Boneless Chicken Breasts for Salads and Sandwiches - Grilled - Poached - Pan Fried

Three different methods to cook boneless chicken breasts for salads. The assumption is that the chicken will be used in salad recipes that include dressings, so no spices are used here.
Total Time15 mins
Course: <= 30 Min to Table, Grill, Main Course - Chicken - Poultry, Prepare Ahead - Serve Later, Salads - Main Course
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • boneless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


Gas Grilling

  • Preheat outdoor grill while preparing meat.
  • Butterfly chicken breasts so meat is an even thickness. Do this by first trimming tenderloin and any fat, then by placing breast flat on cutting board and cutting laterally from thickest part almost all the way through, then open meat up, like a book to create a single flat piece (not unlike cutting a loaf of Italian or French bread to make a sandwich).
  • Brush liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Clean grill grates, set heat on medium-high. Grill chicken about 4 - 6 minutes on each side, 160° F on an instant-read thermometer.


  • Use a medium or large frying pan, depending on quantity of chicken. Fill with water (enough to cover chicken) and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts laterally in half, attempting an even thickness. Place in a single layer in boiling water, adding additional water if necessary so chicken is submerged. Cover with lid. Lower heat and maintain a simmer (boiling with toughen meat) for 5 - 6 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit in covered pan until completely cooked, 6 - 8 minutes, when 160° F on an instant-read thermometer. Cut into chicken at thickest place to check for doneness, it will no longer be pink. Remove breasts to a separate plate as they cook.

Pan Fried

  • Prepare chicken breasts by butterflying as described in "Gas Grilling" above. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add olive oil to coat bottom. Place chicken breasts in pan and fry, without moving, until light brown, about 4 - 5 minutes. Turn and fry on second side until just cooked through and lightly brown, test by cutting into thickest portion, about 3 - 4 minutes. Remove to a plate as they cook and allow to rest a few minutes before cutting for a salad.