This Lemon Butter Chicken recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket when you need a fast and easy main course. You only need a handful of ingredients, and a lot of them you probably already have in your pantry!
And even though this one pan lemon butter chicken recipe is easy and ready in 30 minutes, it’s so beautiful and full of bright flavor! The lemon butter sauce is just the right thickness to coat the chicken breast. And there is enough to not only cover the chicken, but also drizzle over some veggies on the side. You can also customize the sauce to be as tart or mild as you like, and even stir in a splash of heavy cream at the end to give it an extra bit of richness if you please.
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Lemon Butter Chicken Ingredients
Like I said, a lot of these ingredients are probably hanging out right in your pantry and fridge:
- Butter: of course! I used unsalted, but if all you have is salted that will work just fine. Just make sure to taste your sauce before adding any additional salt at the end. (That’s true for using unsalted or salted really!)
- Thin-cut chicken breasts: these are way faster to cook than full-size chicken breasts. The ones I had were about ½ inch thick. You can buy them in the store this way, or cut a regular-sized chicken breast in half horizontally.
- Salt and pepper
- One small onion, or half a large onion: there is really no need for a precise measurement here. The recipe will work great even if there is a bit more or less onion.
- Flour: just a bit, will help to thicken the sauce
- Chicken broth: you can also use beef or vegetable broth, whatever you have on hand. If you use beef broth though, just be aware the color of your sauce will come out darker.
- Lemon: you will use both the juice and zest to give an intense lemony flavor. You can use half of the juice or all of it, depending on how tart you want the sauce
- Heavy cream: just a couple tablespoons right at the end. Truly, this step is optional. The sauce tastes amazing without it, but the cream does provide an extra bit of richness if that’s something you’re into!
- If you want to add a little extra pizzazz, garnish with some fresh herbs and extra lemon slices! I used thyme, but parsley, basil, or tarragon would be nice too.
Tips for Making Lemon Butter Chicken
This one pan lemon butter chicken recipe is pretty straightforward and easy to execute! But, after making it many times myself, here are some helpful tips I picked up along the way:
- When you are sautéing the chicken in butter, the butter should start to pick up some nice, deep brown color. However, if it’s getting a bit too dark, don’t be afraid to turn the heat down!
- I provided approximate cooking times for the chicken, but usually some pieces of chicken will be a little thicker than other pieces. If a smaller piece is done early, remove that piece while the others are finishing cooking. This will prevent the smaller piece from drying out.
- There are some opportunities to work ahead to save time. While the chicken breasts are sautéing, you can chop the onion. And while the onion is cooking, you can zest your lemon and cut it in half. This Microplane (affiliate link) is my absolute favorite thing to zest with!
- Flour is added to help thicken the sauce, and you don’t need to cook the flour for very long. But, you want to make sure it’s evenly incorporated so it won’t clump up when you add the chicken broth. You shouldn’t see any lumps or bits of white flour. Here’s what it should look like when it’s time to add the broth:
- When you are adding in the lemon juice at the end, just squeeze in half the lemon first. Lemons can have varying amounts of juice, and people prefer different amounts of tartness! So hold back on the lemon and taste the sauce, then add more if you need to. Same for salt and pepper – taste and add more if necessary.
I hope this easy one pan Lemon Butter Chicken recipe brings some excitement back to your weekday dinner routine! If you’ve tried this recipe, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments down below, I would love to hear your thoughts! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious recipes from me!
And come check out some of these other favorite fast and easy dinner recipes here!Print
An easy one pan dinner recipe that combines thin-cut chicken breasts sauteed in butter with a quick lemon butter pan sauce. Creamy and tart, and just divine for a weeknight dinner!
- 4 thin-cut chicken breasts, about ½ inch thick (1 ¼ – 1 ⅓ lb. total) (see note)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp. butter, divided
- one small onion, or ½ large onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1 c. chicken broth
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream (optional)
- Garnish: thinly-sliced lemon and fresh herbs (optional)
1. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
2. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. When the butter is foaming, add the chicken breasts and cook about 3 – 4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. When the chicken is cooked, remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
3. Add the chopped onion to the hot pan and saute for around 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion begins to soften. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan while the onion cooks.
4. Sprinkle the flour over top of the onion and stir to combine, cook for 30 seconds or until the flour has combined with the butter and onions and there are no visible white bits of flour remaining.
5. Pour in the chicken broth and stir to combine, bring to a simmer and cook for about three minutes. The sauce should thicken during this time.
6. Turn off the heat. Cut or break the remaining 1 tbsp. butter into chunks and stir into the sauce gradually. Stir in the lemon zest and half the lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt and pepper if needed. If using, stir in the 2 tbsp. heavy cream.
7. Add the chicken breasts and any juice that accumulated back into the pan. Rotate the chicken breasts into the sauce to coat. Garnish with thinly-sliced lemon and fresh herbs (optional). Serve immediately.
You can purchase chicken breasts at the grocery store that are already thin-cut, or, cut 2 regular chicken breasts in half horizontally to create 4 thin-cut chicken breasts.
Keywords: lemon butter chicken, easy lemon butter chicken, one pan lemon butter chicken, lemon butter sauce