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Pan fried breaded chicken breast?

I want to make some fried chicken breast for sandwiches, but don't have a deep fryer. What's the best way to do this in a pan? I have eggs, milk, flour, Italian bread crumbs, various seasonings and the chicken breast pieces on hand at the moment.

Southern fried would be great, but any variations you have would be excellent too.

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  1. I make pan fried breast or tenders all the time. Usually, I soak in buttermilk and hot sauce overnight but if I haven't the time, then I pat them dry, season with salt and pepper and a little cajun spice OR a dry packet of buttermilk ranch dressing mix and let them stand for a little while. I make a wash of egg and milk, dip and bread them in crumb mixed with cayenne, parmesan or romano and a little seasoned salt. I let them stand on a rack to dry about 20 minutes and then shallow fry in my dutch oven in about an inch or 2 of hot oil. Drain and enjoy with a nice garlic/lemon aioli!

    6 Replies
    1. re: chelleyd01

      jfood sees the buttermilk soak constantly and would love to understand why and what it does. Any help appreciated.

      1. re: jfood

        It adds a bit of tang to the chicken as well as makes it moister than normal. A standard in Southern cooking. It DOES make a difference, if you have the time.

        1. re: danhole

          It also helps to tenderize the chicken a bit with the acids in the buttermilk.

          1. re: Candy

            Some of the best fried calamari I've had here in FL was soaked in buttermilk overnight before batter.... or so I was told. Tender, tender and mag-knee-feek!

      2. re: chelleyd01

        I often do a buttermilk soak (but usually not overnight as I rarely have the foresight) when I have left over buttermilk from baking. My rendition uses crushed ritz crackers as the breading and I bake instead of pan frying. The richness of the crackers more than makes up for the lack of "fry." And, I've even tried the whole wheat crackers for a bit of a healthier spin. The buttermilk makes the chicken very moist and tangy as reported by others.

        1. re: ashes

          That reminds me of a coating I make which I normally use on fish, but it would work on chicken cutlets too. My dad uses crushed cheez-it crackers, but I do it a bit different, take bread crumbs, and put in a food processor along with some shredded cheddar cheese, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne. Coat fish/chicken with egg then dip into the crumb mix, fry or bake accordingly.

      3. Chelly's recipe sounds awesome! I usually just pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge them in flour, then beaten egg, then flour again. (Season the flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder). Then I pan fry them in a cast-iron skillet in about 1/2 inch of oil, about 6-8 minutes on each side, turning once. They are awesome on sandwiches or just by themselves.

        1. Thanks both of you guys. I don't have a cast iron skillet, just regular nonstick pans. Should come out right though, right? *adding cast iron skillet to shopping list* :)

          @Raidercake: How hot do you make the oil? I'm probably gonna use regular vegetable oil. Preheat it on medium to high on the burner I'm guessing - before dropping the chicken? I don't want to burn down the house but I want to make sure the chicken cooks through. I have a meat thermometer but not an oil thermometer.

          @Chelly: Sounds spicy and awesome....

          1 Reply
          1. re: food_eater79

            I dont own cast iron anything (blasphemy, I know!) I use my T-Fal nonstick pot that you would cook pasta in....keeps the grease from spattering my stove. The spice can be regulated by the amt of cayenne you use...we like it nice and tangy. The only time I pound them out is if the breast is super thick...if they are all pretty even, I just let them go as is.

          2. I sprinkle the chicken breast pieces with salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder then dip them into cornstarch. I use just enough oil to get the chicken cooking with out them burning on the pan. I prefer using chicken thighs though.

            1. Whichever recipe you go with, you may want to consider pounding the cutlets until they are thin before you coat. It's just my preference.

              1. Pound your chicken breasts until they are uniform thickness (probably around 1/4 inch all around is what you should shoot for). Season with salt, pepper and a little cayenne. Dredge in flour, then beaten egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs. Heat some olive oil (about 1/4 cup) in the bottom of a non-stick large pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the breaded pieces in, and flip after 2-3 minutes on each side. Add extra oil if needed as you fry in batches.
                Panko makes an even better and crispier crust if you can find it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: QueenB

                  for southern fried, i would definitely recommend peanut oil. good flavor. high smoke point. olive oil may tend to burn for this application, unless chicken is very thin and will not be in skillet long before cooked through.

                2. You can also oven-fry chicken breast and they are just as good, but not as much fat. We actually like the recipe on the french's onions can, where you coast the breasts in the crunched up onions and then bake. Crispy and good. But I do add extra herbs and seasonings to the onions.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: danhole

                    jfood pounds to 1/4" to 3/8". then he places in flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs. pushes the crumbs onto the breast to get a nice even coating. Then he places back in the fridge for about 30 minutes. For some reasonthe crumbs stick better with this step.

                    Then he fires in oil in a NS pan. the trick is regulating the heat of the oil so it does not cook too fast and the outside is done before the inside.

                  2. It's not frying, but another way to get your desired result is to season, soak in buttermilk and they dredge in panko breadcrumbs. Line a cookie sheet w/parchment and put a rack on top. Put chicken on rack and bake 400 degrees for 20 min. Really tasty! You can also dredge w/crushed French's fried onions.

                    1. I use a classic recipe from Joy of Cooking for pan fried chicken cutlets, and deep fried.

                      I pound the chicken breast out, then dredge them in seasoned flour(salt, black pepper, etc), an egg wash(either egg and water, or some milk), then into breadcrumbs that have been mixed with reggiano parmesan. I also put them back in the fridge for about 30 mins, then either use the pan frying method( olive oil, and butter), or the deep fryer.

                      Tuen out perect every time.

                      1. Thanks, they turned out pretty good! I got the chik breasts down to about 1/2 inch after rinsing and drying them, and then floured, egg washed, Italian bread crumb dredged and "pushed" the crumbs in. Put the plate in the fridge for a half hour to get the crumbs to stick. Fried in veg oil for a total of 6 minutes on medium-medium high, flipping halfway at about 3 minutes.

                        I made a simple marinara with tomato sauce, S&P, garlic powder, basil, and olive oil with a few shavings of parmesan and let that simmer while I cooked the chicken. Only problem was the chicken didn't have enough flavor, a little bland. Maybe the sauce overpowered it?

                        I seasoned the flour with a few twists of a sea salt shaker and black pepper shaker and added some chili powder. And also the bread got soggy - presumably with the sauce and slice of mozz I put on there. Next time I guess I should toast the bread with the cheese in my toaster oven and add more hot spices to the flour to get more flavor out of the chicken? I did use sliced whole wheat, maybe that was not the best choice. I'm still learning but it came out about a 7/10 in my book!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: food_eater79

                          A few thoughts...
                          1. The oil may not have been hot enough. If you don't use really hot oil (someone else probably knows the temp) the cutlet will absorb the oil and not be as crispy.
                          2. I find when I season the egg wash I get a more intense flavor then just
                          seasoning the crumbs.
                          3. I like SWSIDEJIMS suggestion of adding parmesaen to the crumbs. I like to do it using shredded rather then grated. It seems to crisp better.
                          4. Chili powder seems like it would be too powerful a flavor to bring into this dish. I'd leave it out next time and opt for more salt, garlic powder and oregano.
                          5. If you put them into the fridge I would not cover them. This could created moisture which would make the crumbs soggy.

                          1. re: michele cindy

                            I agree about seasoning the egg wash. I season the flour, wash and crumbs rather than the chicken. Pepper in the flour, Worchestershire and garlic powder in the egg and i use seasoned panko - sometimes I buy it at WF or I add italian seasoning to plain panko.

                            1. re: michele cindy

                              I add all sorts of seasonings to the flour I am going to dredge the chicken in, just not too much salt, lots of herbs instead. Also I have found that if you can put the breaded chicken on a rack and the put in the fridge, the air circulates better and it doesn't get soggy. And I do highly recommend that you marinate in the buttermilk, and if you want a little heat, add a dash of cayenne. It works well. Another thought is to add a bit of grated garlic to the oil before you put the chicken in, just don't let the garlic burn or it will be bitter.

                              I really don't like to use an egg wash. It seems like it makes the breading too tough. Am I doing something wrong? Should I add water or milk to it? I usually use milk, with seasonings, or mayo/miracle whip. (But don't tell my husband that! He hates both mayo and miracle whip.)

                            2. re: food_eater79

                              I made an Italian Chicken Parmesan using the same method to bread and fry the chicken breasts first. I put quite a bit of red pepper flakes and dried basil, Italian seasoning and garlic powder along with salt and pepper, into the bread crumbs.
                              So there were three containers, flour seasoned with salt and pepper, egg, and seasoned bread crumbs/ Fried and then placed in a baking dish with marinara, and fresh mozzarella and grated Parmesan - Delish!

                              1. re: food_eater79

                                commercial "chili powder"? or just ground chiles?
                                imho, you simply overwhelmed the chicken with the sauce.
                                you served breaded chicken on bread?

                              2. Pound it a little to make it all the same thickness and then dip it in a mixture of 1 egg and a tablespoon of mustard. Dredge it in breadcrumbs mixed with parmesan cheese and then saute in a mixture of olive oil and butter - yum!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: divamon

                                  I like seasoned Matzoh meal instead of breadcrumbs. Slightly crispier.

                                  1. re: divamon

                                    Adding some dijon mustard to the egg wash makes for tasty pan fried porkchops too, in addition to doing good things for the chicken.

                                  2. There are several options for frying at home with no fryer. 1) just use a big pot, use about a gallon of oil, use an oil with a high smoke point like peanut, canola, or safflower. Olive Oil has nice flavor, but will burn before it is hot enough, its' a bad idea.

                                    Or you can pan fry. Use a saute pan with enough oil to come 1/2 way up the side of the food your frying, you don't want to totally submerge it.

                                    whether your deep frying or pan frying, there are 2 keys
                                    1) use enough oil. If you skimp on oil you'll get a longer cook time, and the temperature will drop more when you add the food. Low heat and long cook time = greasy food
                                    2) Make it hot. Shoot for 350-400 degrees while deep drying, check with a thermometer and a small test piece of food, before you add the rest. In a pan, wait until the oil starts to smoke, you see smoke, then gently add the food, putting the side towards you down first, so oil doesn't splash you. If you have a gas stove, you may very well get some flame ups, like you think of macho chefs doing, if it happens just let them go, they'll go away, nothing bad will happen. If you think it's happening too much, just lift up the pan in the air and the flames will stop touching the pan, and the fire will go out, and if it's a total emergency, plop another pan on top of the other (won't happen often).

                                    Also, no matter what method, you need breading.
                                    The normal breading procedure is a seasoned product (salt and pepper) then coat in flour, and shake off the excess (just leave a thin layer). Then eggwash (beaten eggs with a little water), let it drain off, so you have just what's clinging to the meat, and no runoff going into the next part. Then some Panko (japanese) bread crumbs (more granulated then normal, not powdery). Whatever seasoning you do to the product, do so before breading, as seasonings won't mix evenly in your breading, and you'll end up wasting herbs/spices. If you want some liquid flavor, marinate the meat overnight in the fridge before breading.

                                    For deep frying: once the food's in cook til golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon, mesh sieve, or spider.

                                    Pan frying: Cook on each side, flipping once, until it is golden brown

                                    If you find your food's coming out greasy, you can fry it to get the brown goodness and flavor, but not cook it all the way through, once it's brown transfer it to the oven until its cooked all the way through, and it's pretty impossible to be greasy.

                                    And if you want to add more salt/pepper after its fried go ahead, but do it asap, don't wait for it to cool.