An easy 30-minute recipe starting with a pan sear, then oven baked to finish it off this moist and tasty pan-seared oven roasted skinless boneless chicken breast. What more can you want in a weeknight recipe?
Editor's Note: Originally Published August 28, 2011. Updated with re-edited photos and edited and expanded text.
This is really how I cooked for many years. I would get home from work, and I was tired, but we want a good dinner. I spent 5-10 minutes of preparation time and usually finish in the oven as I'm unwinding and in another 15-20 minutes or so, dinner is made.
Faster than ordering pizza and so much better, healthier and if you're cheap then cheaper. You must think ahead a little and have a main course in the fridge.
I have a freezer in the garage fridge for meat only. I might take out a couple of chicken breast, a pork tenderloin, and some sirloin and just let them thaw in the fridge for a few days and work my way through them.
This is number one in the standard rotation. A very strong 4. It is a little plain to be a 5 rating.
Pro Tips: Recipe Notes for Pan Seared Oven Roasted Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
I make All Purpose Seasoning – 7:2:1 and 7:2:2 and keep it on the stove top. Before I had that, I used a commercial mix or just add kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder.
This should not be done with chicken that is still frozen. The outside will be over-cooked and chewy before you get the thickest part of the breast to the safe temperature of 165.
If you are doing more than one breast, try to use breasts of about the same sizes and thickness. If the breasts you are using vary in thickness, you should flatten the thicker one down a bit with a meat mallet or heavy pan.
The Maillard Reaction
One of the secrets of this recipe is searing. You get a nice Maillard reaction (the searing/browning) to add lots of flavors you get no other way.
A Maillard reaction is a reaction promoted by heat between proteins and carbohydrates. After several steps, it leads to browning and new flavors. It is different from caramelization since caramelization involves only carbohydrate.
Just sticking them in the oven will not get you there. Get them close to the final color you like during the searing before you move on the oven roasting step.
How long to cook chicken breasts?
There is only a little variability in this recipe, and most of it is related to the thickness of the chicken breasts and a bit by the amount you sear. A small breast may take a little as 10 minutes in the oven.
The most common size you will see anymore will take about 15 minutes in the oven after a nice medium searing. A large, thick breast will be 5 minutes or a little longer than the medium.
For safety, you must check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast and get to 165.
Also, be sure to let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before cutting to reabsorb the fluid in the meat from the cooking process.
Food Safety Tips
Chicken should not be rinsed for food safety. It will splatter germs over your kitchen. For more details, please see Chicken- To Rinse or Not To Rinse? .
Other Great Chicken Breast Suggestions
Other Pan Seared Recipes
Learn one method for all these recipes.
First, preheat the oven to 375 convection (400 for a regular oven). Put an oven-safe pan on a stove top over medium-high heat with a teaspoon of oil. I use a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Trim and pat dry the chicken
Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper or 7:2:1 (see previous post). By now the oil should be hot.
Brown both sides for 3-4 minutes each.
Get them to almost the color you want when eating.
Transfer to oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until an internal temperature of 165. The thinner breast will be 15 minutes and thicker bigger ones about 20 minutes.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Done in less than 30 minutes and you spent most of the time setting and unwinding. Not bad, not bad at all.
Pan Seared Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts - 8-10 oz each well timed
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste OR 7:2:1
- First, preheat oven to 375 convection or 400 conventional. Put an oven-safe pan on a stove top over medium-high heat with 1 teaspoon of oil. I use a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Trim and pat dry the chicken.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper or 7:2:1 to taste. By now the oil should be hot.
- Brown both sides for 3-4 minutes each. Get them to almost the color you want when eating.
- Transfer to oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature of 165. The thinner breast will be 15 minutes and thicker bigger ones about 20 minutes. Let rest after cooking
- Do not try with frozen chicken.
- Sear in the pan to approximately the final color you want.
- Start searing with a preheated pan, not cold.
- First sear with the smooth side up, then flip, sear, then one final flip as it goes into the oven.
- The oven time can vary by size and thickness. Usually, 15-20 minutes but you must check for the final internal temperature of 165.
- Rest for 5 minutes after cooking before cutting.
Originally published August 28, 2011