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.
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.
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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.
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.
Step 2: Season the chicken. Rub the spice mix all over each chicken breast. Finish by drizzling olive oil over each one.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
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:
- Peruvian Chicken- Oven-baked and crispy, with a delicious green sauce.
- Baked Chicken Legs– My family LOVES the sticky, sweet marinade.
- Chicken Fajitas– Always a classic and hits all the food groups.
- Baked Chicken Thighs– Crispy, baked, and perfectly seasoned.
- Air fryer chicken nuggets– A healthy alternative to the classic.
Cast Iron Chicken Breast
- 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.
- 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.
- Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe originally published January 2023 but updated to include new information for your benefit.
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