How to cook chicken breast

Learn how to cook chicken breast so that it's tender, moist and flavourful. This versatile meat can be served stuffed or breaded in a range of dishes.

Chicken breast cut open on a bed of vegetables

Chicken breast while being a convenient to use, lean cut of meat, is prone to drying out if overcooked. It can easily become chewy as well, but if treated with a little care during cooking, the results can be juicy and delicious.

Chicken breast can be poached, baked, roasted, pan-fried, deep-fried, casseroled and stir-fried, either whole or cut into cubes or strips. They can be sliced in half and butterflied (opened out), or stuffed as in our mustard-stuffed chicken recipe. However you cook them, make sure they're cooked through by checking in the centre that the juices are not pink.

Types of chicken breast

Chicken Kiev cut open on a plate with slice of lemon and salad leaves

Chicken breast fillets have no bone and can be bought with or without skin. Keep the skin on for more flavour if you like. Fillets sometimes come with a smaller mini or ‘false’ fillet attached. If you're making a chicken Kiev then sometimes the recipe will require this extra piece to help hold the filling in. You can also buy packs of mini fillets, which cook very quickly and are ideal for stir-fries.

Chicken supremes, often called for in restaurant-style recipes, have a small wing bone still attached. 

Pan-fried chicken breast recipe

Serves 2

  • 2 chicken breast fillets, with or without the skin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Chicken breasts will cook more evenly if they're of an even thickness, so put each one on a board, cover with some cling film and flatten the fattest part slightly with a rolling pin or the base of a saucepan. Take off the cling film and season well.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan then add the chicken breasts (skin-side down, if they have skin) and cook for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Then turn over, cover and cook on the other side for 7-8 minutes or until cooked through. Check the inside is cooked by poking in the end of a sharp knife – the juices should run clear. If not, keep cooking for another minute and check again. Rest for 5 minutes before serving so the juices can be reabsorbed and the chicken will be juicy.

Our best chicken breast recipes

Chicken parmigiana

Chicken parmigiana in a square cooking dish

This classic recipe makes a perfect dish for Friday nights or weekend lunches.

Chicken parmigiana

Mustard-stuffed chicken

Four fillets of mustard-stuffed chicken with bacon wrapped round them

Stuffing chicken breasts is an impressive way to turn a simple ingredient into something special.

Mustard-stuffed chicken

Creamy masala chicken

Chicken masala curry with rice and naan bread on a plate

Use cubes of chicken breast to make this easy curry that everyone will love.

Creamy masala chicken

Stir-fried chicken with broccoli & brown rice

Chicken stir-fry with vegetables and rice on a plate

Use strips of chicken breast to make this easy, healthy dinner.

Stir-fried chicken with broccoli & brown rice

Mexican chicken stew with quinoa & beans

Mexican chicken stew with tomatoes in a pan

Chicken goes extremely well with spicy flavours. This full-flavoured stew can be made ahead and frozen for a midweek dinner.

Mexican chicken stew with quinoa & beans

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