Lemon pepper just so happens to be my favorite flavor of chicken wings. Wings, however, are not a favorite weeknight dinner. Laboring over a hot pot of oil and dealing with batches of wings is nowhere on my weekday to-do list. Plump, juicy chicken breasts pan-fried and smothered in a lemon pepper sauce, though? Yeah, that’s more my weeknight style.
Lemon pepper seasoning along with fresh lemon juice give the chicken and luscious sauce tons of flavor without a lot of effort. All you need is 15 minutes of cook time and even less prep time to have this entrée ready for tonight’s dinner. Serve with a garden salad and a starch like steamed white rice or mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce and dinner’s complete.
What is Lemon Pepper?
Lemon pepper is a combination of black peppercorns and dried lemon zest. It’s readily available in jars at most supermarkets and may contain small amounts of other ingredients like garlic or onion powder and salt. The combination of spicy peppercorns and zesty citrus adds delicious flavor to chicken.
Tips for Making This Recipe
- Seasoning the chicken before dredging it in the flour helps the lemon pepper adhere to the meat better.
- Allowing the flour dredge to dry out slightly will give your chicken breast a bit more texture. After dredging the chicken breasts in the flour, lay them on a cooling rack or platter while the butter and oil heat up. Even that short amount of time will give the flour a chance to adhere to the chicken better than if you went directly from the flour plate to the pan.
- If you have heartier eaters, skip slicing the chicken in half and leave each breast whole. Increase the cooking time by 3 to 4 minutes per side and consider doubling the recipe.
Bake It Instead
These lemon pepper chicken breasts are pan-fried which gives them good color and texture. If you are looking to cut a few calories you can certainly bake them.
- Omit the flour and lightly brush each breast with olive oil on both sides. Place the chicken onto a sheet pan in a single layer.
- Sprinkle the lemon pepper seasoning and salt over the chicken on both sides.
- Bake the chicken in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, turning once halfway.
- Prepare the lemon pepper sauce on the stovetop as instructed and add the baked chicken breast to the skillet to coat in the sauce.
Easy Ingredient Swaps
- Swap the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend to make this recipe gluten-free.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the lemon pepper seasoning to make spicy lemon pepper chicken.
- Replace the chicken with turkey cutlets.
- Cilantro or sage are great replacements for the parsley in this recipe. Use the same amount of either herb in its place.
- Vegetable stock can be used in lieu of chicken stock.
Make It Ahead
If you’re a meal prepper, pan-fry the chicken and prepare the lemon pepper pan sauce as instructed. Instead of returning the chicken breast to the sauce to coat it, divide the sauce equally into your food storage containers and pack it in with the cooked chicken breast. Lemon pepper chicken breasts will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.
Quick and Easy Skillet Chicken Recipes
Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large chicken breasts)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
Lemon slices, for garnish (optional)
Cut the chicken breast into cutlets:
Place the palm of your hand flat against the top of a whole chicken breast to keep it from sliding around. With the broad side of your knife horizontal to the cutting board, cut through the chicken breast to create 2 thinner halves (cutlets).
Season, then dredge the chicken breasts:
In a small bowl, combine 4 teaspoons of the lemon pepper seasoning and the salt. Add the flour to a separate shallow dish.
Season both sides of each of the chicken breasts with the spice mixture. Dredge both sides of the seasoned chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess flour, then lay the dredged chicken on a wire rack or platter while you heat the pan.
Pan-fry the chicken:
In a large skillet, heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, swirl the pan a little to combine the two fats. Once the oil in the skillet begins to shimmer, lay your chicken cutlets in a single layer in the pan. You may need to fry in batches.
Fry the chicken for 3 minutes without moving. Use a pair of tongs to flip the chicken and fry until they’re cooked through, an additional 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Use your tongs to remove the chicken from the skillet to a platter.
Make the lemon pepper sauce:
Discard the darkened fat from the skillet. Return the skillet to the stove and add the remaining butter.
Melt the butter in the pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic. Sauté the garlic in the butter until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds.
Add the chicken stock and lemon juice and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the liquid in the skillet to come to a boil and continue to boil until very slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season the sauce with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning and salt to taste.
Coat the chicken:
Once the sauce has reduced slightly, return the chicken breasts to the pan. Turn them over to coat both sides in the sauce and turn the stove off. Allow the residual heat from the pan to warm the chicken up before sprinkling the chopped parsley over top.
Garnish with lemon slices and serve.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 18g||23%|
|Saturated Fat 7g||37%|
|Total Carbohydrate 12g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 9mg||47%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|