Creamy Lemon Butter Chicken is an easy dinner that’s cooked on the stovetop before being baked in the oven, all in one pan! Chicken thighs are cooked to tender perfection in a flavorful lemon and garlic cream sauce with spinach. It’s both simple and flavor-packed!

overhead view of creamy lemon butter chicken in a skillet

What’s in this Lemon Butter Chicken recipe

This recipe features a handful of simple, inexpensive, and delicious ingredients that you likely already have on hand. The creamy lemon butter sauce is the star of this show!

  • Chicken Thighs: For this one pan recipe, I like to use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs for the juiciest results.
  • Lemon Pepper: This adds a bright, peppery flavor!
  • Butter: Salted butter will lend the most flavor.
  • Garlic: You’ll need both fresh garlic cloves and garlic paste for this garlicky chicken dinner.
  • Chicken Broth: This helps fill out the sauce.
  • Heavy Cream: This is what creates the creamy consistency of the lemon butter sauce.
  • Parmesan Cheese: For the best flavor and consistency, use freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • Lemon Juice: I always recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice over anything from a bottle, especially when it’s such a key ingredient like it is here.
  • Salt: Kosher salt is better to use for this recipe than iodized.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme creates a subtle herbaceous flavor. Use it as a garnish as well to really send this dish over the top.
  • Baby Spinach: Fresh spinach is preferred over canned or frozen.

Pro Tip: If you prefer chicken breast, try this baked lemon butter chicken recipe instead.

What else can I add?

Craving even more lemon butter flavor with this chicken? Feel free to sprinkle in some lemon zest, either with the seasonings, or on top of the chicken as a garnish (or both). You can also mix in some greens like kale and/or arugula with the spinach if you really want to enhance the nutrients in this recipe.

overhead view of lemon butter chicken thighs in a creamy sauce, on a serving platter
How do I know when the chicken is fully cooked?

The safest answer is to always check the temperature of the meat. Once a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 165°F, you know the chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Do I have to bake the chicken?

Yes! For best results, crisp up the skin of the chicken thighs on your stovetop before transferring the skillet to the oven so the chicken can cook through all the way. It’ll turn out deliciously juicy and tender this way.

Can I use half and half instead of heavy cream?

Yes, but your sauce won’t be as creamy or thick.

side view of a plate of lemon butter chicken with a fork

How to Store and Reheat

Once it’s cooled to room temperature, you can store your leftover lemon butter chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or back in the oven until warmed through.

I don’t recommend freezing this dish because the cream sauce doesn’t hold up well once frozen.

What to Serve with Creamy Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs

Rice, pasta, and veggies of all kinds pair fabulously with this creamy lemon butter chicken! I usually serve it over some form of rice or pasta to help absorb all of that lemony, garlicky cream sauce!

overhead view of a plate of chicken thigh in a creamy lemon butter sauce, with rice and lemon slices
lemon butter chicken google

Creamy Lemon Butter Chicken

Creamy Lemon Butter Chicken features tender chicken thighs that are served in the most incredible lemony, garlicky cream sauce!


  • Preheat oven to 400F.

  • Place chicken thighs in a bowl and add salt and lemon pepper. Toss to combine. Set aside.

    4 chicken thighs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon lemon pepper

  • Heat a medium/large skillet (oven safe) over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and allow to melt, making sure the entire base of the skillet is coated.

    3 tablespoons salted butter

  • Add the chicken, skin side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and sear other side. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.

  • Return skillet to the heat and add additional 1 tablespoon butter. Allow to melt, stirring and deglazing the pan.

  • Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

    3 cloves minced garlic

  • Stir in the chicken broth, heavy cream, parmesan, lemon juice, and thyme. Stir to fully combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

    1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

  • Allow sauce to thicken for 5 minutes and then stir in spinach leaves.

    5 ounces baby spinach

  • Stir to wilt leaves slightly but not fully.

  • Add chicken back to skillet and bake the entire pan in the oven for 25 minutes or until internal chicken temperature reaches 165F.

  • Serve over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or alone. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh thyme. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Creamy Lemon Butter Chicken

Amount Per Serving

Calories 603
Calories from Fat 477

% Daily Value*

Fat 53g82%

Saturated Fat 26g163%

Cholesterol 226mg75%

Sodium 995mg43%

Potassium 540mg15%

Carbohydrates 6g2%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 26g52%

Vitamin A 4680IU94%

Vitamin C 18mg22%

Calcium 228mg23%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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