The days are getting longer and hotter and I don’t know about you but my desire to cook complex, drawn out meals is dwindling. I’d rather be spending my time soaking up summer and all the sweet moments that come with it. Long walks with Tom and Bandit to the park. Slowly sipped happy hour cocktails with friends. An evening spent tucked between the pages of a new book. These are the activities I’m enjoying filling my time with. But in the interest of both budget and waistline, meals must still be planned and dinner must still be made. It’s in these times that I lean heavily on the basics and learn how to do them well to pull together food that is both quick and delicious.
Cooking a boneless skinless chicken breast is one of those basic techniques that is essential to making a quick meal. Cook it incorrectly, and you’ll have a dry, tough breast that is a pain to eat. But if you cook it well, you’ll have a juicy and flavorful protein that can be paired with all sorts of quick sides for a delicious dinner. There are many ways to cook a boneless skinless chicken breast to perfection, but this is one of my favorite methods for serving at dinner.
There are a few tricks to doing this recipe well. To start, you’ll want a large, oven safe skillet. I personally prefer my Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet. It’s an inexpensive but high-quality pan that is perfect for transferring from the range to the oven.
Next you’ll want the right amount of oil. When I first started cooking I thought I could eye how much oil I needed without measuring. It turns out that I didn’t actually know what two tablespoons of oil looked like and always used too little. Every time I cooked I ended up with stuck and burnt food. Now I always measure out cooking oil to make sure I’m using the right amount. I recommend this if you’re fairly new to cooking or are bad at estimating volume like me 😉
Finally, I use an instant read meat thermometer. I used to cook chicken and test its doneness by cutting it open. This left my chicken looking hacked apart and overdone because I always doubted whether it had finished cooking. With a meat thermometer, you don’t have to guess whether the chicken has reached a safe temperature or not. The second the meat has hit 165°F it’s good to go and will be moist and tender.
With this recipe, I’ve only seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, but I suggest also rubbing the chicken with your favorite spice blend, or giving it a quick soak in your favorite marinade. The cooking method remains the same but the spices or marinade will give your dinner that extra flavor.
Serve this chicken with a quick-cooking grain and sautéed vegetables, or bread and a side salad and you’ve got a quick and delicious dinner!
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- If you didn't use a marinade, pat chicken breasts dry and add any desired spices and salt and pepper.
- In a large, oven safe pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Once oil is hot and shimmering, about 3-4 minutes, add chicken breasts to pan.
- Sear chicken until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Move the pan to the oven and bake the chicken for another 10-20 minutes until cooked all the way through and internal temperature reaches 165°F. The time it takes to cook will depend on the size of the chicken breasts.
- Once cooked, remove the pan from the oven and remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board. Let chicken rest 5-10 minutes before cutting or serving.
- Serve with your favorites sides and enjoy!