This post will show you how to cook chicken breast just like the restaurants do it. This method creates the perfect baked chicken breast with a nice sear on the outside and a juicy, tender inside!
It’s also fast and easy which makes it the perfect option for dinner or meal prepping. Eat it as is, or meal prep to make dinner easy by storing it in the fridge for using in salads, pasta, pot pie, stirfry, or whatever else you like.
The possibilities are endless. I always have a few in my fridge so that it’s ready to go. Having that part of dinner done makes my life so much easier!
Have you ever eaten baked chicken breast that’s tough and rubbery rather than tender and juicy? I have and I would almost rather eat dirt. Serious!
Before I knew the trick, I NEVER cooked chicken breast whole. I used to chop it up first and fry it in a frying pan and it would get some color, but it would still be dry and not very appetizing. I tried baking it in the oven, but it pretty much turned out the same way except for without the color. Sometimes it ended up tasting all rubbery too.
Then I watched a show on the Food Network, and the host of the show let the viewers in on the secret of how to cook chicken breast just like they do it in restaurants.
I have not had a dry and rubbery baked chicken breast since! Now whenever I make it, it has nice color and it is always juicy and tender inside.
The Secret to Perfect Baked Chicken Breast:
The secret is to brown the chicken in a hot pan on both sides and then slide the pan into a pre-heated oven for a few minutes. That’s it!
This creates a nice browning on the outside and the oven finished off the cooking. It’s also done in half the time it takes to just cook chicken in the oven alone.
Of course you can spruce it up a bit if you sprinkle your baked chicken with herbs and spices before you throw it in the pan or make a quick sauce in the pan once the chicken is done. I often use a Cajun spice or a Greek mixture.
About the Chicken
In this recipe, we used boneless, skinless, chicken breast. However, this method works great with all kinds of chicken. In fact, this is the only way to get crispy skin on chicken without deep frying it.
You can use skin on, bone in too. This method works really great for skin on chicken thighs with bone. It makes the skin really crispy and the thigh meat really juicy!
Tools You Need:
- an oven proof pan – you have to have a pan that works on the stove as well as in the oven. The pans that do this the best are stainless steel or cast iron. We love both.
- tongs – for flipping the chicken, these tongs work the best
- meat thermometer – absolutely indispensable for cooking perfect meat of all kinds.
How to Brown Chicken
- thaw your chicken fully if it has previously been frozen. Cut off all the extra fat and any bits of bone or tendon.
- preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get your oven proof frying pan nice and hot over medium or medium-high heat.
- rub a little olive oil on the chicken and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper or your favorite spice blend
- when the pan is ready, add the chicken. Let it cook for at least 3 mins on that side or until the chicken gets a nice golden brown. Flip and cook for 2 – 3 mins on the other side as well. (see photos above)
Everyone’s stove is a little different and it may take a little time to figure out exactly what temperature on the stove produces a nice sear on your chicken. For my gas stove, I get a great sear at medium heat on the stove, but I had a stove where I had to have it turned to high or medium high.
I think if you have a gas stove, start with medium heat and if you have an electric stove, start with medium-high.
Finish Cooking the Chicken in the Oven
- slide the frying pan in the oven and cook for 6 – 8 mins. (see photos below)
- when the time is up, take the chicken out and let it rest for at least 10 mins before slicing.
How long does it take to bake chicken breast:
The quick answer is however long it takes for chicken breast to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Everyone’s stove is also a little different and it may take a little time to figure out exactly how long it needs to stay in your oven.
My current oven is quite big and I think that makes a difference. My chicken needs 8 – 10 mins in the oven, when in previous regular sized ovens, it only needed 5 or 6. It also depends on how long you have cooked the chicken on the stove too.
Play around with it a little and you will find what works best for you and your kitchen!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Should I cover chicken when I bake it?
In this case, you don’t want to cover it. Covering it will make the crispy bits much less crispy and I think the crispy bits are so good.
Also, if your chicken has skin on it and you want the skin crispy, it has to remain uncovered.
What temperature should chicken be cooked to in the oven?
It should be cooked to 165 degrees. However, the chicken will cook slightly after its removed from the heat and resting so I like to take it out of the oven at 162 or 163 degrees so that I make sure its not overcooked.
Does chicken need to rest?
Yes! Please always rest your chicken after taking it out of the oven. It needs a little time for the molecules to slow down and relax so that the juices relax too. This ensures juicy chicken instead of having the juices run out when you slice it.
You can rest it covered or uncovered. If your chicken has skin and you want it to stay crispy, rest it uncovered.
How do I make juicy chicken breast?
Follow this method! Brown chicken breast in a pan and finish in the oven. As long as you don’t over cook it (use a meat thermometer!) it will turn out juicy and tender every time.
Meal Prep Tips:
My secret (or tip) for getting dinner on the table much easier during the week is to make a bunch of baked chicken breast on Saturday or Sunday. I do this every week and then I pre-make my salad lunches for the week, throw some chicken in them, and make sure that I have a few breast left over for dinners for the next couple of days.
When I get home from work at 6pm to a hungry man and kid, its nice to have part of the work done for me already and dinner comes together much quicker than if I had to make the chicken from scratch every night.
It’s also much easier to make healthy food choices when the protein part of your meal is ready to go.
Chicken Dinner Ideas
- chicken pot pie
- add it to salads like this chicken salad or any other salad.
- make pasta and throw in some chicken
- throw it in soups
- make a stir fry with chicken and veggies or an easy pad thai
- cheesy quesadillas are a quick and easy staple in our house too
- Or, like my daughter, you can just eat it plain. Even plain, she always says its the best chicken she’s ever had!
Recommended tools for making perfect baked chicken breast:
- a stainless steel frying pan – these are the ones that both Debbie and I have. We absolutely love them and they are perfect for so many things, but especially for getting a nice sear on meat.
- a good set of tongs – essential for all kinds of cooking, but you need them for flipping meat both in a pan or on a bbq.
If you’ve tried this recipe that shows you how to cook chicken breast then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let us know how it turned out in the comments below. We love hearing from you!
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How to Cook Chicken Breast (Chef Secret to Perfect Chicken)
- Oven Proof Skillet
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat an oven proof skillet to med-high heat.
- Cut off all the fat and any other bits you don’t like. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. If you like, sprinkle the chicken with any other herbs or spices you want.
- When the pan is hot, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a min. Add the chicken carefully so that the oil doesn’t splash you. Let it cook for about 3 mins or until it gets nice and brown underneath. Then flip the chicken to the other side. Cook for 2 mins on the second side and then slide your pan into the oven.
- If your chicken is boneless, cook it for 6-8 mins in the oven or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, then pull it out and let it rest for 10 mins before slicing it.
- If your chicken has the bone on it still, increase the time in the oven to about 12 – 15 mins depending on how big the chicken pieces are.