How to cook chicken breast in a cast-iron skillet, an easy recipe for juicy, tender and healthy chicken breast.
PERFECT IRON SKILLET CHICKEN
This recipe for cast-iron chicken breast is an easy and quick one, low-fat, healthy, and utterly delicious. We love chicken around here, and I cook it often, so, over the years, I came up with lots of different ways of cooking chicken.
This recipe for iron skillet chicken is probably the most common way of cooking chicken breast in our house.
CAN YOU COOK CHICKEN IN A CAST-IRON SKILLET?
- Of course, a cast-iron skillet is one of the best pans for cooking chicken. It helps the chicken breast get nicely brown on the outside while remaining really juicy and delicious on the inside.
- A cast-iron skillet is inexpensive, and if you care for it properly it will last you a lifetime. I am still using a cast-iron Dutch pan I “inherited” from my husband’s grandmother.
- A well-seasoned iron skillet is also non-stick.
- No other pan retains the heat as well as a cast-iron skillet, making it perfect for many cooking methods like searing, stewing, or frying. And you could even use it for baking.
- A cast-iron skillet is easy to care for. Just make sure you only wash it with hot water – NO detergents allowed! Dry it very thoroughly and oil it lightly all over before you put it away.
- To make sure that the skillet is completely dry, I place it on the stovetop on low heat or in the oven until it is completely dry.
- Let it cool slightly so that you don’t burn your hands, but oil it while it is still warm.
HOW TO COOK CHICKEN BREAST IN A CAST-IRON SKILLET?
- The list of ingredients is short: one lemon, some fresh parsley, a little honey, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and the chicken
- I go for lemon and a few herbs in this recipe, but you could add more spices or completely other spices if you wish.
- Freshly grated garlic or garlic powder is also great; I often add garlic to the marinade.
- The way you prepare the marinade is really up to you; I change it according to what I have, according to my mood, or to fit the side dishes I intend to prepare.
- As mentioned above, the marinade is simple; this particular recipe is more about the cooking method than the marinade.
- However, this simple and cheap marinade is delicious; I marinate the chicken this way most of the time; it requires no special ingredients or spices, and I always have lemons and parsley in the house.
- You could cook the chicken breast without marinating it first; however, experience has taught me that, in this case, a little marinating goes a long way.
- Chicken breast that has been marinated is always more tender and has more flavor than chicken breast that has not been marinated at all. Even if you only have half an hour’s time to marinate the chicken, I still think it’s worth it.
- If you prepare the dish in advance, make sure to take the chicken breasts out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking it in order to allow it to get to room temperature.
- If you only marinate it for half an hour, leave the dish with the chicken covered with plastic foil on the counter.
- If the chicken is too cold, the inside will need a longer cooking time, which will cause the chicken to be drier on the outside and the thinner parts.
How do you keep chicken from sticking to cast iron?
- Make sure that your cast-iron pan is well seasoned; I think that is the most important thing.
- As mentioned above, the chicken has to have room temperature, otherwise, the pan will lose heat too quickly.
- Heat the iron skillet on medium-high heat very well before adding the oil and the chicken breast.
- You will not need a lot of oil; the skillet should be only lightly oiled.
- Make sure that not too much of the marinade is clinging to the chicken breast. Shake the pieces gently to remove the excess before cooking.
- Turn the heat down to medium once you add the chicken.
- Don’t try to flip the chicken too soon; the chicken breasts will need about 6-7 minutes on the first side, then they will release naturally from the pan. If you try to move them too soon, they will stick to the skillet.
- After this initial time, you can start moving the chicken more often in the iron skillet. You should turn it several times while it cooks to avoid it getting too dark on one side.
- If you notice that the chicken breast gets too dark too soon, lower the heat and move the chicken more around in the skillet, not only turning it but changing the position of the chicken pieces as well. The reason for that is that the skillet might get hotter on some parts than on others. That depends on the burner of your stovetop most of the time.
Cooking times for cast-iron chicken
- You will need skinless, boneless chicken breasts to make this recipe, one piece of chicken weighing about 200 g/ 7 oz and having the normal, rather thicker in the middle chicken breast form.
- This size of chicken requires about 20 to 25 minutes of cooking time on medium heat while turning the meat a few times in between.
- After about 20 minutes, start checking if the chicken is cooked through.
- Pierce the chicken breast at its thickest spot with a skewer; the juices should run clear. I prefer to use a kitchen thermometer, it is more accurate and ensures that I do not overcook the meat.
- The internal temperature of the chicken should be between 73 – 82 degrees Celsius/165 – 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Smaller chicken breast pieces weighing about 120-150 g/ 4.2 – 5.3 oz should be ready in about 18 to 20 minutes.
HOW TO SERVE SKILLET CHICKEN BREAST?
- This chicken recipe serves two, but it can be very easily scaled for more servings.
- I love to serve the chicken with spinach in bechamel sauce, with any kind of mashed potatoes, with a garlic herb baguette, or with cornmeal baked potatoes, for instance.
- However, the sky is the limit; you could serve the skinless chicken in a cast-iron skillet with just about anything.
- You can also slice it and add it to salads; you can make sandwiches or fill some burritos or tortillas.
- And if you are looking for more inspiration when cooking chicken in a skillet, try these Cast-Iron Chicken Thighs or this Pork Tenderloin, they are amazing! Or make Juicy Pan-Fried Chicken Breast.
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Cast-Iron Chicken Breast
- 2 chicken breast about 200 g/ 7 oz each
- 1 organic lemon
- a small handful of parsley
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Wash and zest the lemon. Juice it, but start only with half the juice when making the marinade.
- Make the marinade: Mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley leaves, honey, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small blender. Process until you have a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper to taste and more lemon juice or honey according to your liking.
- Marinate chicken: Place the chicken in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over. Turn the chicken a few times in the container to coat all over. Cover with plastic foil and leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. If you marinate it for a shorter time, like 30 minutes, leave it on the counter, if not take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to cooking to make sure that the meat reaches room temperature.
- Cook: Heat a cast-iron skillet very well. Heat the remaining oil, add the chicken, turn the heat to medium-low and cook for a total of 20 to 25 minutes, turning several times in between but not disturbing the chicken for the first 6-7 minutes or so.
- After the initial 6-7 minutes, if you notice that the chicken breast gets too dark too soon, lower the heat and move the chicken around in the skillet.
- Check if the chicken breasts are cooked through by inserting a skewer in the thickest part of the chicken breast, the juices should run clear.You could start checking shortly before the first 20 minutes have ended to ensure that you don't overcook the chicken, especially if the chicken pieces weigh a bit less than 200 g/ 7 oz. Smaller chicken breast pieces weighing about 120-150 g/ 4.2 – 5.3 oz should be ready in 18 to 20 minutes.Or use a meat thermometer; the internal temperature should be between 73 – 82 degrees Celsius/165 – 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve immediately with side dishes of your choice (most anything fits) or let cool and serve on a salad.