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Want to make the best pan seared chicken breast? I’m sharing my top tips, so that you can learn how to sear chicken like a pro! After browning the chicken on the stovetop, we’re making a silky smooth (super simple) pan sauce that takes the sauteed chicken breast over the top. It’s one of the quickest chicken dinners you can make when you’re short on time and just want something quick with ingredients you have in your pantry.
Why You’ll Love This Pan Seared Chicken Breast
- Juicy, tender chicken breast
- Easy, flavorful pan sauce
- Simple ingredients
- Faster than baked chicken breast
- Ready in less than 30 minutes
- Naturally low carb, gluten free, and healthy
- Perfect for casual weeknight dinners or special gatherings alike
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for sauteed chicken breast, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
This easy pan seared chicken breast recipe is made with just a few basic ingredients and some pantry staples:
- Chicken – I use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you could use boneless skinless chicken thighs here. (The cooking time may vary.) If you want to use a bone-in cut, my recipe for pan fried chicken thighs is a better option, and also works for bone-in chicken breast.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper – I kept the seasonings simple in this pan seared chicken recipe, as the pan sauce provides plenty of flavor on its own. But if you decide not to make the pan sauce, you’ll definitely want to add other spices to your chicken breast, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika.
- Olive Oil – Regular (not extra virgin) olive oil is ideal for searing and high heat cooking. You could also use avocado oil.
- Aromatics – A combination of minced garlic and shallots give the pan sauce flavor. If needed, you could substitute 1 teaspoon jarred garlic for the fresh garlic cloves.
- White Cooking Wine – The cooking wine adds flavor and deglazes the pan. If you’d rather not use it, you can use extra broth instead.
- Chicken Broth – I use reduced-sodium broth, as otherwise the sauce gets too salty.
- Unsalted Butter – Adds richness, depth, and a velvety texture to the sauce. It also helps to thicken it naturally without any starches!
- Fresh Herbs – I used a combination of fresh parsley and fresh thyme. Feel free to use other herbs, such as rosemary, basil, or oregano, to add different flavor profiles to your dish.
How To Sear Chicken
This section shows how to make pan seared chicken breast, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
The best seared chicken breast is definitely made with pan sauce! Let me show you how to make it…
How To Pan Sear Chicken:
- Season the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
- Sear. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet (I recommend cast iron like this one, but see below for other options.) Add the chicken and sear on both sides, until cooked through and golden brown. Remove from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
How Long To Cook Chicken Breast On The Stove?
Pan searing chicken breasts on the stove usually takes about 4-8 minutes per side, depending on their thickness.
TIP: For best results, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
The chicken is ready when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part shows an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To prevent it from drying out, I usually prefer to bring it to just 162 degrees F, as the internal temperature will rise a few degrees as it rests covered in foil while you make the sauce.
How To Make Pan Sauce For Chicken:
- Saute the aromatics. Add more olive oil to the pan, plus garlic and shallots. Saute until fragrant and starting to brown.
- Deglaze the pan. Add the cooking wine and broth, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil, then simmer until it’s reduced by about half.
- Finish the pan sauce. Reduce heat to low and stir in the butter and fresh herbs.
- Serve. Add the pan seared chicken breast back to the pan and spoon pan sauce over it. A beautiful skillet can go right to the table on a hot pad, or divide among plates to serve.
This skillet chicken breast recipe is included in my hardcover Easy Keto Cookbook, along with 99 other delicious recipes that make the most of simple ingredients. It has over 6,000 5-star reviews and counting! But as you can probably guess, knowing how to pan fry chicken is a basic skill for anyone, even if they aren’t following any special diet.
Tips For The Best Pan Seared Chicken Breast
The step-by-step process for how to sear chicken is all you really need, but for the best pan seared chicken, here are some tips for perfect results every time:
- Choose chicken breasts similar in size. That way, they’ll cook at the same rate, so you don’t overcook or undercook them. If your chicken breasts vary significantly in thickness, pound them with the flat side of a meat mallet to get an even thickness.
- Use a heavy bottomed pan. Heavier pans distribute the heat more evenly. This prevents hot spots and uneven cooking, and helps get a better sear. A cast iron pan like this one is the top choice, but a heavy hard anodized aluminum pan will work as well.
- Don’t move chicken around, and flip only once . To get that perfectly seared chicken, let it connect with the pan to form a brown crust. If you move it around constantly or flip frequently, this won’t happen — and it’s also more prone to drying out.
- Deglaze the pan. Skipping the deglazing step leaves so much flavor in the pan. Scraping the browned bits from the bottom when making the pan sauce makes a big difference in flavor.
- Let the broth and wine mixture reduce. For a smooth, great tasting sauce, the broth and wine need to simmer to become thicker and more concentrated. If you rush this, your sauce will be liquid.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much oil to pan sear chicken breast? Two tablespoons of oil is ideal for pan frying chicken. You just want a nice coating for flavor and to avoid sticking.
- Should you cover chicken when pan searing? No, don’t cover pan seared chicken breast, or it will start to steam instead.
- Can you pan sear chicken breast from frozen? No, pan frying chicken from frozen is not recommended. It would take a very long time to cook through and won’t cook evenly, leaving you with undercooked or overcooked spots. If your chicken is frozen, thaw it first in a bowl of cold water, or in the fridge overnight.
- Store: While you get the juiciest sauteed chicken breast if you make it fresh, you can make it ahead for meal prep or store leftovers. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: Store in a zip lock bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: The simplest way to reheat pan seared chicken breast and sauce is to do it in a hot skillet with the lid on, over medium-low heat. For a more moist result, place the chicken with sauce in a baking dish, cover tightly with foil, and heat in the oven at 300 degrees F. The foil covering will steam the chicken, keeping it moist. If you’re in a rush, the microwave will work, but will have a more dry result.
What To Serve With Pan Seared Chicken Breast
All this pan fried chicken breast recipe needs is a few sides. Here are a few ideas:
- Vegetables – Before cooking chicken breast on the stovetop, I like to start some veggies in the oven — quick roasted zucchini, my favorite roasted cauliflower, crispy roasted brussels sprouts, or the fastest option, baked asparagus. That way, I have my main dish and side done at the same time. You can also cook your entire meal on the stove by pairing the chicken with sauteed broccoli or fried zucchini. Or, use other appliances to make Instant Pot broccoli (pictured above) or air fryer vegetables.
- Starches – You can’t go wrong with potatoes or rice if they fit your lifestyle. For a healthier twist, serve your pan seared chicken breast with baked sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower. All of these are great for soaking up the pan sauce!
- Salads – Keep this meal simple by pairing your sauteed chicken breast with a classic wedge salad, basic arugula salad, creamy cucumber salad with sour cream, or fresh Greek salad. You can also skip the pan sauce and serve the chicken over a cobb salad.
More Stovetop Chicken Breast Recipes
If you like this pan fried chicken recipe, you’ll love these other ways to cook chicken breast on the stove:
Tools For This Recipe
Pan Seared Chicken Breast
Pan Seared Chicken Breast (So Juicy!)
You'll love this pan seared chicken breast recipe with the best pan sauce! It's easy, uses simple ingredients, and takes just 25 minutes.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season both sides with sea salt and black pepper.
In a large heavy bottomed skillet, melt 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 4 to 8 minutes per side, until cooked through and browned.
(For the best juicy pan seared chicken, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness – remove immediately once it reaches 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), or you can remove at around 162 degrees F (72 degrees C) and let the temperature come up a few more degrees as it rests in the next step.)
Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil.
Add another tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic and shallot, and sauté for about 2-5 minutes, until fragrant and starting to brown.
Add the wine and broth to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 7 to 8 minutes, until the liquid volume is reduced by half.
Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the butter, parsley, and thyme, just until the butter melts.
Serve the sauce over the chicken.
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Serving size: 1 chicken breast with 2-3 tbsp sauce (depending on how much you reduce it)
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