At just over 30 minutes to make, this Skillet Lemon Chicken is a tasty, one-pan weeknight wonder. Just what you need for dinner tonight!!
Lemon chicken has always been one of my favorites, especially the nice sticky, fried version you get when you order Chinese take-out. Like many of you, I try to focus on eating healthy or at least healthier, most of the time so I wanted to create an updated version of that chicken which still has that great tangy, lemony taste but is not deep-fried, and loaded with fat. Enter skillet lemon chicken!
One really nice thing about this recipe is that other than the crème fraîche you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. Here's what you'll need to make this lemon chicken:
Boneless chicken breast: This recipe is designed to serve two people so 8-12 ounces of chicken breast works well.
Milk: The recipe calls for non-fat milk, however, you can substitute 1% milk if that's what you normally drink.
Lemons: You'll probably want to grab two lemons for this recipe. You'll need more than half of a lemon for three tablespoons of juice, so you won't have anything left for slices if you only have one.
White wine: You only need a small amount of white wine for this recipe, so whatever type you have on hand is fine. If you don't drink wine, the best substitute will be chicken broth.
Creme Fraiche: You can find creme fraiche in most major grocery stores. I don't recommend substituting sour cream in this recipe because when you combine it with the strong lemon flavor you will get a rather sour tasting sauce.
Spices: Dried thyme, coarse ground black pepper, sea salt
Pantry staples: Olive oil, all-purpose flour, baking powder
How to make Skillet Lemon Chicken
I love this dish because it's a one-pan meal it's really easy to make, which means it's ideal for a weeknight dinner.
Dredge the chicken. You start this dish by dredging the chicken breasts in a combination of flour, dried thyme, salt, and pepper
Sear the chicken. Then the chicken is pan-seared to seal in the juices.
What pan should you use for this recipe? You need is a skillet that's good for searing and is oven-proof to about 450°. This Calphalon non-stick skillet works well and I've also made it in a stainless steel pan, though the clean-up on that is a little more time-consuming. If you have one I'd actually recommend using a coated cast iron pan like the Le Cruset one shown in the photos. It works really well for this dish and it also cleans up quite easily.
Bake the chicken. After you sear the chicken, you top the chicken with lemon slices and just pop the pan in the oven to finish cooking the chicken.
Make the pan sauce. Once the chicken is done cooking you'll create a quick pan sauce with some white wine, lemon juice, and a touch of crème fraîche.
You end up with a bright, flavorful dish that's ready to serve in just about 30 minutes!
For a nice, easy weeknight meal you can serve this on brown rice and add a simple green salad.
More chicken reicpes
things you may want for this recipe
Small glass bowls with lid – I love these little bowls from Crate & Barrel. They are perfect for mixing up things like flour and milk before you add them to the sauce. They also have lids so if you need to store something you don't need to pull out the plastic wrap, just grab a lid and put the bowl in the refrigerator.
Handheld Juicer – I love these juicers - you'll see me mention them often in blog posts. They come in three sizes – lime, lemon, and orange - and they are compact making them easy to store. I have the largest size so it works for just about everything!
Weeknight Skillet Lemon Chicken
For the chicken:
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8-12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-4 slices of lemon
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup nonfat milk
- ¼ cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon creme fraîche
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Dredge the chicken. Mix the flour, thyme, pepper and salt in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and place on a plate. If a few spots on the chicken don't stay floured you can sprinkle some of the excess mixture over those spots to ensure the chicken is well coated.
- Cook the chicken. Heat the oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or until it starts to turn golden brown. Flip the chicken breasts and cook for an additional 2 minutes then transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 17 minutes in the oven.
- Make the roux. While the chicken is baking mix 1 tablespoon of flour with the milk, using a fork to ensure the flour is well incorporated.
- Make the sauce. When the chicken is done baking, remove the pan from the oven and remove the chicken from the pan. Return the pan to medium heat on the stove top. Add the wine to the pan and deglaze by scraping the brown bits off the bottom with a silicone spatula. Add the milk mixture and lemon juice then stir to incorporate. Add the thyme and crème fraîche and stir again. Return the chicken to the pan and cook for 2 minutes to ensure the chicken is warm.
- Serve. Transfer the chicken to two plates and spoon additional sauce on top of the chicken. Serve immediately.