My deep loathing of washing dishes and corresponding passion for dinners that cook in one pan is well documented by now (see: one pan meals). Latest love: Lemon Butter Chicken.
Tender, juicy chicken breasts bathing in a creamy lemon butter sauce that (impossible though it may sound) contains no cream, this easy chicken dinner is Paleo friendly, keto friendly, and people-who-love-delicious-food extra friendly.
This recipe also includes two healthy food groups, making it a complete meal.
Your choice of green vegetable cooks in the sauce right alongside the chicken. We opted for green beans the first time.
Given how much we also love this Baked Lemon Chicken, I suspect a version of Lemon Butter Chicken with asparagus is soon to follow.
How to Make Lemon Butter Chicken
This easy Lemon Butter Chicken starts on the stove, then transitions to the oven.
- Start with the Sear. See that gorgeous golden color on the outside of the chicken breasts? That’s the very first step to this recipe. Heat your skillet, melt the butter, then place your chicken breasts in the skillet and try to forget about them for a few minutes. The less you move the chicken, the better the sear will be.
- Sauté Them Veggies. Once the chicken is seared, it’s time to cook the veggies. Shallots, Italian seasoning, and a generous heap of garlic keeps it breezy and delicious.
- Sauce It Up. 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.
My Lemon Butter Chicken no cream spin yielded a sauce that was velvety rich and begging to be mopped up with a big hunk of crusty bread.
The mild coconut milk flavor tastes dreamy with the lemon yet is subtle. It supports the Lemon Butter Chicken without overpowering the recipe.
Once all the ingredients have been added to the pan, all that remains is to…
- Bake. This chicken recipe begins on the stove, then transitions to the oven. In the oven, the chicken cooks to juicy perfection, the sauce thickens, and the vegetables turn crisp-tender.
Another side effect of baked lemon chicken: your entire family is likely to show up in your kitchen while it cooks. The aroma of garlic and golden chicken baking in butter and citrus is not to be resisted. (This Crock Pot Chicken Marsala is another recipe that will smell incredible while it cooks.)
What to Serve with Lemon Butter Chicken
As written, this recipe yields a generous amount of protein and veggies and a good amount of the 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. Linguine or penne would be especially nice.
- Brown Rice. How we ate it! I cut up the chicken and vegetables into smaller pieces, then mixed it and the sauce with brown rice.
- 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 Baguette. Ideal for sauce dunking.
- Roasted Vegetables of Your Choice. Try Roasted Potatoes and Carrots or Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
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.
While I ever adore one-pan meals, I’m especially appreciative of this chicken at the moment because we don’t have a dishwasher or kitchen sink!
We’re in the midst of a kitchen remodel, which means that we’ve either been eating out or “cooking” things that don’t have any cleanup, since we don’t have a good way to wash things.
If you’d like to see the kitchen’s progress, be sure to follow Well Plated on Instagram and watch my Instagram stories.
Even after our kitchen is complete and I have a place to wash dishes again, this Lemon Butter Chicken is destined for the regular rotation.
With its fast prep, bright and creamy sauce, and one-pan prowess, I know it will be a well-loved go-to for you as well.
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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