The easy Lemon Butter Chicken is my latest love in my collection of one-pan recipes. Made with the BEST lemon butter sauce for chicken, this healthy version swaps heavy cream for a can of coconut milk.
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Lemon and chicken are just a match made in heaven, and it’s clear that I’m not the only one who feels that way.
However, this creamy lemon butter chicken recipe may just be the best of the bunch:
- Made in under an hour in only ONE pan (like this Skillet Tomato Chicken), it’s an easy lemon butter chicken that is simple to prep, easy to cook, and a breeze to clean up.
- My healthy version skips the heavy cream and instead opts for rich and creamy coconut milk.
- This endlessly versatile recipe can be made with your choice of green vegetable. We went with green beans, but lemon butter chicken with broccoli, asparagus, or spinach would all be delightful.
Similar to Chicken Francaise with its fast prep, bright and creamy sauce, and one-pan prowess, get ready because this will be the BEST lemon butter chicken recipe you’ve ever made.
5 Star Review
“A very tasty, easy recipe with limited prep and next to no cleanup! Bonus all around. My husband loved it and couldn’t say enough about how delicious it was.”— Patti —
How to Make Lemon Butter Chicken
Tender, juicy chicken breasts bathing in a creamy lemon butter sauce made without cream (similar to Garlic Butter Shrimp), this easy chicken dinner is quick enough for weeknights yet impressive enough for a dinner party with your in-laws.
This easy lemon butter chicken starts on the stove, then transitions to the oven.
- Chicken. Lean, juicy chicken breasts are my go-to protein for this easy lemon butter chicken recipe (if you love chicken breast too, don’t miss the best-ever Baked Chicken Breast).
- Lemon. You can’t have lemon butter chicken without plenty of bright and zippy lemon flavor that comes from using both the juice and zest. (Lemon lovers, check out this Lemon Basil Chicken recipe.)
- Full-Fat Coconut Milk. Most lemon butter chicken recipes call for heavy whipping cream. Instead, I took a note from my favorite Thai Chicken Curry and used full-fat coconut milk. DELICIOUS.
- Garlic and Shallots. Add depth to the sauce and make it smell truly divine.
- Green Beans. Offer a full serving of veggies to make this a complete meal in a single pan.
- Butter. Adds just a touch of extra richness and provides enough fat to sear and saute the chicken and vegetables to perfection.
- Italian Seasoning. Give the sauce a little Italian flair and complements the garlic and shallots.
- Fresh Herbs. The perfect fresh green garnish. Parsley and thyme are great year-around; basil or oregano would also be lovely.
What Goes with Lemon Butter Chicken?
As written, this recipe yields a generous amount of protein and veggies and a good amount of lemon butter sauce too. If you’d like to round it out with another side, here are a few ideas:
- Pasta. Serve the chicken and vegetables over whole wheat noodles. This Pasta al Limone would be especially nice too.
- Brown Rice. How we ate it! I cut the chicken and vegetables into smaller pieces, then mixed them and the sauce with brown rice. See Instant Pot Brown Rice for a simple cooking method.
- Lemon Rice. For true citrus lovers.
- Cauliflower Rice. Ideal for those looking to keep the recipe low carb or seeking keto lemon butter chicken breasts.
- Warm Bread. A crust baguette or this Rosemary Olive Oil Bread is ideal for sauce dunking.
- Roasted Vegetables of Your Choice. Try Roasted Potatoes or Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
- Sear the chicken breasts in butter.
- Reduce the heat, add the remaining butter, then toss cook the green beans, shallot, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
- Remove from the heat, and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and coconut milk. Return the chicken to the sauce.
- Bake lemon butter chicken for 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degree F until cooked through.
Chicken is fully cooked when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165 degrees F, and the juices run clear. (The total cooking time will vary based on the size of your chicken.)
- Garnish with herbs and extra lemon wedges, then serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. Lemon butter chicken leftovers may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. For best results, warm the lemon butter sauce in a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat until steaming. Reheat the chicken and green beans in the microwave until heated through. Top with warm sauce and serve.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Oven Safe Skillet. This skillet will take you from stovetop to oven.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to check your chicken for doneness.
- Chef’s Knife. For all of your everyday chopping needs.
Warning: this baked lemon butter chicken smells incredible. Side effects may include your entire family showing up in your kitchen while it cooks. (This Crock Pot Chicken Marsala has a similar effect.)
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’d like a thicker sauce, you may try reducing the sauce further on the stovetop before baking. Alternatively, you can also try whisking in a few teaspoons of cornstarch after baking and returning to the stovetop, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. While I have not personally tried thickening the sauce, others have reported success with these methods.
I have never added potatoes to this recipe. However, I think it could be a fantastic addition. If you’d like to experiment, I suggest parboiling the potatoes in a pot of water while the chicken sears. Then, add them to the sauce with the chicken before baking in the oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender.
I have not tried to make a slow cooker lemon butter chicken before, so you would be experimenting. I’m unsure if the sauce would thicken the same way in a crockpot. If you decide to give it a try, however, I’d love to hear about your results.
Lemon Butter Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs or a mix!
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided (swap ghee to make Paleo or vegan butter to make dairy free)
- 1 pound green beans ends trimmed and cut in half (or swap trimmed asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces)
- 1 small shallot minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 medium lemon zest and juice, plus additional lemon slices for serving
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk (14 ounces) Do not use light or the sauce won't thicken properly
- Chopped fresh thyme or parsley
- Steamed brown rice
- Cauliflower rice
- Crusty bread
- Whole wheat pasta
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- In a large, ovenproof skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until deeply golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, then the green beans, shallot, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring often, until the green beans are crisp-tender.
- Remove from the heat. Zest the lemon into the pan, then squeeze in the lemon juice. Slowly pour in the coconut milk while stirring to combine.
- Return the reserved chicken to the skillet.
- Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 15 to 25 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the chicken registers 165 degrees F and the juices run clear. (Note: the cooking time will vary based on the size of your chicken).
- Top with parsley. Serve with extra lemon wedges and rice, pasta, and/or fresh bread for mopping up the sauce, if desired.
- TO STORE: Lemon butter chicken leftovers may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: For best results, warm the lemon butter sauce in a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat until steaming. Reheat the chicken and green beans in the microwave until heated through. Top with warm sauce and serve.
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