One-Pan Creamy Lemon Chicken

One-Pan Creamy Lemon Chicken is a simple and satisfying meal that comes together in a half hour or less. With butter and creamy lemon sauce, this seared chicken recipe is satisfying for the whole family!

One Pan Creamy lemon chicken in a black pan.

Healthy Creamy Chicken Dinner

This is one of those delicious no brainer recipes that could seriously save dinner! You know those AH HA moments where the lightbulb doesn’t just go off- it shatters? All those nights I stood in front of my opened fridge, drawing a blank on what to make for dinner. It’s true, even food bloggers get in a rut.

I’ve made this dish countless times, and each time I make it, I add or take away something new. Sometimes there might be cheese added, or kale. Maybe an extra dash of garlic powder here and there. What always stays consistent is the buttermilk base that makes this creamy and delicious meal so perfect. Between the butter, a pinch of flour, and the buttermilk, this is the perfect base of a sauce to customize it just the way your pallet desires.

With such basic ingredients, you can whip up this beautiful meal from start to finish in under thirty minutes- with ease! Each flavor speaks for itself and brings a fabulous taste to your dinner plate.

One Pan Creamy lemon chicken close up of a chicken filet in the lemon sauce and some charred lemons.

How to make One-Pan Creamy Lemon Chicken

Sear the chicken breasts

First, cut the chicken breasts in half, so each is only 1/2 inch thick. This will help them cook faster and more evenly. Pat the breasts dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with a dash of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat olive oil over medium heat and wait for the pan and oil to get hot. Place the chicken in the pan, and let it cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, or until each side is golden brown.

Tips for a Successful Pan Sear:

  • Ensure the pan and oil are hot before adding the chicken. This will help in achieving that delicious golden-brown crust.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan. If needed, cook the chicken in batches.
  • Avoid moving the chicken around too much. Let it cook undisturbed to get the best sear.

Make the cream sauce

After cooking the chicken breasts, remove them from the pan, and place to the side. Melt the butter, and add the chopped garlic to the pan. Let the garlic marry the butter and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the flour to the butter, and give it a good stir. Allow this to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until it is thick and crumbly. Add the chicken stock, lemon zest, and juice, and reduce the heat to low. Add the buttermilk to the pan, and give it a good mix. Place the chicken breasts back in the pan, and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Easy, right?

close up picture of One Pan Creamy lemon chicken in a black pan sprinkled with pepper.

Chef’s Tips

  1. Chicken Selection: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are ideal for a quick cook time and ease of eating. If you’re interested in a juicier cut, opt for boneless chicken thighs.
  2. Grass-Fed Butter: This is a fantastic choice due to its richer flavor and increased nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. If grass-fed butter isn’t available, regular unsalted butter will work too.
  3. Buttermilk: Brings a tangy depth to dishes. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and letting it sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice offers a brightness that can’t be achieved with bottled lemon juice. Meyer lemons can be used for a sweeter citrus flavor.
  5. Herbs: Fresh herbs at the end will not only elevate the presentation but also enhance the overall flavor. If using dried herbs, remember they’re more concentrated, so use sparingly.

Why Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is a wonderful ingredient to have in your culinary arsenal. Historically a by-product of butter-making, today’s buttermilk is more often than not cultured, meaning it’s made by introducing lactic acid bacteria to low-fat milk. Its acidity can tenderize proteins, making it an excellent marinade for poultry. In sauces, it offers a tangy creaminess without the fat of heavy cream.

Making Ahead and Storing

This dish can be made a day in advance. The flavors actually deepen when left to meld together. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, gently warm it up on the stovetop, adding a splash of chicken stock or buttermilk if the sauce thickens too much.

One Pan Creamy lemon chicken is plated with gnocci and fresh herbs on white plate.

Plating is key to this dish’s appeal. Lay down a bed of your chosen side (like rice or gnocchi), then place the chicken breast on top. Generously spoon over the creamy lemon sauce, then garnish with freshly chopped herbs and lemon slices for a fresh and appealing presentation.

More Chicken Recipes

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One Pan Creamy lemon chicken in a black pan.

One Pan Creamy Lemon Chicken

Sea Salt Savorings
One-Pan Creamy Lemon Chicken is a simple and satisfying meal that comes together in a half hour or less. With butter and creamy lemon sauce, this seared chicken recipe is satisfying for the whole family!
4.99 from 98 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 3 TBS grass fed butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon juice (about 1 TBS)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 TBS flour


  • In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. 
  • Slice the chicken breasts in half so each filet is 1/2 inch thick.  Pat chicken breasts with a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Place chicken in the pan, and sear on each side for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.
  • Melt butter in the pan.  Chop the garlic cloves, and add to the butter, allowing it to cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of flour into the butter mixture.  Stir for a minute, making sure to not burn the flour.  
  • Add the chicken broth and buttermilk to the pan, and stir to incorporate with the flour.  Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.   Reduce heat to low. 
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add lemon juice and stir. Remove from the heat.
  • Serve with fresh herbs like rosemary, basil, oregano, or thyme.  Fresh slices of lemon make this dish especially beautiful.  Serve over rice or gnocchi.  Mangia!

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

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4.99 from 98 votes (98 ratings without comment)

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