One of the most important, yet mis-understood and poorly performed cooking techniques is searing, also called pan searing. When you sear meat, you create an intense layer of flavor where the proteins brown/caramelize, literally changing their chemical composition. The result, is the development of flavors and textures, that are totally unique to that cooking technique, and can’t be replicated via steaming, boiling, sautéing, or any other cooking process. In this cooking technique video, I show you how to sear a chicken breast on the stove top, but the same techniques can be used on any protein and on other cooking surfaces…like the grill.
How to Sear (Pan Sear) a Chicken Breast
- It’s a common myth, that searing “seals” in the juices. It doesn’t. It does develop a crusty outside that is packed with flavor, but it’s just as easy to dry out a seared piece of chicken as unseared chicken.
- Heat the pan until it is very hot, and just starts smoking
- Make sure the chicken is dry; pat it with paper towel if needed
- Add a splash of oil to the pan and roll the pan to coat it
- Lay the seasoned chicken down in the pan. You should hear loud sizzeling, if you don’t the pan is not hot enough. Remove the chicken and let the pan to get hotter
- Don’t flip the chicken for at least 3 minutes. It needs time for that sear to develop and if you flip the chicken, or even shake it around the pan, you lessen the amount of heat – which at best means you have to wait longer to get a sear, or at worse you’ll never get it at all
- After 3 – 4 minutes on high heat, peak at the underside of the chicken. If it’s golden brown, flip it, and sear the other side with the same technique
- Depending on the thickeness of the chicken, you’ll be able to cook the breast through with just that one flip, or after a few minutes on the second slide, you can flip it back over and/or put it into a hot oven
What do you end up with? Well assuming you properly seasoned with salt and pepper, you get a chicken breast that has a crispy, flavorful outside, with a tender juicy center. Hope you enjoy it!!