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This pan seared chicken breast comes out irresistibly seasoned with a golden brown crust and a juicy, tender interior! Here are all our tips and tricks to this family favorite—serve it with a few sides, or add to salads, tacos rice bowls, and more.

Pan Seared Chicken Breast
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Why we love this recipe

What Alex and I turn to most often for dinners, we find, are the most basic go-to methods. Yes, we love a good Tuscan chicken or chicken piccata. But we’ve made this pan seared chicken breast more times than we can count!

It comes out golden seared and juicy on the inside, seasoned with our favorite blend of spices. We use it for everything and our family inhales it! (Really.) We like adding rice or orzo, or slicing it and adding it to Caesar salad, chicken pasta salad, or power bowls! It’s so versatile and you can make it in 15 minutes.

Ingredients for pan seared chicken breast

You’ll need just a handful of ingredients for this recipe, and outside of the chicken, you likely have them on hand in your pantry:

  • Chicken breast: Buy organic chicken if at all possible. Look for boneless skinless chicken breasts, or cutlets if possible. If you can’t find cutlets, you can butterfly them by slicing them in half horizontally.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil is our cooking oil of choice, and it infuses delicious flavor into the seared chicken.
  • Spices: A custom blend of equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and dried oregano add big savory flavor to the chicken breasts.
Pan seared chicken breast ingredients

Steps for pan seared chicken breast

The basic steps for pan seared chicken breast are simple. Butterflying the chicken breast before you cook it is essential for even cooking and getting a juicy, tender texture (or you can buy it in cutlets). If you’re ready, jump to the recipe below for exact quantities.

Step 1: Butterfly and season the chicken.

Step 1: Butterfly the chicken (if not in cutlets) by slicing in half horizontally, then opening it up and cutting along the fold to separate the two halves. Pat it dry and season with salt. In a small bowl, mix the seasonings and sprinkle on both sides of the chicken.

Step 2: Pan sear the chicken.

Step 2: Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. When the internal temperature is 165°F, remove to a plate and rest for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Slice into strips and serve.

Step 3: Slice into strips if desired, then serve.


This is our favorite chicken recipe because it comes together in just 15 minutes and you don’t need to fire up a grill! Substitute it for grilled chicken in recipes like a Chicken Pesto Sandwich or a Grilled Chicken Salad.

Ways to serve pan seared chicken breast

This seared chicken is so versatile. You can eat it as a main with a few simple side dishes, or in salads, bowl meals, tacos, sandwiches, etc. One of my favorite things to order at a restaurant is a salad and adding chicken to make it a main dish: this is your way to do that at home!

Storing leftovers

Leftover cooked chicken stores for 3 to 4 days refrigerated. It’s best eaten immediately after cooking, but it works made ahead too. Reheat it in a skillet on the stovetop for a minute or two over medium heat before serving.

Pan Seared Chicken Breast on plate.

Dietary notes

This pan seared chicken breast recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

Frequently asked questions

What type of pan is best for searing chicken?

A heavy-bottomed skillet, such as cast iron or stainless steel, is ideal for pan-searing chicken. These pans retain heat well, allowing for a consistent sear and preventing the chicken from sticking.

Do I need to use oil when pan-searing chicken?

Yes, using oil is essential for pan-searing chicken. It helps prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan, promotes even browning, and contributes to a crispy, flavorful crust.

Should I cover the chicken while searing it?

Never cover chicken while pan-searing! Covering the pan will trap steam, preventing the chicken from developing a crispy crust.

How do I keep my chicken juicy and prevent it from drying out?

A few things: make sure to butterfly it before cooking or buy cutlets! This ensures even cooking. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches the proper internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), and don’t cook it beyond that. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute.

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Pan Seared Chicken Breast

Pan Seared Chicken Breast

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 4 cutlets (about 1 pound, organic if possible)
  • 1 to 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. If you buy the chicken as breasts that are not already butterflied or in cutlets, butterfly the chicken by placing your hand over the top of each chicken breast and using a sharp knife to carefully slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact so it can open up like a book. Unfold the breast like a book, then cut along the fold to separate the two halves.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and sprinkle on both sides with the kosher salt (use 1 ¼ teaspoons if the chicken is closer to 1 ½ pounds).  In a small bowl, mix the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and a few grinds of black pepper, then sprinkle over the chicken.
  3. Add the olive oil to a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until browned on both sides. When the internal temperature is 165°F or the center is no longer pink, remove to a plate. Rest 5 minutes before slicing (if desired) and serving. Leftovers last up to 3 days refrigerated.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chicken
  • Diet: Gluten Free

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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