How to finish seared chicken in the oven

Written by catherine misener
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How to finish seared chicken in the oven
Pan-seared and roasted chicken can be served as is, or topped with your favourite light sauce. (Grilled Chicken Breast with Potato,roasted Onion 5 image by Svenja98 from

One of the healthiest ways to prepare chicken is to cook it with minimal extra fat. While boiling is one option, it does not necessarily yield a tasty dish. A better option is to give the chicken a quick sear--which uses minimal oil--and finish cooking it in the oven. This technique seals in moisture and helps ensure flavourful, tender chicken.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Oven
  • Oven-safe pan
  • Seasoning
  • Meat thermometer
  • Cutting board
  • Knife

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  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 260 degrees Celsius. Allow chicken to come to room temperature while the oven heats up--any animal protein with cold spots may not cook evenly. You can use any cut of chicken, but skin-on boneless chicken breast takes on an even sear more beautifully. Pat the chicken dry, season per your recipe and set aside.

    How to finish seared chicken in the oven
    To cut down on fat, you can use skinless chicken breasts. (chicken lean meat image by Maria Brzostowska from
  2. 2

    Heat olive oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat--3 tablespoons of oil per six chicken breasts is ideal. Make sure you use a hot enough pan. When you see the beginnings of smoke in the pan, tilt it. If the oil has a ripple appearance, the pan is hot enough.

  3. 3

    Place the chicken breasts in the pan and allow to cook four to five minutes. Do not move or poke the chicken while it is searing on the first side, this will prevent an even sear and will cause the chicken to stick to the pan. After it sears on one side, turn the chicken over and place the pan in the preheated oven.

  4. 4

    Roast the chicken until done in the over until done, approximately four to six minutes, or when a digital thermometer inserted in the middle of the chicken breast reads 73.9 degrees Celsius. (Seared chicken cooks very quickly in a hot oven, so have everything else for your dish ready to go before placing the chicken in the oven.) Remove the chicken from the pan to a cutting board, allow to rest, then slice and serve.

    How to finish seared chicken in the oven
    Allow the chicken to rest on a cutting board before slicing -- this locks in the juices and keeps the chicken moist. (knife and cutting board image by R MACKAY from

Tips and warnings

  • When cooking several chicken breasts, you can either use two oven-safe pans or sear in batches and then transfer all seared chicken breasts to a larger baking dish. Do not crowd the chicken into a single pan as it will not sear properly.
  • Do not use a pan with a wooden or plastic handle; neither is safe to use in a 500 degree oven.

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