If you're looking for deliciously crispy pan-seared chicken, the folks at America's Test Kitchen suggest that — contrary to what you might think — the key is a cold pan, not a searing hot one like you'd have for a steak. Here's why.
The reason is that by allowing the chicken and the pan to come up to temperature together, you have enough time for the chicken to render its fat, making the skin nice and crispy without overcooking the rest of the meat. The video above explains using a few chicken breasts as examples.
You'll probably need to pierce the skin a few times with a sharp knife to give the fat somewhere to escape, but other than that, there isn't much more to this tip. Do this and every chicken dish you make can be served with a crispy, delicious, Maillard-style outer layer.
A Groundbreaking Way to Get Shatteringly Crisp Chicken Skin [America's Test Kitchen]