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If fried chicken is the Sunday special, today’s recipe for quick Pan Fried Chicken Breast is the weeknight warrior. Chicken that’s seasoned outside, then cooked on the stovetop at a high temperature, it’s golden, juicy, and one of the best ways to make chicken breast.

Healthy pan fried chicken breast with salad

Simple and succulent, pan fried chicken is a tasty change of pace from Baked Chicken Breast.

It’s also a good alternative to Grilled Chicken Breast when you want something a little smoky but using the grill isn’t an option.

Because the chicken breast is well seasoned, this recipe can hold its own as a stand-alone entrée, and it’s versatile enough to dice and add to salads, sandwiches, pasta, and more.

Three crispy pan fried chicken breasts on a plate with lemon slices

Baking Chicken Breast vs. Pan Frying

While both baking and pan frying can give you tasty, juicy chicken, if you are in a hurry, it is better to pan fry it.

  • Because baked chicken breast is easy to dry out, it needs time to brine or marinade before you cook it. (See this Chicken Marinade for a recipe.)
  • Pan frying chicken breast is a more moist cooking method because of the oil. The pan’s high temperature cooks the chicken quickly, before it can dry out.
  • If you are trying to cook with as little oil as possible, make baked chicken breast (be sure to brine or marinade first), or try Air Fryer Chicken Breast.
Crispy pan fried chicken breast on a plate

How to Make Pan Fried Chicken Breast

This simple method for cooking chicken in a pan gives you fast, tasty results.

I like to make a big batch, enjoy some right away, then use the leftovers throughout the week.

Tip!


The Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast. A versatile, lean protein with universal appeal. It cooks quickly and pairs well with the pan fried chicken breast seasoning mixture.

Substitution Tip

If you prefer to use chicken thighs, you can swap the chicken breasts for boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead.

  • Flour. To create the irresistible crispy pan fried chicken breast exterior (one reason why this Chicken Piccata shines!). Either white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour will work well.
  • Spices. A blend of paprika, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne gives the chicken smoky, herby, and savory flavor.
  • Canola Oil. Using an oil with a high smoke point is critical. Canola oil has a neutral flavor too, making it ideal for this recipe.
  • Lemon. A finishing touch of brightness and acidity.

The Directions

Three raw chicken breasts under a sheet of plastic wrap
  1. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap, then pound it.
Two raw chicken breasts
  1. Dry and season the chicken.
Spices in a pie dish
  1. Stir the flour and spices together.
A piece of meat in a dish of flour and spices
  1. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture.
Three pieces of meat coated in flour and spices
  1. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Heat oil in a skillet.
Three pan fried chicken breasts in a skillet
  1. Pan fry chicken breast for 7 to 9 minutes, flipping after 4 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then DIG IN!

Perfectly Cooked Pan Fried Chicken

How long it takes to pan fry chicken breast will depend on many factors, including the size of the breast, the type of pan you use, and how long you heat the pan.

  • It is important that the pan is fully preheated, or your chicken will not be brown on the outside or be as moist. At the same time, you do not want it *too* hot, or your chicken will burn.
  • To pan fry chicken breast without burning it, use a heavy skillet (I like cast iron) and heat it for at least 5 minutes over medium high. As with Pan Seared Salmon, and Stuffed Chicken Breast, the pan is ready when a drop of water dances on the surface and the oil looks shiny.
  • I recommend using a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil to make sure your pan fried chicken does not taste burnt.
  • A lightly pounded, 8-ounce chicken breast will pan fry in 7 to 9 minutes. Be sure to let the chicken rest for 10 minutes afterward.
The best pan fried chicken breast on a white plate with salad

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, pound the chicken breasts. Cover and refrigerate them until you’re ready to finish the recipe. The flour and spice mixture can be stirred together up to 1 day in advance. Cover and store at room temperature.

What to Serve with Pan Fried Chicken

I think we should eat this pan fried chicken for the Sunday special too!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will This Recipe Work with Bone-In Chicken?

Because pan frying is a fast and hot cooking method, I do not recommend it for bone-in cuts of chicken, which need a longer, slower time to cook through properly. If you’d like to make bone-in chicken, check out this Baked Bone-In Chicken or Baked Chicken Thighs instead.

What Is the Difference Between Pan Fried Chicken and Pan Roasted Chicken?

The difference between pan fried chicken and pan roasted chicken is the cooking method. Pan fried chicken is made in a skillet on the stovetop and is not transferred to the oven; pan roasted chicken is typically baked in the oven. Sometimes, the pan roasted chicken will be seared on the stovetop before it is transferred to the oven to finish cooking.

What Can I Do with Leftover Pan Fried Chicken?

Leftover pan fried chicken is a fabulous salad topping. Try it over Spinach Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing. Leftovers are also delicious tossed into your favorite pasta dish. Try it with Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese or Eggplant Pasta.

Pan Fried Chicken Breast

4.79 from 74 votes
Crispy pan fried chicken breast is a fast, tasty, healthy way to cook juicy boneless chicken. With a scrumptious, easy paprika seasoning!

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 40 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 3 medium breasts
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne optional
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • Chopped fresh herbs optional for serving

Instructions
 

  • Remove chicken breasts from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Place on a cutting board, cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap (optional to keep things tidier) and gently pound into an even thickness (about 1/2 inch).
  • With a paper towel, pat dry, then season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.
  • In a wide, shallow dish such as a pie plate, stir together the flour, paprika, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Working one at a time, dredge each chicken breast in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Transfer to a clean plate.
  • Heat the oil in a large, sturdy skillet (such as cast iron or stainless steel) over medium-high heat. Once it is hot and shining, add the chicken, presentation (smooth) side down.
  • Cook 4 minutes on the first side without disturbing the chicken, until it is deeply golden and releases easily from the pan. Flip and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes on the other side, until the chicken reaches 155 degrees on an instant read thermometer (chicken is considered cooked at 165 degrees F, but will continue cooking as it rests).
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate or cutting board. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Enjoy warm with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of herbs.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 324kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 39gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgPotassium: 744mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 973IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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42 Comments

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  1. Hi Erin,
    This recipe sounds delicious, I’ve made and loved many of your recipes!
    My general question is: Why isn’t there a Sodium amount in the Nutrition list in any of your recipes? Have wondered about this for a while.
    TIA, Sue

    1. Hi Sue! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online (myfitnesspal.com is popular). I hope that helps!

  2. I made this tonight and it was great. I did double all the spices because we like a lot of flavor. Turned out wonderfully!5 stars

  3. My husband loved this! I used Hatch chili powder and ancho chili powder in place of cayenne. Served with poblano and corn rice and broccoli.5 stars

      1. I made this for dinner tonight and my husband said it was the best chicken he’s ever had! Will definitely make again :)5 stars

  4. Tried this way of cooking for the first time. It was delicious!! I will use this as a go to for a quick dinner5 stars

  5. The chicken was made in an enameled cast iron pot. I used equal parts of butter and olive oil. About 6 minutes cooked the 2 pieces. Absolutely delicious. Juicy.5 stars

  6. Used a cast iron skillet. I had 3 lbs chicken. I added more oil after the 1st batch used it up.. Came out so juicy & delicious. Thank you.5 stars

  7. I made these a couple of nights ago, I did substitute southern fry seasoning for the flour and omitted the cayenne, since the southern fry seasoning has a very mild bite to it, my son went absolutely nuts for them, they were tender, juicy, perfect. He says I will be making them whenever we do chicken breast from now on. Thank you so much for posting the recipe.5 stars

  8. This is the first time in my life that I actually managed perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside, juicy on the noodle, flavorful pan-fried chicken! Excellent recipe, will definitely make again!5 stars

  9. Hello! I think your recipe was awesome, but the only difference was I left out the cayenne pepper, added a little more black pepper! At the end I added a little more parsley, because I have an ulcer also and it was just perfect!!5 stars

  10. Thank you for this! Dinner duty + Extreme Energy Lull = what will happen with dinner?

    Steamed green beans, basic quinoa recipe and this easy, fabulous chicken breast method and 20min later, awesome dinner is served!

    Kiddo even said ‘this is not too bad’ which is like getting a Michelin star!5 stars

  11. I made this today and topped it with pesto sauce, goat cheese and rehydrated sun dried tomatoes while it rested. It was delicious and I can see that it will be very versatile!5 stars

  12. I’m a pretty poor cook, this looked interesting and gave it a go, didn’t have garlic powder so used very easy stuff, also less on salt cus I never really use it in cooking.. 3 chicken breasts(smallest pack Tesco’s had), cut bits that looked yuck off, then took a meat hammer to it.. bashed the smurf out of it.
    Plonked breasts in mix, (the 1/2 of everything measurements) 1st got a load others less, tho they all had an orgy together afterwards so mixed it around.
    One onion, 3 peppers (bell) and into an iron pan.. chicken got about 10 mins (maybe more, pan was cold) took out when looking cooked, veg in, +5 mins then mixed back in bird and mmmmm tastes great.
    Thanks going to defo share this recipe5 stars

  13. Quickest Christmas dinner! Tried this using light olive oil to fry. I only had smoked paprika, but it worked fine. Perfectly tender. A trick I had was using small chicken breasts in single freezer packs that I could just pound lightly in the plastic before opening since they were already small and thin.5 stars