Not-So-Lazy Cola Chicken

Earlier today, a friend asked me this over lunch: “So, when are you going to come up with another new recipe for your blog?

He sounded like I haven’t been blogging about my cooking for a long time. This is how I know he doesn’t read my blog often, for if he does, he would know I have at least one cooking post per week.

I replied: “Eh… I don’t know…

I was fibbing on him. The fact is, I DO know. I’m going to have another new recipe tonight, as in, now.

When I said new, I mean new to my blog, not newly created by me. You see, I was on a [Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives] marathon on Youtube yesterday evening. In one episode, I saw one guy dunked a couple of turkey breasts into a tub of cola marinade and left it in the fridge overnight. And then he grilled them on a pan until golden brown. And then he cut the breasts to pieces and served them to Guy.

And then Guy ate a piece of that chicken and went to gastronomic heaven. He started uttering words like “ridiculous”, “fantastic”, “so juicy”, “so tender it feels like beef”, “so many things going on in my mouth”, and so on…

And then I quickly rushed downstairs to the convenience store and bought a can of Coke Light…

By the way, [Diners, Drive-ins and Dives] is an American food reality show, hosted by Guy Fieri. The show features Guy going on road trips all over the United States to discover all the lovely food joints serving delicious comfort food. It is a hugely successful show that already has 22 seasons under it’s belt and still going strong. This show is the direct opposite to Gordon Ramsay’s and Anthony Bourdain’s shows, I suspect the food that Guy loves and recommends would be the ones that make Gordon pissed off. You can catch this show on the Food Network channel.

Anyway, the above video is NOT the one with the cola turkey. In fact I forgot which episode it was, I watched too many episodes and could not find the right video now. 🙁

So, I bought a can of Coke Light. I didn’t have turkey breasts, but I do have chicken breasts. I reckon they are more or less the same, so this should work..

First, the coke marinade. I poured half a can of the Coke Light into a bowl. Then I squeezed the juice of 1 lemon into the coke, and added 3 tablespoons of light soy sauce for good measure. Then I dunked two chicken breasts into the bowl, slapped it into the fridge and left it overnight. This is somewhat similar to the brined chicken that I did last week, except the coke is my brine now…

DSC_0001 (1024x764)

Twenty four hours later, it is time to cook. I drained the coke marinade, then kept 1 piece of the breast back into the fridge. I am going to only cook one breast today..

Heat the pan with a glug of refined olive oil (don’t use extra virgin olive oil for high heat grilling). Place the breast into the pan and grill for 6 minutes each side. My slab of breast is quite thick, if it is thinner then less minutes per side.

DSC_0003 (1024x576)

This is probably a process that justifies why some people are afraid to start cooking. Because I took the breast out from my cola marinade straight into the pan, you can imagine how much water is still inside the chicken. And when water touches hot oil, that is when the fireworks begin and the oil begin to fly to your shirt, or in my case, my tummy, since I was naked on the top half. Cooking is a perilous activity, very danger…

Anyway, the chicken is done when both sides are golden brown, and you can poke a chopstick through the thickest part with no effort at all. If it feels difficult to poke the chopstick through the chicken easily, it means the chicken is still raw inside and not fully cooked.

DSC_0004 (1024x698)

When the chicken is done, set it aside. There are still some leftover oil in the pan, with all those lovely cola flavors. In the same pan, I sauteed some chopped garlic, then added some purple cabbage, you can add any vegetables that you want. And then I did a quick stir fry and cracked an egg into it, just because. Cabbage is edible even when raw, so you don’t have to worry about under-cooking it.

When I felt that the cabbage is done, I poured it over a plate. The chicken breast that was done earlier, I sliced it into pieces and placed them on top of the pool of cabbage to make it look nice.

DSC_0005 (1024x688)

Then I ate everything up, transferred the photos to my PC, did some cropping and resizing, uploaded them into the blog, went for a shower, and finally wrote this post…

Okay, seriously… the chicken was indeed very tender. And although you cannot see it from this picture, it is indeed very juicy. It didn’t feel like beef though. Maybe it is because I used chicken instead of turkey. Now I know we cannot consider chicken as similar to turkey.

The best part was, the flavors exploded in my mouth. There is that subtle cola flavor, with just the right amount of sour and salty from the lemon juice and soy sauce. It is a very subtle but balanced flavor. If you are not into heavy flavored food, this is perfect for you. If you are into heavy flavors, well… nothing that a drizzle of soy sauce can’t solve…



  1. Using Cola to marinade is new to me but I would willing to try it.

    If you have any coke left, you can use it to clean your toilet. Apparently, there is so many chemicals in it that it will make it all shiny if left for awhile [saw it on TV once].

    • I actually tried that once, pouring coke down my toilet. It didn’t work at all! Either the coke here are less chemicals laden, or the stains on my toilet were much worse! 😐

  2. I cooked cola chicken wings before, but it was different. I first marinated the wings in soy sauce for 20 minutes, then put them in a pan with a lot of coke and cooked until the coke became thick. They were very good! I can try this recipe also 🙂

    • Yours would be the most economical way to use the coke for cooking. Mine, I sort of used the coke as a brine, then I throw most of it away. It doesn’t give such a strong coke flavor to the end product.

  3. You are getting adventurous aren’t you? I have heard of Cola chicken but somehow I thought it was weird so I never tried. Now you have got me all curious and I think I might give this a go 😀

    • I thought it was weird too, until I saw the Guy’s expression and his description of how great the cola turkey tasted.

  4. LOL…sikit lagi you will be celebrity Lazy-Man Chef leh.

    all the lazy recipe very ngum us all here. No need headache banyak especially for those who are busy working

    • I thought this one is a not so lazy recipe leh, marinade overnight lah, fry in oil and make the kitchen covered in popping oil lah.. Tonight oven bake will be lazy! 😛

    • Sadly, I don’t think I have inspired that many people to start cooking. Maybe I did, with the silent readers. Hmm…

  5. I was just going to say what happened to the other pc of chicken…until I read your comments. This cooking with coke is not new, I first saw it on an episode of Masterchef Australia (not cooked by a contestant but by one of the judges, the flamboyant Matt Preston, who is not a chef but a food writer). Your baked one tonight will probably taste better than the pan-fried one (my sis cooked it once for our family but with another part of the chicken). A word of advice…cover your tray with aluminium foil as it can get quite sticky when sugars are released from the coke when baking (if you want it sticky-sweet, pour the marinade in). Happy cooking tonight!

    • Haha, I have never watched Masterchef series, apart from one where Jamie Oliver challenged Mario Batali or something like that.

      I hope I remembers your advice when I cook later tonight! 😛

  6. yeah cola chicken!!! I have heard about this and tried this before long time ago, but what I had was fried wings not something like yours.. I thought it tastes cola but to my surprise no, because using the cola to marinate is to make the meat more tender, I was told..

    • Exactly, it is used to tenderize meat. In terms of flavor, cola is like wine, you pour add it into your cooking, but it will evaporate quickly upon cooking, so it only adds a subtle flavor to your meat.

  7. Never tried cooking with Cola. A blogger friend cooked some for me when I went to KL once – maybe it was already very very cold so I did not think it was all that nice. Here, there’s a nice place – chicken with Guiness stout! Haven’t had it for a long time – dunno if it is still available.

    • Apparently, the main job of the cola is to tenderize the meat rather than giving it a strong cola flavor. You could probably use whatever soda for the same purpose, but I think cola’s flavor complements meat best.

  8. I watch Diners Drive In and Drive every Saturday weekend too, at Food Network.. I’ve always wanted to try Coke chicken and Marmite chicken, but I guess Coke chicken is easier since we only need to soak in Coke, then bake.. I”ve never heard of Marmite baked chicken, and I’m lazy to ‘hoi wok’ (open wok), so….But I see you didn’t bake this time wor, you fried it.. Of course fried stuff taste better..I want the whole plate 🙂

    • I’m going to bake the other piece tonight, see what happens. Then I’ll blog about it! 😛

  9. The chicken looks fab. No thanks to Cola though and especially not the diet kind – filled with gross additives that many European countries are banning from their shelves.

    • I think Coke Light is not the same as Diet Coke, Coke Light is supposed to be just Coke, minus sugar. But I’ve seen Americans drink Diet Coke religiously as their meal beverage thinking that Diet Coke is a special Coke formula to help people be on diet. It was both funny and disturbing to hear them!

    • I think that’s the reason why even westerners love searing their meats. They can say a bunch of “keeps the juices inside, keeps the meat tender, bla bla bla” but I think the real reason is because the seared golden brown part is yums! 😛

    • You get used to it. That’s not to say I love frying things full of water though. Just that sometimes, you have to do it to get deliciousness.

  10. The youtube show you watched did not use soy sauce with cola, right? You put your creative licence to work and add the soy sauce yourself, right?

    Brilliant piece of cooking! Very adventurous. I know it must be very tasty because it is chicken breast! 😀

    Turkey breast meat is not as fine as chicken. I used to eat turkey breast a lot in UK because it is cheaper than chicken breast meat there.

    Coca Cola is nice when used in cooking. I have eaten the famous Kuaytiaw Kai Tun Coke in Chiang Mai and it is nice.

    Do cook more adventurous dishes and share it with us here. Thanks!

    • He did. His cola brine has soy sauce and a bunch of other spices. I did not have those garlic salt, cajun spices, paprika etc, so I settled for soy sauce and lemon juice..

      Now that you mention, no wonder Subway uses turkey bacon instead of chicken bacon for their healthy alternative. Turkey must have a texture closer to pork/beef than chicken!

Comments are closed.