Cast Iron Chicken Breast

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5 from 61 votes
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Learn how to make cast iron chicken breasts for an easy and flavorful protein that’s ready in less than 15 minutes! It’s a foolproof cooking method that always leaves you with crispy-on-the-outside and juicy-on-the-inside chicken. 

cast iron chicken breast.

I always rely on chicken breasts as an easy, fast, and tasty protein to pair with dinners and lunches. Whether they’re cooked sous vide, in the air fryer, or in the Instant Pot, the chicken is always flavorful and goes well with everything.

When time is of the essence, stick with this cast iron chicken recipe. The chicken breasts are lightly seasoned, then pan-fried in a cast iron skillet. In about 10 minutes, you have a delicious protein that’s filling, healthy, and perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to cook chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. What to serve with this dish
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Frequently asked questions 
  8. More healthy chicken recipes
  9. Cast Iron Chicken Breast (Recipe Card)

Why this recipe works

  • It’s so fast and easy! There’s no marinating, complicated seasonings, or lengthy cooking techniques involved. Just pan-fry in a cast iron skillet, then serve!
  • Cast iron = crispy juicy chicken breasts. Cast iron is a pro at conducting heat, which means the chicken breasts will easily develop a beautiful golden tender sear on the outside while staying juicy on the inside.
  • Pairs well with anything. Seared chicken breasts pair well with all of your favorite side dishes, from salad to pasta to grains, making this the perfect recipe for dinners and meal prep.

Ingredients needed

You don’t need any complicated ingredients to make cast iron skillet chicken breasts. Simple Italian herbs and seasonings are infused into the meat as soon as it hits the buttered skillet. Here’s the full list of ingredients for this recipe:

  • Chicken breasts – Use skinless or skin-on chicken breasts. Or, if all you have are boneless chicken thighs, feel free to use them instead (or make my cast iron chicken thighs). Just know that they’ll take a few minutes longer to cook through.
  • Olive oil – To prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan and to help form a gorgeous golden crust. Any oil works, including vegetable oil or canola oil.
  • Butter – To infuse flavor into the chicken.
  • Italian seasonings – This is a pre-mixed blend of dried basil, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, and thyme. Make your own or use a store-bought mix.
  • Salt and pepper – For extra flavor in the spice mix.
  • Smoked paprika– For that gorgeous smoky flavor. 

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to cook chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet

Cooking chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet is one of the easiest and fastest cooking methods:

Step 1: Make the spice mix. Whisk the Italian seasonings, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

spice mix for chicken breast.

Step 2: Season the chicken. Rub the spice mix all over each chicken breast. Finish by drizzling olive oil over each one.

seasoned chicken breasts.

Step 3: Cook in the cast iron. Melt the butter in a preheated cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts, flip once, and cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides.

skillet cooked chicken.

Step 4: Rest, then serve. Transfer the seared chicken breasts to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes for the juices to redistribute. Serve with your favorite sides, and enjoy!

sliced chicken breast.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Are you new to cooking with cast iron? Prepare your skillet the right way as I do in my cast iron steak or salmon recipes.
  • Preheating cast iron for 5 to 10 minutes is essential because it can prevent the chicken from sticking. Hold your hand over the skillet to feel if it’s hot enough before placing the chicken inside.
  • My #1 tip to avoid dry or overcooked chicken breasts is to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Fully cooked chicken is safe to eat once it reaches 165F. Saying that, because we are resting it for 5-10 minutes, you can remove it from the pan at 155-160F.
  • Add parmesan cheese to the Italian seasoning mix for a cheesy, salty element in each bite (this is why we make chicken cutlets so often!).
  • You can play with the flavors by swapping the Italian seasoning with my low carb Taco Seasoning, fresh herbs, or the seasoning blend of your choice.

What to serve with this dish

For a well-rounded meal, serve the cast iron chicken breasts as the main protein paired with any vegetable side dish or something simpler, like smashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, or grilled sweet potatoes.

The chicken breasts would also make for a quick and filling protein to pack for lunches and meal prep. After they’re done resting, slice each chicken breast and layer the slices over top of a green salad, stuff them into pita bread, or pair them with mashed cauliflower, cauliflower rice, and asparagus.

Storage instructions

To store: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

Reheating: Microwave the chicken for 20 to 30 seconds or reheat it in a warm skillet over medium heat.

skillet chicken breast.

Frequently asked questions 

My chicken is sticking to my skillet! What should I do?

Two ways to prevent the chicken from sticking to the skillet are: (1) Bring the chicken breasts down to room temperature, and (2) preheat the cast iron skillet.

Take the chicken breasts out of the fridge and place them on the kitchen counter for about 20 minutes before seasoning and cooking.

To preheat the skillet, heat it over low to medium heat while you wait for the chicken to come down to room temp. You’ll know the pan is ready when you can feel the warmth radiating off of the cast iron as you hold your hand above it.

Can I use bone-in chicken breasts?

Yes, bone-in chicken will work for this recipe, but you will need to increase the cooking time by 2-3 minutes to compensate for the extra surface area.

Can you use frozen chicken breasts?

Yes, you can make this recipe with frozen chicken breasts instead of fresh ones. Ensure the breasts are thawed completely and dried well before adding the seasonings.

More healthy chicken recipes

All of these healthy chicken breast recipes would be perfect for flavor-packed dinners or meal prep:

cast iron chicken breast recipe.

Cast Iron Chicken Breast

5 from 61 votes
Learn how to make cast iron chicken breasts for an easy and flavorful protein that’s ready in less than 15 minutes! It’s a foolproof cooking method that always leaves you with crispy-on-the-outside and juicy-on-the-inside chicken. 
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 11 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 4 chicken breasts 4-6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the Italian seasonings, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Rub the spice mix over each chicken breast all over. Drizzle with olive oil.
    seasoned chicken breasts.
  • Add butter to a non-stick cast iron skillet. Place the cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, turning once.
    skillet cooked chicken.
  • Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
    sliced chicken breast.

Notes

TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months. 
TO REHEAT: Microwave the chicken for 20 to 30 seconds or reheat it in a warm skillet over medium heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 24gFat: 10gSodium: 422mgPotassium: 441mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 179IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Recipe originally published January 2023 but updated to include new information for your benefit.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Ok, now I understand why this has a perfect rating. I find it so hard to make a simple chicken breast recipe that actually tastes good, but this was amazing! Easy, moist, flavorful chicken that is perfect on its own. I did do 1.5x the spices, just because I generally like more flavor. I cut two thick breasts in half to make thinner cutlets, and it still took a little longer than the time given, but each stove is different. Just use a meat thermometer and and you’re good.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve always used my other pans for chicken breasts, haven’t tried using my cast iron, which I use regularly to cook steak, so should work well to cook chicken too, thank you

    1. 5 stars
      I don’t know if that is enough time to cook chicken thoroughly. I guess they would have to be thin to be ready in 8-10 minutes. Everyone should use a meat thermometer to make sure it has reached a temperature of 165.