"It's Friday night!" Ina Garten chuckles to the camera on her award-winning Food Network show, Barefoot Contessa. "And most Friday nights involve Jeffrey coming home to a roast chicken dinner."
I remember when Garten released Cooking for Jeffrey three years ago. It seemed as if the entire world had simultaneously swooned. As much as I loved reading the stories about the Barefoot Contessa and her husband's early years—not to mention looking at their adorable photos—there was one recipe in particular that changed my dinner game forever: the skillet-roasted lemon chicken.
So simple yet so effective, this recipe cooks up in a single cast-iron skillet from start to finish. One-pan cooking is not only useful for its low dish count and minimal cleaning, but also for taste. You're building flavors up one at a time, accumulating them in the same skillet—in Ina's case, fresh thyme, fennel seeds, and lemon roast up together with a spatchcocked chicken. It's a gorgeous dinner that's special enough for weekends or company, yet easy enough for any old weeknight.
After my Instant Pot and slow cooker, my cast-iron skillet is probably one of the most useful kitchen appliances I own. Which is why I thought it'd be nice to collect all of our best skillet chicken recipes on the site. Save these, cook them ASAP, and let us know which is your favorite in the comments below.
1. Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken
"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this!" Garten writes. "I have the butcher butterfly the chicken so all I do is grind the thyme, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper, mix it with olive oil, and brush it on the chicken. When the lemon slices are roasted and caramelized, you can eat them with the chicken."
2. Engagement Roast Chicken With Carrot Panzanella
I find it incredibly satisfying to roast a whole chicken over carrots and onions in a cast-iron skillet, and then to turn those chicken-y roasted vegetables into a Tuscan bread salad, or panzanella. The dressing is the star here, filled with punchy flavors like garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes.
3. Thai-Curry Chicken Pot Pie for One
You know what a skillet is also great for? Chicken pot pie. Especially when it's flavored with Thai red curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice, then draped with an easy homemade pie crust, like in this winsome one-pan dinner.
4. Chicken Breasts With Fresh Sage
This chicken breast recipe is one of our site's most popular, and it's no wonder why: The marinated chicken breasts sear up in a single skillet with butter and sage leaves for a simple but impactful main course.
5. Chicken Kiev
These chicken breasts are pounded then stuffed with garlic, herbs, and cold butter (!), then pan-fried in a skillet and finished off in the oven. Lemon wedges add brightness in flavor and in color to the final plate.
6. Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs With Sweet Tomatoes & Basil
"The flavor-to-effort ratio is astronomically high," writes one fan of this Genius Recipe. Here's why: You throw everything into one pot and let the oven do its thing. The basil leaves crisp up as the chicken renders its fat into the jammy tomatoes. The whole shebang takes just 15 minutes of prep, but tastes like you spent all the time in the world. (Don't forget bread for sopping.)
7. Skillet Chicken With Corn & Miso Butter
Why do I love and trust this recipe? It's from Food52 contributor EmilyC, whose food I always want to eat. This recipe has the added bonus of being made entirely on the stovetop in the same skillet. "I’ve been making it since the first sweet corn arrived at my local farm stands," Emily writes, "but I’m already dreaming of ways to riff on it all year long: green beans, shaved Brussels sprouts, shredded kale, sliced carrots, and cubed sweet potatoes this fall and winter; asparagus, sugar snaps peas, and radishes this spring."
8. Crispy-Skinned Chicken With Lemon-Rosemary Pan Sauce
We're huge fans of Chrissy Teigen around these parts—and of her chicken breast recipe, as well. Especially due to the buttery lemon-rosemary sauce (with a touch of cream) that gets made in the same pan where the chicken is cooked.
9. Chicken Cacciatore
This comforting tomatoey number—packed with bell peppers, garlic, mushrooms, basil, and bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs—cooks up in (you guessed it) a single skillet. Dinner, done.
10. Chicken With Kale & Yogurt
"Kale and chicken isn’t a typically Indian combination," Chetna Makan writes, "but they come together well with the addition of a few cupboard spices, and the yogurt, stirred in at the end of cooking, really makes the dish sing. If you can’t get hold of kale, use spinach instead. Serve this curry with rice or chapati."
11. Tamarind Skillet Chicken
This skillet chicken recipe comes from the cookbook Masala & Meatballs by Asha Shivakumar. "I recommend getting a block of tamarind and using fresh instead of the bottled paste, which is too concentrated and just too potent," she says. "You can even add the tamarind masala sauce to the yogurt mixture, marinate overnight, and grill the chicken the next day."
12. Skillet Chicken with Pancetta, Torn Olives & Caramelized Lemons
Another EmilyC masterpiece, this skillet chicken has a LOT going for it: Aleppo pepper–spiced thighs, which get crispity-crunchity in a hot cast-iron skillet; salty, rendered pancetta; mustardy olives; and paper-thin lemon slices, which caramelize beautifully in the chicken fat.
13. Skillet-Roasted Chicken Thighs With Dandelion Greens & Baby Carrots
If caramelized lemons aren't your thing, then you might go for Caroline Wright's classic one-pan chicken with roasted carrots and wilted greens. A little lemon juice brightens everything up.
14. One-Pan Roasted Chicken With Sherry Vinegar Sauce
When we published this recipe back in 2017, people went crazy for it. And why wouldn't they? The shallot-y, mustardy sherry pan sauce is to die for.
15. Roasted Chicken With Mustard & Grapes
Test Kitchen–approved and a Food52 contest winner, this roast chicken recipe is a winner, winner. "I’m always looking for savory applications for grapes, and I have come to love using them to dress up pan sauces," recipe author lastnightsdinner writes. "This one features both mustard seeds and Dijon mustard, as well as the warm, lemony flavor of coriander. I think the combination works really well, and makes a great accent to a simple plate of roast chicken."
16. Hunter's-Style Chicken
"There’s a bit of prep involved at the start: breaking down the bird, browning it in batches, soaking dried mushrooms and sautéing fresh, building layers of flavor in your pot," lastnightsdinner warns of her delicious take on chicken cacciatore. "But once everything is in the oven with its parchment cap in place, you can kick back with a Negroni and enjoy the aromas wafting your way. Served over a creamy Parmesan polenta, this is comfort food of the highest order."
17. Honey-Mustard Chicken With Corn Panzanella
This baked boneless, skinless chicken breast is both tender and flavorsome, thanks to a sweet-salty marinade starring honey and a double whammy of mustards (Dijon and dry). The star here really, though, is the panzanella that goes with. Crunchy-sweet raw corn and toasted sourdough bread get tossed in a punchy vinaigrette of garlic, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes. It's summer on a plate, the perfect accompaniment to honey-mustard chicken.
18. Simple Roasted Grape Chicken
Who knew chicken and grapes went so well together? Especially once roasted in a skillet with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and rosemary, then served over a bed of bitter frisée and steamed quinoa. Thanks to gingerroot for this "simple" (though far from it in taste) weeknight favorite.
19. Lemon Chicken
There's no shortage of 1) skillet chicken recipes and 2) chicken breast recipes on our site. And we're glad for that, because these pan-seared lemony, buttery chicken breasts are an absolute crowd-pleaser.
20. Chicken a la Marengo
I was very interested in this chicken recipe because it comes from our co-founder and CEO Amanda Hesser, circa 2010 (!). But turns out, the recipe itself comes from long before that and tells a grand tale everyone should read. "According to Larousse Gastronomique," Amanda writes, "the original dish was created by Napoleon's chef after the battle of Marengo (although The Oxford Companion to Food points out that tomatoes were not used in this way at the time). It is said to have been garnished with crawfish and fried eggs—hardly what we think of as battlefield fare."
21. Walnut-Crusted Chicken Breasts
Chicken breasts were made for cast-iron skillets. In this recipe, you turn day-old whole-wheat bread, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese into a breading for the chicken. A quick sear in the pan, followed by a few more minutes in the oven, means you've got dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.
22. Apple Cider–Braised Chicken
"Make this recipe if you want to make your kitchen smell as warm and homey as Thanksgiving dinner," suggests one reviewer. "Overall, the chicken was tender and sweet from the cider, and the onions cooked down well in the sauce. I would have put the garlic in the pan later than recommended to prevent burning. Giving the dish some time to rest will help give the sauce time to thicken."
23. Rosy Chicken
Our co-founder Merrill Stubbs once told me that this is the recipe she makes most often—and I'm not surprised. Chicken leg quarters get nice and cozy in a skillet with garlic, grape tomatoes, and thyme (oh yeah, and rosé!) and simmer gently on the stove until gorgeous and saucy.
24. Crunchy Skillet Chicken Thighs With Zucchini
"In this recipe, chicken thighs are cooked skin-side down, covered, in a skillet for about 30 minutes," writes Food52 favorite Jacques Pépin. "They don’t need to be turned over because covering the pan creates steam that cooks the chicken through. To further help in the cooking, I make a 3/4-inch cut with a knife along both sides of each thigh bone. Then the fat that comes out of the chicken is used to sauté the zucchini for just a few minutes."
25. Ground Chicken Curry With Bok Choy
Ground chicken gets seared in a high-sided skillet in this fragrant, herbaceous curry dish. The ingredient list might seem long, but it all bubbles away in the skillet. A side of bok choy is recipe author Teri Turner's recommendation here, but you could just as well serve this saucy wonder over white rice.
Jacques Pépin recipe excerpted from A Grandfather's Lessons: In the Kitchen With Shorey © 2017 by Jacques Pépin. Photography © 2017 by Tom Hopkins. Teri Turner recipe excerpted from No Crumbs Left: Recipes for Everyday Food Made Marvelous © 2019 by Teri Turner LLC. Photography © 2019 by Tim Turner. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
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