10 Boneless Chicken Breast Recipes
The little black dress of the kitchen, the boneless, skinless chicken breast is a bona fide staple. We’d be willing to bet that if you peeked into the refrigerator of many a Real Simple reader—or took a gander at her “Quick Dinner” Pinterest board—you’d find at least one container of this versatile cut of chicken, along with plenty of ideas for how to prepare it. Luckily, the lean meat can be spiffed up in all sorts of ways and with a wide variety of flavors, and we’ve got ideas for how to bake it, fry it, grill it, or throw it in a salad. Take, for instance, our Italian-inflected Baked Pecorino Chicken, which is coated in homemade bread crumbs then baked. Or there’s our standard (but no less delicious) Chicken Enchiladas, which call for canned enchilada sauce, chicken, tortillas, cheese, and little else. You can dress the chicken breast up—in a bowl of pasta, or with a citrusy arugula salad—or dress it down (Crispy Popcorn Chicken, need we say more?). Here, you’ll find recipes for all these family suppers and more. We’ve got enough motivation to take you through nearly two weeks of chicken dinners. Pin individual recipes that appeal—or the whole slideshow—to consult our list when you’re feeling burnt out on your typical chicken dinners. And know that these ideas are just the beginning; add your own flair to these recipes, and tell us what additions or substitutions you made in the recipe comments!
Red Curry Chicken Skewers
This just might be the quickest cooking method for boneless, skinless chicken breasts yet: When cut into 1-inch pieces, threaded onto a skewer, and grilled, the meat requires just four or five minutes over the heat! To make the most of the time that frees up, we’ve paired these chicken skewers, marinated in Thai red curry paste and coconut milk, with a side of sautéed snap peas and scallions. Serve the vegetables and chicken over white or brown rice, squeeze a bit of lime juice over the plate, and you’re done.
Get the recipe: Red Curry Chicken Skewers
Chicken With Goat Cheese Vinaigrette
By splitting chicken breasts horizontally, to create an extra-thin slice of meat, you can literally cut cooking time in half. We put that trick to work here, so the chicken browns in a skillet after just a few minutes per side and gains a crispy edge and moist interior. Serve the chicken over a bed of orzo (or rice or other grain) and topped with a flavor-packed dressing of creamy goat cheese, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and fresh parsley—or whatever fresh herb you happen to have on hand.
Get the recipe: Chicken With Goat Cheese Vinaigrette
Tarragon Chicken Salad
We’ve factored cooking the skinless, boneless chicken breasts into this recipe—and even including that, from start to finish, you can make our Tarragon Chicken Salad in just over half an hour. (Of course, using leftover cooked chicken saves time.) And we gave the dish a fresh, modern update with tarragon and lemon juice, along with a little lemon zest. The recipe calls for less mayonnaise than most, cutting way back on calories, since the other ingredients add major flavor. We like putting the salad over a bed of peppery watercress, but you could use virtually any green.
Get the recipe: Tarragon Chicken Salad
Crispy Popcorn Chicken
Say hello to your new go-to formula for fried chicken. And don’t be scared: This is fried chicken made easy. To save time, you’ll start with boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces, which makes the breading and frying process easy, with far less of a mess. Dipped in buttermilk then dredged in flour and fried, these juicy little chicken bites couldn’t get any better. While dark meat lovers might miss those legs and wings, white meat devotees will rejoice.
Get the recipe: Crispy Popcorn Chicken
RELATED: Conquer Your Fear of Frying in 10 Easy Steps
Chicken Milanese With Arugula Salad
When you picture Chicken Milanese, you might be thinking of cutlets, pounded thin then breaded and fried and served with a lemon wedge. Our take does involve slicing the boneless skinless breast horizontally and pounding each piece with a meat tenderizer to ½-inch thickness. But from there, we took a much healthier turn, grilling the meat and topping it with a zingy salad of peppery arugula, radishes, and onion. A homemade simple vinaigrette with olive oil and fresh lemon juice gives the dish its signature citrus jolt.
Get the recipe: Chicken Milanese With Arugula Salad
Grilled Spiced Chicken With Chickpeas
Here, the humble boneless skinless chicken breast feels resolutely Greek—oregano and paprika spice the meat, and the side salad of chickpeas, kalamata olives and parsley, acts as an almost deconstructed hummus. (It looks like you put way more effort into this dinner than just opening a tub and throwing it on the table—but in reality, the side couldn’t be simpler.) The whole meal’s on the table in 25 minutes. Consider grilling some extra chicken (spiced or plain) to use in salads and quesadillas later in the week.
Get the recipe: Grilled Spiced Chicken With Chickpeas
Pasta With Chicken and Bacon
Greens? Check. A second vegetable? Check. Al dente pasta? Check? Protein? Double check. Quick and simple to prepare, this colorful pasta dish stars bacon, grape tomatoes, baby spinach, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which you’ll cut into bite-sized pieces and cook up quickly in a skillet that’s coated in bacon drippings. Yes, you read that right. Our sauce-less recipe is also great for kids who might not love tomato sauce; they’re still getting some spinach and protein in their pasta, which, absent a thorough coating of cheese, is relatively nutritious.
Get the recipe: Pasta With Chicken and Bacon
Forget taco night. After one taste of these moist, cheesy enchiladas, the kids (and maybe even the adults) will be ready to instate Enchilada Night. This recipe requires almost an hour, though you could cook the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in advance to save time. Add more protein, if you’d like, with a side of pinto or black beans. Or you could dice up an avocado, shred a bit of lettuce, and add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt to each plate for a restaurant-like dinner at home. Chips and salsa on the table, natch.
Get the recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
Baked Pecorino Chicken
Mixing grated pecorino, a salty, hard Italian cheese close in taste to Parmesan, with the homemade bread crumbs give this chicken a crisp, flavorful crust. And, it’s a smart trick for keeping boneless, skinless chicken breasts from drying out when they’re cooking in the oven, since baking often zaps most of the moisture. For this recipe, we served the chicken alongside sautéed Swiss chard, but you could cook up any combination of vegetable (broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts) or grain (quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain pasta) to go with the succulent sliced chicken.
Get the recipe: Baked Pecorino Chicken
Open-Face Chicken Caprese Sandwiches
When a salad just won’t cut it, but you’re not keen to piece together a whole meal, turn to our Open-Face Chicken Caprese Sandwich. It’s a tasty twist on the classic Italian salad, and a great template for how to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Top thick slices of country bread with cooked, split chicken breasts, sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, and throw the whole pile under the broiler. In the oven, the whole sandwich gets nice and warm, and the gooey cheese melts over the top. Sprinkle each sandwich with torn basil leaves just before serving.
Get the recipe: Open-Face Chicken Caprese Sandwiches
Related: Breading Cutlets 101
When breading cutlets, it’s easy for things to turn into a sticky mess. In this video, learn how to coat ingredients evenly without creating a disaster. You’ll start by arranging your ingredients from left to right, beginning with the food you want to bread, followed by the flour, the beaten egg, and then the breadcrumbs.