tips & tricks: the perfectly cooked chicken breast

hands down, the hardest thing to learn in the kitchen, was how to cook a chicken breast perfectly. recipes involving chicken breasts would always say something vague, leaving me with way to much room for error. so here is a breakdown of how to get that perfectly cooked, well seasoned chicken breast every time.

to execute your perfect cookery, start with a few simple ingredients. a 4-6 oz chicken breast (no thicker than .75 inch thick and as even as possible). 1 tbs olive or vegetable oil. .25 tsp kosher salt. couple pinches of fresh ground pepper. large nonstick or cast iron pan. aluminum foil. paper towel. start by trimming any extra membranes or unwanted skin from the chicken breast. using a paper towel, pat your chicken dry. this is very important to ensure that you get a nice browned, flavorful outside. once you have patted your chicken dry. 


season both sides of your chicken with salt and pepper. then, place your oil in your pan and heat over medium high heat. 


when your oil is nice and hot (it will look a little shiny) gently place your chicken into the pan, being careful to lay it in the direction going away from you, ensuring you do not splatter oil on yourself. 


allow the chicken to cook, undisturbed until you can start to see the edges cooking through. about 3 to 4 minutes. 


once you see your chicken edges cooking through, gently flip your chicken breast. 


let it complete cooking,, undisturbed for and additional 3-4 minutes. the chicken is cooked through when the internal temp reaches 165 f, HOWEVER here are the important details they fail to tell you! foods continue to cook after they are removed from heat, so you don't want to cook your chicken all the way to 165 in the pan. if you do so, when you remove it and allow it to rest, the chicken will actually over cook. so, if you are not used to gauging the doneness of chicken by look or feel (the chicken should feel like the muscle at the base of your thumb when it is cooked through) and you are using a meat thermometer, you want to cook it between 155-160 degrees f. 


so once you have determined your chicken is done (it is cooked to temp and golden brown on both sides) remove it from the pan and allow it to rest. resting is very important in ensuring a moist piece of chicken. moisture absorbs back into proteins as they cool down, so give your chicken about 5-7 minutes to rest before slicing into it. 


once it is removed from the pan, loosely tent the chicken breast with foil. 


once the chicken has rested, slice and enjoy.


xo, a