One of the most difficult things to get right is also the most popular. Making a juicy chicken breast is tough to do, but these cast iron chicken breasts are going to revolutionize how you prepare the popular lean protein. Use this method for everyday meals, as part of meal prep, or for a special dish if you want a perfectly cooked juicy chicken breast.
The Best Chicken Breasts
Since chicken is the base of so many recipes, it’s important that you can prepare it so it isn’t dried out or undercooked. This recipe is perfect because it is simple, fast, and gives you a lovely golden crust on the outside while keeping the inside filled with flavor and juicy. I’ve tried a number of methods over the years but always fall back on this method. It’s what my Granny and my mom always used, and it was just as perfect then as it is now.
If you’ve never worked with a cast iron skillet or pan before, you may want to check out the Lodge tutorial for how to use cast iron when cooking. It’s a good primer for how to heat, clean, and season your skillet.
When making chicken in a cast iron skillet, you can season it in whatever way you prefer. The real goal here is to follow the steps to get a perfect piece of chicken. I have, however, included my favorite seasoning blend for basic chicken. This works well by itself, or when sliced and used in other recipes. For ingredient measurements see the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Black pepper
- Garlic salt
- Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
- Olive oil
- Chicken broth
How to Make Juicy Cast Iron Chicken
First, you will season your chicken. Pat it dry, then season both sides with the black pepper, garlic salt, paprika, and if desired a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. If desired, you can also add salt, but I recommend being careful to not oversalt the chicken since it already includes garlic salt.
Now, you will place your cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, and once it starts melting, add in the olive oil. When the mixture is hot, place your chicken breasts into the skillet. Be careful not to overcrowd, and do this in batches if the pan is not large enough for all to fit with space around them.
Let the chicken cook for 8 minutes. Do not turn the chicken during this. Let it stay, but if you feel the skillet is getting too hot or it is at risk of burning, reduce the heat to medium-low.
After 8 minutes, turn the chicken. Then, add the minced garlic, chicken broth, and rosemary leaves to the skillet, around the chicken.
Let the chicken cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. At this point, check the internal temperature of the chicken. If it has reached 160°F at the thickest point, then you can remove it from the pan and let rest. If not, continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until it has come to the temperature desired.
Remove from the pan and let it stand for at least 5 minutes before slicing. The safe temperature of chicken is 165°F. It will continue cooking as you let it rest, so removing it at 160°F is safe. Should you have any concerns, you can leave it in the pan longer, or check the temperature again before serving.
How to Make Cast Iron Chicken Sauce
If you want to turn the drippings into a simple sauce, it is an easy method. Add an additional 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan while the butter melts.
Once melted, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the pan and stir until combined with the butter. Then, add an additional 1 cup of chicken broth. Let this simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, o until at your desired thickness. Taste, and add salt or pepper if needed.
How do I Serve Cast Iron Skillet Chicken?
The best thing about this recipe is that it is super versatile. That means you can serve this all by itself, in another dish, or topping a salad. Below are some ways I like to use this chicken.
- Serve sliced alongside starches and vegetables. We love these air fryer parmesan potatoes but if you need low-carb, you may prefer the cilantro lime cauliflower rice instead.
- Add to the top of salads
- Include in a wrap with lettuce, vegetables, and a favorite dressing
- Serve with mashed potatoes and a pan sauce or gravy
In my experience, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet with a bit of oil and butter is all you need. However, I also recommend that you let the chicken cook without moving it for at least 4 to 5 minutes. This makes sure the chicken is cooked and won’t pull apart when you move the piece.
This will depend upon the thickness of the chicken breasts. Most often it will be between 12 and 15 minutes, with thicker breasts taking up to 20 minutes to cook through completely.
Absolutely! I love doing this with chicken thighs. They take a bit less time to cook as they are naturally thinner. I recommend starting with 6 minutes on one side and another 3 after turning in the pan. Check temperature as you would with breast and continue cooking if needed.
If you like this recipe, then check out my cookbooks. I’ve created 4 books filled with delicious recipes that are easy to make, packed with flavor, and ideal for a new cook!
- Mediterranean Air Fryer: 95 Healthy Recipes to Fry, Roast, Bake, and Grill
- Clean Eating Air Fryer Cookbook: 70 Healthy Whole-Food Recipes
- The Complete Dutch Oven Cookbook: 105 Recipes for Your Most Versatile Pot
- The Complete Cookbook for Beginners: Essential Skills and Step-by-Step Techniques
Cast iron chicken breasts are the perfect addition to your menu. Easy to make, packed with flavor, and ready in minutes, they pair with almost any side dish on your menu.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed
- Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, optional
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- Pat dry the chicken breasts and season them on all sides with black pepper, garlic salt, paprika, and a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne.
- In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it begins to melt, add the olive oil to the pan.
- Place the chicken breasts into the hot pan, and cook for 8 minutes. Do not turn the chicken, keep it over medium heat and let them cook.
- Next, turn the chicken over. Add the chicken broth, minced garlic, and rosemary sprigs to the pan. Continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes.
- After 4 to 5 minutes, check the internal temperature. If it has not reached 160°F at the thickest point, continue cooking for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
- Once the chicken has reached at least 160°F, remove it from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- If desired, you can make a simple sauce from the drippings with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and another 1 cup chicken broth. Taste and add salt if desired.
- Since we are using garlic salt, I do not include added salt. If you prefer it saltier, feel free to add more. I recommend starting with just an additional 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- This method works best with evenly thick chicken breasts. If you find yours are thicker than 2", you will want to pound them out or cut them in half.
- If using thinly sliced chicken, reduce the cooking time to 2-3 minutes per side.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 375mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 36g