Nobody likes dry chicken, right?
I have had a few people ask me lately about making chicken that is juicy and tender, and the truth is, even though there are many ways to accomplish this, it actually is kind of a difficult thing to master sometimes.
My personal favorite method will always be pan searing. I just don’t think there’s another way that gets that juicy and tender mouth feel that I love, but without compromising health and nutrition.
Because we all know that real Alabama fried chicken is darn juicy but you pay the price in calories and heart failure. (Although, I won’t lie… I do make some from time to time).
But pan searing… all the juice and zero guilt.
The most important thing you can do with pan searing is let go of the timer and use your eyes instead. One of the most valuable things I learned in culinary school was that technique is far more important than recipes or formulas. If you know technique, you can rescue any dish from destruction (for the most part).
So with pan searing chicken, you want to watch the chicken. It is definitely okay to keep an eye on the time in general, for instance if you want to set a time to walk away for 7 minutes and not forget, but don’t use the timer as the determining factor for when to flip your chicken.
I tell my husband all the time… just flip it when it’s ready. And that drives him crazy because he doesn’t know these things.
But seriously, that’s when you flip it… when it’s ready.
So how do you know when it’s ready?
First of all, you will know by how it looks. When the chicken starts to turn white up the edges and towards the top, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s ready.
If there’s still any doubt, the second way to know is by how it feels. If you try to flip the chicken and it seems to be stuck a little then it probably isn’t ready. When the chicken is ready to be flipped, it always releases easily (under the assumption that you have a good pan and used the proper amount of oil).
When you flip the chicken, it should have a nice golden brown crust on most of the side that was down. The good news is, if you flip it and it doesn’t, you can just quickly flip it back and pretend that it never happened. The only thing you don’t want to do is move your chicken around a bunch in the pan before flipping it the first time. Leaving it in one spot without messing with it is what will give it the nice crust we are looking for.
After you flip it and have that nice golden brown deliciousness, you simply cook it on the second side until it’s done.
Again… How you do you know when it’s done?
Well, after a while, you will just know. But in the beginning, the two best methods to check are piercing it with a sharp knife to make sure all the juice is clear as glass, or inserting a thermometer in the thickest part to make sure it has reached 160F.
The honey is just an added bonus. If you want to have a sweet crusted chicken, just drizzle honey over your chicken at the very end before you remove it from the pan. Let it stand for a few minutes in the pan and it will warm and stick to the chicken perfectly.
Also, the Brussel sprouts are not included in the recipe, but I just cook them right along with my chicken, and then leave them in the pan a few more minutes after I remove the chicken so they can get nicely browned!
Pan Seared Honey Chicken
Here's What You Need
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or more)
- 2 tbsp olive or avocado oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 c brussel sprounds (optional to serve with chicken)
Here's What You Do
Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
Season chicken breasts with salt and add to pan, presentation side down. (This would be the skin side if the chicken breast had skin).
Cook on first side for approximately nine minutes, or until edges of chicken are beginning to turn white up the sides.
Gently flip the chicken breasts. They should release easily from the pan, and the presentation side should be a nice golden brown.
Cook on the second side for approximately 6 more minutes or until thermometer inserted reads 160F. Alternatively, you can pierce the chicken to make sure the juice is clear.
Drizzle honey over the chicken breasts and allow to cook for one to two more minutes.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.