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Recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Breast

Finished in a butter, lemon, herb sauce, you can’t beat these juicy, skillet chicken breasts for a simple weeknight meal.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 People
Calories 380kcal
Author Diana Reis

Equipment

  • 10 Inch Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Chicken Breasts 3-4 pieces
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley minced 1 tablespoon dry
  • ¼ Cup Lemon Juice juice of one lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl and add lemon juice, chopped parsley, and minced garlic. Set aside for finishing.
  • Using plastic wrap and a small saucepan, pound the chicken on the fat ends to make nice even pieces. About 1 inch thick all the way across, not completely flat.
  • Then, heat the cast iron skillet on medium heat and give it time to get nice and hot.
  • Next, add olive oil to the pan and make sure the bottom is coated. Add seasoned chicken breasts and let cook, untouched for 8-10 minutes.
  • Turn the chicken and cook for approximately 8 more minutes to finish.
  • When the chicken is nearly done, add butter and lemon sauce to the pan.
  • Turn the chicken over in the sauce, cooking on each side for 1-2 minutes more until the internal temperature is 165°.

Notes

How can you tell if chicken is cooked?
The best method for checking doneness is to use a meat thermometer. This way, will you be certain that you have reached a food safe internal temperature of 165°. You will also be able to see the temperature as it gets close to finished so that you don’t overcook it either.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can cut a small slit into the fattest part of the chicken and check for clear juices. Clear juices means the chicken is done. The drawback is that this is inaccurate.
You can also cut into the fat part of the breast to see that the meat looks done all the way to the center. Again, the drawback to this method is both inaccuracy and potentially drying out the chicken by making cuts into it before it is done.
How do I keep chicken from sticking to the cast iron skillet?
Cast iron is naturally non-stick. However, for it to work best, it really needs to be hot. Make sure you let the skillet sit on the burner for a little while and let the heat build up in cast iron. No need to turn the heat on high, leave it on medium and give it time.
Add a little oil before searing. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts have very little fat so they can be more prone to sticking.
Don’t play with your food was the best advice your mother ever gave. Let the chicken sear completely before trying to turn it. The more you fiddle with these breast pieces, the more likely you are to have them stick. Once the chicken starts to brown and create a nice crust, it will come away from the pan without sticking. 
Tips for Success
  • Smoking is a sign your cast iron skillet is too hot.
  • You will know that your pan is warm enough if your olive oil gets shiny, but does not smoke.
  • When flattening the breast pieces, I recommend covering the pieces with a piece of plastic wrap to keep chicken juice from spreading. I use a small sauce pot to flatten them. No need to tenderize with a mallet or get completely flat. A few good whacks will even out the breast so that you don’t struggle to cook the thick ends.
  • If the chicken starts to brown too much, turn your heat down for a bit and turn them. Ideally, you should try to leave them alone until they are cooked on each side. 
  • You can watch the cooking process as the color of the chicken changes and moves up the side of the breast pieces. When you can no longer see raw chicken along the edge of the chicken breasts, you should check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. 
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of your chicken reaches 165°. 
  • You will notice that the pan sauce will steam up a bit and the butter should brown giving you a rich, full flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 882mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg