I have heard of putting chicken breasts in a pan and heating them No oil.

To get past any terminology issue, i've included a picture. Just imagine a chicken breast or pieces of chicken breast in the pan. And heat beneath the pan.

I heard you can cook like that, letting it cook in its own fat, no oil, nothing added to the chicken breast.

I wonder though, if it's bad for the pan?

Can this be done?

Can it go wrong, if so, how can I avoid it going wrong?

enter image description here

  • Is it a non-stick pan? (it looks to be). If so, pre-heating the pan (heating the pan while empty) can be bad. – Joe Jan 13 '14 at 15:46
  • @Joe I can get whatever pan is suitable. So should I be using a non stick pan or a stick pan? – barlop Jan 13 '14 at 16:13
  • well seasoned cast-iron. It has the non-stick properties that can reduce oil usage, without having the problems associated with pre-heating teflon-based non-stick pans. It's possible that some of the newer ceramic-based non-stick pans are okay. Trying to cook without oil in a non-preheated pan is just asking for lots of sticking troubles. – Joe Jan 13 '14 at 16:16
  • @Joe so are you saying I should get a cast-iron pan and pre-heat it. to get it to the right temperature to get the floating water bubble seriouseats.com/2009/12/… I can get a cast iron pan. At the moment my pan is stainless steel. Do I have to concern myself with the temperature rising anyway thus causing the meat to stick? – barlop Jan 13 '14 at 16:26
  • it doesn't specifically need to be to that temperature, but yes, cooking on a preheated skillet reduce sticking in the long run (they may stick, then release, like you'll get on a grill). – Joe Jan 14 '14 at 3:50

Doing this will not harm the pan, assuming you do not heat the pan to absurd temperatures (which is no different than if you used oil).

It may not give you ideal results for your chicken, though. Oil in the pan serves a couple of purposes. In traditional (as opposed to non-stick) pans, of course it helps prevent sticking.

It also provides a thermal coupling between the surface of the pan and the surface of the food, conducting heat from the one to the other (much akin to the way thermal paste helps your processor cooler work better).

Without this effect, you may get spottier and less reliable or uniform cooking of the chicken.

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  • is there an infrared thermometer that would measure the temperature of the pan and not of the chicken in the pan? then I could see for sure if the pan is being heated to an absurd temperature. and if so, then how high is absurd? – barlop Jan 13 '14 at 16:16
  • Absurd is on the order of something exceeding 550 F / 290 C at which temperatures PTFE based non-stick coatings begin to be at risk for breaking down. – SAJ14SAJ Jan 13 '14 at 16:25
  • if I get an infrared thermometer, can I be sure it's measuring the pan and not the chicken? – barlop Jan 13 '14 at 16:27
  • If you have the chicken in the pan, the evaporative cooling will help mitigate the pan overheating; it is not something you need to worry about, really. The risk is before you add the chicken, such as leaving the pan on the flame to preheat. – SAJ14SAJ Jan 13 '14 at 16:31
  • Is there any danger to me if the chicken is cooked "spottier"? – barlop Jan 13 '14 at 16:33

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