Creamy Lemon Chicken

Bright and flavorful, this Creamy Lemon Chicken is an absolute delight. Made with fresh lemon juice, this delicious dinner will be one of your new favorites.

a pan of lemon chicken on a pink countertop.
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Creamy Lemon Chicken Recipe

I always say it and I'll say it again: Weeknight dinners DO NOT have to be hard or time-consuming.

Around here, busy weeknights just cannot include difficult recipes. Life is too chaotic!

One of my recent favorites is this Creamy Lemon Chicken.

This delicious dish is a great way to enjoy the flavors of lemon and chicken together. It is an easy-to-make meal that's both flavorful and hearty.

The creamy lemon sauce adds a luxurious richness to the dish and the fresh lemon juice and zest provide a nice acidic kick to this tender chicken.

a closeup shot of lemon chicken.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

The whole family is going to love this Creamy Lemon Chicken for a few reasons:

  • This recipe comes together in less than half an hour. Win win!
  • Using simple ingredients, you can feel good about every ingredient in this recipe.
  • Serve it over a bed of salad greens, pasta or rice for a complete meal.
ingredients for creamy lemon chicken on a pink countertop.

Ingredients

Grab these items at the grocery store to make this delicious dish at home:

  • boneless chicken thighs: You'll need about 1.5 to 2 lbs, about 6 thighs.
  • flour: This is for the breading of the chicken. It locks in moisture, giving it a nice melt-in-your-mouth texture!
  • dried thyme
  • dried oregano
  • salt & black pepper
  • butter: Unsalted or salted both work.
  • chicken broth or chicken stock: Regular and low-sodium are both fine to use.
  • whole milk: Heavy cream and half-and-half will make a creamier sauce. You can use your milk of choice. Dairy-free milk works too!
  • lemons: You will need these for both the zest and the juice.
a zester lies next to a pan of creamy lemon chicken.

Substitutions

Fresh lemons have the best flavor but bottled concentrate works in a pinch.

Feel free to use a plant-based milk like coconut milk or almond milk instead of the whole milk.

For even more lemon flavor (especially if you are using bottled lemon juice) use lemon pepper instead of regular pepper. If your blend has salt, be sure to use less salt.

If you want to skip the butter, you can use olive oil or avocado oil instead.

It's also okay to substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Use what you have!

You can use boneless chicken breasts instead, but you will need to adjust the cooking time. You can cook them whole or cut them into bite-sized pieces.

rice and lemon chicken ready to eat in a bowl.

How to Make Creamy Lemon Chicken

Putting together this delicious creamy lemon chicken is super simple! Let's take it step by step:

First, trim excess fat from boneless thighs. I use kitchen shears for this.

breading ingredients ready to mix together in a bowl.
breading for lemon chicken in a bowl.

Then mix together flour and spices for the breading in a shallow bowl. Stir in half the lemon zest.

raw chicken breaded and ready to cook.

Dredge both sides of chicken thighs in the flour mixture. There's no need to add a binder — the flour will stick to the chicken just fine.

Once the chicken is breaded, heat up a large skillet to medium-high heat. Melt some butter (or oil) in the pan.

chicken pansearing in a white pan.

Cook the thighs in the melted butter on each side for 3-4 minutes until browned. Then cover until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165ºF, about 5 minutes or so. Remove the chicken from pan.

Always check the temperature!
Use an instant-read meat thermometer to verify the meat is cooked all the way. The thermometer should read 165°F (74°C) when the chicken is done.

In a separate bowl, mix together the broth, milk and lemon juice plus the rest of the lemon zest, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Pour into the same pan (don't wipe away the brown bits!) and boil for 3-5 minutes until it reduces by half.

chicken cooking in a pan.

Add chicken back to pan, coating the chicken pieces in the lemon cream sauce. Then serve!

a pan of lemon chicken on a pink countertop.

Before serving, add a few garnishes for extra color and flavor. Here are a few ideas:

  • fresh herbs (I used fresh parsley)
  • parmesan cheese
  • lemon slices or lemon wedges
  • red pepper flakes

Tips & Tricks

Bottled lemon juice is okay to use, but I highly suggest using fresh lemons for the best flavor. The zest adds an extra punch of lemon flavor and fresh juice isn't as sharp as the store-bought kind.

Before you get started, trim the excess fat from the chicken. Some fat is okay for flavor, but too much can be frustrating to cut around once cooked.

Always check your spices to make sure they haven't expired. (I set a reminder for every New Year's Day to go through my pantry!)

a fresh salad, lemons and a plate of lemon chicken on a pink countertop.

What to Eat with Lemon Chicken

This lemony chicken has a creamy sauce that's perfect for serving over grains.

Try it over risotto, rice, quinoa, cooked pasta or cauliflower rice.

It's so good over your favorite pasta recipes. It would be so good with this lemon orzo pasta especially. Or this lemon mascarpone pasta *chef's kiss*! I have a thing for lemon 😁

You can also serve it solo with sides like garlic green beans, roasted rosemary potatoes, or roasted root vegetables.

For even more ideas, check these side dishes for chicken.

More Chicken Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

a fresh salad, lemons and a plate of lemon chicken on a pink countertop.

Creamy Lemon Chicken

Bright and zesty, this Creamy Lemon Chicken is delicious served over rice or pasta.
4.99 from 56 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 thighs
Author: Madison | A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs about 6
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced (about ⅓ cup juice)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup whole milk

Instructions

  • Trim excess fat from boneless thighs.
  • Mix flour, spices and half the lemon zest. Dredge both sides of chicken thighs in flour mixture.
  • Melt butter in pan. Cook thighs on each side for 3-4 minutes until browned. Then cover until internal temperature reaches 165ºF, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.
  • Mix together broth, milk and lemon juice plus remaining zest. Pour into pan and bring to a boil until it reduces by half, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add chicken back to pan, coating chicken in sauce.
  • Serve with parsley and lemon for garnish.

Notes

Substitutions

Fresh lemons have the best flavor but bottled concentrate works in a pinch.
Feel free to use a plant-based milk like coconut milk or almond milk instead of the whole milk.
For even more lemon flavor (especially if you are using bottled lemon juice) use lemon pepper instead of regular pepper. If your blend has salt, be sure to use less salt.
If you want to skip the butter, you can use olive oil or avocado oil instead.
It's also okay to substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Use what you have!

Tips & Tricks

Bottled lemon juice is okay to use, but I highly suggest using fresh lemons for the best flavor. The zest adds an extra punch of lemon flavor and fresh juice isn't as sharp as the store-bought kind.
Before you get started, trim the excess fat from the chicken. Some fat is okay for flavor, but too much can be frustrating to cut around once cooked.
Always check your spices to make sure they haven't expired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken thigh | Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 299mg | Sodium: 637mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

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7 Comments

  1. Chicken is a staple at our house, so I'm always looking for new recipes to try! And this one looks SOOOO good!

  2. This sounds and looks delicious! I'm am literally going to try it tonight!:) thanks for sharing

  3. Mmmm this looks SO good! I don't make creamy things very often, but they are my favorite. This one is definitely going on the list.