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Pan-Fried Marinated Chicken Breast

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This pan-fried marinated chicken breast recipe is perfect for any occasion. You can marinate the chicken in advance and pan-sear it in a matter of minutes.

close up pan fried marinated chicken breast sprinkled with red pepper.

Marinating chicken breast is one of the best ways to make these tender cuts flavorful and ensure that they remain juicy.

You can combine countless ingredients to make a delicious chicken marinade for pan frying; this is just one of our favorite ones. It’s straightforward; it uses simple ingredients that most people keep in their pantries, and it’s a crowd-pleaser. My go-to recipe for meal prepping something made with chicken: the recipe is simple, healthy, and budget-friendly, and it has a ton of flavor.

You can also use this mixture for other chicken parts like thighs or drumsticks; you can use it to marinate lamb chops or turkey breasts.

And if you like pan-frying chicken, try our Crispy Panko Fried Chicken, the Pan-Fried Chicken Breast, the Quick Pan-Fried Chicken Wings, or learn How to Cook Chicken Drumsticks on the Stove.

Recipe ingredients

listed ingredients for marinating and pan frying chicken brreast.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts weighing between 6 and 8 oz/ 180 – 225 g.
  • Vinegar: Either white wine or red wine vinegar. Balsamic vinegar (red or white) also works great. Actually, any kind of vinegar you have it’s fine.
  • Oil: Olive oil for marinating the meat and canola or vegetable oil for pan-frying it.
  • Dried herbs: Oregano, thyme, parsley. You can replace some of these herbs with dried rosemary, marjoram, or basil.
  • Garlic: Two medium to large cloves.
  • Red pepper flakes to taste. You can substitute with chili powder or a little cayenne pepper (also to taste).
  • Fine sea salt or Kosher salt and ground black pepper.

Can I use another seasoning?

  • Yes. Mix olive oil and vinegar with your favorite poultry seasoning or rub. Or any other spices you like. I love curry powder, paprika (smoked or sweet), garlic powder and onion powder, Ras-el-hanout, Cajun seasoning, and so on.
  • Add some brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup for a sweeter note.
  • To give it a slight Asian flavor, skip the herbs and vinegar and add some soy sauce and grated ginger.

How to pan-fry marinated chicken breasts?

What container to use for marinating?

  • I like using a ziplock bag; it ensures that all the parts are immersed in the liquid and makes cleaning up easy.
  • However, using a plastic bag is not environmental-friendly, so I often prefer a glass container with a lid, a large bowl, or a baking dish (not metal). In this case, ensure that the meat pieces fit in the container in a single layer (crowded is good, but they should not overlap) and that the marinade covers them.
  • If you use a bowl or a baking dish that doesn’t have a lid, cover them with plastic wrap.
  • Don’t use a metal dish or container for marinating; the ingredients can react with the metal.
  • When using a container, I try to remember to turn the meat pieces in the marinade once or twice.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Pound the chicken using a meat mallet to an even thickness; the pieces should be about 1 -1 ½ inches/ 2 ½ – 3 ½ cm thick (1).
pounding chicken with a meat mallet.
  • Marinate the pieces in a one-gallon Ziploc bag (2), glass, ceramic, or plastic container (not metal). Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Or, if using a container, make sure the pieces are covered with the liquid and cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 12.
chicken breasts marinating in a ziplock bag.
  • Pan fry chicken breasts: Heat a bit of oil in a large pan. Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade using tongs and shake them gently to remove the excess. Place them in the hot skillet (3).
  • Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat without moving. When you can easily release it from the pan (4), flip it.
  • Flip and cook for another 5 minutes. If the outside of the chicken seems to be getting too dark, lower the heat.
  • Flip again and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked; a couple more minutes. The internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer should be 165°F/ 74°C (Amazon affiliate link).
collage of two pictures of pan frying chicken breast.
  • Rest the pan-seared chicken breast loosely covered with aluminum foil for a few minutes before serving.

Expert Tips

  • Tenderizing is optional, especially if breast pieces are evenly cut. However, I recommend it; it ensures even cooking and no dry edges.
  • Marinating time: You should allow the chicken at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
  • Pan: I love using my cast iron skillet (check out the Cast Iron Chicken Breast too). But any good large skillet or pan is great. If using a stainless steel pan, add a little bit more oil when flipping the chicken.
  • Heat: Use an oil with a high smoking point.
    • The pan and the oil should be hot but not smoking. To check if the temperature is correct, lift a piece of chicken with the tongs and hold just the tip of it in the hot oil; if it sizzles, the temperature is perfect for searing.
  • Pan-fry the breasts for 5 minutes on medium heat without moving. Check gently if you can release them from the pan easily; if not, cook them for another minute or so.
close up of one sliced chicken breast marianted with herbs.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use thin-cut chicken slices?

Sure, you can buy thin slices or chicken tenders or cut the thick breasts horizontally to get to even slices. In this case, cook the slices for 3-4 minutes per side on medium-high. This will allow the pieces to achieve a nice color during the short cooking time. Lower the heat to medium if they seem too dark too soon.
Check out Nando’s Butterfly Chicken to learn how to slice the breast pieces.

Can I use bone-in chicken?

You can use the marinade for any chicken parts. But don’t follow the cooking instructions for this recipe; the cooking time will be very different. Check out how to make Cast-Iron Chicken Thighs.

Can I use boneless chicken thighs?

Yes, the cooking time and technique are the same; ensure that the chicken is cooked through.

How to store?

Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Serve the leftovers cold or reheat them.
Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge.

How to reheat?

Microwave: 60-90 seconds on high.
Pan: Reheat on low heat, often flipping.
Oven: In the preheated oven at 375°F/ 180°C. Cover with aluminum foil and reheat for about 10 minutes.
Air fryer: At 350°F/ 175°C for about 5 minutes, flipping halfway.

How to serve?

Serve the pan-fried marinated chicken breast immediately or cooled in a salad or a sandwich.

Serve with potatoes, rice, pasta, salad, steamed, boiled, or roasted vegetables. Try them with Sweet Chili Dip and Potato Wedges, Crispy Garlic Smashed Potatoes, BBQ Rice, Rice with Tomatoes, Zucchini and Carrots, Simple Butter Rice with Garlic, Cream Cheese Pasta, or Garlic Butter Noodles with Parmesan. Or make a side salad with Yogurt Dressing or Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Slice it and serve it on top of salads or bowls. Try our Grilled Peached Chicken Salad, for instance. Use the leftovers to make tacos, burritos, wraps, or enchiladas.

sliced chicken breast and small mushrooms on a white plate.

More chicken breast recipes

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overhead view of a plate with three pieces of chicken breasts, one sliced.

Pan-Fried Marinated Chicken Breast

This pan-fried marinated chicken breast recipe is perfect for any occasion. You can marinate the chicken in advance and pan-sear it in a matter of minutes.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Chicken Breast, Main Dish, Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 416kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 4 chicken breasts boneless, skinless about 7 oz/ 200 g, Note 2
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil, Note 3

Marinade:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves grated
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Tenderize chicken:

  • Pound: Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board. Cover them with plastic foil and pound them to an even thickness; the pieces should be about 1 -1 ½ inches/ 2 ½ – 3 ½ cm thick.

Marinate chicken breasts:

  • Bag: Place the chicken breasts and all the marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and squeeze out the excess air. Place the bag in a bowl or baking dish. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 12.
  • Container: Alternatively, marinate the chicken in a glass container, ensuring all the pieces are covered in marinade. Turn the chicken in the marinade once or twice during the marinating time.

Pan-fry chicken breasts:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil in a large pan (Note 6). Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade using tongs and shake them gently to remove the excess. Pan-fry the breasts for 5 minutes on medium heat without moving.
    Check gently if you can release them from the pan easily; if not, cook them for another minute or so.
  • Flip and cook for another 5 minutes. If the outside of the chicken seems to be getting too dark, lower the heat.
  • Flip again and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked; a couple more minutes. The internal temperature should be 165°F/ 74°C.
  • Rest the chicken loosely covered with aluminum foil for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. If using a stainless-steel pan, add one extra tablespoon of canola oil when flipping the chicken.
  2. If using thin-cut chicken slices, cook the slices for 3-4 minutes per side on medium-high.
  3. Use an oil with a high smoking point.

Nutrition

Serving: 1breast | Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 857mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 157IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
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