If you crave boneless and skinless chicken breasts with a golden crust, then follow this simple recipe on how to sear a chicken breast to perfection. You will learn everything you need to know about seared chicken breasts that are juicy and flavorful.
Seared chicken breasts is the kind of savory chicken main course that is infinitely adaptable and is always welcome on the table. What really makes this recipe great, though, is how dependently and quickly you can get this juicy chicken on the table!
How to Make the Best Seared Chicken Breast
- First things first, we will be using boneless and skinless chicken breasts. No crispy skin here – just juicy meat!
- Pat dry chicken breasts with paper towel. Starting with dry chicken surface leads to a moister end result because the less water there is on the surface to start, the more quickly the chicken will brown.
- Don’t be afraid to season them well with salt and pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning, and really get lots of flavor out there!
- After seasoning the meat, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Salting breaks down muscle fibers so they shrink less and retain more juices as they cook.
- Stainless steel skillet or cast iron pan conduct the heat very well and are perfect to use when searing chicken.
- Medium-high heat works best for searing, and it’s important to use the right oil such as vegetable, olive, canola, or peanut oil.
- The skillet must be hot before chicken is added. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (you can also use vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray) and heat your skillet on medium high heat. Add your chicken to the hot pan, emphasis on hot. You should hear a sizzle when chicken touches the pan.
- Resist the urge to move the chicken around as it cooks. Allowing the chicken to stay in the same place in the skillet ensures that the sear isn’t disrupted. You’ll notice that the chicken starts to release from the surface when it’s ready. If it’s sticking a lot to the pan, it’s not done searing.
- Flip the chicken only once. Cook your chicken until it is nice and brown on the first side, 4-5 minutes, and then flip and cook for 4-5 minutes longer.
This method covers the entire process of how to sear the chicken and ensures wonderfully juicy and succulent meat!
How to Season the Chicken
I use Italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in almost every chicken recipe. These seasonings create a perfect combination of flavor to an otherwise boring chicken breast. Welcome savory flavorful chicken!
You can get creative and sprinkle on some of your favorite spices such as taco seasoning or chili pepper.
What Skillet is Best for Searing Chicken
You will need a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet in order for chicken to have enough room to sear and not accumulate moisture. Large pan allows all liquids to evaporate quickly, contributing to a nice sear.
The skillet also must be hot before chicken is added and you should hear a sizzle when chicken touches the pan.
How to Check if Chicken is Cooked is Done
There are two ways to check if the chicken is cooked all the way through.
- You can do so by cutting the thickest part of the chicken to check if it’s pink.
- Or use a meat thermometer! It should register at 165 degrees.
If seared chicken is not done, reduce heat, cover with lid and cook for a little bit longer. Using a lid at this point doesn’t affect the searing process and the chicken won’t be over-steamed if it’s cooked with a lid on at the very end only for a couple of minutes.
What to Serve Seared Chicken with
This chicken can be served as is or sliced in 1 inch strips. You can use it with Pasta in White Wine Sauce or serve it with Creamy Bacon Brussels sprouts.
Hungry for More Chicken Recipes?
- Skillet Chicken in Mushroom Sauce
- Herb Roasted Chicken in Creamy White Wine Sauce
- Chicken in Mustard and Wine Sauce
How to make the best seared chicken
- 1 lb. chicken breasts, thick (boneless and skinless)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Season the chicken generously with Italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and heat it to medium high. Add chicken to the hot pan, emphasis on hot. You should hear a sizzle when chicken touches the pan Cook until it is brown on the first side, 4-5 minutes, and then flip and cook for 4-5 minutes more on the other side.
- Check if chicken is cooked all the way through. I do it either by cutting the thickest part of the chicken to check if it’s pink or white or use a meat thermometer (it should register at 165 degrees). If it’s not done, reduce heat, cover with lid and cook for a little bit longer. Using a lid at this point doesn’t affect the sear.
- Chicken can be served as is or sliced in 1 inch strips
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. This information comes from online calculators. Although whatsinthepan.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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followed recipe exactly and 2 boneless breasts came out perfect! Did 4-5 min each side, then cut into the thickest part and saw it was pink, so did as recipe said — lower heat and cover, which I did for ~ 3-4 minutes. Took breasts out of pan, and let it set for a minute, before slicing. yummy!! a keeper recipe 🙌🏽
Though I have not yet tried it, I very much like the clarity of explanation. I had never heard of searing chicken to cook it from start to finish. The minimum of oil is worth noting. Avocado or walnut oil will deliver top flavour. Thans for posting the recipe.
Thank you for the compliment on clarity and suggesting these heart-healthy oils!
Ahhh completely pink in the middle after 7 minutes on each side! Needs more like 10 minutes, on a high heat too.
Laquisha Renea Jackson says
Josh W says
Olya come cook at my house haha 🙂
Great recipe. Thanks!
You say it let the meat rest 5-10 minutes after “salting” which I assume you mean after seasoning un your link to “How to Sear Thicker Chicken” which I assumed you meant chicken thighs? But in that link no where does it explain how to cook/sear thicker chicken pieces!!?? What’s with that? Are you just trying to get people to look at your site? Bait and switch or OMIT in your case?? Please be honest with what you post!!!
All you have to do is simply scroll down to the bottom to see the instructions. You can also click on “jump to recipe” button under the title. No need to click on “How to sear thicker chicken” link unless your chicken breasts are THICK. This is helpful if you bought chicken breasts that are thick as opposed to thin ones I used in this post.
Carol Glenn says
Also I assume you did mean salt not season, then wait 5 min.. The science of cooking would explain letting the salt have time to react with the meat. I am sure seasoning and waiting 5 min is ok but does not actually prepare the meat right?
I did use all of it: salt and pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. But it is salt that will penetrate the top layer of chicken the most. The remaining seasonings will cook on top to create a nice flavor overall. So basically I seasoned my chicken with everything listed above, then let it rest for 5 minutes and then I cooked it.
The ingredient list doesn’t have the paprika listed. Can you add that please. I imagine it is 1 tsp. Of paprika. Thanks!
Olya at Whatsinthepan says
Thank you for catching! I added paprika to the ingredient list – it’s 1/4 teaspoon.
Chicken turned out juicy and flavorful. made it a couple of times now.
I made these with steamed broccoli. Perfect easy dinner!