Growing up, "chicken" was my mom's answer to the question "What's for dinner?" about 99 percent of the time. And if you can relate to the fact that chicken is on the menu most nights of the week — who can help that chicken breasts are so affordable and simple? — then you'll appreciate this quick rundown of how to perfectly pan sear chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts don't have to be boring and flavorless — you just have to know the best way to cook them. And the truth is you don't always have to bake them in the oven or add anything more than salt and pepper. To get a golden-brown sear while also ensuring the chicken is cooked through, follow these simple steps for cooking chicken quickly on the stovetop.
- Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Cover the bottom of your best nonstick skillet with olive oil (I use about three tablespoons). You don't want there to be any gaps to give the chicken a chance to stick. Heat over medium heat until oil sizzles if you splash a little water on it. Note that electric stovetops heat quicker than gas stoves.
- Add chicken breasts to the skillet and leave on one side, untouched, for six to seven minutes. Letting the chicken remain unmoved allows it to develop a sear.
- Flip the chicken using tongs and cook for another six to seven minutes on the other side. The chicken is cooked through when it's reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Allow chicken to rest for a few minutes, and serve.