Creamy Lemon Chicken is the perfect meal for busy weeknights. The delicately flavoured chicken tenderloins are cooked in a frying pan, then bathed in a garlic flavoured, creamy sauce, brightened by the tang of lemon juice and zest. It’s simple, it’s comforting and a delicious meal that the family will love.
Why we love this recipe:
Chicken tenderloins are my go-to for quick, easy, weeknight meals. As their name implies, they are reliably tender, and they are an excellent source of protein. They are versatile and can be prepared in many ways, such as my Greek-Style Chicken and Salsa or Mediterranean Chicken Salad.
We love this Creamy Lemon Chicken because:
- It is prepared from ingredients which are readily available year-round.
- We have used tenderloins as they are more reliably tender than chicken breasts.
- It is a family friendly meal – one which adults and children alike will enjoy – and that’s always a plus!
- We use just one skillet for the Creamy Lemon Chicken, so there’s less washing up.
- Easy chicken dinners are always a hit – we also love Chicken Patties!
- You can make it gluten-free by using the appropriate flour.
- The sauce is a perfect balance of flavours; cream and lemon are a fantastic combination.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Chicken tenderloins – We have chosen tenderloins as they are reliably tender. You can use the breast if you prefer, but it is inclined to become dry if even a little overcooked.
Plain/all-purpose flour – To coat the chicken before pan-frying. Use a gluten-free blend if necessary.
Dried oregano – On this occasion, I prefer the dried herb. The flavour is more subtle than the fresh herb and better complements the other ingredients without dominating them.
Butter – Use either salted or unsalted.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – From the first pressing of the olives, it has great flavour and nutritional benefits.
Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves have a much better flavour than the jarred variety.
Thickened cream – Also known as whipping cream or heavy cream, it has a milk fat content of at least 35%.
Lemon zest and lemon juice – Add vibrant, fresh flavour and a gentle tang to balance the creamy sauce.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste.
Parsley – For the best flavour, I prefer the flat-leaf variety.
Step by step instructions:
- To prepare the tenderloins, use a sharp knife to remove the tendon at one end of the tenderloin. Pat the chicken dry with some paper towel. On a large plate, mix the flour and dried oregano. Toss the chicken in the flour so it is well coated. Tap off any excess flour.
- Melt half the butter and the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
- Add the remaining butter to the same pan then add the garlic, cooking for 1-2 minutes, being careful to not let the garlic burn. Add the lemon juice and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to get all the flavour. Add the zest and the cream, and mix. Simmer for three minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Add the parsley and season well. Serve immediately.
Tips for success and FAQs:
As the chicken cooks very quickly, you will need to have all your ingredients ready before you begin to cook.
Yes, you certainly can. Just be careful to not overcook the chicken breast as it tends to become tough and dry if it becomes even a little overcooked.
There is a small, white, tough tendon visible at one end of the tenderloin. Remove it with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors. There’s no need to remove it all; the tendon inside the meat is very thin and you won’t notice it after cooking but it is important to remove the larger, thicker piece. Don’t try to pull it out or the meat may fall apart.
It is best if served as soon as it is made. However, you could prepare the separate components a day ahead, and store in the refrigerator ready to cook. The cooking process is so speedy.
If you should happen to have leftovers, store them in the fridge as soon as possible. Store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days, then reheat gently on low heat on the stovetop or in a microwave. For safety reasons, if leftovers have been out of the fridge for 2 hours, discard them. I don’t recommend freezing this dish. With the high dairy content, on thawing, it could separate.
The Creamy Lemon Chicken works well with so many dishes.
Serve it alongside of:
- Pasta, rice or crusty bread.
- Roasted Broccolini or a Rocket and Pear Salad.
- Mashed or roasted potatoes.
- Couscous or quinoa.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
Easy, tasty and comforting meals are some of our favourites, and here are some more we love for you to try:
- Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
- Pork Sausage Ragu
- Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Shells
- Eggplant Involtini
This delicious Creamy Lemon Chicken is quickly and easily prepared, making it an ideal main course for busy weeknights. However, it is also an elegant dish and one which guests will enjoy. There is a perfect balance of flavours; it is creamy, with the tang of lemon offsetting the cream. To balance the creamy sauce, serve the chicken with a fresh-tasting salad such as our Rocket and Pear Salad or Kale and Apple Slaw. I hope that you enjoy this meal very soon.
Creamy Lemon Chicken
For accuracy, when weights are provided, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
For the Chicken:
- 500 g (1.1 lb) chicken tenderloins
- ¼ cup (40 g) all-purpose/plain flour – use gluten-free if needed
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to season to the flour
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon butter See Note 1
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
For the Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon butter See Note 1
- 2 large garlic cloves – minced
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping/thickened cream See Note 2
- 1-3 teaspoon lemon zest – loosely packed, add to taste See Note 3
- 2-4 tablespoon (40-80 ml) lemon juice – freshly squeezed, add to taste See Note 4
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley – finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste See Note 5
- Have all your ingredients prepared before you start to cook.There is a small, white, tough tendon at the end of the chicken tenderloin. You will need to remove it with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors. There’s no need to remove it all; the tendon inside the meat is very thin and you won’t notice it after cooking but it is important to remove the larger, thicker piece. Don’t try to pull it out or the meat may fall apart.
- Pat the chicken dry with some paper towel. On a large plate, mix the flour, the dried oregano and some salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in it so it is well coated. Tap off any excess flour.
- Heat one tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until just cooked through.Remove the chicken and set it aside on a plate.
- Add the remaining one tablespoon of butter to the same pan and add the garlic, cooking for 1-2 minutes, being careful to not let the garlic burn.
- Add the lemon juice and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon to get all the flavour.
- Add the zest and the cream, and mix. Simmer for three minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. (It will thicken more as it stands.)
- Add the parsley and season well. Serve immediately.
- In Australia, the tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. Please adjust your measurement if necessary.
- Whipping cream – also known as thickened cream or heavy cream, has a milk fat percentage of at least 35%.
- Zest: be sure to remove the zest before juicing the lemon. We make this recipe with 3 teaspoons of lemon zest – this does give the dish an intense lemon flavour. If you prefer it to be more subtle, start with 1 teaspoon and add more to to taste.
- Lemon juice: we use 4 tablespoon (80 ml) of lemon juice in this recipe – it does give the dish an intense lemon flavour. If you prefer it to be more subtle, start with 2 tablespoon and add to taste. Lemons can vary in intensity and different varieties will give you a different flavour profile.
- Adjust the seasoning to your liking – we recommend using freshly ground black pepper and sea salt flakes for the best flavour.
- Please note, the nutritional information is based on four serves. It does not include what the dish is served with. The nutritional information is an estimate only.
The nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.