Cast iron chicken breast recipe is a simple and delicious meal idea that goes well with any side dish. Whole chicken breasts are seasoned with a homemade blend of herbs and spices, then cooked in a cast iron pan until golden brown and juicy.
Cast iron chicken breasts
It can take some practice to achieve perfectly juicy chicken breasts. It can be quite challenging due to the low-fat content.
For example, chicken thighs contain more fat, and even if you cook them longer, they will remain juicy.
You are in luck if you have a cast-iron skillet. Well-seasoned cast iron skillet, and this detailed guide with the best tips can help you achieve excellent results without much trial and error.
You can also make perfectly crispy chicken wings in a cast iron skillet in under 30 minutes.
Chicken breasts are lean cuts of meat, that can be tricky to make perfectly.
It all starts with choosing good quality chicken breasts. Look for pale pink and firm to the touch meat. Always check the expiration date,
Organic and free-range chicken breasts are usually smaller, and the meat is more tender.
Next, decide if you want to sear them first, and then finish them in the oven or cook them on the stove. Because you can do both when using a cast iron skillet.
If you have thick cuts of meat, I recommend searing the meat first and then finishing it in the oven or you can slice them into cutlets before cooking.
Thinner breasts can be cooked over the stove top.
This post gives you step-by-step instructions for both methods.
Note: if you have frozen chicken and have no time to thaw it, you can easily cook it in the air fryer from frozen.
You can find the ingredients' quantities in the recipe card below this post.
Chicken breasts: you will need boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Olive oil: you can use olive oil, avocado oil, or vegetable oil.
Home-made seasoning: I used salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried oregano, and some black pepper. You can also add ½ teaspoon of chili powder to make it spicier.
How to cook chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet
As I mentioned above, you can choose between searing and baking the chicken or cooking it on the stovetop. Both methods are great, but finishing the chicken in the oven makes it juicier and it cooks evenly, especially if you have thicker pieces.
Step 1. Take out the chicken from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried oregano, and some black pepper in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Pat dry the chicken breasts with some paper towel to get rid of any access moisture.
Rub each piece with the spice mixture generously on both sides.
Step 2. Place the cast iron skillet over medium heat. Let it heat up for about 5-10 minutes, so the heat evenly distributes through the pan.
Sprinkle a few drops of water on a pan. If the drops sizzle and evaporated right away, the pan is ready to use.
Now, you can add a good layer of oil.
Step 3. Add the seasoned chicken breasts to the pan. Once you place them onto the pan, do not move or disturb them until it is time to flip. Let them cook for about 4-5 minutes on one side and then about 6-7 minutes on the other side over medium-high heat. The thin chicken breasts should be fully cooked in about 14 minutes and the thicker ones in about 16 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast to ensure the internal temperature reached 165°F.
Or you can use the instructions below on how to sear the chicken breasts first and then finish them in the oven.
Step 4. Turn off the heat and use tongs to transfer the cooked chicken to the plate or a container. Cover it with the foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Sear and bake method (2)
Step 1. Season the chicken breasts and preheat the cast iron pan following steps 1-2 from the paragraph above.
Step 2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Once the cast iron pan is heated, add the oil and carefully place the chicken onto the pan. Sear it for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until well browned. Remember not to move the meat, once you place it on a hot pan until it's time to flip it.
Step 3. Place the cast iron pan with the seared chicken in the preheated oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the meat is fully cooked and the internal temperature reached 165°F.
Step 4. Now, you can transfer it to a plate and cover it with foil to let the chicken rest before serving.
Tips and tricks
- Use chicken breasts that have similar size and thickness.
- Let the meat rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
- Properly heat the pan over medium heat for at least 5-10 minutes before adding oil and chicken.
- Adding oil right before adding the chicken will prevent the meat from sticking.
- Once you place the chicken onto a hot pan, do not move it until it is time to flip.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked through without guessing and more likely resulting in overcooking it.
- It is better to sear thicker chicken breasts and finish them in the oven.
- Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it from the skillet to a plate or a container, cover it with some foil, and let it rest on a plate to allow it to redistribute all the juices.
- Italian seasoning
- Mexican seasoning
- Cajun seasoning
- Lemon and pepper seasoning
- Garlic and herbs seasoning
How to store and reheat
To store: when the chicken breast cools down, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat: place the chicken on a microwave-safe dish and heat it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, flipping it halfway. You can also reheat it in the oven (350°F) for 10-15 minutes.
- Side dishes: I often serve it with easy these sheet pan potatoes and broccoli. And if you are looking for some new or different, try this instant pot buckwheat.
- Salads: add sliced chicken to any of your salads to make it a healthy and light lunch.
- Pasta: add sliced chicken leftovers to any cooked pasta. Use your favorite tomato or pesto sauce to finish the dish.
- Soups: use it to make a homemade chicken noodle soup, by adding cooked cubed chicken breast at the very end.
- Pizza: great on homemade BBQ chicken pizza.
Frequently asked questions
The best way to ensure the chicken is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature needs to reach at least 165°F. If you do not have a meat thermometer, cut the breast at its thickest part and if the juices run clear, the meat is cooked through.
The cooking time depends on the size and thickness of chicken breasts, but it takes somewhere between 14-22 minutes to cook fresh chicken breasts in a cast-iron skillet.
Yes, just make sure to adjust the cooking time as it will take longer to cook bone-in chicken breast.
Other chicken recipes
- Healthy chicken muffins
- Crispy panko chicken
- How to boil whole chicken (for shredding and sipping broth)
- Air fryer chicken meatballs with veggies
- Easy Chicken Rissoles
- Thinly sliced baked chicken
- Air fryer boneless chicken thighs
Cast iron skillet chicken breast
- 1 Cast iron skillet
- 1 measuring spoons
- 1 kitchen tongs
- 1 meat thermometer
- 1 foil
- 3 medium size chicken breast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or more by taste
- 3 tablespoons Olive oil or avocado oil or add more as needed
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Take out the chicken and let it rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. In a small bowl, add salt and garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika and black pepper.
- Rub the chicken on both sides generously with the seasoning mix.
- Preheat cast iron skillet on medium-high heat for about 5-10 minutes. Add the oil. Carefully place chicken breast onto a hot pan. Sear 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden-brown.
- Place the cast iron pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Transfer it to a plate. Cover the plate with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
- Make sure to preheat the cast iron skillet very well.
- Once you lay chicken onto a pan, do not move it until it's time to flip it.
- You can cook thinner chicken breast on the stove.
- It is better to finish thicker breasts in the oven.
- Nutritional facts are for information purposes only.