How to Pan-Fry Chicken Breasts

I might be teaching soap to foam but I’ve just discovered how to pan-fry the moistest, most tender skinless chicken breast to ever touch your fork. Mr Misk isn’t a fan of pan-fried chicken breasts, saying that they’re too dry and tasteless, so for years I’ve been casseroling them or serving them with sauce to help them slide down the old oesophagus. This new method caught us both by surprise; it makes delicious, moist and tender chicken breasts that are astonishingly perfect. It’s converted Mr Misk into a chicken breast eater, and I think my son, John, will like this method also as he loves chicken.

chickenBr_27Mar12 (800x638)

The method is at The Kitchn. The only requirement is a kitchen timer and a tight-fitting lid for your frying pan because this method works by retaining all the heat in your closed pan. The trick is to not remove the lid until it’s completely finished cooking. Here’s the method, plus a few adjustments that I made.

Amazingly Moist Fried Chicken Breasts


2 (or more) boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon flour (or more; original recipe= ¼ cup)
Olive oil and a small knob of butter to create a shimmer across the pan
A frying pan with a tight fitting lid
Kitchen timer


Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling film, and lightly thump with the flat side of a chef’s knife so that the flesh is more even in thickness. You don’t want it flattened, so go easy with the thumping. Lightly salt and pepper each breast. Spoon the flour into a small sieve, and then dust the chicken with flour on both sides. Shake off the excess flour.

Preheat the frying pan over medium to medium-high until hot, and then add the oil and butter. Tip and rotate the pan so that the surface is covered with a fine film of oil. Add more oil (or butter) if required.
Reduce the heat to medium, and then add the chicken breasts smooth side down. Set your kitchen timer for 1 minute. When the time is up, turn the breasts over, and reset the timer for 1 minute. The colour should be a light, delicate golden colour. When the minute is up, turn the breasts over so it’s smooth side down again.

Reduce the heat to low, clap the lid on the pan, set the kitchen timer for 10-minutes, and then repeat after me: “I will not lift the lid to check on the chicken. I will not lift the lid to check on the chicken.”
In order words, don’t lift the lid to check on the chicken. Just leave it alone.

When the kitchen timer goes off, turn off the heat. Yes, you heard me right. Turn off the heat. DON’T TOUCH THE LID! Set the timer for 10-minutes, and allow the breasts to finish cooking in the pan undisturbed. When the timer goes off, your chicken is ready to eat.

Bon appétit!

Danish Translation:
Utroligt Fugtige Fried Chicken Bryster

2 (eller flere) udbenet kylling uden skind bryster
Salt og peber
1 spsk mel (eller mere; oprindelige opskrift = ¼ kop)
Olivenolie og en lille klat smør til at skabe en glitre på tværs af panden
Stegepande med et tætsluttende låg
Køkken timer

Læg kyllingebrysterne mellem to plader af plastfolie, og let dunk med den flade side af en kokkens kniv, så kødet er mere jævn i tykkelsen. Du ønsker ikke den fladtrykt, så nemt med pumpende. Let salt og peber hvert bryst. Hæld mel i en lille sigte, og derefter støve kylling med mel på begge sider. Ryst det overskydende mel.

Forvarm en stegepande over medium-høj varme, indtil varm, og derefter tilføje olie og smør. Spids og rotere panden, således at overfladen er dækket med en fin film af olie. Tilsæt mere olie (eller smør), hvis det kræves.

Reducer varmen til medium, og derefter tilføje kyllingebryster glatte side nedad. Indstil dit køkken timeren i 1 minut. Når tiden er færdig, vender brysterne over, og nulstille timeren i 1 minut. Farven skal være en lys, sart gylden farve. Når minutter i fuldstændig, vend brysterne over, så det er glatte side nedad igen.

Reducer varmen til lav, klappe låget på gryden, indstille vækkeuret i 10-minutter. Du må IKKE fjerne gryden låget! Løft ikke låget for at kontrollere, om kyllingen. Bare lad det.

Når køkkenet timeren slukkes, slukke for varmen. FJERN IKKE ELLER Løft låget! Indstil timeren til 10-minutter, og lad brysterne at afslutte madlavning i panden uforstyrret. Når timeren slukker, din kylling er klar til at spise.

76 thoughts on “How to Pan-Fry Chicken Breasts

    1. just loved chicken cooked with that method.My son usually refuses to eat chicken because it is too dry,but i read your comments to him and he said he would try it.Well he gave 10 out of 10.I am a person that does keep checking,lifting lids and turning so I found it hard to follow your inst.”do not lift the lid” but it worked beautifully.Thank you so much,simple but great.

      1. I am so delighted that your son liked it, and that you found it easy to make. The same procedure also works well for pork chops, if you’re interested. Thanks so much for sharing your comment!

  1. Right, will definitely be giving this a go – I usually just fry my chicken breasts that I have sprinkled with some veggie spice or the like and fry in a little olive oil and butter but not for very long. :-) Mandy

  2. I’ve been grilling chicken that I had marinated lately. This sounds like a nice alternative- thanks for the method, Misk. Actually I think this is how I used to fry chicken back when I had an electric skillet.

  3. nifty! residual heat is a wonderful thing, I will give this a go. it strikes me that the methid would suit Brian because he is a great believer in timers, he hates judging doneness by eye or touch, so I will get him on to this. :)

    1. I also depend largely on kitchen timers. I have two of them, and often both are in use simultaneously. Besides the timer and the lid, giving the most bulbous bit of the breast a light pounding to flatten it slightly is important so that most of the chicken is roughly the same thickness. I just gave each breast one wack with my handy mallet, just on the thickest part to break the muscle in there.

  4. Ms Misk you are a star!! You have no idea how well that is going to go down around here, my chicken is horrible and now i know why – I TOUCHED THE LID!! I can do this, i promise to follow the rules.. thank you.. c

    1. If snatching a look is a problem, have you considered using a glass lid? The lid and a timer are essential for this one to work. :)

    1. Hi, and welcome! Just remember, no lifting the lid or the moisture and heat will escape, and use a kitchen timer. Don’t guess at the timing. Let me know how you get on!

  5. Use you smartphone (or stupid phone) as a timer. You can set multiple timers and even name them!

  6. Thanks for the recipe. I was a bit dubious this would work, 10 mins even over a low heat I thought would start burning a little.
    But Im amazed how well it turned out. A delicious golden crust and the meat was so tender and succulent.

    I’ll be using this method every time now, thanks!

  7. I just made this in Vancouver and I’m no cook. It was amaaaazing. I only cooked it 12 minutes though. I was too hungry to read through your recipe. Is that ok? (In other words, it didn’t sit for 10. oops). Also, I used 2 tsps of oil/butter total and used a bag to shake. Do you think I could use less? Thx. so much. You’re awesome. I’m so proud of myself. I also put a lot of spice in the flour and my mouth is on fire.

    1. Hi Dan, and welcome. I’ve never cooked 5 at a time in the same pan so I’m guessing that your logic is sound. I’d leave them to sit (lid on!) during that final 10mins for a few minutes longer. Maybe 15 rather than 10. So the timing is 1 minute plus 1 minute plus 10 minutes plus 15 minutes. Good luck, and I hope that you’re happy with the result.

      1. Thank you so much for the quick response. I will be cooking this tonight. I’ll certainly let you know how it comes out. I’m very excited.

  8. I was sceptical (how are these going to cook with only ten minutes of heat?), but no longer. My grilfiend was highly impressed.

    It’s worth stting your alarms up a priori, I became so obsessed with downloading a stopwatch app I forgot to dust the breasts. They were delicious in any event. I also forgot to warn my beloved not to interfere, luckily she didn’t.

    We had three with skin, total weight 523 grams One of them was quite plump, almost ovoid. !! minutes on and 11 off, cooked through.

    Thank you, Misky!

  9. I’m not a big fan of chicken breast, but because of your recipe I’ve been enjoying chicken breast using this method, and I’m so glad you share it with us. Thanks! will share this to my friend who loves chicken breast, too!

  10. Just cooked this a little while ago with a few of my own twists involving jarred pesto and parmesan – absolutely incredible, thank you so much for this recipe. It shall be a permanent fixture in whatever kitchen I’m in.

  11. This is spot on. Cooking chicken is a chore for me but so much easier like this! Thanks mate! What about larger portions? Same times just bigger pan?

    1. Hi Sam! Bigger pan; bigger lid. Don’t forget the lid! :) Thanks for leaving a comment, and letting me know that it worked well for you!

  12. i’m a brand new cook who loves chicken & has been struggling with cooking chicken properly, without burning it… i tried this tonight & it was SO. GOOD! my boyfriend who’s been choking down the burnt chickens of the past was especially thrilled with this. surprisingly easy & i’ll definitely do this again & again… THANK YOU!! :)

  13. I just tried this and it tasted amazing! Thank you for these great instructions, I can never go back to my usual chicken recipes after experiencing this!

  14. may I use coconut oil instead, and something else in place of flour? i’ll keep the chicken, rather bold of me to ask these questions; great piece!

    1. Drop the flour; I’d not try substituting something else. Not sure about the coconut oil as I think it has a low smoking temperature, which means that it might burn and impart a scorched flavour. Try but keep your eye on it, meaning use a glass lid so you can see what’s going on. Don’t lift the lid – very important so you don’t let heat escape. If it starts burning, give it a good shake to the chicken doesn’t catch to the pan.

      May I ask why you’re using coconut oil?

  15. I tried the method last night, was difficult at first to not touch the lid, but am glad that I did not as the result was perfect succulent chicken breast. Great method ***** 5star rating

  16. holy moley! just found your recipe and made this for dinner…first of all…when my hubby waltzed in the house, he said whatever I was cooking smelled amazing (and it did!)…and then when i served it up with a nice browned crust (from not poking and turning it….so hard to do, but worth it) with my carrots in a brown sugar glaze…he said it was probably the best meal he had eaten in ages…the only addition to your great recipe was adding a little garlic powder to the salt and pepper…so thank you for this great recipe…this will be my new ‘go-to’ chicken recipe from now on!!

  17. Wow was this ever so moist!! I’m not big on chicken breast but I picked at the leftover chicken all evening! Thanks for sharing! Would this work with bone in pork chops? Keep same timing?

    1. With the bone-in, I’d leave it in the pan longer — maybe 5 minutes more for the final stage, and yes, it also works for pork chops. Thanks for stopping by for a read!

  18. I am getting ready to start uni so never really cooked much, but going to try this, do i leave a little gap for the air to escape or not?

    1. No, Carly, no gap whatsoever. Clap on the lid and don’t open it until you’re supposed to. The trick is to retain the heat, which will continue cooking the chicken. And good luck with uni. You’ll love it.

  19. Amazing! I was skeptical at first but this is the only way I’ll cook chicken breast from now on so easy and they turn out so juicy! Thank you, thank you, thank you

  20. I’m not going to lie to you, I went in as a sceptic but if I only recorded the ooooooo’s & ahhhhhhhhh’s from the dinner table from my most discerning clientele… my kids! Fantastic! Thanks for sharing :-)

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