Steamed whole chicken


Do people here steam whole chickens. Either wet or dry.

I’m not really asking about the how (as I do it routinely, and many times find myself enjoying dry steamed chicken more than a typical roasted one).

But I ask because I wonder why it’s not more popular, at least in Western (or American) cooking repertoire? (Because it is quite common, if not almost de rigueur, in Asian cooking.)


No, I don’t. And I don’t even know how to do it. And then what would I do with it? All sincere questions.


I didn’t grow up with that technique, so it’s not in my repertoire. I rarely do anything other than roast a whole chicken these days. I also suspect that the more gelatinous skin texture (at least with wet steaming) might be challenging to some.

But this post has me wanting to explore this a bit more since I do like the texture of both the meat and skin of steamed chicken I’ve had.

Could you share the basic outline of how you dry steam? I haven’t heard of that technique. After a quick search I was only able to find a viet recipe (that looked pretty wonderful), but I’d love to read about how you do it.


Because most of us have never heard of steaming chicken, much less how to do it.

I’m assuming the reliance on roasting, stewing, poaching of chicken in the Western cooking cannon comes from the reliance of very large stone ovens fueled by wood to cook most foods.

Asian technique seems to be based on small high-heat fire used with pots and woks to control and concentrate the heat, due to the much earlier deforestation and subsequent limited fuel suppply on the Asian continent.

I’m going back a thousand years or so, but you get the gist.


This is a pretty good synopsis of dry steaming chicken.

Vietnamese style

Filipino style


I use a clay pot,* fill it with sea salt and rock sugar, layer it all with bamboo leaves, lemongrass, and dried goji berries, and then steam for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered from 10-20 minutes (depending on size of chicken and size of pot). Lots of different ways, just up to personal preferences.

Really provides a nice textural contrast to wet steamed chicken.

*A cast iron dutch oven works as well.


Eat it.

[no snark]


Thank you. I’m really excited to try this soon.


Wow. Easy and delicious. I used a sea salt and rock sugar as the base then a bed of thyme threw in the whole chicken and cooked for 25 min. Perfectly cooked just pink by the bone but cooked of course made a taco


Any liquid? How much??? TIA


I’m guessing he’s going to say none because he specified it was a dry steam. When i did it i threw in the liquid in the bag the pollo came it because it seemed a waste not to. There was a surprising amnt of liquid when I was done. Used some of is as part of an ad hoc nuac chom for my taco. came out great


You use the watery weird blood juice ithat comes in the plasice bag? For real?


lol if you put it like that is sounds gross. I prefer to think of it as flavorful liquid from inside of the muscles that just needs to be cooked to bring out chicken-y goodness. + im cheap, lol, i paid for it so i’d like to find a use for it.


I bow to your fearlessnes.


I would . But I don’t . Got me thinking . Rather than steam it whole . I could cut it up ,then add fresh and dried herbs . Place in the fridge overnight and then steam . Thanks for the inspiration .:thinking:


No liquid.

Dry steamed.


Glad it worked out for you.

It really is a technique that should be put to more use in Western cooking.


texture of the breast meat was great firm but moist.


Wanted to follow up on this.

Seasoned a whole chicken with salt a couple of hours before the process.
Also, soaked the bamboo leaves in boiling water for 10-15 minutes and the wiped the dry.
Combo of rock salt and rock sugar on the bottom, then bamboo leaves, then smashed lemongrass stalks, then chicken, goji berries, and then sprinkled some shaoshing on top of the chicken. 25 minutes of heat (5# chix), then another 20 off the heat.

Results: meat was juicy, but quite firm. Had a springiness to it. Skin was anti-crispy, but I actually enjoy that slightly gelatinous texture. It was kind of taut and it had picked up the flavors of all the ingredients in the pot. Predominant flavor was the bamboo leaves. The flavor, while relatively mild, has permeated everything. Lemongrass got a bit lost here.

Notes: Chalking this up to user error, but the rock sugar caramelized, then burnt. I assume my flame was too high for too long. I hadn’t planned on using the sauce that forms at the bottom the pot, but it looked good. After tasting it, though, the burnt sugar made the sauce too acrid. Thankfully, the flavor of the burnt sugar didn’t affect the chicken. The other issue is that burnt sugar made clean up a chore. Had to boil off the crud from the bottom of the pan. Things get worse. I used an enameled Dutch oven. As flakes of the carbonized sugar were coming off, so was the enamel. The Dutch oven is a Le Crueset (gift) that I’ve been truly abusing for about a decade. So bright side is that I get to test the warranty!

All in all, I’d do this again. Obviously, there is a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re prone to extended periods of boneheadedness like me. Next time, I’ll keep a lower flame and maybe not use an enameled pot. I also think I might use banana leaves or perhaps some kaffir like leaves.

The results are really tasty and quite interesting.


Oooph, sorry about the burnt sugar.

Perhaps try a clay pot next time?