Here at the Cafe we don’t wish dried out chicken breast on anyone – even the people who leave a single star vote on our recipes.
For this reason, we assembled a set of steps we use to brown the chicken breast perfectly in the pan – and lock in the tenderness. With these steps, and a little practice, your pan-fried chicken will be the best!
Step 1: Cut Chicken Breast in Half
Smaller portions allow the heat to penetrate the middle of the chicken breast faster so it’ll cook in less time.
Step 2: Pound Chicken Breast Halves to Even Thickness
Cover both halves with plastic wrap (or wax paper) and hit them with the flat side of a meat tenderizer (if you have one) or the bottom of a heavy skillet.
The goal isn’t to flatten the chicken breast. Simply pound each piece to an even thickness. This will allow each piece to cook evenly throughout on the inside.
Tip: The other option here is to butterfly the halves if you have a good comfort level with your chefs knife.
Step 3: Season
The easiest way to add instant flavor to chicken breast is to season it with salt and pepper before it hits the pan. Lightly season both sides of each piece.
Step 4: Heat Oil in Skillet
For best results, heat 1 teaspoon of cooking oil (I use canola) in a stainless steel skillet and heat it over medium heat. If using a non-stick skillet simply brush the cooking area with cooking oil.
Give the oil time to get hot before the chicken breast goes in the skillet. This way the outside of the chicken breast will sizzle and brown the instant it hits the hot oil in the pan.
Tip: Place the top of wooden spoon in the oil. It’s hot when small bubbles form around it.
Step 5: Place Chicken Breast in Skillet
Set the chicken breast in the skillet, then take one step back from the cook-top for a full 3 minutes to let the skillet do it’s job.
Keep an eye on the cook-top to see if the oil begins to smoke. If it does, slightly reduce the heat.
After 3 minutes step back up to the skillet and gently lift the chicken.
Hopefully you are rewarded with a golden brown crust. If not, set it back down in the pan and give it another minute to brown before checking again. Turn the chicken breast over and follow the same steps to brown the other side.
Step 6: Remove Chicken Breast from Skillet
Let the chicken breast sit for about three minutes on a rack to allow the juices inside to calm down so they won’t gush out when the chicken breast is sliced.
Now that you have the steps…give them a try in your skillet! You got this!
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Hi I’m Brent. Thanks for visiting the Cafe! If you are ever short on easy recipe ideas (and cash flow) feel free to check out the Cafe’s e-cookbook 15-Minute Money Saving Meals for Students: – costs less than an avocado toast and coffee combo!