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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!
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!
Skillet Chicken with Couscous
- 1 pound chicken thighs about 4 pieces
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 clove garlic clove minced or grated
- 1 cup pearled couscous
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Lemon slices for garnish
- Rosemary sprigs for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- In a small bowl, mix together garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle generously over chicken thighs.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Transfer seasoned chicken to the cast iron. 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 remaining olive oil, garlic and couscous, and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the couscous is toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet, and garnish with lemon slices and rosemary, if desired. Place the skillet in the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Serve the chicken with the couscous with fresh herbs and lemon slices, if desired.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
This was easy and delicious! I added onions. I topped with few slices of small zucchini. I tweaked seasonings and tossed in the seasoned flour.
Will make again.
Thank you so much, Darlene!
So delicious! Made a Greek salad to go with it. Saving for the future because I will definitely be making this again!!
Thank you so much!
Is this for skin on bone in thighs or skinless boneless thighs?
Hi Greg, great question! I used skinless, boneless thighs. You can use skin-on bone-in thighs if you’d like. It may take a little longer to cook if you do. Just check to make sure the internal temp is 165°F before removing from heat.
Winner winner chicken dinner! Made this tonight and was so simple and so amazingly delicious…only problem is my husband and I ate all of it so next time will need to double the recipe (or control ourselves better!)
That is incredible! That’s not a bad problem to have – LOL!
Loved! Someone gave me a bag of couscous and I had no idea what to do with it. This dish was simple and flavorful, highly recommend!
Thank you! That’s perfect!
This was a hit! Delicious and so flavorful….and most importantly: easy to make for a weeknight dinner!
Thank you! That makes me so happy to hear!
This is really quick, easy and delicious! I had 2 large chicken breasts and was looking for a new way to prepare them, this was perfect. I marinated them with 3 cloves chopped garlic, paprika, pepper, and finely chopped preserved lemon rind (1/4 lemon) plus a splash of fresh lemon juice. I had plain couscous (Bob’s Red Mill) but it toasted nicely, and used veg.broth for the liquid. I went easy on the salt because the preserved lemon adds quite a bit and it turned out great. Thanks!
Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed. That sounds perfect!
This recipie is absolutely delicious. I followed it in every way except I used bone in skin on thighs. Browning time was extended to accommodate the change. The lemon and rosary made this so tasty. Wil make over and over.
Thank you so much! That makes me so happy to hear!
Loved your recipe. I didn’t have Israeli Couscous so I used a box of Near East, along with the seasoning. Four chicken thighs fried as you suggested, added the couscous and garlic, but also used one and a quarter cups of chicken stock instead of water and added about a third of a cup of both California golden raisins and pine nuts. In a well seasoned twelve inch frying pan, for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. My wife loved it, and that’s all one needs to know it was good. I loved it too.
Thank you! Glad you were able to make it work and that you both enjoyed!
could i use rice couscous instead of pearl couscous?
I have yet to try that, but let me know if you do!
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