I love boneless chicken breast. It's so versatile and non-fussy, but it has a bad reputation for being dry. I've found, though, that chicken breast isn't inherently dry. The culprit is usually overcooking. So today, we are talking about how to cook juicy, tender chicken breast every. single. time. This is my no-fail method and once you see how simple it is, you'll know how to avoid dry chicken breast fuh-evah. Let's get into it.
How to Season Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Think of boneless, skinless chicken breast as the ultimate blank canvas for cooking. You can cook it just about any kind of way (as long as you cook it through because we not catching salmonella over here, K?) and it takes on a variety of flavors quite easily. For this easy chicken recipe, the flavor profile comes from sweet yellow onion caramelized in butter + simple spices. Here's what we are working with:
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Sea Salt
And that's it. See? Simple. It doesn't take a whole lot for amazingly flavorful chicken breast. Check out these chicken breast and chicken thighs recipes to add to your rotation, as well.
- Grilled Jalapeño Honey Lime Chicken Breast
- Moroccan Chicken Thighs in Slow Cooker
- Orange Maple Chicken Breast in Cast Iron
- Skillet Tomato Basil Chicken Breast
How to Cook Chicken in Cast Iron
I find I get the best results in a good ol' cast iron skillet. Though, you can certainly use another oven-safe skillet if you don't have cast iron handy. Truthfully, cast iron cooking tips for chicken don't differ much from cooking other types of protein but are worth noting, especially if it's your first time cooking chicken in a cast iron skillet.
- First, get your skillet nice and hot. In this recipe, we melt down butter over medium high heat then sweat chopped onion in it, which provides a nice bed of flavor and heat for the chicken. This step infuses the chicken with so much flavor. Don't skip it! Unless, of course, you have an onion allergy or aversion.
- Pat the chicken dry then season it generously on both sides and drop it into the heated pan. A nice sear in a cast-iron skillet will seal in all the juices then into the oven it goes to cook (but not overcook) all the way through.
Tips for Juicy Chicken Breast
In my younger years, my dad used to always scold me for leaving the kitchen while cooking. "You have to pay attention! How can you cook from another room?" While my slow cooker says otherwise, his point is valid in this recipe. Don't get caught slipping and end up with dry chicken. Take a look at my juicy chicken breast cooking tips below.
- Preheat your oven before you start the process. This is a fairly quick-cooking chicken recipe but you don't want to add any unnecessary minutes to it as they are precious in avoiding dry, overcooked chicken breast. Keeping the temperature consistent throughout cooking is important.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts so that none are more than 1 ½ inch thick. This helps ensure they cook evenly and at the same rate.
- You can get juicy tender chicken breast results from roasting, pan-searing and many other cooking methods. My never-fail method is to start with a good sear in cast iron then pop the seared chicken breast into a hot oven to finish cooking.
- How to know when chicken breast is done. Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken. Chicken is fully cooked and considered safe to consume when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. You could eyeball it and cut into the chicken to get a look at the inside but I recommend inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast to confirm it's ready. Guessing can easily lead to overcooked chicken and we don't want that, right?
What to Serve with Chicken Breast
I paired this tender chicken breast with ginger curry carrots and a bit of sautéed spinach for an easy weeknight chicken dinner. Here are a few other side dishes for chicken breast ideas.
- Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Casserole
- Garlic Green Beans
- Massaged Kale Salad with Pears and Cranberries
- Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes
- Sweet & Spicy Brussels Sprouts
In my opinion, you've now got the best cooking method for juicy chicken breast. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this tender chicken breast method on Pinterest so more people can get in on these secrets. Thanks for reading!
Seared and Roasted Chicken Breast Recipe
Perfectly Tender Chicken Breast
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ large yellow onion chopped
- 3 pounds chicken breast trimmed
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium heat, then add onions. Allow to cook down about three minutes.
- Meanwhile, prep the chicken breast. If necessary, butterfly each breast so that no piece is more than 1 ½ inches thick. Pat it dry and season all sides with sea salt, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder.
- Once onion begins to soften and become translucent, add chicken breasts to pan. Cook each side for three minutes, spooning butter and caramelized onions over top occasionally.
- Remove skillet from stove top and place in oven. Bake for about 17 minutes or until cooked through. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.