To be honest with you, I’ve never had much luck with cooking chicken breasts. I cook chicken pretty frequently at home, but I tend to stick to smaller cuts like tenderloins and thighs because they aren’t as tricky to get right!
Many people I know (including a few of the OGT Team!) avoid eating it altogether because of how frequently they’ve encountered dry and bland chicken breasts. So when I recently came across a cooking method on The Kitchn that promised perfect chicken breasts every time, I figured I ought to at least give it a chance!
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And not only did this method live up to its promise, it’s produced some of the best chicken breast I’ve personally ever cooked! It was juicy, flavorful, and most importanly, it was actually easy! So today I’ll be showing you exactly how it’s done, so you too can start enjoying chicken breast the way it was meant to taste! :-)
How To Cook Perfect Chicken Breasts Every Time
Step 1 – Pound It Out
Place your chicken breasts on a cutting board or clean surface and place a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap over the top. Then use a mallet, water cup, or small frying pan to pound the chicken into an even thickness.
The goal here isn’t to make them too thin—you just want to focus on flattening the thickest parts of each breast to even them out.
Step 2 – Season It
Next, season your chicken breasts with your desired seasonings. Everyone has their own ideas about the best way to season chicken, so I won’t try to step on any toes here.
If you need some inspiration, try my simple “house seasoning!” It’s just kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried parsley, and it works like a charm. (I usually just add them one at a time, but you could mix them up first if you prefer.)
Step 3 – Cook It
Heat your frying pan over medium-high heat. Stainless steel pans can be heated “dry,” but non-stick pans need oil from the start to avoid unhealthy fumes.
When the pan is hot, add a couple of tablespoons of oil. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan, and reduce the heat to medium.
Add the chicken breasts to the pan, and cook undisturbed for 1 minute or so to get color on one side. Then flip the breasts over, reduce the burner heat to low, and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed in the covered pan for 10 minutes. (That means no peeking!) After 10 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Wait another 10 minutes for the cooking process to finish, and don’t lift the lid!
Step 4 – Check & Eat
At this point, your chicken breasts should be perfectly cooked! Make sure there is no pink left in the center, and if you want to be absolutely certain it’s cooked, use an instant-read thermometer. The chicken should be at 165°F.
Slice up your moist and tender chicken breasts, and eat them however you like!
Bonus Tip: Try A Brine!
The next time you cook any cut of chicken (or any cut of any meat, for that matter!), try brining it first! Brining can enhance the juiciness and texture of any meat, and it helps season the meat throughout too.
To do a simple brine, add about 1/4 cup of kosher salt to 1 quart of warm water. Add the meat, put the container in the fridge, and let it sit for around 30 minutes.
But even 15 minutes of brining will make a difference if you’re short on time (or impatient like me!) Just don’t brine your meat longer than 2 hours.
What’s your favorite way to eat chicken breast?