This is an incredibly quick and easy cast iron chicken breast recipe that won’t have you slaving away for hours! It uses a few simple seasoning ingredients to create incredibly juicy and tender chicken breasts. And what’s even better is that you can serve these cast iron chicken breasts as they are or incorporate it into other dishes.

If you love chicken dishes, have a look at our chicken recipes like these super easy oven baked chicken kebabs, baked lemon chicken thighs or stuffed whole chicken.

Three pieces golden brown chicken breasts, one sliced, in a cast iron pan garnished with chopped parsley and garlic cloves on the side.
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Why We Love This Recipe

  • We love this pan-seared chicken breast recipe mostly because of how easy it is to make! You can whip up these chicken breasts in less than 20 minutes so you don’t have to wait hours!
  • It uses a few ingredients, it doesn’t cost a fortune to make, and it still gives you incredibly tender and juicy chicken!
  • You don’t even need a marinade to help tenderize it! It is literally all about the cooking method and we have perfected ours! We will give you our best tips and tricks for how to cook chicken breasts on the stove.
  • And this simple recipe makes these chicken breasts perfect for using in salads, to make sandwiches or wraps, and even use in casseroles or stews.

About the Ingredients

Chicken breasts on a white plate surrounded by thyme, black pepper, garlic cloves, parsley, butter, lemon and paprika on a dark background.

Chicken: We use skinless and boneless chicken breasts in this recipe. Boneless chicken thighs work fine too.

Seasoning: This is an incredibly simple recipe that uses only a few basic seasoning ingredients to create a beautiful blend of flavors. The seasoning ingredients we have chosen include salt, black pepper, paprika, thyme, and garlic(or garlic powder). The butter helps add creaminess, richness, and additional flavor. Because you are making chicken breast on a cast iron pan, it will also add a more smoky flavor.

You can also buy and add some of your favorite spices or even use a store-bought chicken seasoning or spice mix. This recipe is incredibly versatile and has a lot of room for playing around with different flavors you like.

Lemon zest: It will add a nice refreshing flavor to your cast iron grilled chicken. If you want to experiment more with flavors you can try other types of citrus-like grapefruits, oranges, or mandarins.

Garlic: When using the garlic, we would recommend leaving the skin of the cloves on to prevent the garlic from instantly burning in the hot cast iron skillet. Don’t worry though, as the skins won’t reduce the garlic flavor imparted on the chicken.

How to Make

This stove top recipe is very quick and easy to make and virtually fool-proof! Here we will show you exactly how to cook chicken breast in cast iron skillet and have juicy tender meat!

Chicken breasts on a plate lined with paper towel and another piece of paper towel on them.

First, prepare the boneless skinless chicken breasts. Pat each chicken breast down with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Next, cut thin slits on each side of each chicken breast. This will help the chicken cook evenly. Alternatively, you can use a meat mallet and flatten the breasts, but we find cutting slits easier.

Three chicken breasts with thin slits on each and seasoned with spices and lemon zest on a wooden board.

Then season chicken breast pieces with the seasoning ingredients (salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and lemon zest). Make sure to properly season both sides.

Golden cooked chicken breasts and garlic cloves with their skin in a cast iron pan.

Second, cook the chicken breasts. Heat the cast iron pan over high heat with a tiny bit of oil. Lower the heat to a medium-low, then add the butter. Place the chicken breasts on the hot skillet and cook for roughly 6 minutes, or until they are golden brown and can be easily removed from the pan.

Cooked chicken breasts garnished with chopped parsley and garlic cloves in a cast iron skillet.

Flip the chicken breasts over and continue cooking them on the other side for another 6 minutes. Add in the garlic cloves and keep cooking the chicken for another 10-12 minutes, turning continuously.

Third, rest and serve. Once it has been fully cooked, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving them with freshly chopped parsley.

Tips

  • Making the slits in the chicken breasts is an extremely important step and one that we wouldn’t recommend skipping.
  • All meat consists of tough muscle fibers. When these fibers are sliced, it helps essentially tenderize the meat and even helps keep it juicier.
  • Make sure to keep an eye on your stove top chicken breast while it cooks to prevent over or undercooking it. The cooking time depends on the size of your chicken breast. Our chicken breasts of 200 grams each take roughly 15-18 minutes in total. Smaller chicken breasts will take less time while larger pieces will naturally take a bit longer.
  • If your cast iron skillet isn’t big enough to cook all of the chicken breasts as one, rather divide the batch into two smaller ones. This way you won’t overload the pan which will leave you with unevenly cooked chicken.
  • To ensure that your cast iron chicken breast has been fully cooked, the best way to check is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature at the thickest part of your chicken breast should be 165°F (73-74°C).
  • Alternatively, you can try checking for any pinkish parts, pink or bloody juice, and even raw-looking parts. These methods are obviously not as accurate as checking the temperature, but as long as your chicken looks perfectly white, it should be fine.
Cast iron pan cooked chicken breasts sliced and served with sumac onions on a plate.

Serving Suggestions

Because this recipe is so incredibly simple yet flavorful, it is extremely easy to pair with accompaniments and we have a couple delicious ones in mind!

For simple sides that you can also customize to your liking, why not try making one of our delicious grain-based recipes like this simple cooked bulgur, some healthy wheat berries, or some buckwheat groats.

You can also make our famous rice pilaf or bulgur pilaf recipes. Both of these are incredibly delicious and easy to make. If you want to go with potatoes as a side, try our mashed potatoes recipe.

And, for a more refreshing and low-calorie accompaniment, try some of our delicious salads. A personal favorite of ours and one that goes with virtually any dish is onion salad with sumac. For something a bit bulkier you can make our shepherd salad.

Here’s a fun tip! You can cut the chicken breast up or even shred them and incorporate them into any of the above-mentioned recipes to make a delicious lunch or healthy dinner. We sometimes use this method to make chicken salads like our keto chicken salad recipe.

About Using Cast Iron Pans

Searching cast iron on the Internet, we learnt that it is the healthiest cookware material. You have to look after cast iron cookware, which makes it special and different from other pans. And it needs a process at the beginning before starting to use it called seasoning.

With the guidance of the salesman’s advice, before the first use, we washed it just with water (no detergent), dried, brushed all around it with olive oil (including its holder), and cooked it in oven at 400F/200C for 1 ½ hours. Then it was ready to use!

We love making cast iron grilled chicken using this skillet. As heat distributes equally on cast iron, this is a perfect way of grilling. And the cleaning part is not difficult.  Just wash it under water, use salt instead of detergent to remove any remnants, dry, and oil it again before placing it on shelf.

This method is like a natural seasoning and you will see how tasty your beef or chicken is each time you use it. So the more you use your cast iron skillet, the more scrumptious results you have.

If you are new to using cast iron cooking vessels, make sure to read how to care for cast iron.

FAQs

How do you keep chicken from sticking to cast iron?

This is something a ton of people struggle with. Make sure your skillet is hot enough before adding the butter. The butter acts as a lubricant but not if it burns first!
Another thing you shouldn’t do is turn the chicken breasts too early. Rather turn down the heat a bit if you feel like your chicken is about to burn.

Can I substitute oil for butter when cooking chicken on stove top?

Yes, you definitely can. We wouldn’t recommend using olive oil as it doesn’t have a very high smoking point. Rather use sunflower oil or vegetable oil.
Also, definitely use some oil when you are heating your skillet and before adding your butter. The oil helps create a smooth even surface that makes cooking a lot easier.

How do you know chicken is done?

You can have a look at our tips section for exact instructions on the doneness of your cast iron chicken breast. A meat thermometer is best and most accurate, but you can also check the flesh for tell-tale signs.

Do I need to pound the chicken breast when cooking on the stove?

Pounding chicken breasts (or any type of meat) is a way to help tenderize it and make it juicier. As we have mentioned earlier, by slicing slits into the breast you are doing the same thing – help soften the tough muscles and create more tender chicken.

As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
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More Chicken Recipes

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📖 Recipe

Easy Cast Iron Chicken Breast Recipe

Cooked chicken breasts in a cast iron pan, one of them is sliced, garnished with parsley, accompanied by unpeeled garlic cloves.

Skinless and boneless chicken breasts are cooked in the simplest way.

  • Author: Yusuf
  • Prep Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American
  • 1 tbsp butter 

  • 4 cloves garlic, with skin

  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut thin slits on both sides of chicken breasts. 

  2. Season both sides with salt, black pepper, paprika, thyme and lemon zest. 

  3. Heat a cast iron skillet with a little oil on high heat. Bring the heat to medium low. 

  4. Melt butter in the skillet and place the chicken breasts. Cook for 6 minutes, until golden brown or chicken easily releases from the pan. Don’t flip them over during this time. If you think it will burn, reduce the heat just a bit. 

  5. After this time, flip them over and cook the other sides until golden brown for 6 minutes. 

  6. Add in the garlic cloves. Keep cooking for 10-12 minutes more (about 20 minutes in total), turning them over several times. 

  7. Let the cooked chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes. 

  8. Slice and garnish them with chopped parsley to serve.

Notes

  1. Don’t skip making slits on the chicken breasts. It really helps a lot for stove top chicken breast.
  2. The cooking duration might change depending on the size and weight of chicken breasts. If they are less than 200g, the total cooking duration will be around 15-18 minutes. 

  3. If your skillet is not large enough to cook 3 pieces of chicken breast, cook them in two batches. If you put them altogether in a small skillet, the chicken breasts won’t cook well. 

  4. Chicken is cooked when it is no longer pink inside but if you can’t be sure if the chicken is cooked and want to see it precisely, use a meat thermometer. It should reach 165F inside. 

Keywords: cast iron chicken breast, chicken breast on cast iron

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