Easy Flattened Pan-Fried Chicken Thigh or Breast

Flattened, Pan fried chicken is tender with a crispy exterior. So easy and delicious! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Moist in the middle, crispy on the outside, this easy protein main is something we make often. You only need a couple of kitchen items and about fifteen minutes of prep and cook time to get this dish on the table. Serve with rice and veggies, over a fresh green salad, or add to a pasta dish. This recipe is one of my Low Energy Recipes! 

I also love how easy it is to add variety to the dish by using different flavored salts! Now that summer is upon us, I plan on grilling this as well. Yum!

Flattened, Pan fried chicken is tender with a crispy exterior. So easy and delicious! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Life is busy whether you are dealing with chronic health issues, young children, or a busy career. A fast way to prepare chicken is helpful to get a good protein source on the table on a regular basis. Plus, our kids love it when prepared this way.

There are a couple of secrets to making this delicious. First, you need to flatten the chicken thigh or breast so that it will cook all the way through. Secondly, you can’t beat cast iron for getting a lovely crispier exterior. It does make a huge difference. Third, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper go a long way in making this flavorful, yet easy. Sometimes I use a little of flavored salt – smoked, for example – to add a more flavor without any extra work. Lovely!

True confession: I like pounding chicken as a way to release frustration. It’s therapy kitchen work!

Pastured chicken is best. We generally got second best with organic chicken thighs from Trader Jo’s as it’s more affordable and accessible.

Needed Kitchen Items:

I haven’t tried it yet, but my recipe for herbed garlic salt would also make a great seasoning on this! I need to replenish my stores so I can try it out.

Easy Flattened Pan-Fried  Chicken Breast or Thigh Method

Printable PDF 

This recipe is so basic, you don’t need exact ingredients, just the method!


  • Chicken thighs or breasts (at least one per person)
  • Unrefined salt or flavored salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Fat or oil of choice (I recommend coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, home rendered lard or tallow)


1.Trim chicken thigh or breast of extra fat with a small sharp knife. If using chicken breast, I prefer to cut them in half to make them a more manageable size. Place meat on a cutting board, and then place either a clean linen kitchen towel or a piece of parchment paper over the meat. Alternatively, place meat between two sheets of parchment paper or two clean kitchen towels.

2.Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently and evenly pound the thigh or breast until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each per thigh or half breast), and set aside. Continue pounding all of the pieces of chicken, replacing parchment paper if needed, and seasoning them as you go.

3.Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Once you feel heat radiating to your hand when placed several inches above the surface of your pan, add enough fat to the pan to lightly cover the bottom of the pan (about two tablespoons), and then place several pieces of chicken thigh or breast into pan. Don’t crowd. Let cook undisturbed until you see the edges cooking. Check underneath the meat, and once it is lightly browned, turn over and cook until cooked through the middle.

4. To serve, cut into strips.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. Debbie Denker says

    This recipe reminds me that I should invest in a meat mallot! I’m all for low energy meals as that’s about all I do, for instance, tonight is meatloaf and I split up the meat and also make meatballs to go in the freezer. Another easy meal I make most ever Friday is baked chicken. Using drumsticks and thighs, bone-in, I add a quick sauce of lemon, honey and sea salt, (marinate when I think ahead far enough) or just cover chicken and bake 45-50 minutes in glass baking dish at 350. After it cools, I use over the weekend for quick to-go meals; especially during the summer when we like to take off for the day or even a few hours, then I can always just grab the cold chicken, avocados, olives… whatever I have handy that I can eat! Thank you for this recipe!

    • says

      Yum! I love your honey lemon idea! I have a lemon garlic pepper chicken drumstick recipe I love, and also I’ve done a honey mustard that was delish too. Never enough drumstick recipes. 😉

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