How to Cook a Chicken Fillet in a Skillet

Chicken fillets cooking in a skillet.
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Boneless chicken breast fillets are the star of many versatile and quick-to-cook main dishes. Cooking chicken fillets quickly in a skillet keeps them moist and allows you to make a pan sauce to catch all of the flavors you have developed. Change up the seasonings to serve a variety of quick, healthy meals featuring chicken fillets.

Cook the Chicken

Step 1

Season both sides of the chicken fillet with salt and pepper or your favorite rub or spice mixture.

Step 2

Preheat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water dances across the surface. Lightly coat the bottom of the skillet with cooking oil.

Step 3

Place the chicken in the skillet in a single layer without overlapping. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for eight to 12 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Turn the chicken occasionally with tongs to encourage even browning.

Step 4

Remove the chicken to a clean platter and allow it to rest for five minutes while you prepare the pan sauce.

Make the Pan Sauce

Step 1

Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, wine or other flavored liquid to the skillet. Scrape the bottom to loosen the browned bits left from cooking the chicken.

Step 2

Add herbs or other flavorings to the pan sauce as desired. A mixture of parsley, oregano, garlic and lemon zest works well, or skip the herbs entirely. Simmer the sauce for three to five minutes to meld the flavors.

Step 3

Use the pan sauce as is or thicken it with a little cornstarch or flour mixed in water. Simmer and stir for three to four minutes until the sauce is thickened and all flour taste is gone.

Things You'll Need

  • Salt and pepper, or seasoning rub

  • Heavy skillet

  • Cooking oil

  • Clean platter

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • Tongs

  • Chicken broth or other liquid

  • Herbs

  • Cornstarch or flour

  • Small bowl of water


Pound chicken fillets to a uniform thickness with a meat mallet to tenderize the meat and help it cook more evenly.

Cook chicken fillets quickly over medium-high to high heat to prevent the meat from drying out.


Use oven mitts when handling the hot skillet.

Wash your hands and surfaces thoroughly before and after handling raw chicken.

Refrigerate raw chicken away from other foods to prevent contamination. Use within two days of purchase or freeze it.

Thaw chicken in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature.