Lemon Butter Chicken

Lemon Butter Chicken FI

5 from 9 reviews

An easy one pan dinner recipe that combines thin-cut chicken breasts sautéed in butter with a quick lemon butter pan sauce. Creamy and tart, and just divine for a weeknight dinner! 


  • 4 pieces thin-cut chicken breasts, about 1/2 inch thick (1  1/4 - 1 1/3 pound total) (see notes)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided (see notes)
  • one small onion, or 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  • Garnish: thinly-sliced lemon and fresh herbs (optional)


1. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium high heat, reserving the remaining 1 tablespoon butter for later.

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 F. If necessary, turn down the heat if the butter is browning too quickly. When the chicken is cooked, remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil.

3. Add the chopped onion to the hot pan and sauté 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. Stir the onions and flour for about 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 the liquid to a simmer and cook for about three minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce should thicken in this time; if it has not, cook for an additional minute or until the sauce is thickened.

6. Turn off the heat. Cut or break the remaining 1 tablespoon butter into small chunks and stir into the sauce gradually. Stir in the lemon zest and half the lemon juice. Taste the sauce and add more lemon juice if desired.

7. If using, stir in the 2 tablespoons heavy cream.

8. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed. 

9. 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.

You can use either salted or unsalted butter for this recipe. If using salted butter, be a little more sparing with the salt when seasoning the chicken breasts.

Keywords: lemon butter chicken, one pan lemon butter chicken, lemon butter sauce