From breaded chicken tenders to marinated grilled chicken, Americans eat a lot of chicken. In fact, for the first time in over a hundred years, chicken is even more popular than beef. Many people prefer chicken breast — it’s easy to cook with and a great source of lean protein — but this cut has a bad reputation for drying out when it’s cooked.
Chicken breast loses its juiciness when it’s overcooked. The amount of time needed to cook chicken breast varies based upon the thickness of the breast and the method of cooking. The most accurate way to determine how long chicken breast needs to be cooked is to use a meat thermometer and cook chicken to a precise temperature. If you cook your chicken breast to 160 degrees F and then let it rest for five minutes before serving it, it will reach the FDA-recommended 165 degrees F without overcooking.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, here are a few general guidelines for cooking chicken breast.
On the grill: Approximately 6 to 8 minutes per side over direct heat, 10 to 12 minutes per side over indirect heat
In the oven: Approximately 20 to 30 minutes when baking or roasting at 375 degrees F
On the stovetop: Approximately 2 minutes per side when sautéing at high heat, 4 to 6 minutes per side when sautéing at medium or low heat
When you’re deep frying: Approximately 8 to 12 minutes in 350- to 365-degree F oil
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.