Wondering what to make for dinner tonight? Try this easy Lemon Chicken Recipe! Crispy chicken breasts in a lemon butter sauce make a fancy dinner you can whip up anytime.
A Restaurant-Worthy Chicken Dish
Easy chicken dishes are my favorite, especially when they deliver a great sauce along with the chicken. This recipe definitely does that. Crispy breaded chicken is pan-fried and then finished in the oven. From there, you make a simple (but amazing) sauce in the same skillet, incorporating all those browned bits for oodles of flavor.
If you like chicken piccata, you will love this dish! It’s very similar to chicken piccata but without the capers, giving it a less briny flavor. You can serve this with mashed potatoes, rice, pasta, or just your favorite vegetables.
What’s in This Lemon Chicken Recipe?
Aside from chicken breasts, you will need white wine, lemon juice, butter, and a few other basic items to make this recipe. Let’s take a closer look at that list:
- Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise to make thinner, flatter pieces.
- Dry Breading Ingredients: Flour, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper make up the dry breading mixture.
- Wet Breading Ingredients: Eggs whisked with garlic powder and Italian seasoning make up the wet breading mixture.
- Olive Oil and Butter: For pan-frying. You’ll need a little extra butter to finish the sauce.
- Garlic: I like freshly minced garlic for this recipe. To make it easier, you could use a garlic press instead of mincing.
- White Wine: Go for a dry white wine here, such as a Sauvignon blanc or Pinot Grigio. Avoid cooking wine – it can be very salty!
- Chicken Broth: Or vegetable broth, or water.
- Lemon Juice: Bottled lemon juice is fine, but freshly squeezed lemon juice is even better!
- Sliced Lemon: I like to add actual lemon slices to my sauce, but you can skip this if you are out of fresh lemons.
- Parsley: Chopped parsley adds a touch of savory, herbal freshness.
Is Chicken Breast Actually Healthy?
Definitely! Chicken breast is an excellent source of protein with fairly low calories and fat. Now I can hear some of you saying, “But I need more healthy fats in my diet!” That is no problem. Just pair your lean, juicy chicken with a velvety sauce made with your favorite healthy fat. This one uses both butter and olive oil – so flavorful and good for you, too.
How to Make Lemon Butter Chicken
While it doesn’t take long to make this recipe, be sure to budget a little extra time for the breading process – you don’t want to feel rushed. It’s also helpful to set up all your ingredients in advance, so they’re easy to reach.
- Prep Your Oven and Breading Station. To get started, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then set up your breading ingredients. Stir together the flour, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper in one bowl. Then whisk the eggs, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in another bowl.
- Bread the Chicken. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, and then dip them in the egg mixture.
- Pan-Fry the Chicken. Next, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Cook the chicken breasts in the skillet for about 3 – 4 minutes on each side, or until they’re nicely browned.
- Bake. Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking dish, and bake them in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Cook the Garlic, Wine, and Broth. In the same skillet that you used to cook the chicken, melt the rest of your butter, and cook the minced garlic for a few seconds until it’s fragrant. Add the white wine and chicken broth, and bring the sauce to a simmer.
- Reduce the Sauce and Add the Lemon. Continue simmering the sauce for 5 minutes, or until it has reduced by about half. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon slices, and simmer for another couple of minutes.
- Serve. Pour or spoon the sauce over the cooked chicken breasts, and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving alongside your favorite side dishes.
What Is the Secret to Juicy Chicken?
If you’ve ever made dry, unappealing chicken breast (and I’m raising my hand here), you know how disappointing it is! So what can you do to avoid it? The most important thing is to watch your cooking time. Overcooked chicken is dry and chewy. I urge you to use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is done without drying it out. Once the chicken hits 165˚F, it’s ready!
Tips for Success
I hope you’re excited to try making this pan-fried lemon chicken recipe in your own kitchen. Once you do, it’s sure to make a regular appearance on your table! These helpful tips will give you a little more info to get started.
- Controlling the Acid: I like my sauce fairly tangy, but if you want a less tangy sauce, start with half the amount of lemon juice and slices that I use. Taste the sauce, and add a little more at a time until it’s just right.
- Simple Breading: The parmesan-flour-breadcrumb blend will give a flavorful, crunchy crust, but it’s definitely not the only way to bread chicken. You could also do a simple flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder mixture for the breading, and skip the egg entirely.
- No Breading: Want to take things in a lower carb direction? You can just skip the breading entirely. Just season the chicken generously with salt, pepper, Italian herbs, and garlic powder. Then pan-fry and bake as directed until the chicken is done through.
Side Dish Inspiration
Almost any side dish would be great with this easy lemon chicken recipe. Since it’s saucy, something to soak up the sauce, like bread or pasta, is usually a popular choice, but veggies and salads are great, too. These side dish recipes would all be great options:
- Mashed Potatoes: These Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes will have you in potato heaven – especially when you drizzle lemon butter sauce all over them. Yum.
- Asparagus: Asparagus goes beautifully with all of the flavors in this dish. Try steaming, blanching, or making Garlic Butter Roasted Asparagus. You can’t go wrong!
- Rolls: When I want to add a really special touch to a meal, I reach for a homemade roll recipe. Baking rolls from scratch takes a little time, but it’s so worth it. This simple Crescent Roll Recipe (Butterhorn Rolls) is basically unbeatable.
Lemon Chicken Recipe
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise to make cutlets
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs, you can also use panko crumbs or pork rind crumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly-squeezed
- 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
- In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
- Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip them in the egg mixture.
- Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking dish and bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
- Meanwhile, in the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and cook the minced garlic over medium heat for 20 seconds or until fragrant. Whisk in the white wine and chicken broth, and bring to a simmer.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by about half. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon slices, and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the cooked chicken breasts and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
- Serve with mashed potatoes or other side dish of your choice.
- Lemons and Lemon Juice: I like a tangy, lemony sauce, but if you want a less tangy sauce, start with half the amount of lemon juice and slices the recipe suggests. Taste the sauce, and add a little more until it’s just right.
- Simple Breading: The breadcrumb blend will give a flavorful, crunchy crust, but you could also do a simple flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder mixture for the breading and skip the egg entirely.
- No Breading: You can skip the breading entirely. Season the chicken generously with salt, pepper, Italian herbs, and garlic powder. Then pan-fry and bake as directed until the chicken is done through.
- Storing: Leftover chicken and sauce should be stored separately in airtight containers. Place them in the refrigerator, and use them within 3 to 4 days. You can reheat the chicken on a baking sheet in the oven at 350˚F. The sauce is best if you reheat it on the stove, whisking it to bring it together.
- Freezing: To freeze, arrange the chicken on a baking sheet or clean plate and place it in the freezer until solid. Transfer the chicken to freezer bags, press out as much air as possible, and seal. Then mark with the date, and freeze for up to three months.
- The sauce can be frozen separately, in an airtight container or bag, for up to three months.
- To reheat: Thaw the chicken and sauce overnight in the fridge before reheating the chicken in the oven and the sauce on the stove.