Lemon Garlic Chicken with tender, juicy chicken topped with a creamy lemon garlic sauce and completely ready in 35 minutes!
Table of Contents
Inspired by popular garlic butter chicken, this lemon garlic chicken is a creamy skillet that’s super easy to make. I added a splash of cream and the bright flavor of lemon for a luscious dish made in your very own kitchen.
Chicken is our favorite meat and I love how a touch of citrus enhances the flavor. This garlic lemon chicken along with a cozy bowl of lemon chicken orzo soup are favorites we turn to over and over again.
Ingredients and Notes
This delicious one skillet, lemon garlic chicken recipe has a small ingredient list of kitchen staples. It’s the perfect dish for a busy weeknight.
- Chicken breasts: Use 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. We will be slicing and tenderizing them, so your chicken breasts can be different sizes.
- Aromatics: Olive oil, chopped onion, and grated fresh garlic. Onions and garlic are sautéed to add flavor to the oil and add more flavor to the dish.
- Flour: All-purpose flour.
- Chicken broth: Low sodium chicken broth or chicken stock to create the lemon sauce for chicken.
- Milk: Whole milk creates a creamy sauce that will keep the chicken juicy and tender.
- Heavy cream: Adds that luxurious quality to your homemade sauce. You can make this dish lighter by omitting, see variations below.
- Seasoning: Super simple, all you need is salt and ground black pepper.
- Lemons: 2 lemons. One is juiced for the sauce, and the other sliced for garnish and extra tangy flavor.
- Fresh herbs and garnish: I used fresh parsley. Thyme, rosemary, or Italian seasoning are other garnish options for lemon garlic chicken breast.
How to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken
This lemon garlic chicken recipe comes together in 8 simple steps. From start to finish in one pan, your new favorite dinner is super flavorful, vibrant, and creamy.
- Slice and tenderize chicken breasts: Use a sharp knife to carefully fillet the chicken breasts lengthwise into 8 thinner cutlets. Then cover it with plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet until same thickness. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper on both sides.
- Pan fry chicken: Preheat your large skillet on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Pan fry chicken in batches for about 6 minutes per side or until golden brown. Set aside.
- Sauté onion and garlic: Then saute onion until softened, stirring a few times. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, stirring more.
- Add flour: Add the all-purpose flour to the pan with the onion and garlic. Stir to combine.
- Make the lemon garlic sauce: Slowly add the chicken broth in small increments while stirring, until thick roux forms. Add milk, heavy cream, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Then add fresh lemon juice and give the sauce a quick mix.
- Finish the chicken: Combine cooked chicken with lemon sauce, completely covering it. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened a bit and chicken is tender. Tuck in lemon slices.
- Rest and garnish: Let it rest for 3-4 minutes and garnish with fresh parsley.
Variations and Tips for Best Results
Here are some easy tips on how to make this lemon garlic chicken perfectly luxe or nice and light.
- Make it lighter: If you’d like to keep it more on the lighter side, omit the heavy cream or use more milk instead.
- Use chicken thighs: Feel free to use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Smaller ones don’t need pounding or cutting, but any larger ones should be tenderized.
- Use similar size chicken pieces: To promote even cooking it’s best to pound your chicken breasts into similar size pieces. Chicken tenders will also work.
- Pat dry chicken: If you washed your chicken breasts, use paper towel to pat dry and remove extra moisture. The chicken will fry better with a nice crispy exterior.
- Welcome additions: Add variety to this easy recipe. Red pepper will give it a kick of spice. Capers add a salty, savory flavor. Parmesan cheese, or more parsley are a wonderful garnish with any lemon dish. Keep it a one pan meal and add in some vegetables. Asparagus, green beans, and zucchini pair well with the tangy lemon sauce.
What to Serve Lemon Garlic Chicken With?
Lemon garlic chicken comes together so quick and easy, you can keep it in your back pocket for any busy weeknight or serve to guests during a weekend get together.
This protein-packed dinner makes a ton of smooth, creamy sauce. There are a number of serving options that will help soak up every drop.
- Vegetables: Garlic green beans, broiled asparagus, sauteed broccoli, cauliflower casserole, zucchini stir fry, or sautéed spinach.
- A healthy salad: Lemon kale salad or creamy cucumber salad.
- Pasta: Mix in your favorite al dente pasta like spaghetti, angel hair pasta, or linguine. Or just make my creamy lemon chicken pasta which is a very close recipe to this one.
- Potatoes: Serve alongside potatoes for a Greek inspired dish. Roasted potatoes, Instant Pot baked potatoes, or Instant Pot mashed potatoes. This zucchini potato bake is another great option!
- Grains: Keep it simple with your favorite Instant Pot long grain white rice or Instant Pot brown rice, quinoa, or garlic bread.
How to Store and Reheat
Store: Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freeze: Once cooked and cooled, place your leftovers in a freezer bag or airtight container. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Reheat: To reheat your chicken recipe without drying it out, place in a skillet or pot with its juices and a bit of chicken stock. Simmer on low heat until heated through.
Follow the first 2 steps to pan fry chicken and set aside. Make the lemon chicken sauce and store separately. Then reheat, combine, and garnish day off. You might have to add more chicken broth to get the smooth consistency.
Chicken should be fried for 6-8 minutes per side. Because chicken pieces vary in size and thickness, I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer. The chicken is fully cooked when the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees F.
You can use bone-in chicken but you would have to cook it way longer in the skillet. I recommend to bake it in the oven at 400 degrees F first before making the sauce.
You can use bottled lemon juice and omit lemon slices. The taste won’t be as vibrant and tangy but it will work.
More Chicken Recipes to Try
- Grilled lemon rosemary chicken
- Lemon chicken and asparagus
- Cilantro lime chicken
- Honey garlic chicken
- Chimichurri chicken
- Chicken parmesan
- Chicken bruschetta
- Mediterranean chicken
Lemon Garlic Chicken Recipe
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 3-4 large garlic cloves grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken broth low sodium
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or more milk
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 2 large lemons juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons), 1 lemon sliced
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- Slice chicken breasts into 8 thinner cutlets lengthwise. I cut them on a diagonal starting at the thickest part, making it thinner. Pound with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet into same thickness pieces. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper on both sides. Set aside.
- Preheat large skillet on medium heat and swirl 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat. Pan fry chicken until golden brown or for about 6 minutes per side. Transfer onto a plate and set aside.
- Return skillet to medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds, stirring a few more times.
- Add flour and stir until combined. Now start adding chicken broth in small increments while stirring, until thick roux forms. Then add milk, heavy cream, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stir and bring to a boil. Add lemon juice and give sauce quick mix.
- Add previously cooked chicken, making sure to cover it in sauce, and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened a bit and chicken is tender. Sauce will thicken more as it stands. Tuck in lemon slices.
- Let lemon garlic chicken stand for 3-4 minutes, garnish with parsley and serve with your choice of pasta, grain or salad.