I’m a big fan of chicken thigh skillet recipes and this Skillet Chicken with White Bean and Kale has to be one of my favorites. Crispy, tender chicken thighs swimming in a creamy and delicious lemon-garlic white bean and kale sauce–comforting and delicious.
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Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale
Skillet chicken with a layer of creamy decadence. Chicken in a cast iron skillet has been one of my favorite things as of late. Cooking chicken in a cast iron skillet always results in crispy chicken thigh skin which sets the tone for the entire dish. The rich lemon-garlic sauce spooned over the tender chicken thighs is an absolute flavor bomb. I can’t wait for you to try it for yourself!
This easy skillet chicken recipe is great for weeknight eats. It starts by cooking chicken thighs in a cast-iron pan, achieving perfectly crisp chicken skin, followed by a luscious lemon, garlic, thyme sauce with kale and cannellini beans.
The result: terrifically flavored chicken bathing in a creamy, lemony, garlic-forward sauce–it’s absolutely delicious. One of my favorite pairings with this skillet chicken recipe is my Lemon Caper Roasted Cauliflower Steaks! The mixture of flavors and textures is divine and quite delicious.
Why You’ll Love this Skillet Chicken Recipe
- Crispy skin That should be enough reason–who doesn’t like crispy chicken skin?
- Delicious lemon garlic and thyme flavor robust, creamy flavors makes this dish a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
- Creamy lemon garlic sauce that’s made of chicken broth, cream, garlic, thyme, lemon juice and residual juices from the tender chicken thighs.
Ingredients for Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale
- Bone-in chicken thighs
- Avocado oil
- Garlic cloves
- Lacinato kale
- Cannellini beans
- Garlic powder
- Fresh thyme
- Chicken bone broth
- Heavy cream
- Lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Why Should You Use a Cast Iron Skillet for Cooking Meat?
Cast iron skillets are great conductors of heat and evenly distribute heat when cooking–making for the perfect pan for creating a beautiful and consistent crust on steaks and in this case, crispy chicken skin. I’ve been using this inexpensive and reliable cast iron skillet for years and love it!
To achieve crispy skin, you must first heat the cast iron pan until it’s scorching hot. A hot cast iron pan will yield crispier skin.
How to Cook Chicken Thighs in a Cast Iron Skillet
- Heat the cast-iron over high heat for 3-4 minutes;
- Remove moisture from chicken skin using a paper towel, season chicken generously;
- Cook chicken, skin side first for 15 minutes, then flip and cook for another 15 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165°F;
- Remove chicken from cast iron and place on plate;
- Proceed with making garlic thyme sauce.
Tips for Making Skillet Chicken Thighs:
- Cooking chicken that’s straight from the fridge can result in drier chicken and uneven cooking. Remove chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. This will temper the chicken, bringing its temperature closer to room temperature;
- Pat chicken skin and rid it of any moisture. A drier surface will yield crispier skin;
- Try not to disrupt the chicken while cooking the skin side. If chicken seems stuck to the pan, this means the skin isn’t quite finished cooking yet;
- Mise en place is French for setting up, or having all your ingredients cut, measured, prepared so as to make for an easier and organized cooking experience. Have all ingredients ready-to-go for a seamless and enjoyable cooking experience;
- Add enough oil so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the cast iron pan;
- Get the cast iron pan really hot before adding chicken;
How Long Should You Cook Chicken Thighs in a Cast Iron Skillet?
Cook chicken until you receive an internal thermometer reading of 160°F-165°F. 165°F is the ideal doneness temperature for chicken, if the thermometer reading is a few degrees lower, that’s okay, as the internal temperature will increase a few degrees after cooking. To get perfectly cooked chicken thighs every time, I use this instant read thermometer; it’s reliable and I never have to worry about overcooked or undercooked chicken.
What to Serve with this Skillet Chicken?
Can’t Get Enough of This Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale?
Skillet Chicken with White Beans and Kale
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 8 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 cups lacinato kale, cut into 1½ inch pieces
- 1 cup cannellini beans, drained
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed and chopped
- ¾ cup chicken bone broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Remove chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
- Clean and pat dry chicken thighs. Season both sides generously with kosher salt and pepper.
- Heat cast iron skillet over high heat for 3-4 minutes. You want the cast iron to be really hot before adding the chicken.
- Add avocado oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to a cast-iron skillet and lower to medium-heat. Carefully add chicken thighs, skin side down and cook for 15 minutes, do not move chicken around during this time. You want this side to be golden brown and skin nice and crispy. Flip and cook for another 15 minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken internal temperature reading is 160°F. Once thoroughly cooked, remove from the pan and set aside to rest (the temperature will continue to rise at 165°F as it rests).
- Reduce the heat to medium and add garlic cloves. Cook garlic for 1-2 mins, stirring often until fragrant.
- Add chicken broth and garlic powder to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 mins or until the liquid has reduced.
- Stir in cream, beans and kale. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt if necessary. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce slightly reduces and kale is tender. Add lemon juice and stir. Add chicken thighs back to the pan. Cook for 1 minute. Done! Serve hot.