The Best Juicy Chicken Breasts

Our no-fail recipe for juicy in the center chicken breasts. We use a skillet on the stove for the juiciest, most tender chicken. Our method works for all cuts of chicken, but it is especially helpful for lean chicken breasts.

Watch the Video

Chicken Breasts Recipe Video

Related: Many of our readers love these pan roasted chicken breasts cooked with butter and thyme.

How to Cook Chicken Breasts

Say goodbye to flavorless, dry chicken breasts and hello to mouthwatering, succulent, juicy chicken. It’s easy to do at home. Here’s our easy, no-fail method for skillet chicken breasts:

  1. Cook seasoned chicken breasts in a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, add a splash of liquid, cover the skillet with a lid, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit.
  3. Remove the chicken breasts from the skillet and let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Our easy recipe works for all cuts of chicken but is especially helpful for chicken breasts. For more ways to cook chicken breasts, see our baked chicken breasts, this perfect poached chicken, and this recipe for grilled chicken breasts.

More Tips for Cooking Chicken Breasts

Pound the chicken breasts into one thickness: I’m sure you’ve noticed that chicken breasts are thicker on one end than the other, which can cause uneven cooking.

If your boneless, skinless chicken breasts are larger and thick on one end, you can use a mallet or rolling pin to pound them to a more even thickness. We use this trick when grilling chicken, too. We don’t always do this step, but we recommend it if your chicken breasts are large and thick.

Seasoning the chicken breasts

Season your chicken well: You don’t need to marinate the chicken, but we do recommend seasoning with salt before cooking. If you want to marinate, we love this chicken marinade recipe. For the chicken breast recipe below, I use our simple spice rub:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, I love our homemade chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the juiciest chicken, use your skillet’s lid: We use this trick when cooking meat a lot — see our juicy skillet pork chops. First, we sear one side of the chicken until browned, flip it, turn the heat to low, and cover the skillet with a lid.

The second side will slowly turn golden brown, and since we added the lid, the heat from the pan will gently cook the middle. Gently cooking chicken breasts this way keeps them juicy and tender.

Cooking chicken breasts in a skillet

Allow the cooked chicken to rest: Before cutting it, give the cooked chicken a few minutes on the counter, covered with some foil.

The chicken will finish cooking as it sits, and all the juices inside will either redistribute inside the chicken or fall out onto your plate. If there are juices on your plate, save them! They make the best sauce.

Chicken breasts cooked on the stove

How to Tell When Chicken Breasts are Done

  1. Use an internal thermometer — this is our preferred method since it’s no-fail! Chicken breasts are cooked when an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 165° Fahrenheit. Since we’ve used our guaranteed juicy chicken cooking method, the chicken will still be nice and juicy in the middle if you remove them from the heat at 165° Fahrenheit.
  2. Check that the juices run clear. Another way to check if the chicken is done is to pierce it with a knife. If the juices that come out are clear, the chicken should be cooked. While the thermometer method is still preferred, this can be a helpful visual check.

What to Serve With Chicken Breast

This is one of our favorite chicken breast recipes, and we hope you try it soon. Here are a few side dishes we love serving them with:

  • Our best homemade coleslaw — It’s crunchy, bright, and delicious, thanks to a creamy dressing made with mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
  • Add a healthy, low-carb side of mashed cauliflower. It takes about 20 minutes and would be excellent served with the pork.
  • For a more traditional side, give our favorite homemade mashed potatoes a try.
  • Chicken added to salad is classic. Make a bed of greens and fresh veggies, then choose your favorite dressing. We love this homemade ranch. You can also make chicken Caesar salad by adding it to this freshly made salad.
  • We both love this recipe for marinated chicken breasts with a cucumber and feta salad (in this recipe, we use the same no-fail method to cook the chicken).
Sliced chicken breasts with pan juices

The Best Juicy Chicken Breasts

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Our no-fail recipe for juicy in the center chicken breasts. We use a skillet on the stove for the juiciest, most tender chicken.

Makes 4 (6-ounce) servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts; 2 large breasts or 3 medium

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon chili powder, see our homemade chili powder recipe

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon avocado oil or other high heat cooking oil

Half of a lemon, quartered, optional

Directions

    1Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and season on both sides with salt — we use just less than 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt per chicken breast.

    2Make the spice rub by combining the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and black pepper. Liberally dust the spice rub all over the chicken.

    3Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium frying pan (with lid) over medium-high heat. As soon as the oil is hot and looks shimmery, add the chicken. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until golden.

    4Flip, reduce the heat to low, and then splash a few tablespoons of water (or broth) into the skillet. Cover the skillet with a lid.

    5Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

    6Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, cut into thick slices, and then serve with pan drippings and lemon wedges.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe (about 6 ounces) / Calories 208 / Total Fat 4.6g / Saturated Fat 1g / Cholesterol 124.1mg / Sodium 387mg / Carbohydrate 0.9g / Dietary Fiber 0.3g / Total Sugars 0.1g / Protein 38.5g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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48 comments… Leave a Review
  • Kristin Etter February 20, 2024, 7:13 pm

    This chicken recipe was a quick, easy and full of flavor. The whole family loved it and I loved it as a topping on my salad.

    Reply
    • Joanne February 20, 2024, 7:15 pm

      That’s fantastic! So happy the recipe was quick, flavorful, and a hit with the whole family. Love that you found a way to enjoy it over salad too!

      Reply
  • Stephanie January 30, 2024, 9:12 pm

    Came out so moist & delicious. When I served it to my teen daughter she said it was the best I’ve ever made!

    Reply
    • Joanne February 20, 2024, 7:15 pm

      That’s the best compliment! So thrilled your daughter loved it. Enjoy!

      Reply
  • Erin Lamberson October 14, 2023, 7:42 pm

    Wow! This was a great and easy recipe! I used a little lemon infused oil . The combo of the seasonings was perfect! Will definitely make again !

    Reply
    • Adam October 14, 2023, 8:43 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Reply
  • Dan Turner October 10, 2023, 10:07 am

    I’ve never had good luck with searing and then covering chicken breasts. The chicken breasts (boneless/skinless) come out of the pan much too tough. The liquids that collect in the pan…I suppose it’s brine…appears to be culprit and pretty much boils the chicken pieces in the liquid and steams the parts not covered. I think the problem resolves with a better choice of chicken breasts….smaller and not puffed up from brines or raised with steroids. I’ve used the same recipe with simple seasoning a number of times before to perfect skillet chicken, so beware the puffed up boneless/skinless breasts from the big box butcher shops.

    Reply
    • Joanne February 20, 2024, 7:16 pm

      You raise a great point! The quality and size of chicken breasts definitely impact the final result. Larger, water-injected breasts can release excess liquid, leading to the problem you described. I often look for smaller, organic or air-chilled breasts whenever possible.

      Reply
  • Maria October 2, 2023, 1:31 pm

    In the video you add water to the pan right before covering it. How much water do you add? (This doesn’t appear in the written instructions) Thank you.

    Reply
    • Joanne November 17, 2023, 6:23 pm

      Hi Maria, We add a few tablespoons of water.

      Reply
  • Marie September 12, 2023, 3:57 pm

    I haven’t cooked for my very anal husband since we were dating. 17 years ago!!! The first time I cooked for him I made lobster tails. Unfortunately!I put them wrong side up in the oven and had the fire dept over. So he believed everything I cooked would turn out that way. Well, about a year ago I cooked for him since he now is more relaxed and I used this recipe and it turned out AMAZING!!! He asks for it all the time now. Does anyone have a comment on how this would pair with roasted brussel sprouts. I’ve been dying to make them but haven’t had a chance yet. Im not sure if the 2 flavors would be too similar in regards to the spices? I would make a potatoes. We have to have some sort of potatoe with anything we eat. He’s Irish and really loves his potatoes. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. I love the way you tell us WHT we’re doing something in all your recipes. Ex:) Like why we shouldn’t press on 5he chicken breast to make them cook faster. Thanks for sending all your delicious recipes our way!!

    Reply
    • Joanne September 21, 2023, 8:22 pm

      Hi Marie, We are thrilled you love the recipe. Brussels sprouts would be lovely with this chicken.

      Reply
    • Robin December 27, 2023, 12:58 pm

      Marie, I have made this with maple-Dijon roasted carrots and Brussel sprouts (trimmed and halved) and it’s fantastic. I use equal parts maple syrup and Dijon mustard to make the sauce (I usually do a 1/3 cup each for a full sheet pan of veggies). I roast just veggies in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes, then toss in sauce and roast for 15 addition minutes. It compliments this yummy chicken perfectly!

      Reply
  • Shana Boyd August 21, 2023, 7:20 pm

    This is now my go to recipe for chicken . The breast’s turn out so tender and seasoning is perfect AND so quick and easy. This has become my families favorite chicken . Thank you for sharing

    Reply
    • Joanne February 20, 2024, 7:17 pm

      That’s fantastic! So happy it’s become your go-to recipe and a family favorite. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Reply
  • Rose July 19, 2023, 7:00 pm

    My boyfriend just stood up and got himself some buttered bread to soak up the left over drippings! He is not a huge guy and a moderate eater. I am so complimented! So easy and delicious. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Adam July 21, 2023, 3:36 pm

      Those drippings are delicious. We also serve it with bread to soak it all up. So happy that you and your boyfriend love the recipe 🙂

      Reply

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