Give this easy yet fabulous recipe a try for the perfect Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts. It's incredibly simple to prepare and results in juicy, tender chicken with a delicious golden crust.
Why We Love Seared Chicken
We love this pan-seared chicken breast because of its light golden brown exterior and juicy white meat.
This recipe is high in protein, low in carbs, keto-friendly (2g net carbs per serving), and gluten-free.
Seared chicken is one of the best meals for your family. It only takes 30 minutes from start to finish.
You can also prepare the chicken on a Sunday afternoon, and it will last for the next few days. You can use it to make salads and sandwiches for lunch, making meal prep incredibly easy!
What You Need
- Boneless chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?
You can get a big package of boneless breasts to make this recipe.
I like to buy whole organic chickens when they're on sale and butcher them myself. I cut up the chickens and put them in freezer bags labeled with the contents, weight, and date.
It saves a lot of time and I always have better quality chicken in the freezer.
How to Pound Chicken With a Mallet (optional step)
To pound chicken breasts, you'll need a meat mallet. Since chicken breasts often have one side thicker than the other, this technique ensures even cooking and allows you to cook more chicken at once, saving time.
Alternatively, you can purchase thin chicken breasts labeled as 'thinly sliced,' although they may be slightly more expensive.
Here's how to do it:
- Place the chicken breasts in a single layer inside a large zip-top plastic bag or between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Using the flat side of the meat mallet, gently pound the thickest part of the chicken until it reaches an even thickness.
Following these steps will result in perfectly pounded thin chicken breasts ready for cooking.
Marinate the Chicken Breasts
Marinating the chicken breast is important so the chicken has lots of flavor.
- Pour the olive oil into a gallon-size zip-top bag or airtight container with the seasonings. Toss it around so it is combined and then add the chicken.
- Mix it all around again so the chicken is coated evenly. Place the bag in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
How to Sear Chicken on the Stove
I use a square Lodge cast iron skillet to sear this chicken on the stove. You can pick one up at Walmart or Target for around $20.00.
The pan creates the look of BBQ grill lines. In a hot pan, you get a nice sear and the chicken pieces retain their juices.
If you don't have a cast-iron grill pan, use a round 12" cast-iron skillet or a heavy-bottomed stainless steel frying pan.
Turn on your exhaust fan because the kitchen might get a little smoky. Spray the pan with cooking oil spray or lightly brush with oil.
- Heat the pan over medium-high heat for five minutes to get it hot and prevent the chicken from sticking.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and lightly shake off excess oil.
- Place the chicken on the hot pan and cook for four minutes without moving the pieces.
- Flip the chicken and cook another four to five minutes until juices run clear when pierced with a fork. The internal temperature will be 165°F on an instant-read thermometer when cooked through.
- Remove cooked chicken to a plate. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to accumulate and flavors to combine. Slice against the grain into 1-inch strips and serve.
After the chicken has cooked, store in an airtight container or zipper-top bag in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.
The cooked chicken can be frozen for up to one month in an airtight container.
With this pan-seared chicken recipe, you can make juicy chicken breasts with just a few ingredients already in your pantry.
A Lodge cast-iron grill pan is a great way to get a good sear on all kinds of meat and vegetables.
If you don't have a cast-iron grill pan, use a large heavy skillet in its place. Make sure the surface is hot, but not smoking when you add the chicken.
This recipe makes the perfect pan-seared chicken breasts to top your favorite salads. The chicken is always juicy and tender. We use it to top Caesar Salad, Italian Carrot Salad, and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Arugula.
For a nice side, try Everything Bagel Breadsticks. They're also gluten-free!
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are commonly used for quicker and more even cooking in a grill pan. However, bone-in breasts can add extra flavor but will take twice as long to cook.
Preheat the cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. You want it hot enough to sear the chicken and create grill marks, but not so hot that it burns the outside of the meat.
Pan Seared Chicken Breasts
- 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning found in the spice aisle of the grocery store
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- cooking spray
FOR THE CHICKEN
- Place chicken in one layer in a large zip-top bag. Pound the chicken with the flat side of a meat mallet until it is all about the same thickness.
FOR THE MARINADE
- Pour marinade ingredients into a large zip-top bag. Toss it around so it's mixed evenly. Add chicken to the bag. Toss it around again so all of the chicken is evenly coated. Close the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
TO GRILL THE CHICKEN
- While the chicken is marinating, spray a cast-iron grill pan with cooking spray or brush the pan with oil. Heat over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes so it gets very hot. The chicken won't stick to the pan if it is hot.
- Turn on your exhaust fan.
- Remove chicken from the bag with tongs and shake off extra marinade.
- Place chicken on the grill pan and let it cook for 4 minutes per side or until juices run clear when pierced with a fork. The internal temperature will be 165°F on a meat thermometer when cooked through. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- Remove cooked chicken to a plate. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to accumulate and flavors to combine.
- Slice chicken into 1-inch strips and serve.