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Cooked chicken breasts cubed on a cutting board.

How to Cook Chicken Breasts for Recipes

This is a quick tutorial on how to cook chicken breasts when you get a recipe that calls for "cooked chicken." It's simple, easy, and mostly hands-off, so you can do the rest of your recipe prep while the chicken cooks. You end up with juicy, tender chicken breasts that are perfect to cube and mix into pasta, soups, and other recipes or just enjoy for a light, healthy lunch.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 184kcal
Author Tracy



  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Water


  • Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken breasts.
  • Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, lightly grease with cooking spray or a drizzle of oil. Place chicken breasts in the pan and cook until the first side is nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Flip chicken breasts and brown second side, 2 to 3 minutes. Once both sides are browned, add about 1/2-inch of water to the pan. Turn heat down to medium, cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes (longer with larger breasts), adding more water if it all evaporates, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F.
  • Remove breasts from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting as recipe calls for. Enjoy!


How much chicken do I need for my recipe?
Chicken breast sizes vary a ton, but a good rule of thumb is that you can expect to get a little over 2 cups of cooked meat from 1 pound of raw chicken. Medium-sized raw chicken breasts usually weigh about 8 ounces so:
For 1 cup cooked meat, cook 1 medium chicken breast.


Calories: 184kcal