I am not a chef, but Lemon Chicken With Thyme is one of my favorite meals. Before you ask me whether I cook, I’ll let you know that I’m a vegetarian (I eat fish). I started cooking because I broke several bones and could not find work. Anyway, Lemon Chicken With Thyme is the perfect dish to impress company.
Quick Lemon Thyme Chicken
You’ll love this quick and easy lemon thyme chicken recipe for a go-to weeknight dinner! You can count on this no-fail method for cooking chicken breasts in a skillet, and pair it with a simple sauce of garlic, herbs, white wine, and citrus for a delicious meal. No cream!
Easy recipes like this creamy Tuscan chicken, bruschetta chicken, honey mustard chicken and green beans, or this brown butter sage chicken skillet hit the spot when you need to liven up basic chicken breasts!
One thing I am pretty sure we could all use more of is quick, no-fail, delicious weeknight recipes. Whether you are coming home harried from work or errands or kids’ activities or just wrapping up a(nother) long day, it’s comforting to have a dinner plan that you know is going to be simple to prepare and, equally if not more important, taste really good! After all, however simple the dinner, you’re still not going to want to cook it if you don’t want to eat it, too!
Along those lines, this recipe has become one of my go-to MVPs. Simple, fresh ingredients are always a good start. You probably have most of what you need for this already in your house.
Tender, juicy chicken breasts with a light crust pair beautifully with a light sauce of citrus, garlic, and herbs. A little white wine and butter don’t hurt, either! And, from a process perspective, making the sauce in the same skillet you used for the chicken is a double bonus – the sauce takes on extra flavor, and you only have one pan to clean.
See? Definite dinner of champions.
Ingredients and shopping tips
Here’s your shopping list:
- Chicken Breasts: Boneless, skinless. If they’re very thick or uneven, take an extra minute to slice them down the middle (aka, butterfly) before cooking. It makes a huge difference in allowing them to cook more quickly and evenly.
- All-Purpose Flour: Just a smidge, for dredging the chicken, which creates a light, crunchy crust on each piece. Use almond flour or skip it entirely if you’re avoiding gluten.
- Chicken Broth.
- White Wine. Add more chicken broth instead if you’re avoiding all alcohol.
- Garlic and Thyme: Fresh, minced garlic imparts the most amazing aroma and flavor. Fresh or dried thyme will work fine!
- Lemon: This doesn’t need to be too exact, so I usually just add the juice of 1 lemon. If you want to be more precise, use 2 tablespoons.
- Freebies: salt, pepper, olive oil.
One thing that’s NOT in this recipe: cream!
Many recipes for lemon chicken with herbs, specifically thyme, call for a cream sauce. I recommend giving it a try without: you really don’t need cream here to make a sauce that tastes rich and flavorful, so why not save those calories for other things? 🙂
Also, adding cream with citrus introduces a risk that the sauce will separate, unless you’re very careful with the heat and cooking time. So you can make it a touch healthier AND easier to make. Win-win!
How to make it
This method of cooking chicken breasts is so simple yet fool-proof.
One of the best tips I know for cooking chicken is to let it rest out of the fridge for a few minutes before you do anything else. Stone cold meat tends to cook less evenly – specifically, the breasts can be overcooked and dry on the outside by the time they are done on the inside. No bueno. So set the meat on the counter for a few minutes while you prep the rest of your ingredients or a quick side dish.
- When ready to cook, season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece lightly in flour, and sauté briefly on each side, just until browned on the outside and cooked through. Voila! This chicken stays tender!
- Now remove the cooked chicken to a plate, and set aside briefly. Cover the plate with foil, if you like, to keep the chicken warm.
- Now, in the same skillet, you’ll make the sauce. Add a bit more olive oil, if the pan looks very dry, then cook the minced garlic and thyme just until they’re fragrant. Add the white wine, then the chicken broth, and let it all simmer for a few minutes.
- Now stir in the lemon juice and butter. When the butter is melted, you’re ready to eat! I like to add the chicken back to the skillet for just a minute or two, so it soaks up that delicious sauce – and looks pretty.
Don’t forget to spoon the extra sauce generously over not only the chicken pieces, but also any sides. It’s worth it!
This dish is 100% worthy of casual entertaining, and you can make it look gorgeous just by putting a few extra sprigs of fresh thyme around the skillet and topping everything with a few charred lemon slices.
How To Char Lemon Slices
You can char lemon slices in the same skillet before you start the chicken, or in a separate skillet while you make the chicken/sauce. Either way, just cut thin slices, brush or spray them lightly with olive oil, and put in a skillet over medium-high heat. Check them every 2-3 minutes, and flip when the underside starts to have small blackened spots. See!? Gorgeous and easy!
Complete the meal
Lemon thyme chicken goes beautifully with a simple salad, roasted asparagus, or broccoli. My personal favorite meal is to pair this with an arugula salad or broccolini and a side of orzo. The lemon thyme sauce is incredible spooned over the greens and pasta, and makes the whole meal really feel fresh and flavorful for minimal effort.
Enjoy! If you try making this Lemon Thyme Chicken or any other recipe from Nourish and Fete, please rate it and leave a comment below. We love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!
Lemon Thyme Chicken
prep time: 5 MINS
cook time: 20 MINS
total time: 25 MINS
servings: 4 SERVINGS
Meet your new favorite weeknight dinner! A no-fail method for quickly-cooked chicken breasts, paired with a simple sauce of garlic, herbs, white wine, and citrus.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves minced (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (I usually use low-sodium)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow bowl or plate, then lightly dredge each piece of chicken through it to coat, shaking gently to remove any excess.
- Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute for 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through and lightly golden. Remove the chicken to a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.
- If the pan looks extremely dry, add a tiny bit more olive oil. Add garlic and thyme to the skillet and sauté for about 1 minute, just until fragrant.
- Add wine and scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen any browned bits, then stir in the chicken broth. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and cook until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, 5-6 minutes. Add the lemon juice, followed by the butter, and stir until butter is melted. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Spoon the sauce over the chicken to serve.
- If you can, it really helps to allow your chicken to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before you begin cooking it. Stone cold chicken breasts tend to cook less evenly, i.e. they can be overcooked and dry on the outside by the time they are fully cooked on the inside.
- If your chicken pieces are very thick, or if they are noticeably uneven, try slicing them in half through the middle before seasoning and cooking. (aka “butterflying” the chicken.) This will also help them cook more evenly and quickly!
Lemon and Thyme Chicken Breasts
I recently saw a few recipes for the Barefoot Contessa’s lemon chicken floating around the web, and the recipe looked so good I had to make it. I adapted it a bit by using skinless chicken breasts and I used chicken broth instead of wine because that is what I had on hand. The dish was very simple to put together and it smelled amazing while it baked. I basted the chicken breasts a few times while they were in the oven so they would stay moist. The meat turned out really tender, moist, and so delicious. I really loved the lemon flavor. Both of my kids liked it and so did my husband. A quick and simple recipe – perfect for a weeknight!
How to Make Lemon and Thyme Chicken Breasts
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, and thyme leaves to the pan. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place the chicken in the baking dish along with the lemon wedges and the two sprigs of thyme.
Place into the oven and bake, basting occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle the pan sauce on top of the slices of chicken and serve. Enjoy!
Lemon and Thyme Chicken Breasts
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:40 minutes
Total Time:50 minutes
Author: Pam / For the Love of Cooking
- Small skillet
- Large Baking Dish
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 5-6 cloves of garlic minced
- ⅓ cup of chicken broth
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1 lemon
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
- Two sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 lemon cut into 4 wedges
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, and thyme leaves to the pan. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place the chicken in the baking dish along with the lemon wedges and the two sprigs of thyme.
- Place into the oven and bake, basting occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.
- Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle the pan sauce on top of the slices of chicken and serve. Enjoy!
Creamy Lemon Chicken with Thyme
Creamy Lemon Chicken with Thyme is an easy, weeknight dinner that just needs one skillet and is ready in 30 minutes.
We are talking about flavorful, lemony, thyme chicken breasts that are tossed in a creamy sauce that doesn’t have any heavy cream, which makes this meal light, healthy and easy.
Like you, I’m always looking for easy weeknight dinner recipes. Which is how this super easy lemon chicken recipe with thyme was born. One of those late evening experiments which turned out to be so yummy that since then, we’ve been making them again and again.
This simple recipe uses a small list of ingredients – chicken, olive oil, butter, garlic, thyme, lemon, flour and milk. I usually have most of these in my pantry, and don’t worry if you don’t have fresh thyme, although I really love the flavor. Dried thyme works in a jiffy!
Thyme and lemon are flavors that always complement each other which is why I love using them together in this recipe.
I definitely like using chicken breasts in this recipe, simply because they cook really fast. And when it’s time for dinner, I have a family that doesn’t like to wait. They are also leaner and healthier than red meat so thats a win win. But it’s very important to cook them right or they can taste dry and rubbery.
I usually start by rubbing minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper over the chicken breasts and leaving them to marinate for 15-20 minutes. This helps add more flavor to the breasts and the lemon juice tenderizes them slightly.
In they go into a really hot pan for a quick sear till they are golden brown and then cook for another couple of minutes to make sure they are almost done.
Once the chicken is cooked, you use the same pan to make the sauce. Add a little more butter, cook some flour till light golden in colour and whisk in the milk and thyme for a simple flavorful sauce that coats the chicken and gives this recipe its creaminess.
What to serve lemon chicken with?
When we want to keep this low carb, I serve this with steamed broccoli, mashed cauliflower “potatoes” or asparagus. But this lemon chicken also goes really well with brown rice, mashed potatoes and quinoa.
This is the kind of dinner that will have everyone licking their plates clean. And its simple and easy enough for you to be able to make it on demand!
I hope you try this recipe and love this as much as I do.
COOK TIME25 minutes
TOTAL TIME30 minutes
Creamy Lemon Thyme Chicken is an easy, weeknight dinner that just needs one skillet and is ready in 30 minutes. We are talking about lemony, thyme flavoured chicken breasts that are tossed in a creamy sauce that doesn’t have any heavy cream, which makes this meal light, healthy and easy.
- ▢1 tablespoon olive oil
- ▢4 chicken breasts boneless skinless
- ▢1 teaspoon garlic minced
- ▢1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ▢1 teaspoon salt divided
- ▢½ teaspoon pepper
- ▢1 tablespoon butter
- ▢1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- ▢1 ½ cups milk
- ▢½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ▢½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme Leaves
- Rub the chicken breasts with garlic, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper and set aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add chicken breasts. Cook the breasts for 5-6 minutes on each side till cooked though and not pink from inside. Once cooked, take the chicken breasts out of the pan and set them aside on a plate. Cover the plate with foil to keep the breasts warm.
- In the same pan heat butter and add the flour. Stir the flour for a minute and slowly start whisking in the milk till all the milk is incorporated and there are no lumps.
- Simmer the sauce while stirring occasionally till the sauce thickens slightly. Add the remaining salt, lemon zest and thyme and mix. Add the chicken back to the pan and simmer for two more minutes. Serve immediately.