How to cook chicken breasts so they don’t dry out

How to cook chicken breasts so they don’t dry out

We’ll admit it. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts might not be the most exciting cut of meat out there, but we don’t think deserve the bad rep they’ve developed. Sure, there’s nothing worse than a badly cooked, bland, dry chicken breast but once you know how to avoid that, you’ll realise what a great blank canvas they can be. We’ve got some tips to help you cook your best chicken breast yet. By Jess Spiro

Why do chicken breasts tend to go dry?

Looking at chicken breast, it’s no wonder they’re not known for being juicy and flavourful. Generally, they’re sold boneless and skinless, which are two factors that usually account for moisture and flavour. To counteract this, you need to ensure you’re sealing in as much moisture as possible, while also boosting the flavour, as well as ensuring you’re not overcooking the meat.

What type of pan should you use to cook chicken breasts?

This might sound controversial, but the best pan for cooking juicy chicken breasts isn’t a grill pan, but instead is a good frying pan. The reason for this is you want to create a solid crust on the chicken’s exterior to help retain all its moisture. Grill pans are great for presentation, but if you’re serious about retaining that moisture, a frying pan is the way to go.

Which flavours pair best with chicken breasts?

If you’ve ever cooked a steak, you’ll know how far butter, some herbs and garlic can take you – and you should apply this to cooking chicken breasts too. Once the chicken is in the pan, add a tablespoon or two of butter, along with some bashed garlic and herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage will all work great here!). Once the chicken is resting, you could squeeze over some lemon juice or add the zest of a lemon instead. The best part about chicken breast is their ability to take on other flavours, so play around to make sure you’re making the most of this.


  1. Firstly, you want to make sure the chicken is well-seasoned. If you’re using a marinade, give the meat some time to sit in it for a while before cooking. If you’re doing something more simple, ensure you’ve seasoned them very well with salt and pepper. Coat them in a little olive oil to help the seasoning stick.

    Step 1

  2. If the meat is very uneven, and that one side is much thicker than the other, you could bat them out slightly to ensure even cooking throughout. This is only if your cut is very big – thinner chicken breasts will be ok.

    Step 2

  3. Place a flat-bottomed frying pan on a medium-high heat and drizzle in a good amount of olive oil. When the oil is nice and hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan and leave to cook for 5 -7 minutes, untouched until a nice golden crust forms. If you have a lid for the pan, pop it on to help retain all that moisture.

    Step 3

  4. After 5 or so minutes, flip the chicken, and allow the same thing to happen on the other side before removing from the pan.

    Step 4

  5. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. This resting period is very important as it allows the juices to settle back into the meat. If you cut into the chicken too soon, you will lose these juices.

    Step 5

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