Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts

Two easy tricks will make your pan-fried chicken juicier than ever!

Two easy tricks will make your pan-fried chicken juicier than ever!

There are a lot of ways to cook chicken. Baking. Grilling. Pan-roasting. Poaching. But the very easiest of them all might be simply pan-frying. Just put it in the pan and cook it on the stovetop.

The only problem is that chicken—especially boneless skinless chicken breasts like we have here—can get tough and dry reeeeally easy. But I’ve experimented and found that with just two simple tricks, your pan-fried chicken breasts will come out juicy and flavorful every time.

So what’s my secret? The first one is simple—brining. Brining is as easy as mixing up a batch of salted water, plunking your chicken in it, and setting it aside in the fridge for a few hours. I admit that it’s not fast, but it’s not hard. So if you have the time, do it, especially with any meat that’s relatively lean, like chicken breasts or pork loin. It’ll make a big difference in both taste and juicy texture. For more about brining and how it works, read this post.

And my second trick? I learned it from my mom and it’s so simple and easy, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it. Mom and I just cover the skillet for the last half of the cooking time.

In other words, after the first side is browned, I flip the chicken, cover the skillet, and let it finish cooking. Both sides will still be deliciously browned, but covering helps keep the juices in the pan instead of cooking off, almost basting the chicken as it cooks and even making some nice pan juices. All that good stuff, and all it takes is covering the skillet!

I realize that you won’t always have time to brine. But plunking a lid on the skillet takes almost no time and it makes such a difference—even if the lid doesn’t fit perfectly.

Besides those two tricks, the recipe below is very basic, just seasoning the chicken with salt (but only if you didn’t brine, because brined chicken will be salted already) and pepper. But feel free to add your own favorite herbs and spices. Try garlic and paprika. Rosemary and thyme. Cumin and coriander. Curry powder.

Most importantly, try my recipe and see if you don’t agree—these are the easiest, juiciest boneless skinless chicken breasts ever!

(Thanks, Mom.)


Christine :)


Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts

  • Author: Jill Hough
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Two easy tricks will make your pan-fried chicken juicier than ever!


  • 4 (7-8 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts, ideally brined (see this post for how to brine)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt (if you didn’t brine)
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil


  1. If the thickness of the chicken breasts is very uneven, pound them a bit to even things out (see this post for how to do that), keeping the chicken 3/4- to 1-inch thick.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the salt (if you didn’t brine) and pepper.
  3. Preheat a large skillet (large enough to hold the chicken without crowding) over medium-high heat.
  4. When the skillet is good and hot, add the oil.
  5. When the oil is good and hot, add the chicken and cook undisturbed until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Turn the chicken and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked throughout, 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer the chicken to plates and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  8. Drizzle with the pan juices and serve.
Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts

8 responses to “Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts”

  1. Ron Sakoda says:

    Would cooking 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs make a difference in your recipe ?

  2. Tracie Cooper says:

    These chicken breasts look amazing and easy to make !

  3. Jaye Smith says:

    Such a great recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Judy Gregory says:

    Mmmmmm. Just like my grandmother made.

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