This quick and easy lemon chicken recipe starts with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and comes together quickly completely on the stovetop (no oven needed!).
This charred lemon chicken is for all the lemon lovers and it’s a twist on the usual chicken piccata, using charred lemons. Charring the lemon quickly in a hot skillet really intensified the lemon flavour in this dish. And there’s capers too, for a bit of tangy bite. And it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chicken – skinless, boneless chicken breasts will produce the best results in this dish.
Lemons – fresh lemons are needed to make the charred lemons for this recipe.
Capers – Capers are a lovely addition to lemon chicken, but not a deal-breaker if you don’t have any on hand. Simply omit.
White Wine – Any decent dry white wine will work perfectly for lemon chicken. No need to buy a special bottle, just use any wine you enjoy drinking. If you don’t have or want to use wine in this recipe, you could just use additional chicken stock. Since there is a lot of acidity in the dish already, with the lemons, adding additional acidity isn’t necessary.
The sauce for this dish as written is not super thick, which is perfect for serving over pasta or rice, so the sauce will infuse the flavour underneath. If you aren’t serving over something or if you just want a thicker sauce to coat the chicken, simply add a bit more flour (2-3 tsp. total).
What to serve with lemon chicken
I love something green with lemon chicken – asparagus, broccoli, broccolini are all great. Quick sautèed greens like spinach, kale or chard would also be nice. Lemon chicken is also perfectly paired with pasta. Angel hair spaghetti pasta makes an elegant dish. White rice is also a good choice. If you’re avoiding carbs, try cauliflower rice!
Get the Recipe: Charred Lemon Chicken
- 2 small lemons, cut into thin rounds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, halved
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, DIVIDED
- 1 teaspoon shallot, minced or onion
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, or additional 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons capers
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, add lemon slices and garlic halves. Sprinkle with sugar. Set aside.
- Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Add chicken to pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate.
- Add a splash more oil to the pan if it is dry. Add lemon slice mixture to the pan (keeping bowl handy) and cook, turning occasionally, for about 1 minute or until lemon slices are lightly browned. Return lemon mixture to the bowl.
- Wipe pan with paper towel and heat over medium heat. Melt 1 1/2 tsp of butter in the pan, then add shallot, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic and thyme sprig. Cook for 30 seconds or so, then add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until liquid almost completely evaporates. Add chicken stock, and flour to the pan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 2/3 cup.
- Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprig. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and capers, stirring until butter melts. Taste sauce and add additional salt and pepper, as needed. Return chicken and any juices to pan and re-warm in sauce, turning to coat with sauce. Top chicken with lemon mixture and allow to warm with chicken slightly before serving. Garnish with parsley.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!