Cooking chicken is an art – undercooked chicken is a big health no-no while overcooked chicken turns dry, chewy, and tasteless. The finickiest of all chicken cuts when it comes to getting it perfect are boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Honestly, it’s easier to roast a whole chicken perfectly than just cooking chicken breasts.
Thankfully though, cooking chicken breasts isn’t difficult once you know the right technique and with a ton of chicken breast recipes out there, you probably won’t have the same meal twice even if you eat nothing else for an entire year!
Prepping Chicken Breasts
It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to roast, pan fry, or air fry chicken breasts – a little bit of prep can go a long way to making sure that your dinner turns out perfectly every time.
Not a lot of people follow this step but brining chicken breasts before you cook them really helps pack in the moisture so that you end up with gorgeously tender chicken every single time. Simply soak the chicken breasts in a mixture of water and a few tablespoons of salt for about 20 minutes. Take the chicken breasts out of the brine and blot dry with a paper towel before proceeding with the rest of your recipe.
Chicken breasts have an irritating habit of being much thicker at one end than the other. Flattening them can help ensure that the meat cooks evenly all over so you don’t end up chewy bits at one end. Simply pound the breasts with a meat mallet until they are evenly thick all over. If you don’t have a meat mallet, a small skillet or even the bottom of a sturdy jar will do the trick.
A simple seasoning of olive oil, salt and pepper with your favourite spice blend can pack in a bunch of flavour for a quick and delicious meal.
How to Roast Chicken Breasts
Roast chicken dinners are heartwarming and healthy and getting the perfect roast with chicken breasts is surprisingly easy. There are two great ways to roast chicken breasts – stick them directly in the oven or first pan sear them before roasting to get a lovely crust.
Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts:
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Place the brined and seasoned chicken breasts on a greased roasting tray or baking sheet.
- Pop them into the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 170°F (77°C).
- Allow them to rest outside the oven for 5 minutes before serving.
Pan-seared and Oven Roasted
- Start preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Heat a cast iron skillet on a high flame.
- Add some olive oil to the heated pan.
- Sear the chicken breasts on the pan for about five minutes (do not flip or move).
- Flip them over and place the skillet in the oven for seven to 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 170°F (77°C).
Note: Cooking times can vary depending on the size of the chicken breasts. The timings given here are for medium-sized chicken breasts (approximately 8 to 10 ounces). Reduce or increase by a few minutes depending on size.
Serve with your favourite veggies, pasta, rice, or a fresh, leafy salad for a delicious meal. You can even use leftovers to in sandwiches or in recipes that call for cooked chicken. Cooked chicken breasts can also be frozen for up to four months.