Cooking chicken is hard.
One small error of judgment can quickly lead to a dried out mess, and many dinners have been ruined as the result of an ill-fated chicken breast. But don’t despair— if you’re one of the unlucky people who just can’t cook a chicken breast for the life of you, then this one is for you.
Just use the following method and you are sure to get juicy, delicious chicken breasts every single time!
Before we start, just a quick reminder from Bon Appétit:
- While our method is meant to be used with skinless, boneless chicken breasts, breasts with skin and bones will be a lot juicier, in general. This is because they help keep the breast moist while it is being cooked. If you’re not a fan of skin, remember that it can always be removed after cooking.
Alright, let’s get going!
Step 1. Brine the chicken
This step is not necessary but will lead to a much juicier breast and can be accomplished in only 15 minutes. Here’s The Kitchn‘s quick homemade brine recipe:
- Dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in 4 cups of water
- Lay the breasts in a deep dish
- Pour the brine over the breasts, completely submerging them
- Let them sit anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours
- Remove from brine and dry completely before continuing
This brine also works great for pork chops!
Watch the process in the video below:
Step 2. Pound the chicken
Next, we’re going to want to pound the breasts until they’re of equal thicknesses. If you don’t have a mallet, this can be done using the bottom of a jar. Or, lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, place the breasts on top, and then fold the plastic wrap over like a cover and pound them with the bottom of a large pan.
Step 3. Season the chicken
In general, a little salt and pepper are all that’s needed for a good chicken breast. But, if you like a bit of a crispy crust to your chicken, you can also dredge it in flour. If using flour, feel free to add some fresh herbs and other seasonings for added flavor.
Step 4. Heat the pan and apply oil (or butter)
Once your chicken has been seasoned to perfection, we need to get the pan ready for cooking. Before beginning, make sure you also have a tightly-fitting lid. Once this is done, heat the pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, coat the bottom of the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil— or butter— making sure it is lightly covered.
Step 5. Begin cooking chicken
So, now that the pan is heated and ready to go, you’re gonna want to turn the heat down to medium and place the breasts on the pan. Without moving the breast, cook it for 1 minute. We’re not searing or browning them, we’re just looking for a bit of heat. If using flour, cook until chicken is golden before moving onto the next step.
Step 6. Flip, cover, and continue cooking on low—with complete trust!
After a minute has passed (or your chicken is golden), it’s time to flip. Then, turn the heat down to low, and cover the pan with the tightly-fitting lid we found earlier. Now, here is the important part: once you’ve put the lid on, DO NOT TOUCH IT— not even for a little peek. Trust that the stove will do its job, and let the chicken cook for 10 minutes.
Step 7. Turn off the stove and remove the pan from heat— don’t take off the lid!
After you’ve patiently waited the 10 minutes (without peeking, I hope), it’s time to turn off the stove and remove the covered pan from the heat. Next, you reset the timer for another 10 minutes and begin the torturous waiting game all over again.
Step 8. Enjoy!
After you’ve patiently waited the entire 20 minutes without lifting the pan’s lid, tender, juicy breasts are your final reward. Make sure the chicken is not pink by using a meat thermometer. It should read at least 165°F. If all looks good, time to dig in!
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.