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How to Cook Chicken in a Pan

One of the most frustrating things to me is cooking a breast of chicken in a pan, believing that it is perfectly cooked, cutting in, and BAM you’ve got a little pink in the center. Oh! That just drives me crazy.  Here is how to cook chicken in a pan. When I first started cooking I would slice into one piece to make sure it was done, but I hated to do that because I could see the juices running out and who wants to serve a half cut breast of chicken, especially to guests?

I believe I’ve already posted this, but I cannot seem to find it, so sorry if you’ve already read this.

First of all, it’s easiest to cook a breast of chicken that is even. If you have a large breast of chicken that is quite thick at one end and very thin at the other, I’d grab a little wax paper and a meat mallet or rolling pin and just pound it out a little to make it a little more uniform. This will help you to cook the breast evenly without one end finishing and drying out way before the other end is done.

Bring a little oil, butter, spray or whatever you’d like to heat over high heat in a skillet. Add the chicken once the oil starts to shimmer and smoke a little. You should hear an immediate pop and sizzle (psshhhhh) when you add the chicken. Now quickly turn the heat down to low and let cook for about 5-7 minutes. BUT!! The most important thing you are looking for, as pictured above, is to get down and look at the side of the chicken. Once it is white, and cooked through halfway up the chicken, flip it over. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes, and the rest of the white should rise up and meet the already cooked portion. When there is no longer a pink rim around the edges of the chicken it’s thoroughly cooked and you can remove it to rest on a cutting board for 1-3 minutes to redistribute juices.

Think two halves make a whole, once both whites have met in the middle you know that no pink remains.

You can also touch the chicken, and when there is no longer a jiggle you know it’s done.

Trust yourself, everything takes practice, but the more you do a little finger prod and watch the white meat touch  you will learn exactly when your chicken is cooked and it will be far more moist and flavorful.

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About the authors

Cheney Family

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

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  • The same works for a perfect medium-rare steak! Once all sides are sealed the juices are sealed in and can rest!

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  • May I have the recipe for the potato roll? No yeast?

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  • Can’t wait to try this recipe. 

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    • Thanks Glenda! Enjoy!

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  • I also find cooking chicken in a pan to be very challenging. As much cooking as I do, this remains a problem. Thanks so much for posting this. I’m sure I’ve almost got it!

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    • Thank you!

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  • Sorry I would like to add that when I said flip the breast and cover the chicken, use a lid from another pan that is just slightly bigger than the breast to cover, makes it more like a mini oven.

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  • the never fail way I cook a chicken breast is to heat a pan on high heat, as high as the pan will take without burning the chicken. Cook the chicken breast on high heat for 5 minutes. Flip the breast add spices and cover the chicken breast and turn off the heat under the chicken and let it sit for 10 minutes. The result is a juicy moist fully cooked chicken breast.

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    • Leona, I have heard a few people say that a juicy chicken breast weirds them out and they prefer it dry. SOOOOO glad you and I are on the same page! Who wants overcooked chicken?

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