This easy sauteed chicken breast recipe is delicious and only takes about 20 minutes to make (pan sauce included). This simple method for making juicy pan-seared chicken breast is perfect for a busy weeknight.
Make this sauteed chicken recipe with lemon sauce tonight; you can be sure that your entire family will love it. The boneless skinless chicken breasts are simply sauteed in a pan on the stovetop and served with a quick lemon sauce that’s packed with flavor.
You can pair the sauteed chicken breasts with just about anything: fresh salads, steamed or roasted vegetables, potatoes cooked in any way, rice, pasta, or bread. You can also use the breast pieces to make sandwiches or add to salads.
The lemony sauce is the highlight of this recipe, but still, it’s optional; you can sauté the chicken breast in the pan and serve it as it is.
And if you want to learn more ways of cooking juicy chicken breast in a pan, check out the recipes for Cast-Iron Chicken Breast, Pan-Fried Chicken Breast, Pan Fried Marinated Chicken Breast, and Thin Sliced Chicken Breast. Or learn how to cook delicious wings in a pan.
Boneless skinless chicken breast:
- Four pieces weighing between 7-8 oz/ 200 -230 g.
- Fine sea salt or kosher, black pepper, sweet paprika, and garlic powder (you can also add some onion powder, Italian seasoning, or other dried herbs).
- You can also use your favorite spice rub for chicken or universal seasoning, but check the salt content of these products and reduce the amount of salt you use, or leave it out entirely.
- You can use any spices you like, a store-bought dry rub or seasoning mix, or just salt and black pepper if that’s all you have.
Oil and butter to sauté the breasts in the pan.
Ingredients for the sauce:
- Vegetables: Three shallots or one onion and three garlic cloves.
- Fat: One tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter.
- Liquids: Dry white wine and chicken stock (homemade or store-bought).
- Flavor: One lemon, Dijon mustard, granulated sugar, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper.
- Garnish: Freshly chopped parsley, basil, or other herbs you like.
How to sauté chicken breast in the pan?
- Pound the breast pieces between two layers of plastic wrap until they are evenly thick. Use a meat mallet or the back of a small and heavy saucepan (1).
- Season: Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and rub it with one tablespoon of oil. Mix the spices in a small bowl and rub the meat with the mixture (2).
- Sauté: Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Cook the seasoned pieces in the hot pan on medium heat for 4 minutes on the first side, flip with tongs, and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat down a bit if the skillet is getting too hot and the pieces are browning too fast; they should be deep golden brown (3).
- Check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer (Amazon affiliate link). If the temperature is unsafe, add a few more minutes to the cooking time, then check again.
- Rest: Transfer the meat to a warm plate and let it rest while you make the sauce. Or let it rest for 4-5 minutes anyway if you don’t make the sauce.
Sauce for sauteed chicken breast
Tip: Let the skillet cool down for a couple of minutes. This is particularly important if you use a cast-iron skillet, they get very hot, and it takes a few minutes for them to cool down a bit. If they are too hot, the onions will burn quickly once you add them to the skillet.
- Cook the finely chopped shallots over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes until softer and golden. Don’t let them get brown; reduce the heat if necessary. Add the finely chopped garlic and stir it in the pan for 30 seconds (4).
- Pour in the white wine, scrape the bottom of the pan, and let the wine bubble off for about 30 seconds (5).
- Add the chicken broth and simmer the sauce until it’s slightly reduced (6).
- Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard, and butter; the sauce should be slightly thick and glossy (7).
- Spoon the sauce over the sauteed chicken breast, sprinkle it with fresh herbs, and serve immediately.
How long should I sauté chicken?
It depends on the size of your chicken breast, so the best is to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 165°F/ 74°C.
For small to medium ones, 8-9 minutes should be enough; larger pieces (9 oz/ 250 g or more) will need more time, up to 13-15 minutes.
- Pounding: You should beat them to be evenly thick. However, do it gently; you should not break or crush the meat pieces entirely. Instead, concentrate on pounding the thicker parts to be as thick as the thinner parts.
- Cutting in half: If the breasts are very large and thick, you can cut them in half lengthwise to reduce the cooking time and ensure they cook evenly and remain juicy.
- Seasoning: If using chicken or universal seasoning, adjust the salt accordingly; these two products already contain salt. Remember the salt if you use any spices from your spice cupboard.
- Hot cast-iron skillet: After searing the chicken, let the skillet cool down for a few minutes before cooking the onion. If the pan is too hot, the shallots will burn rapidly.
A heavy-bottomed pan like a cast-iron skillet is excellent. However, a heavy-bottomed frying pan like a stainless-steel or non-stick pan is also ok.
No, or the chicken will steam instead of frying.
You can make this recipe with boneless skinless thighs and increase the cooking time slightly (always check that the meat is safely cooked).
If you want to sauté bone-in chicken thighs, check out the link.
No, the sauce is absolutely delicious, but if you only want to sauté the chicken and serve it with another sauce or use it for another recipe, feel free to do so.
Refrigerate leftover sauteed chicken breast in an airtight container for 2-3 days. You can serve the leftovers cold or at room temperature, use them to make chicken salad and add them to soup or sour cream enchiladas.
Freeze leftovers airtight for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge.
Reheat in the oven. Place the leftovers in a baking dish, cover them with aluminum foil, and reheat in the preheated oven at 300°F/ 150°C until heated through.
You can also reheat the leftovers in the microwave, but that might dry them out a bit.
What to serve with sauteed chicken breast?
Basically, any side dishes you like. Here are some delicious ideas:
- Salads: Green salad with Yogurt Dressing, vinaigrette, or Raspberry Vinaigrette. Shopska Salad, White Cabbage Salad, or German Coleslaw.
- Vegetables: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Sweetheart Cabbage, French Green Beans, or Buttered Peas.
- Potatoes: Roasted Potato Wedges or Polenta Potatoes.
- Other starchy dishes: Basic Polenta, Butter Rice, Chimichurri Rice, Cream Cheese Pasta, or Creamy Vegetable Pasta.
More simple chicken breasts recipes
Easy Sauteed Chicken
- Cast-iron skillet or another heavy-bottomed pan
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 7-8 oz/ 200-230 g each
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt, Note 1
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon butter
Sauce (Note 2):
- 3 small shallots or 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves finely minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine 60 ml
- 1 cup chicken stock 230 ml
- 1 medium lemon the juice
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar more to taste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons butter about 1 oz/ 30 g
- Pound the breast pieces with a meat mallet between two layers of plastic wrap until they are evenly thick (Note 3). 4 chicken breasts
- Season: Mix the spices in a small bowl. Pat the chicken dry and rub it with one tablespoon of olive oil. Then rub it with the spices. 1 teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon pepper + 1 teaspoon sweet paprika + ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Sauté: Heat the remaining oil and the butter in the skillet. Cook the chicken breasts on medium heat for 4 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat down a bit if the skillet is getting too hot and the pieces are browning too fast. 1 tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon butter
- Check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer; it should be 165°F/ 74°C. If the temperature is not safe yet, continue cooking the chicken until it reaches the safe temperature (Note 4).
- Rest: Transfer to a warm plate and let it rest while you make the sauce. Or let it rest for 4-5 minutes anyway if you don’t make the sauce.
- Let the skillet cool down for a few minutes (Note 5).
- Sauté: Melt the butter in the skillet. Cook the finely chopped shallots over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes until softer and golden. Don’t let it get brown; turn the heat down if necessary. Add the finely minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds. 1 tablespoon oil + 3 shallots onion + 3 garlic cloves
- Pour in the white wine, scrape the bottom of the pan, and let the wine bubble off for about 30 seconds. Add the stock and simmer the sauce until it is slightly reduced. ¼ cup/ 60 ml white wine + 1 cup/ 230 ml chicken stock
- Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard, and butter; the sauce should be slightly thick and glossy. juice of 1 lemon + 1 tablespoon mustard + 2 Tbsp/ 30 g butter
- Serve: Spoon the sauce on the chicken breast pieces and serve immediately.
- Seasoning: You can use about 2 teaspoons of chicken or universal seasoning. As they usually contain salt, you might not need to add any salt to the chicken. However, if you use spices from your cupboard, don’t forget to salt the chicken.
- The sauce is optional but so delicious. You can serve the sauteed chicken with any other sauce or use the breasts for other recipes.
- If the breast pieces are very large and thick, you can slice them lengthwise to reduce the cooking time.
- Cooking time: For small to medium ones, 8-9 minutes should be enough; larger pieces (9 oz/ 250 g or more) will need more time, up to 13-15 minutes.
- Pan: This is particularly important if you use a cast-iron skillet, they can get very hot, and it takes a few minutes for them to cool down a bit. If they are too hot, the shallots will burn quickly once you add them to the skillet.