Pan roasting chicken produces moist meat and crisp skin

America's Test Kitchen
This image provided by America's Test Kitchen in August 2018 shows the cover for the cookbook XXX It includes a recipe for pan-roasted chicken breasts with shallot-thyme sauce. (America's Test Kitchen via AP)

To develop a bone-in chicken breast recipe that produced moist meat, crisp skin, and a quick pan sauce, we turned to pan roasting, where the chicken is browned in a skillet on the stovetop and then slid, skillet and all, into a very hot oven to finish cooking.

This method helped to protect the delicate white meat, which doesn't have a lot of fat, from drying out. The chicken was added skin side down in a smoking hot skillet, where it formed a gorgeous brown crust and produced plenty of fond.

After lightly browning the second side of the chicken, we moved the skillet to an oven at 450 F where the chicken roasted for just 15 minutes. While the chicken rested, we used the browned bits left in the pan to make a flavorful pan sauce. You will need a 12-inch oven-safe skillet for this recipe. If using kosher chicken, do not brine. If brining the chicken, do not season with salt in first step.

This undated photo provided by America's Test Kitchen in August 2018 shows pan-roasted chicken breasts with shallot-thyme sauce in Brookline, Mass. This recipe appears in the cookbook “How to Roast Everything.


Servings: 4

Start to finish: 1 hour


4 (12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed, brined if desired

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1 large shallot, minced

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine

2 sprigs fresh thyme

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled

Salt and pepper

For the chicken: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 F. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook breasts, skin side down, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip breasts and brown lightly on second side, about 3 minutes. Flip breasts skin side down, transfer skillet to oven, and roast until chicken registers 160 F, 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot). Transfer chicken to serving dish and let rest while making sauce.

For the sauce: Being careful of hot skillet handle, pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat left in skillet. Add shallot and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, vermouth, and thyme sprigs, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until thickened and measures 2/3 cup, about 6 minutes.

Discard thyme sprigs and stir in any accumulated chicken juices. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time. Off heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories; 134 calories from fat; 15 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 109 mg cholesterol; 360 mg sodium; 2 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 27 g protein.