Skillet chicken with lemon sauce is an elegant dinner that only takes 30 minutes to put together. Make this on a weeknight or special occasion!! Try it!
If I need a quick dinner that is elegant and delicious, this skillet chicken with lemon sauce is my go-to meal! It really only takes 30 minutes to whip up but looks ultra fancy and tastes even better. The sauce is light but flavorful and the perfect compliment to whatever you serve it with.
The thing that makes my skillet chicken such a quick meal is I cut the chicken into smaller pieces. You can cut the chicken breasts in half vertically, as I did when I took these photos, or horizontally. If I’m using pretty large chicken breasts, I opt for horizontally to help them cook more quickly. If they are smaller, to begin with, I just cut them in half vertically so all the pieces are about the same size. It’s all up to you!
The chicken is braised, which means you quickly brown the outside and then let it finish cooking in a liquid. I love to make this in my cast iron skillet, but I don’t have a lid on it so I just use a lid to another pan that fits over the top. It’s important to cover the chicken while it finishes cooking so all of the sauce doesn’t evaporate.
The sauce is super simple. It’s chicken broth and lemon, finished off with a little butter. When you make a sauce and then add cold butter at the very end, that is called “mounting the sauce” with butter. Basically, it just gives the sauce some extra shine and butter flavor. Which makes it automatically delicious!
The sauce uses the juice from half a lemon. I like to thinly slice the other half and lay a half slice over the chicken pieces. This just lets everyone know what they are going to be eating and what flavors to expect. If you wanted to be extra fancy you could place the lemon slices on and then broil the pan for just a couple minutes so they were a bit browned. But most of the time I’m in too much of a hurry to eat!
I LOVE this dish, and you will too! If you’re looking for an easy side to whip up, my easy & delicious canned corn recipe goes perfectly. Or if you want something a little more substantial, try my 60-minute homemade herb bread!
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Skillet Chicken with Lemon Sauce
- 3 chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter cold, divided
- 1/2 cup onion finely diced
- 2 cups chicken broth divided
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- fresh parsley chopped fine
- Slice chicken breasts in half crosswise to produce pieces that are similar in size.
- Pat dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
- Add chicken and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Repeat on other side.
- Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the butter.
- Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and the lemon juice.
- Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits of chicken on the bottom of the pan.
- Return chicken to pan along with any accumulated juices.
- Cover and simmer for 5-7 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F). Check periodically to make sure the pan isn't getting dry. Add remaining chicken broth, if needed.
- When chicken is done, add the last tablespoon of butter. Gently stir it into the sauce.
- Top with fresh parsley and lemon slices, if desired.