This Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast is perfect for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner. Ready in just 20 minutes, it's a simple, delicious, and satisfying main dish that you can easily pair with your favorite starch and vegetable sides. Naturally gluten-free.
Cooking a delicious and satisfying dinner at home doesn't have to be complicated.
With just a few simple ingredients and a seasoned cast iron skillet, you can create a meal that is both easy and full of flavor.
Cast iron skillets are ideal for cooking chicken as they heat evenly and retain heat well, resulting in a crispy, golden brown exterior, and juicy, tender meat.
This cast iron skillet chicken breast recipe is perfect for those who want a delicious and healthy meal that's quick and easy to make. In this recipe, boneless skinless chicken breasts are pounded thin, then lightly seasoned with a flavorful homemade spice rub.
So grab your cast iron skillet and let's get cooking!
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Ready in 20 Minutes- Pounded thin and cooked fast in a cast iron skillet, this seared chicken breast is ready in just 20 minutes. Perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or weekly meal prep.
- Only 8 Ingredients- Most of which are likely already in your pantry. Just grab a package of chicken at the store and you're on your way to making this delicious and easy chicken recipe.
- Healthy- A great source of lean protein, this easy cast iron chicken breast recipe makes for a healthy main dish. Pair it with whole grains and vegetables for a well-balanced meal.
- Versatile- A basic skillet chicken recipe can be used in so many ways. Add it to soups, casseroles, tacos, or burritos, or enjoy it as-is!
Here are some notes on the key ingredients. For the full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Boneless Chicken Breast- The secret to tender, juicy, evenly-cooked chicken breast is pounding it thin with a meat mallet. Not only does this tenderize the meat, but it also helps it cook quickly and evenly.
- Canola Oil- Or any other oil with a high smoke point. Using oil with a high smoke point prevents to oil from burning and filling your kitchen with smoke.
- Seasonings- A blend of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, oregano, black pepper, and salt makes for a flavorful chicken seasoning.
Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to make chicken breast in a cast iron skillet.
Step 1: Prepare the chicken. Trim any excess fat from each chicken breast and cut them in half lengthwise. Lay the chicken breasts flat on the cutting board and cover them with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breast to ¼-inch thickness.
Step 2: Season the chicken. Add all of the spices and herbs to a small mixing bowl. Toss to combine, then sprinkle each chicken breast evenly with the seasoning mixture.
Step 3: Preheat the skillet. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken breasts to the skillet. If your pan is on the smaller side, you may have to cook the chicken in batches to prevent overcrowding.
Step 4: Sear the chicken breasts. Sear for 4-5 minutes on one side. Flip and sear for an additional 4-5 minutes on the other side. The chicken is fully cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer. Remove the chicken from the skillet and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Tips for Success
- Pound the chicken. Trust me - don't skip this step! It's the difference between tender, juicy chicken breast that cooks through evenly in 10 minutes and dry, tough chicken breast that overcooks in some spots while remaining raw in others.
- Don't overcrowd the pan. If your pan is small, I recommend cooking the chicken in batches to avoid overlapping. You want all parts of the chicken breast to be touching the pan for that perfect sear.
- Allow the chicken to rest after cooking. Give the chicken breast a few minutes to rest after cooking. Resting allows the juices to redistribute and leads to juicier chicken breasts.
- Switch it up! In the mood for different flavors? Don't be afraid to get creative and switch up the seasoning blend.
How Do You Cook Chicken In A Cast Iron Skillet Without Sticking?
If your chicken is sticking to the pan, don't fret! Chicken breast may stick to a cast iron pan for a few reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Needs longer to cook. Sometimes the chicken just needs a little longer to cook. As chicken sears, it initially sticks to the skillet. But, as it continues to cook, it begins to develop a tasty, golden brown crust (a.k.a. the Maillard reaction). This crust makes it easier to release the chicken from the skillet.
- Increase burner temperature. Cooking chicken at too low of a temperature means it will take longer to develop a good crust.
- Not enough fat. Don't be afraid to use enough fat. It's necessary to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan and burning. And not all of the fat will end up on the chicken anyways.
- Use a clean, well-seasoned skillet. If you're like me, your cast iron skillet gets used a lot. Properly maintaining your cast iron skillet goes a long way to ensuring your food turns out exactly how you want it.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can try customizing this cast iron skillet chicken breast recipe to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Boneless Chicken Breast- Swap chicken breast for boneless, skinless chicken thighs if preferred.
- Canola Oil- Any neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point can be used. Try avocado oil, light olive oil, or sunflower oil. If you want a buttery flavor, add some right at the very end of cooking so it doesn't burn.
- Seasonings- Use any spice blend you'd like! With a simple protein like chicken, the seasoning possibilities are truly endless.
- Cajun- Like things spicy? Use this Cajun Seasoning Blend to make blackened chicken.
- Taco- To use this chicken in burritos, tacos, or quesadillas, add a little cumin and chili powder to the spice blend.
- Lemon Pepper- Try lemon pepper seasoning for a bright, citrusy flavor.
- Spicy- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to give these cast iron skillet chicken breasts a little kick.
- Crispy- Give the chicken breast a thin, crispy coating by adding a tablespoon of flour to the spice mixture.
What to Serve With Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast
Seared chicken breast is amazingly versatile. Not only can you get creative with how you season it, but you can also serve it with just about any starch and vegetable combination.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes to serve with cast iron skillet chicken breast:
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Baked Potatoes
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
- Red Lentil Pasta Salad
- Caprese Orzo Salad
- Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Green Beans and Carrots
- Sautéed Butternut Squash
- Spinach Caprese Salad
- Kale Crunch Salad
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
How to Use Leftover Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast
Leftover chicken is one of my favorite ingredients to have in my refrigerator because there are so many delicious ways to use it.
Here are a few ideas for how to use leftover seared chicken breast:
- Chicken Salad
- Soups and Stews
- Fried Rice
- Tacos, Burritos, and Quesadillas
- Pasta Dishes
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Freezer- Chicken freezes well when stored properly. Place leftover chicken inside of a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
How to Reheat
If your leftover chicken is frozen, I recommend thawing it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. However, most of these methods can reheat chicken breast directly from frozen.
- Stovetop- Set a skillet over medium heat and add just enough water to cover the bottom. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cover with a lid. Heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the chicken is fully warmed through.
- Oven- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and reheat for approximately 5-10 minutes.
- Microwave- Cut the chicken breast into thin strips and spread the strips out evenly on a microwave-safe dish. Drizzle a small amount of water over the chicken and cover the dish with a lid or damp paper towel. Microwave on HIGH in 30-second intervals until fully warmed through.
- Air Fryer- Preheat air fryer to 350˚F. Place the chicken breasts inside the air fryer basket and heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the chicken is fully warmed through.
Chicken breast is fantastic for meal prepping and making ahead. You can cook the chicken and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Then, you'll have a healthy protein to use in salads, sandwiches, and wraps throughout the week.
Alternatively, prepare the seasoning for this cast iron skillet chicken breast recipe up to 6 months in advance.
I like to make a big batch of this chicken seasoning blend and store it in an airtight jar in my pantry so it's always ready to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
My two best tips for cooking tender, moist, and juicy chicken breasts in a pan are: pound the chicken breast to an even thickness and use a meat thermometer. Pounding the chicken tenderizes it and allows it to cook through quickly and evenly. And using a meat thermometer helps you cook your chicken to a perfect 165˚F every time.
If you want the flavor of butter on your chicken, I recommend adding it at the very end of cooking. Butter has a low smoke point and the milk fat solids have a tendency to burn at high heat. For the best flavor, sear the chicken breast in oil, then add a dollop of butter a minute or two before the chicken is done cooking.
A cast iron skillet allows you to get a beautiful sear on your chicken breast, resulting in more flavorful chicken.
No, I don't recommend using a non-stick cooking spray on your cast iron skillet. Cooking sprays contain ingredients that leave a sticky residue on your cast iron skillet, damaging them over time. When cared for properly, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet is already non-stick.
More Chicken Recipes
Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast
- 1 ½-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- Trim any excess fat from each chicken breast and cut them in half lengthwise. Lay the chicken breasts flat on the cutting board and cover them with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breast to ¼-inch thickness.1 ½-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Add all of the spices and herbs to a small mixing bowl. Toss to combine, then sprinkle each chicken breast evenly with the seasoning mixture.1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the chicken breasts to the skillet. If your pan is on the smaller side, you may have to cook the chicken in batches to prevent overcrowding.2 tablespoons canola oil
- Sear for 4-5 minutes on one side. Flip and sear for an additional 4-5 minutes on the other side. The chicken is fully cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on a meat thermometer. Remove the chicken from the skillet and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
- Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
- Make Ahead: Prepare the spice blend up to 6 months in advance.