The Perfect Cast Iron Chicken Breast with Lemon and Thyme

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Recipe by Jennica Valine | Photos by Sabrina Fattal Photo

Grill-roasting a chicken in a skillet ensures you have tender, juicy meat with crispy brown skin and a smoky flavor.


Barebones All In One Cast Iron Skillets

To complement our cast iron chicken, we’ll marinate it in a lemon and thyme mixture to add a lovely fresh and light flavor. Lemons are high in fiber and vitamin C, so they can support heart and digestive health.

Thyme, on the other hand, is a Mediterranean herb well known for its fragrances and flavors. Aside from its dietary uses, thyme flowers, leaves, and oil have also been used to treat physical complaints. Many studies have shown that thyme essential oil has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.


While this dish is delectable as it is, you can make it even better by topping it with a green sauce like pesto or chimichurri. These herb-based, garlicky sauces are excellent partners for any grilled meat.

Pesto combines olive oil with basil, garlic, Parmesan, pecorino cheeses, and pine nuts, while its Argentine counterpart chimichurri mixes parsley, oregano, and white vinegar for an extra twang. You have the option to make either sauce from scratch, but store-bought sauces work well, too.


How to Make
Cast Iron Chicken Breast with Lemon and Thyme
Serving: 4 | Prep Time: 40 min | Cook Time: 20 min | Total Time: 60 min + Fire Prep


  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons pesto or chimichurri sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red-pepper flakes (optional)


        1. In a shallow dish or a large zip-top plastic bag, combine lemon juice, thyme, garlic, oil, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add chicken pieces, then coat with the mixture. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes (or up to two hours).
        2. Preheat the cast iron skillet over medium-heat coals. When heated, arrange chicken skin side down. Grill chicken breasts over moderately high heat for 10 minutes, turn chicken skin side up, and continue grilling for another 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Top the chicken with a dressing of green sauce, then serve.
        3. Cobblers, cakes, ice cream, or fruit are indulgent treats after this light meal, and both should be enjoyed in front of a warm fire.

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