Cooking chicken breasts can be a challenge, as they can dry out pretty easily. Fortunately, I’ve cooked a lot of chicken breasts over the years, and have learned some tricks along the way. This method that I’m sharing with you yields the best tasting and juiciest chicken breasts. I wouldn’t call it a recipe, more so a trick to cooking it so no matter the size or thickness of your chicken breasts, it should work great every time.
One thing I wanted to highlight from the pictures is the amount of space between each chicken breast. You never want to crowd the pan with your chicken or they won’t be able to brown. What will happen is the breasts will release water, and the chicken breasts will end up steaming versus browning.
Another important trick is pre-heating the pan. You’ll want the pan hot before putting in the meat. I go into detail about this below but thought it was worth a mention here too.
As you can see, the end result is a juicy and perfectly cooked chicken breast! On this particular night, I served with spinach chimichurri over top, along with another side vegetable and some brown rice for a healthy and complete dinner!
Would love to hear your results if you try it!
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 3-4 large breasts in a large pan, allowing adequate space in between.
- Salt & pepper
- Oil or cooking spray
- Cast iron pan (ideal) or another skillet that's oven-safe. Note: Teflon coated pans are generally not oven safe.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place chicken breasts on a large plate and if they are soaking wet, blot lightly with paper towel.
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt & pepper.
- Preheat your large cast iron skillet on the stove over medium/medium high heat.
- Lightly spray your seasoned cast iron pan with cooking spray or a light brushing of oil. Avocado oil or coconut oil are ideal as they have a 400 degree smoke point.
- Once the pan is hot, place in your chicken breasts.
- IMPORTANT: make sure there is adequate space between each chicken breast. If they are too close together they will not brown, and they will release water to each other and steam (not what you want)
- Since all chicken breasts come in a different thickness, there is no magic number of minutes. You just need to watch them. Once chicken breasts are a nice dark golden brown on one side and can release easily from the pan, flip them with tongs to cook on the other side.
- When the chicken breasts are just starting to get golden on the other side, time for the pan to go in the oven. Do not flip them again.
- Place the entire pan in the oven and allow the chicken breasts to cook through.
- My chicken breasts are usually on the thick side, so I put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. If your chicken breasts aren't as thick as pictured, then put them in for 6-7 minutes and go from there.
- The easiest way to ensure they are done, is cut into the thickest part of 1 piece and ensure there is no pink remaining.
- Alternatively, if you aren't confident checking by look alone, use a meat thermometer on the thickest part of the breast and you'll want it to read close to 163-165 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.