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I love when a meal comes together in one skillet! I’m all about that lately and that’s why I was so happy when my sister bought me a cast-iron skillet. It’s the convenience of sauteing something on the stovetop, then finishing it off in the oven. It’s such a fun way to cook, and I especially love it for chicken because it results in crispy edges and tender meat. To make it a complete meal, I’m sharing my (your new) favorite skillet chicken with couscous today!
Those of you who’ve tried and loved the Mediterranean couscous with shrimp recipe will definitely want to try out this skillet chicken recipe. It also has very basic ingredients and instructions with flavors that everyone will enjoy!
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Chicken broth
- Aromatics: garlic and fresh thyme
- Seasoning: garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper
How to cook chicken in a skillet
To start, pat dry some chicken breasts or chicken thighs with a paper towel. Then season generously with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. You’ve probably seen me use this mixture many times before. I love it on chicken, potatoes and roasted veggies. It’s mild but flavorful, which is perfect for a crowd of picky kid eaters. Feel free to throw in your favorite spices instead.
Next, heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet – something like a cast iron that has even heat distribution works great for this skillet chicken recipe. When the oil is hot in the pan and glistening, that’s when you add the chicken. You want to cook it for a couple minutes per side so that it gets a nice golden skin and releases naturally from the pan without sticking.
At this point, the chicken is not fully cooked. It’s only seared on the outside. But you want to remove it from the skillet and set it aside. We’ll come back to it in just a couple minutes.
Because we’re making it a complete meal, we’re using pearl couscous today. It’s basically a small ball-shaped pasta, very similar to orzo. In fact, you can substitute orzo here or even quinoa if you’d like. I love these tri-colored couscous with the dish because they add a comforting soft texture and fun color to the dish. You’ll want to toast the couscous with some olive oil and garlic in the pan to bring out its nutty flavor for just a couple minutes.
Next, deglaze the pan with the broth. This is where you’re partly cleaning the pan from all the brown bits, and partly giving the couscous a big flavor boost (again from those brown bits). It’s a win/win step of the recipe if you ask me.
And then you’ll transfer the chicken back to the skillet along with some fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage. If you’d like, you can also add some lemon slices in there. You’ll finish cooking that whole skillet in the oven. And dinner will be served before you know it!
Tips to make moist chicken in a skillet
- Uses a heavy bottom skillet for best heat distribution. Sometimes the skillet you use in cooking doesn’t matter much. Here it does. That’s because a skillet with a thick heavy bottom will give you even heat throughout the cooking process, and can handle being finished off in the oven. If you don’t want to finish the cooking in the oven, you can use a stainless steel or nonstick skillet with a lid and continue cooking on the stovetop.
- Dab the chicken dry before seasoning. This step will help to get that beautiful golden color on the exterior of the chicken without it sticking to the pan. If there is leftover moisture on the chicken, it creates steam, which prevents browning.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken for best results. The time estimates I provide in the recipe below are simple estimates based on the size and thickness of the chicken I used. For the best accuracy, I would highly recommend using a quick-read thermometer and cooking the chicken to 165°F. Be sure not to go over that temperature or the chicken will become too dry.
What to serve with skillet chicken
The great thing about this recipe is that you’ll make it with couscous so it’s ready to serve with that. If you wanted to, you could substitute the couscous for orzo or quinoa and and it would be a great combination. And you can also leave out the grains all together and just serve it with one of these side dishes:
For more chicken recipes, check out:
- Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- Easy Butter Chicken
- Harissa Chicken
- Chicken Lettuce Cups
- Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feelgood Skillet Chicken with Couscous recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
This recipe was originally published on December 29, 2018. The recipe has not changed and it has been updated with new, fresh photos and step by step images!
Skillet Chicken with Couscous
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat the chicken thighs dry using a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle generously over chicken thighs.
- Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Transfer the seasoned chicken to the cast iron presentation-side down. Cook until the chicken is golden brown and releases easily from the skillet, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
- To the same skillet, add the couscous, garlic, thyme, and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the couscous is toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth to deglaze the skillet, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet, place the lemon slices around the chicken and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the couscous is puffed, about 15 minutes.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.