Sautéed chicken is the perfect 30-minute meal solution. Better yet, you can turn out a variety of delicious variations with a few added ingredients. Before you roll up your sleeve to sauté chicken breast, thigh, or another part of the bird, bone up on these basics.
What does sauté mean? The word sauté is based on the French word sauter, which means "to jump." Sautéed chicken is cooked in a small amount of oil or butter over fairly high heat in an open shallow pan. In this story, we show you how to sauté chicken depending on which chicken part you use.
Tips & Tricks: Regardless of which pieces of chicken you are fixing, the principles of how to sauté chicken are the same:
Here’s how to sauté chicken breasts that are halved, boneless, and skinless, which are readily available at supermarkets.
Make-Ahead Tip: Many recipes call for cooked chicken. Whether you're making chicken salad, enchiladas, or casseroles, a great option is to sauté chicken breast, thighs, or tenders. You can use them right away in recipes or save them for later use. Store cooked chicken in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 4 months.
Many recipes call for quick-cooking chicken breast strips or tenders. You can cut whole chicken breasts into strips or pieces crosswise or lengthwise, depending on your preference and the dish. These smaller pieces of chicken are prepared in the same way as chicken breasts (above), except the cook time will be shorter—6 to 8 minutes total. Keep a close eye on these and turn them occasionally to prevent burning.
You know you can sauté chicken breast, but did you know that you can also use the quick sauté cooking method for chicken thighs, too?
Opt for skinless, boneless thighs. These can be sautéed similarly to chicken breasts (above), although thighs may take a bit longer to cook: 14 to 18 minutes total for 3- to 4-ounce thighs.
Once you’ve learned how to sauté chicken breasts, take dinner to the next level by making a simple pan sauce. After you sauté chicken breast portions (or any other parts of the chicken), you'll likely have flavorful crusty bits left in the pan. You can capture these delicious flavor morsels with a technique called deglazing. This means using a liquid, such as broth, wine, or water, to loosen the particles and dissolve them over heat. Then you can add additional flavorings to create a divine sauce.
While we’ve given you the basics on how to sauté chicken breasts, tenders, and thighs, there are a few more things you should know to make sure the chicken you serve is safe to eat:
No story on how to sauté chicken would be complete without a pan primer! Be sure to choose a heavy skillet that is the right size for the amount of chicken you have. You can use a nonstick or regular pan. If the skillet is too large, pan juices can burn. If it's too small, the poultry will steam instead of brown. If chicken pieces are large and you need to sauté› them in batches, add additional oil or butter as necessary.