This quick and easy lemon chicken starts with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and comes together quickly completely on the stove-top (no oven needed!).
My freezer is always full of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Is yours? I pick them up when they are on sale and tuck them away. Inevitably though, I will find myself staring in to the freezer and wondering what I will make with them!
This one is for all the lemon chicken lovers and it’s a twist on the usual, 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!
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).
Capers are a lovely addition to lemon chicken, but not a deal-breaker if you don’t have any on hand. Simply omit.
What wine to use for lemon chicken? Any decent dry white wine will work perfectly for lemon chicken. No need to buy a special bottle, just use any one you enjoy drinking.
Substitute for wine in lemon chicken If you don’t have or want to use wine in this recipe, you could easily substitute simply use additional chicken stock. Since there is a lot of acidity in the dish already, with the lemons, adding additional acidity isn’t necessary.
What vegetable to serve with lemon chicken? I love something green with lemon chicken – asparagus, broccoli, broccolini are all great. Quick sauteed greens like spinach, kale or chard would also be nice.
What to serve with lemon chicken? Lemon chicken is perfect 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 tsp white sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, halved
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, DIVIDED
- 1 tsp shallot, minced or onion
- 1/2 tsp 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 Tbsp 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.
Great recipe that came together fast! It has lots of flavor and looks terrific too. We will definitely make this again.
So glad you enjoyed it, Melanie! I never tire of lemon with chicken :) Thanks so much.
I am the cook since retiring and a bit of a slow learner. I was a hit with this recipe-used chicken thighs finished in the oven-served in the best sauce we have ever tasted . Next day I ruined ‘French toast’ (not your recipe). To all things there is a balance. You have an excellent site.
So glad to hear, Don :) I have those #recipefail days, too, even after all these years of cooking. Thanks so much!
Thought this dish was absolutely DELICIOUS! Served with a fine pasta nest & broccoli. Didn’t use the capers – not usually in our pantry.
Quick question – did you cut the chicken breast in half or slice making more of a cutlet style?
A definite repeat!
So glad you enjoyed this, Irene :) I just cut mine in half, but they were quite small chicken breasts, which is probably why they look a bit small here.
This was really delicious and I liked the unique technique to create it. It took longer than 3 to 4 minutes per side to fully cook the chicken though. Maybe mine were thicker or maybe it’s my stove . I didn’t use the capers and I don’t think they’re needed .
So glad you enjoyed it, Paula :) Thanks so nuch!
Loving the look of this ! Another winning dish perfect for quick weeknight suppers :-)
Thanks so much, Jenny :)
My husband made this for dinner this past week, it was amazing!! We both wanted to lick our plates!
So glad to hear, Emily! Thanks :)
This looks mouthwatering! I still have a few meyer lemons left on my tree, and now I know exactly how to use them :)
Thanks Laura and yes, Meyers would be perfect for this one!
I’m like you, always stocked with lots of chicken but sometimes wondering what to do with it.Your chicken recipes are always winners Jennifer and this does not look like an exception. I love how easy it comes together too!
Thanks so much, Chris. I hate meals on repeat too often, so I’m always looking for more chicken recipes :)
Jennifer…made it last night with the thighs and it was sensationally delicious!
After browning the thighs, I put them in the oven @ 325 while I was making the sauce just to make sure that they were cooked through. It worked perfectly and gave me that little bit extra feeling of comfort that the poultry was cooked.
The sauce is divine and comes together creating a luxurious blend of perfect tastes. I used Vermouth for my wine as I always have some on hand.
Definitely company worthy with Uncle Ben’s wild rice with mushrooms and perhaps fresh asparagus.
So glad you enjoyed it Susan :) I know what you mean about wanting to know the chicken is cooked, so I don’t blame you for the quick oven trip. I love my handy dandy instant read thermometer for my peace of mind. I always poke it in and make sure I’ve hit 165.
Love your ingredient list, Jennifer! I find capers are like cilantro – people either love them or hate them. I’m a big fan and combined with lemon, garlic, and lovely shallots and fresh herbs this is off the charts. I will make this very soon. Quick and easy too! Perfect )
Thanks Robyn. I love capers. I don’t think I always did. I think I just grew in to them :)
This chicken looks insanely delicious! Winner winner chicken dinner!
Thanks Bethany :)
Yep, boneless chicken is the most popular item in my freezer! I love chicken flavored with lemon! I saw this earlier on Instagram and loved how bright and beautiful the dish is. Made me hungry on the spot!
Thanks so much, Annie :)
I don’t understand why you are wiping the pan after cooking the chicken and lemon. It seems to me that they would add to the sauce flavor. What would be the reason?
Hi Ann, it really just provides a fresh (clean) start for the butter sauce. You could go either way :)
You had me at charred lemon ~ sharing today!
Thanks Sue :)
I can’t get ever get enough chicken breast recipes and this one looks so delicious. Your photo is gorgeous!
Thanks so much, Karen :)
Hi Jennifer…I love your recipes. They speak my language and your photography showcases your mouth watering recipes superbly!
We are two now, and DH prefers dark meat, so I am buying more boneless thighs…so I think that by adapting my cooking time slightly(? time would you suggest) he would be humming tonight.
Hi Susan and thanks! We eat a lot of thighs, too. I just can’t seem to resist picking up the boneless breasts when they are on a good sale :) For boneless thighs, if you cook them flat (un-folded), the cooking time should be quite similar the the halved breasts, I would think.
Very cool! I am loving the sauce for this dish, any sauce with butter and white wine or lager in seems to agree with me instantly:) Charred lemons are so great as an addition to a number of dishes, I really like how you have these thin slices immersed in the sauce. Pinned!
Thanks so much, Milena and I agree – butter and wine in a sauce is always good :)
I’ve always got an overabundance of boneless skinless chicken breasts in my freezer too Jennifer. Love the sound of this recipe, So easy and so flavorful!
Thanks Mary Ann! I love that this one is a little different from the usual lemon chicken. That bit of char really does lovely things to the lemon flavour :)
Lovely chicken recipe Jennifer! Lemon and chicken is great together and “easy: makes it that much better. My freezer always has boneless chicken in it too – thanks for the great ways to use it up! Have a lovely weekend.
Thanks so much, Tricia! This is one of my favourite quick and easy dinners, since I always have a lemon around, so I’m always prepared :)