still works great and even has a sausage stuffer, but I do not use it as often these days. It is bulky and takes forever to clean all the parts after using it.
In time, I realized that I could mince meat using a food processor, blender, or even a sharp knife.
It is so much faster and I do not have to to all the disassembly and cleaning required with a meat grinder.
Another important note, homemade chicken mince tends to be coarser, but you still can use it in any recipe that calls for ground chicken.
Is minced and ground chicken the same?
For the first 10 years of living in the US, I always thought that the terms "minced" and "ground" were identical.
Until someone mentioned to me that minced and ground meat are very similar and could be considered the same in some cultures, but there is for sure a difference between these two types of meat.
Mincing involves finally chopping chicken meat into very small pieces using a sharp knife, food processor, or blender. Minced chicken is great for making stir-fries, rissoles, or burger patties.
Ground chicken is made with special equipment called the meat grinder (electrical or hand). You place the chunks of chicken into the grinder and it pushes it through the spiral blades that are rather dull (I even double checked by looking at mine), grinding meat into paste-like consistency mass. Ground chicken is perfect for making meatballs, lasagna, sausages, or meatloaf.
The good news, you can use minced chicken instead of ground chicken in your recipes.
Choosing the right chicken for mincing
For mincing, I recommend using boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
If you prefer lean meat, use chicken breast. Just keep in mind, it can be quite dry.
If you are looking for a juicier mince, use both chicken thighs and chicken breasts.
For making the meatballs, I always use combinations of both - dark and white meat.
In general, you can mince any cut, just make sure all the bones have been removed.
Skin is also OK, but it will add more fat.
If you want to use frozen chicken, simply let it partially thaw in the refrigerator.
Choosing the right equipment
Depending on the method you choose, below is the overview of the recommended equipment:
Food processor: it is one of the easiest tools to mince meat. The food processor is designed to handle solid foods better and some even have special blades for grounding the meat. If your food processor has a lot of blades, S-shape one is the best to use for mincing meat.
Blender: it is not recommended, but you can use your blender to mince the chicken. It needs to be a high-powered blender, such as Vitamix or Ninja. Blenders can overheat too quickly, so make sure to flash-freeze the meat.
Meat grinder: meat grinder will make a very fine ground chicken that is perfect for making meatballs and meatloaf. There are electrical or manual meat grinders available. Keep in mind, meat grinders are bulky and have a lot of parts to clean after usage. That's why I still prefer the food processor.
Cutting board: if you chose to mince the chicken by hand, you will need a large wooden or heavy-duty plastic cutting board.
Knife: chef's knife or a cleaver with at least 8 inches of blade is the best for mincing.
Personal note: after trying all the below methods, my best personal choice for mincing the chicken is a food processor.
Preparing the chicken for mincing
You can find the step-by-step directions how to mince chicken by hand or using a food processor (the best and easiest methods) in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
You will not need much time to prepare the chicken for mincing. It is very easy and quick:
Cube(skip this step if mincing by hand): if you are using a food processor or a blender, cut the meat into 1-inch chunks. It helps the blades to mince it faster and will prevent it from overheating.
Flash freeze: line a cutting board or a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cubed meat. Place it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. The meat will chill and start freezing. It needs to be firm but not frozen.
It is safer to mince chilled meat because the food processor and blender blades spin fast and can overheat the meat.
If you are mincing the meat by hand, you can also place a whole chicken breast in the freezer for about 30 minutes. It will be easier to finely chop it.
How to mince the chicken
After you flash freeze cubed chicken or a whole chicken breast, chose your most suitable method and you can mince the chicken following the directions below:
Food processor (pictured)
Take the chilled cubed chicken from the freezer and place it in the food processor container. Do not overfill it. If your food processor is smaller, do it in batches
Pulse in short bursts (30 seconds each) until the chicken pieces are finely minced and the desired texture is achieved. minced and the desired texture is achieved.
Cook the meat right away, or pack it and place it in the fridge/freezer.
Blender (not pictured)
Take the chilled cubed chicken from the freezer and place it in the food in a blender container.
To avoid the meat from overheating, do it in small batches - 7-10 cubes at a time.
Add a few chunks at a time and start blending it at a smaller speed. Once the first few chunks are broken into smaller pieces, you can raise the speed and start adding 2-3 more chunks at a time. Continue until you gradually add all the meat and your desired consistency.
You can stop the blender to scrape off the meat if needed.
If the container gets about halfway full, remove the meat and start a new batch.
Cook the meat right away, or pack it and place it in the fridge.
Manually with a knife (pictured)
Cut off any excess fat or connective tissue from the chicken breast.
Cut the chicken breast into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick.
Stack the slices on top of each other and cut them into thin strips, as thin as you can.
Gather the strips together and cut them crosswise into small pieces, Continue chopping until the chicken is minced to your desired consistency.
And if you want it to be even finer, you can use a rocking motion with the knife to achieve the finer mince. Gather already minced chicken in a pile on the cutting board, and rock the blade back and forth over the chicken until it is minced into a finer texture.
Meat grinder (not pictured)
Cut the chicken into small cubes that will fit into the feeder tube of the grinder. Place a clean large bowl under the spout.
Turn on the grinder and start adding one or two pieces at a time, using a pusher to help the chicken to go into the blades.
When using a meat grinder, you can also add chopped onion and garlic. Peel the garlic cloves and chop the onion coarsely. Add one piece at a time, alternating after each 4-6 pieces of meat, so they distribute evenly in the ground meat.
Proper storage techniques
Once you minced the needed amount of chicken, you should cook right away it or pack it for a proper storage.
You can use a food storage bag or a container to store fresh chicken mince, just make sure it is airtight and freezer-safe.
My favorite way is to wrap it first in a layer of parchment paper and only then place it in the Ziploc bag or a container.
Parchment paper acts as a moisture barrier, prevents the mince from sticking to the bag, and makes it easier to portion the meat.
And I always label the package with the date and type of meat, as it may be hard to tell once its frozen.
Now, place wrapped meat in a Zipoc bag and you can safely sore it in the fridge or freezer.
Depending on how fresh the chicken was, homemade mince can last between 1-3 days in the fridge. Make sure to always keep it at a temperature below 40°F.
If you minced the chicken that expires the same day, you should cook it right away or at maximum within 12 hours.
To freeze, store the mince in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible if freezing in a bag.
Tips for mincing the chicken
- select boneless skinless chicken breasts or tights for mincing.
- for juicier and more flavorful meat use chicken thighs.
- if using a food processor cut the meat into cubes and flash freeze to prevent it from overheating.
- cook or refrigerate the minced meat right away.
- never wash raw meat and always clean cutting boards, food processors, knife, and any other surface after there was contact with raw meat.
You can add basic seasonings to the raw mince such as salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Especially if you plan to cook it right away.
Avoid adding salt or any other spices if you plan to freeze it.
Recipes with minced chicken
- Chicken rissoles
- Chicken mince stir fry
- White sauce chicken lasagna
- Chicken meatballs
- Chicken muffins
- Air fryer chicken patties
How to Mince Chicken
- 1 food processor
- 1 chef's knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1 sheet parchment paper
- 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs
- ½ teaspoon (optional) salt or pepper
Using a food processor
- Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes. Line a cutting board or baking pan with parchment paper. Arrange cubed chicken and place it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes or until it is firm (not frozen!)
- Remove from the freezer. Place the chilled cubes in a food processor container. 1-2 layer, so not overfill it. Pulse for 30-60 second until the desired consistency achieved.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper (optionally). Cook it right away or refrigerate in a sealed container.
Using a knife
- Chill a whole freezer breast in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer and place flat in a cutting board. Cut the chicken breast into ¼ inch slices. Cut each slice into thinner strips.
- Gather the strips and chop them finely. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
- For finer mince, pile chopped chicken on a cutting board and use a rocking motion mince it into finer consistency.
- Cook the chicken right away or refrigerate/freeze it.
- you can mince the chicken using food processor, blender, meat grinder or manually using a knife.
- I find the food processor or by hand are the best methods.
- For juicer and more flavorful mince, use chicken thighs.
- Nutrition information is only the estimate and it will depend on the type of the meat and precise weight.