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Lemon pepper chicken is an all-time classic crowd-pleasing chicken dish. Chicken breasts are lightly breaded and pan-fried until golden, then served in a creamy citrusy sauce. It's an easy recipe that uses mostly pantry ingredients, and it's ready in just 30 minutes!
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Here's a recipe for creamy lemon pepper chicken you'll want to add to your weekly rotation. It's simple yet so delicious and is easily turned into a meal when paired with a side like pasta, rice, or vegetables.
To make it, chicken breasts are lightly tossed in flour and our homemade lemon pepper seasoning then pan-fried until golden and crispy. We use the same pan to make the creamy lemon pepper sauce with just a handful of real ingredients. It's quick to make and clean-up is a breeze!
What is lemon pepper seasoning?
Lemon pepper seasoning is a blend of dried lemon zest, pepper, and salt. Some recipes add other ingredients like sugar, garlic powder, or onion powder. It's used as a seasoning for meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, and even soups and stews to add a pop of pepper and citrus flavor!
Try our homemade lemon pepper seasoning, or use store-bought. Store-bought lemon pepper blends may contain other potentially unwanted ingredients, so be sure to check the label.
Lemon pepper chicken ingredients
The list of ingredients for this lemon pepper chicken is short, and most of them you're likely to find in your pantry. Here's what you'll need for the chicken:
- All-purpose flour – to coat the chicken, giving it a nice crispy exterior when cooked.
- Lemon pepper seasoning – we use our homemade lemon pepper seasoning in this recipe, which has both salt and garlic. If the blend you are using does not, you'll want to season the sauce to taste.
- Chicken breasts – look for boneless skinless chicken breasts that are relatively even in size. Thighs will also work, just make sure they are boneless and skinless.
- Olive oil – for frying.
Here's what you'll need for the delicious lemon pepper sauce:
- Lemon pepper seasoning – use our homemade lemon pepper seasoning, or store-bought will work, too!
- Chicken stock
- Whipping cream – just a half cup of whipping cream makes the sauce extra creamy.
- Lemon juice – ideally fresh lemon juice, for adding a pop of bright lemon flavor at the end.
How to make lemon pepper chicken
Lemon pepper chicken is delicious and easy to make! Here's how it comes together in just a few simple steps:
- Start by placing the chicken breasts on a cutting board and pounding the thick end with the palm of your hand so they are even in thickness. This will help them cook evenly. Mix the flour and lemon pepper seasoning together in a bowl, then add the chicken breasts and mix to coat them in the seasoned flour.
- Next, get your oil nice and hot in a non-stick frying pan or skillet. Cook the chicken until golden, flip, then reduce the heat to cook through. When they're done, remove them from the pan and set them aside.
- To make the sauce, add the butter and garlic to the pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Then whisk in the chicken broth, whipping cream, and lemon pepper seasoning and bring the pan to a boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken, then remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.
- Return the chicken and any juices to the pan and mix it into the sauce. That's it! We like to serve it with some lemon slices on the side.
Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.
Variations to try
This lemon pepper chicken recipe is really versatile so it's easy to put a spin on it and make it your own. Here are a few ideas for variations to try:
- Add some Italian seasoning for more herbaceous flavor.
- Get your daily dose of greens by adding a few handfuls of spinach to the sauce. Add it when the sauce is finished, it will wilt with the heat in less than 2 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped parsley for a pop of green color. Parsley also helps bring out the other flavors of the dish.
- To make this dish completely gluten-free, use cornstarch instead of flour to coat the chicken breasts.
More lemon pepper recipes
What to serve with lemon pepper chicken
Lemon pepper chicken can be easily turned into a meal when paired with so many different sides. From pasta and rice dishes to vegetable sides, here are some of our favorite recipes to serve it with.
Can I use bone-in chicken?
We recommend using boneless, skinless chicken because it will cook more evenly in the pan.
Could I make this using fish or seafood?
Definitely! While we haven't tried it, a firmer white fish would work well in this recipe, or try our popular lemon pepper fish recipe without the breading.
How long should I marinate the chicken in lemon pepper seasoning?
There is so much flavor in this recipe that it is really not necessary to marinate the chicken.
Can I use bottled lemon pepper seasoning for this recipe?
Sure! If you have store-bought lemon pepper seasoning on hand, you can definitely use it. Note that we use our homemade lemon pepper seasoning, which has both salt and garlic. If the blend you are using does not, you'll want to season the sauce to taste.
Can I use chicken thighs?
Yes! Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work great in this recipe. You'll have enough breading for 8 chicken thighs. As they cook faster than chicken breasts, cook boneless thighs for about 12 minutes total.
How long does lemon pepper chicken keep in the fridge?
Store any leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for 3-4 days.
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- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
- 4 medium chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board then pound the thick end with the heel of your palm so that they are even in thickness. Mix the flour and lemon pepper seasoning in a medium-sized bowl. Add the chicken and mix so that the chicken is well-coated.2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning, 4 medium chicken breasts
- Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, reduce the heat to medium, and let it cook through, for about another 8 -10 minutes, until it's cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Add the butter and garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, whipping cream, and lemon pepper seasoning and then bring the pan to a boil. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes to thicken slightly then remove it from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.1 tablespoon butter, 2 cloves garlic, ½ cup chicken stock, ½ cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- Return the chicken and any juices to the pan and mix it into the sauce.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.
For more inspiration, check out all of our chicken recipes!