featured image creamy lemon chicken

Creamy Lemon Chicken

Creamy Lemon Chicken begins as cutlets sauteed until golden, then blanketed in a creamy luxe sauce of lemon, honey, garlic and Crème fraîche.

With much gratitude and appreciation, this recipe courtesy of our friends at Eating Well Magazine!

Lemon Chicken Cutlets in a saucepan

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

What Is Crème Fraîche And What Does It Taste Like?

Crème Fraîche is sour cream’s affable French cousin, smooth and creamy but with a bit less tanginess. Crème Fraîche is a type of thick cream made from heavy cream with the addition of buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt.

It contains anywhere from 10 to 45 percent butterfat that is reinoculated with naturally occurring ferments and lactic acid after pasteurization. This process initiates a “natural” fermentation. Crème fraîche has been described as having a tart but slightly nutty flavor.

Lemon Chicken Cutlets in a saucepan

Grated fresh garlic cloves mingle with sweet honey over heat until they are one. The elixir is soon doubled with the addition of dry white wine and fresh lemon juice, then reduced…

It’s not often that I use the word ‘sumptuous’ to describe a dish I’ve experienced, but this Creamy Lemon Chicken recipe is an exception. Be sure to begin with super fresh chicken breasts. I use only two and slice them in half and pound thin. They are sautéed until golden and lightly crisped.

Grated fresh garlic cloves mingle with sweet honey over heat until they are one. The elixir is soon doubled with the addition of dry white wine and fresh lemon juice, then reduced.

During reduction, the flavors of the garlic, honey, and lemon are concentrated. Lemon becomes the predominant taste in the end with sweet honey and caramelized garlic undertones.

Just before the golden brown cutlets are added back to the hot pan, a scant amount of crème fraîche is whisked into the lemon and honey mixture for creaminess and sheen. The chicken is tender and juicy, the creamy lemon sauce light and bright.

This just may be among the best of the chicken dinner to emerge from your kitchen in not so many minutes! Serve with pasta or rice and a vegetable for a quick and complete meal. Who says all of the easy recipes have already been done?

Do You Have What’s Needed To Make Creamy Lemon Chicken? Check The List!

smoked paprika
dried thyme
Kosher salt
black pepper
chicken breasts
cornstarch
canola oil
low-sodium chicken broth
dry white wine
fresh lemon juice
honey
fresh garlic cloves
crème fraîche
fresh parsley

How This Recipe Came About…

I’m always on the hunt for new chicken recipes. I especially embrace healthier recipes that taste like I’m cheating! This recipe for Creamy Lemon Chicken is both.

I spent a fair amount of time a month or so back both looking for recipes for honey garlic chicken, as well as experimenting on my own. One search led to another, and before I knew it, I was staring today’s recipe in the face on the pages of Eating Well Magazine.

The recipe I assumed may be too similar to my post on Chicken Francaise, but upon reading through the ingredients, I knew I was looking at something entirely unique. The ingredients are eclectic and only marry at the very end. Smoked paprika, thyme, pinot grigio, lemon, honey, and best of all, grated garlic cloves.

Lemon Chicken Cutlets in a saucepan

How To Make Creamy Lemon Chicken?

Cornstarch plays a big role in this dish, as the chicken is dusted with the starch just before the sauté. The cornstarch makes browning and crisping a quick task.

Figure on 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on how thin or thick your cutlets are. If in doubt, an instant read thermometer registering 165°F will settle the question.

The pan sauce is a cinch, as chicken broth, white wine, fresh lemon juice, honey, and grated garlic are brought to a simmer and reduced by half. It’s during this reduction that the flavors take shape vying for the top profile.

The crème fraîche is the last ingredient to meet the pan, and is whisked in gently so as to melt and become one with the sauce. You’ll notice the aroma of the sauce is hard to keep from dipping a spoon into. The chicken cutlets are added back to the sauce for about 5 minutes or until hot through and through.

Lemon Chicken Cutlets in a saucepan

How Do I Make A Chicken Breast A Chicken Cutlet?

Grab a large and sharp kitchen knife. Remove the chicken breasts from the packaging and rinse and pat them dry on top of a layer of paper toweling.

Make sure the chicken breasts are lying flat on the paper toweling. Holding the knife in one hand, and with the other hand placed firmly over the chicken breast, begin to slice directly through the breast lengthwise slowly so as to keep the cut even.

Separate the two halves. Place between sheets of plastic wrap or in a large (unsealed) zipper storage bag. Use the flat side of a meat mallet or a large rolling pin and pound the breasts to about 1/2-inch thick. Et voilà! Cutlets.

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What If I Cannot Find Crème Fraîche?

Although the two are similar, crème fraîche and sour cream do have notable differences that most certainly can affect the outcome of a recipe. This is especially true if the crème fraîche is being specified to thicken a hot liquid or sauce.

Sour cream is roughly 20 percent fat and crème fraiche is right at 30 percent fat. This small, but HUGELY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION means crème fraiche is not prone to curdling. Sour cream, meanwhile, is prone to curdling when heated.

Because of this, mascarpone cheese, in a pinch, is a much better substitute than sour cream which may curdle and break in the lemon sauce. If using sour cream, remove the pan from the heat and wait for a minute or two before whisking the sour cream in.

If you are planning this dish ahead and cannot attain crème fraiche, combine two cups of heavy cream with three tablespoons of buttermilk in a jar, then wait for two days for the mixture to magically thicken. You can use your new DIY crème fraiche anywhere you’d normally use store-bought sour cream so nothing ends up going to waste.

Lemon Chicken Cutlets in a saucepan

Modifying The Norm To Make It Not Entirely Average…

This recipe is so good, I can see doubling the sauce and stirring in penne or rotini for a creamy lemon chicken pasta to make things not so entirely average. Lemon chicken breast atop hot pasta blanketed in this lovely lemony sauce with Parmesan cheese and maybe some fresh lemon slices as garnish.

Also, instant pot quinoa drizzled with just a tiny bit of high-quality olive oil and hot creamy lemon chicken cutlets served along with it would be quite nice. Round it out with some broccoli rabe and this makes for a great meal plan.

And of course, there is always creamy lemon chicken with rice. But in lieu of a basic white rice, consider a wild rice blend or pecan rice. To it, add a handful of toasted chopped macadamia nuts or pepitas and a pinch of flakey sea salt.

Lemon Chicken Cutlets in a saucepan

How Long Does Creamy Lemon Chicken Take To Make?

From beginning to end, set aside 20 minutes for this dish. That time estimate does not include the time it will take you to prepare and pound the chicken breasts, or to prepare a side dish. Take both of those into consideration when planning.

Aside from that, and assuming you measure everything out prior to beginning, this recipe moves quite quickly.

What To Serve With Creamy Lemon Chicken?

Lately, I have been partial to lightly sauteed vegetables and greens. In particular, fresh spinach is on my hot list. Creamy Lemon Chicken with spinach that’s been sauteed with garlic and a wee bit of salt is fabulous, and the two seem to pair naturally.

If pasta or rice don’t have you feeling enthusiastic, maybe a potato dish will? Consider Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole. If you prefer to keep to less starchy sides, Brown Butter French Green Beans With Toasted Pecans are always a big, big winner. I am also partial to A Butternut Squash Gratin With Parmesan And Rosemary.

Lemon Chicken Cutlets in a saucepan

What To Drink With Creamy Lemon Chicken?

The flavor profile in this dish requires a white wine with only a little oak or none at all. Truly, a chardonnay is my preference here, possibly a pinot grigio also. Both are seemingly perfect with bright, little stabs of citrus. Really HIGHLY recommending Frunza Pinot Grigio from Romania and also Araldica Gavi from Italy.

The floral bitterness of hops, although an acquired taste, can complement lemon and chicken irrespective of one another. Together though, complementing flavors is one of the simplest ways to make a delicious food and beer pairing. Russian River Pliny the Younger is higher in alcohol and with tons of hops. You’ll detect bitterness, layered aromatics, and lots of hoppy flavors upon first sip.

Boneyard Notorious is a Triple IPA with 11.5% and 80 IBU; this one is a bold beer coming from Boneyard Beer, Oregon. Lots of grapefruit and citrus undertones lead the way for a bitter palate infused with tropical fruit.

If You Like This Recipe…

…you might also like:

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Creamy Lemon Chicken

Creamy Lemon Chicken begins as cutlets sauteed until golden, then blanketed in a creamy luxe sauce of lemon, honey, garlic and Crème fraîche.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken breasts, chicken cutlets, chicken lemon cream sauce, cream sauce recipe, creamy lemon chicken, creamy lemon chicken recipe, honey garlic chicken, how to make creamy lemon chicken, how to make lemon chicken, lemon chicken sauce, make lemon chicken, weeknight
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 511kcal
Cost: $2.32 per serving

Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.

Equipment

Ingredients

Ingredients for Creamy Lemon Chicken

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 chicken cutlets about 1-pound total weight
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large clove garlic grated
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche see note in recipe card for making crème fraîche ahead if you are unable to find it in your local grocery; in a pinch, substitute mascarpone or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup parsley fresh, chopped

Instructions

The Method

  • Combine paprika, thyme, salt and ground black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over chicken. Place cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken in the cornstarch, shaking off excess.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, cook the chicken, flipping once, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°F, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  • Add broth, wine, lemon juice, honey and garlic to the pan and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and whisk in crème fraîche. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
Substitutions: mascarpone cheese or sour cream may be used in lieu of crème fraiche.
To Make Homemade Crème Fraiche combine two cups of heavy cream with three tablespoons of buttermilk in a jar. Place in refrigerator. Mixture will thicken within two days. Use crème fraiche anywhere you’d normally use store-bought sour cream so nothing ends up going to waste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 380mg | Potassium: 767mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 675IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg

Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.

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2 Comments

  1. Beautiful chicken!! I love where you talked about how the recipe came about. Great info! Thanks for sharing at the Lazy Gastronome’s What’s for Dinner party. Have a fabulous rest of the week!

    1. Helen, thank you! If I don’t chat with you sooner, have a very Blessed Christmas with your family! x – Jenny