Perfectly Juicy Cast Iron Chicken Breasts

This Cast Iron Chicken Breast recipe makes perfectly cooked, juicy pan-roasted chicken breasts in under 30 minutes with only five ingredients! It’s easy, it’s reliable, and you don’t need fancy kitchen cookware or gadgets.

But the best thing about these cast iron skillet chicken breasts is the infinite number of ways to mix it up with different spice combinations or sides. So turn on your oven, grab your cast iron skillet, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make pan-roasted chicken breasts for dinner!

two cooked chicken breasts in a cast iron pan.
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Ingredients

package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, small bowl of oil, and bowl with salt, pepper, and paprika.

Why boneless chicken breasts

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are great for convenience. Boneless breasts cook quickly and don’t need much trimming. The downside is also that they cook quickly, so you need to be careful not to overcook them until they’re dry.

 

One other super easy alternative to cooking chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet and oven is by poaching (simmering in a liquid over low heat) like in my Moroccan chicken and dates. This is a great alternative for shredded chicken for tacos or chicken pot pies. Or you can bread and bake sliced boneless breasts to make coconut panko chicken.

In addition to chicken breasts, you’ll need a cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets go beautifully from stove top to oven, so they’re great for making cast iron skillet cornbread or a bacon frittata. You can even cook with cast iron on a camp fire!

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Use this cast iron chicken breast recipe with any dry rub. Try one teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, one half teaspoon thyme, one half teaspoon salt, and one eighth teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Or make taco seasoning with one teaspoon cumin, one half teaspoon paprika, one half teaspoon salt, one quarter teaspoon pepper, and cayenne or other ground chili pepper to taste.
  • Make an Asian-inspired marinade with three tablespoons of lime juice, one tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of fish sauce, a smidge of sugar, and equal parts of minced garlic, ginger, and chili pepper. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for an hour before cooking.
  • Substitute a pork tenderloin for the boneless chicken breasts. Trim the tenderloin, and treat it otherwise the same. Cook the pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and give it a three minute rest after cooking.

Recipe tips and tricks

It’s super easy to learn how to cook chicken in a cast iron skillet:

Step 1: Turn on your oven the minute you decide to make these cast iron chicken breasts!

Step 2: Heat your pan over medium heat, and add a splash of vegetable oil even to a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. This thin coat of oil will keep the chicken from sticking to the pan.

Tip from the wise quacker: Use oils like safflower, peanut, or canola oil when you’re frying or cooking at higher temperatures. Low smoke point oils like extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil may smoke at high temperatures, giving your food a scorched taste.

Step 3: Rub half of the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken breasts. The infectious disease doctor in me needs to tell you not to dry meat and not to wash chicken, because it spreads bacteria. Wash your hands!

(You can read more about other hazards in your kitchen. There will be at least one to surprise you!)

Step 4: When the oil is hot, put the chicken breasts in the cast iron pan, and don’t touch them for 5 to 7 minutes until the bottoms have browned.

two chicken breasts coated in paprika in a cast iron pan on the stove top.

Step 5: Turn off the heat and use tongs to flip the chicken breasts. You don’t need to cook the second side on the stove top because cast iron retains heat to brown the second side while the chicken breasts roast.

That also means that the cast iron pan will be hot! So use an oven mitt or pot holder to transfer your cast iron skillet to the oven.

partially cooked cast iron chicken breasts on the stove top.

Step 6: Bake the chicken breasts in your cast iron in the oven for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until the thickest part of the breasts are 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve hot or refrigerate to cool.

a pan-roasted chicken breast partially sliced on a white cutting board.

How to serve cast iron chicken breasts

These cast iron skillet-roasted chicken breasts appear on our plate nearly every week, whether with a side of creamy baked mac and cheese or in one of the following:

Recipe FAQs

How do I know how long to cook the chicken breasts if I don’t have a meat thermometer?

A meat thermometer really is a handy kitchen tool. If you don’t have one, the most reliable way to tell when chicken breasts are done is to cut into the thickest part of the breast. There should be no pink remaining, and the juices should be completely clear.

Can I freeze cast iron chicken breasts?

Yes, cooked chicken will keep in the freezer for a few months, but it won’t be moist and juicy after freezing. Chop up this leftover chicken to use in soups or stews.

Can I use bone-in chicken breasts in this recipe?

Yes, you can pan roast bone-in chicken breasts exactly the same way, though they’ll take longer to cook. Make sure your probe is in the thickest part of the breast and isn’t touching the bone, which can read warmer than the flesh.

If you love this cast iron chicken breast recipe, check out other recipes from the poultry archives like these chicken meatballs:

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Recipe

Cast Iron Chicken Breasts

5 from 1 vote
Category: Main Course
Cuisine: Unspecified
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 95kcal
This cast iron chicken breast recipe makes perfect pan-roasted chicken breasts in under 30 minutes. It's easy. It's reliable. It's totally customizable. And leftover chicken makes a fabulous chicken salad.
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Equipment

  • 1 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon paprika sweet or smoked
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Instructions

  • Turn on your oven to heat to 425°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt, and black pepper.
    1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Put the cast iron skillet over a stove top burner on medium heat, and add the oil.
    1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
  • When the oil is hot, use your hands to smear the spices over both sides of the chicken breasts and place them in the pan. (Wash your hands!) Let the chicken breasts cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until the side touching the pan has browned.
    2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Flip the chicken breasts over and turn off the heat.
  • Use an oven mitt or potholder to transfer the cast iron skillet to an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast is 165°F.
  • If slicing the chicken breasts, move them to a cutting board and let them sit for a minute or two before slicing.

Notes

This cast iron skillet chicken breast recipe will use about 1 teaspoon of spice rub for each chicken breast.
Use a thin layer of oil in your cast iron skillet, even if it’s well-seasoned, to prevent the chicken breasts from sticking.
If you don’t have a thermometer to tell when the chicken reaches 165 degrees, cut into it with a knife. The juices should run clear.

Nutrition

Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 356mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
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Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking? Get inspiration here:

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