This simple marinated chicken breast recipe with a fresh, crisp cucumber salad is absolutely perfect for the weekday.
Moist and Tender Seared Chicken Breast Recipe Secrets
Chicken breasts are a staple in most kitchens — Here are our tips for making them the most delicious:
Even the simplest marinade can make a huge difference — marinated chicken becomes moist, juicy and flavorful. Just 20 minutes in a marinade will make a difference. You could leave it for longer, but there is no need to go past 2 hours for chicken breasts (a whole chicken can marinate overnight). A resealable plastic bag or small rimmed dish makes marinating easy, too.
For this chicken recipe, we went with an extra simple marinade: lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, fresh dill, salt and pepper. The lemon and dill work perfectly with the light cucumber feta salad, but you could switch lemon for lime or dill for other herbs if you wanted.
Sear Until Golden
After 20 to 30 minutes of marinating, we remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry — this helps with getting that golden sear when we cook.
Whenever you sear or saute something, especially chicken, it’s really important that you pat everything dry. If the chicken were still wet from the marinade, the chicken breasts would steam, not sear.
Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and add some olive oil (or other fat like vegetable oil, coconut oil or a combination of butter and oil). As soon as the oil if shimmering, add the chicken and cook 2 to 3 minutes until golden.
Cover, Turn Heat to Low
Once golden on one side, flip and turn down the heat to low.
Then cover and walk away — you want to let it cook 10 to 15 minutes. During this time, there is no need to open the lid or flip the chicken. The chicken breasts become moist, juicy and plump.
Let It Rest
Last step — Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil and let the chicken rest for 5 to 10 minutes. As the chicken rests, the juices redistribute. This way, when you cut into the chicken all the juices stay in the meat instead of running out on the the plate or cutting board.
Fresh, Crisp Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Salad
Making the salad is easy. We use lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Toss the dressing with cubed cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese. Add some fresh dill then refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.
The salad becomes more and more flavorful over time so it’s perfect to make while the chicken breasts marinate.
Once the chicken is ready, serve with a big spoonful of the salad and don’t forget to spoon a little extra dressing from the bottom of the salad bowl over the chicken. It’s delicious.
What is your favorite way to serve chicken breasts? Share in the comments below.
You May Also Like
- We use chicken breast in this Chicken Fajita Recipe — They are crazy good.
- This Baked Chicken Breast Recipe is simple to make — We add roasted red peppers and basil for extra color and flavor.
- Or, take a look at all of our Chicken Recipes.
What you need to know. Just 20 minutes in a marinade will make a difference for chicken. You could leave it for longer, but there is no need to go past 2 hours for chicken breasts.
Equipment you’ll need. Resealable plastic bag or small rimmed dish, chef’s knife, 1 small bowl, 1 medium bowl, a spoon, frying pan with lid, measuring spoons and cups.
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for cooking
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey, depending on how sour lemon is
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup (113 grams) diced hothouse or seedless cucumber
- 4 ounces (113 grams) feta cheese, diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Use the back of a small spoon to press garlic and dill into other ingredients. (This releases more flavor from the dill and garlic). Add marinade to a resealable plastic bag or small rimmed dish then add chicken. Marinate 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Brush extra garlic from chicken and pat dry.
- Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium frying pan (with lid) over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil is hot and looks shimmery, add chicken. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until golden.
- Flip, reduce heat to low then cover with lid. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees F (74C) when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
- Transfer chicken to a plate then cover loosely with aluminum foil. Rest 5 to 10 minutes then serve with salad.
- Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, honey and dill in a medium bowl then add tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese.
- Toss gently, season to taste then refrigerate at least 20 minutes and up to a day.