Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme

Monday 26 October 2020


I had some chicken breasts in the freezer that needed using up and so I took them out the other day to thaw and cook.  They were really nice ones.  Free range. Organic.  Skin on, boneless.

I had gotten them so that I could stuff them sometime with a tasty filling between the skin and the flesh. Best laid plans and all that! They were not cheap however, so I really wanted to cook them in a way that would do them justice!

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme


I confess that I use Chicken breasts more than any other kind of chicken. They are an incredibly versatile protein. You can adapt them to so many flavours and uses.

Sometimes I will cook them on their own with some simple seasonings or other flavours added. Other times I will poach them so that I can use the meat for sandwiches or in casseroles. I usually keep packages of them in the freezer ready to go for whatever purpose.

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme


This simple method of cooking them that I am sharing with you today would also work well with chicken thighs.  I actually love eating chicken thighs most of all, but generally speaking  I will eat the breast because it is lower in fat. 

Thighs have an almost gamey flavour that works very well with stronger flavours.  These Tomato and Herb Baked Thighs are one of my favourite ways to cook them. This was a real favourite of Mr B's business partner when I lived down South and worked at the Manor.  I also had the opportunity to cook it for Princess Sophie's father on one occasion.

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme


Although I have used chicken breasts here today, with the skin on, you could also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They will not take quite so long to cook as this version, so be careful to not let them dry out.

The skin in this recipe helps to keep the meat moist and does impart flavour. Plus it gets nice and crisp. I admit I do love crisp chicken skin, even if its not that healthy to eat.

You begin by seasoning the chicken all over well with salt and pepper. I like to pat them dry first with some paper towels. That way your skin will get really crisp. 

Then you simply brown them in a bit of oil. You will need a skillet that will easily go from the stove top to the oven. I used my cast iron skillet.

Once you have achieved a nice golden and crisp skin, you flip them over.  At that point I add a knob of butter to the skillet and some of my fresh garden thyme. What a lovely smell.

I baste them a few times with the thyme flavoured melted butter and pan juices. And then I pop the whole skillet into the oven and let the oven finish them off.

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme


They don't take too long in the oven. Only about 15 minutes maximum in total. You just want to roast them until they are cooked through and the juices run clear with no pinkness remaining. 

If you are checking them with a thermometer the meat should register 165*F/75*C when inserted in the thickest part of the chicken. I like to baste the breasts a few times while they are cooking with some of the pan juices.

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme


That is basically it. The chicken is done. All it needs to do after that is rest for about five minutes. I have given instuctions for two breasts, but you can easily multiply this to cook as many as you want.

This chicken always ends up tender and very juicy.  It is filled with incredible flavours also. There is something about thyme which goes very well with chicken. I dare say you could add a few cloves of peeled and bashed garlic to the butter in the pan as well before you put it into the oven for even more flavour.

Garlic goes really well with chicken.  And thyme as well for that matter.  I use garlic and thyme more often than when not when I am roasting a chicken whole. 

Lemon also.  Next time you are roasting a chicken try stuffing the cavity with a bulb of garlic cut in half, a lemon cut in half and a bunch of thyme. Delicious!

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme


Once your chicken is cooked through, you will want to rest it before serving it.  This allows the juices of the chicken to be reabsorbed along with the other flavours.  

Too many people don't allow their meat to rest after cooking it. This is a huge mistake and can make the difference between something which is moist and flavour filled, or something which is dry.

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme

 I have to laugh when I think about how I cooked when I was just a young bride. My knowledge was so lacking, even though I thought I knew a lot.

I really knew nothing. I remember one time getting a good deal at the Safeway store in Calgary for whole chickens and thinking what a bargain they were.  I had no idea they were stewing hens. I had no idea there was such a thing!  DUH! 

Time and experience taught me different. We had to eat more than a few rubber chickens in my quest towards more knowlege!

In any case these chicken breasts are truly lovely. Succulent and moist and filled wih lovely flavour. They were enjoyed  along with some gratineed potatoes and creamed spinach. 

You could also serve them with rice or baked potatoes, mash, boiled potatoes, etc.  Any vegetable would work on the side. Remember the chicken is the star here.  Anything else is only an accent!

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme

Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme
Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 5 Mincook time: 21 Mininactive time: 5 Mintotal time: 31 Min
I have used boneless, skin-on chicken breasts for this, but thighs would also work well. You can also use bone in or boneless skinless chicken, but the cook times would need adjusting. These are simple to make, moist and delicious with a crisp skin and beautiful flavour.


  • 2 boneless, skin-on chicken breast fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 TBS unflavoured cooking oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • a handful of sprigs of fresh thyme
  • half of a fresh lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/gas mark 6.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with some kitchen towels and then season generously all over with salt and black pepper.
  3. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken skin side down and cook for about six minutes or so without agitating it. The skin should be golden brown and crisp. Carefully turn them over.  Add the butter and sprigs of thyme.
  4. The butter should melt and when it does, spoon some of it over the chicken.  Place the chicken in the pan into the preheated oven.
  5. Roast, basting once or twice with the pan juices, for about 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the chicken tests done and the juices run clear.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan to a board and leave to rest for about five  minutes.
  7. Serve with some of the pan juices spooned over top and a squeeze of lemon.  Delicious!
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Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme

I know I eat a lot of chicken, but it is a healthy source of protein and is incredibly versatile! Its also probably much more affordable than other kinds of protein. At least here in the UK at any rate!  Its a good thing I enjoy it!

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  1. Oh yum - lovely, classic flavours that always work well together. I generally like to add garlic as well and I love lemon on anything. We had a beautiful, bountiful lemon tree in the garden when I was growing up and so lemons were used a lot in both savoury and sweet dishes. My husband, who did not grow up with lemons, is always puzzled about why I squeeze lemon juice on to everything. I guess it's what we are used to. Would you believe that he doesn't think fish and lemon go together? And you should see his face when I have lemon and sugar on my pancakes - he thinks it very odd.

    One of my favourite ways to cook chicken breasts was one you posted ages ago with a topping of chopped artichoke, parmesan and mayo. I've made that quite a lot and everyone loves it so much. I am sure that this will be much appreciated as well.

    1. Oh yes, Artichoke Chicken. That was a real favourite of my ex boss's husband as well. I have not made it in a while. Maybe I can make it when I get settled on the other side. I love lemon anything and usually have a bowl of them in my home. They are one ingredient I am never without! I hope you try this and enjoy it! xoxo

  2. Oh Marie, I love this chicken breast, also thyme is my favorite herb. I alway having it growing in my garden.

    1. You are only a step away from enjoying this Beverly! I hope that you will! xoxo

  3. This looks delicious! I will give it a try. Plus I have lemon thyme still growing outside which should work well here!

    1. Thanks very much Mary. Lemon thyme is my favourite thyme! xoxo

  4. This is one of the most delicious things I've ever seen. This is definitely going on the menu. Thanks!

    1. You are very welcome Sue! I truly hope that you enjoy it! I am pretty sure that you will! xoxo

  5. Dear Marie,

    Well, you've done it again! I made your Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts With Thyme last night and, as usual, it was fabulous! The only change I made was to substitute Herbes de Provence for the Thyme, since my wife does not like the taste of thyme. (When I disguise it in Herbes she doesn't notice). I served it with your Country Style Rice Casserole (another hit!) All she could say was, "OMG!! THAT WAS DELICIOUS!" I worry that she may think I'm having a fling with a famous chef! (and I guess that I am, in a way!)

    As always, I've thrown some $$ into your tip jar. Hopefully for a visit to Italy or Greece, but if not, for whatever your little heart desires. Thank you again for the free cooking lessons.

    1. Fling away William! I am pleased that you and the wife enjoyed the chicken and the rice! I love it when people make my recipes and enjoy them! Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit and otherwise. Much appreciated. xo


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