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Several weeks ago, Ben and I mapped out a series of mini home renovation projects with the goal of having them completed by this weekend. Current completion count: zero. At least our dinners have been running on schedule, courtesy of easy, one-pan recipes like this Lemon Basil Chicken.

One Pan of Lemon Basil Chicken with Spinach and a side dish of fluffy brown rice

My sister—who is in the midst of some home projects that make ours look as invasive as reorganizing a coat closet—warned me that real life is “not HGTV.”

I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant…until I was driving to an IKEA in a different state to pick up several missing parts of the shelving units that the store forgot to ship.

Add the shelf snafu to our first round of curtains being too short (the right length is now back ordered until July), the guy installing our blinds leaving halfway through the job for another appointment (he still hasn’t been back), and the fact that the only concrete step we’ve taken towards repainting our kitchen cabinets is to narrow down the color options from 17 shades of “white” to 7, and you have a situation that is a far cry from the 48-hour flips as seen on HGTV.

Chicken, lemon, and basil cooked in skillet

Easy Skillet Meals – Lemon Basil Chicken

We have made some progress. Over the weekend, we built and installed the aforementioned IKEA shelves, which I gleefully loaded with stacks of plates, serving bowls, glassware, my entire cookbook collection, and heavy cast-iron skillets. It took the better part of an afternoon, but in the end, every dish and spoon had its perfect place. My cast iron skillets were going to be used in short order to make easy, one skillet meals like lemon basil chicken, skillet chicken and tomatoes and sausage white bean gnocchi.

Then, two hours later, we realized the shelves needed to move three inches to the right. We had to pull every single item from the shelves, and a good number of them are still scattered around my office. I feel like this probably doesn’t happen on HGTV.

cast iron skillet with healthy lemon chicken with basil and spinach

Because we’ve been dedicating the majority of our free time toward the house, I’ve been appreciating quick and easy dinners like this Lemon Basil Chicken even more so than usual. Chunks of juicy chicken stir-fried with garlic, fresh lemon, and basil, this recipe requires hardly 5 minutes of prep and can be on your plate in 20.

Easy chicken recipe with lemon and basil in a cast iron skillet

How to Make One-Pan Lemon Basil Chicken

To make Lemon Basil Chicken a complete meal, I added several handfuls of fresh spinach. You can feel free to bulk it up further with any other sautéed veggies you enjoy or have on hand. We served our Lemon Basil Chicken over brown rice for dinner, and the next day, I tossed the leftovers with my salad for lunch. This would also be great served alongside Oven Roasted Potatoes (make the baked potatoes in oven while cooking the Lemon Basil Chicken on the stove top).

When getting a healthy meal on the table feels like a project of its own, keep this simple Lemon Basil Chicken in mind. While it might not be reality TV-worthy, in the reality of NEED DINNER NOW, it’s a star!

Recommended Tools to Make This Dish

Lemon Basil Chicken

4.72 from 199 votes
Basil chicken with lemon is an easy one pan skillet meal packed with fresh flavors! This easy chicken recipe is fresh, healthy, cooks in a single skillet, and is ready to eat in 20 minutes! Serve with rice for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 servings (about 4 cups total)


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion finely chopped, about 1 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 cups loosely packed baby spinach about 5 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Prepared brown rice for serving


  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 additional seconds.
  • Add the chicken, increase the heat to medium high, and let cook for 3 minutes, browning all sides. Stir in the soy sauce and black pepper. Let cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
  • Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, letting the heat of the pan wilt it as you go. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil. Cook and stir just until the basil is wilted, about 1 additional minute. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper as desired.  Serve warm with rice as desired.


  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


Serving: 1(of 4), with 1/2 cup brown riceCalories: 349kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 40gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 98mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Wow!!! The flavors shocked me with how strong and delicious they were! My husband and kids 10 and 7, one picky one not, loved it! So easy and quick too!5 stars

  2. This dish looks beautiful but it tasted just barely okay, I will not be making it again. Seemed to be really missing something. I really expected to love it because I love all the ingredients! 😞1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Jeanne. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it, so I truly wish it would have been a hit for you.

  3. This was really yummy. My whole family loved it. I always season my meat before placing in the skillet, I think, it makes a big difference. For us, a 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper and sprinkle of garlic powder was perfect seasoning for the chicken. I served it spaghetti with oil and garlic for a euro-asian twist. Will definitely make again, a great recipe to use up my genovese basil from my AeroGarden. Thank you!5 stars

  4. Tried this tonight with fresh spinach & fresh basil from our deck garden! Delicious! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  5. This was delicious and it did not take long to make. I grew basil (both sweet and lemon basil) in my garden this summer and was looking for a recipe to use it. We enjoyed this dish on the deck during a beautiful summer evening.5 stars

  6. Omg!! I just made this recipe and it was awesome. The combination of the soy sauce, spinach, lemon and fresh basil was excellent!!

    I will definitely keep this one in my recipe book and recommend it to my friends!!5 stars

  7. I was really surprised how good this was. I couldn’t figure out what to do with our homegrown basil except to make pesto, and this surprisingly solved my problem. Combined with spinach and the rest of the ingredients, it turned out to very tasty as well as healthy.5 stars

  8. Tried it tonight. Interesting flavors.
    Chicken was not as tender – came out a bit dry.
    The soy sauce flavor was okay but seemed not quite the right complement with the basil and lemon. Not my favorite recipe- just seemed a bit ‘off’. Was worth a try.
    Followed your roasted potatoes recipe and they were good3 stars

    1. I’m sorry this recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Patricia. I (and many other readers) have truly enjoyed it, so I wish you would’ve too!

  9. Look. I have 3 picky eaters joining me for dinner every night. They all had clean plates! A miracle! I used Lemon Basil as another review said- sooo tasty!5 stars

  10. Excellent! I just added the whole bag of spinach (10oz) and some bell pepper for color and served over white rice. Added coconut amino’s and ponzu sauce since I’m out of soy sauce. Eating the leftovers tonight with sweet potato vermicelli. I will definitely make this again, so simple and fast to make!5 stars

  11. Loved this recipe, I used whole basil leaves and wrapped the chicken breast in them, being careful not to char the basil. Delicious, juicy, will definetly make again.5 stars

  12. LOVE this recipe!! Made it for our anniversary with a side salad and some quinoa!
    I didn’t add the lemon zest, just more lemon. I also added red pepper flakes and dried thyme with the garlic and forgot the soy sauce and it was still phenomenal!!5 stars

    1. I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you, Deb! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also, there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

  13. Yum! I brightened it with some fresh ginger and chopped scallions at the end with the basil. A very good recipe that I hope to make again.5 stars

  14. This was SO GOOD!! I made it just as the recipe stated. The only substitution was saffron rice for the brown rice, as I can’t get my guys to eat brown rice. There were only 3 of us and ZERO leftovers. I’m being told that next time I have to make a double batch!

    Thanks for such a great recipe!5 stars

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