Lemon Pepper Chicken with tender crispy breasts smothered in a citrus butter sauce. This recipe is completely different than any other version you'll find!
This is nothing like that boring, dry lemon pepper chicken that is simply chicken that's been covered with lemon pepper and baked. Boring! No. This recipe is bursting with flavor and the meat completely fork tender.
Why this recipe works:
Any recipe that starts off with lightly floured tenderized chicken breasts that have been fried to perfection is a winner in my book.
The lemon butter sauce is what makes this recipe a home run.
What can I use instead of lemon pepper?
Don't have lemon pepper on hand? Neither did I. Why use something that's been sitting in your cupboard for years when there's an easy alternative that tastes a thousand times better?
Lemon pepper (also called lemon pepper seasoning) is a seasoning made from granulated lemon zest and cracked black peppercorns. The lemon zest is mashed with the pepper to allow the citrus oil to infuse into the pepper. This mix is then baked and dried.
Any time you find a recipe that calls for lemon pepper, you can easily replace it with fresh lemon zest and freshly ground pepper.
To make this easy dinner recipe:
- Flatten the chicken breasts. Use plastic wrap for easy clean up. This makes them incredibly tender and allows them to cook at an even rate.
- Cover the breasts with lemon zest, salt, and freshly ground pepper, then lightly bread in flour.
- Fry them in bubbling hot butter and olive oil until they are crispy brown. Set them aside and loosely tent with foil while you make the sauce.
- For the sauce, you'll add more butter to the pan (oh yes), lemon juice, honey, salt, and fresh parsley. As the butter melts, be sure to scrape every last bit off the bottom of the pan. Be sure to taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients, as needed.
- Slice up the chicken and add it, along with any juices from the plate, back to the sauce. Enjoy!
Serve it with:
Lemon Pepper Chicken
- 1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts (2 large boneless skinless - see note)
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (the zest from one large lemon)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (divided)
- 1 tsp black pepper (freshly ground)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 tbsp butter (divided)
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice (the juice from one large lemon)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 tbsp italian parsley (minced)
- Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer until uniformly thick.
- Season both sides of chicken breasts with lemon zest, pepper, and about half of the salt. Dredge them in flour and shake off any excess flour.
- Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat in a large skillet. Pan-fry the chicken pieces, taking care not to over crowd the pan.
- Cook until the bottom is dark golden brown, then flip them over, reduce heat to low, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and cover. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, then immediately transfer chicken to a plate and loosely tent with foil.
- Using the pan you cooked the chicken in, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, lemon juice, honey, parsley, and remaining salt. Scrape and dissolve any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Let cook for a few minutes until the butter melts and the sauce is fully mixed. Taste the sauce and if it's too tart, add small amounts of salt and continue to taste until it's perfect.
- Slice the chicken on a cutting board, then add the chicken as well as any juice from the plate back to the pan with the sauce and spoon sauce over chicken. Serve and enjoy!
- I used 1 1/4 pounds chicken for this recipe because this is what I had, but you can easily follow the same recipe and make anywhere from 1-2 pounds of chicken.
- This recipe can easily be doubled if you're feeding a crowd. Just be sure to cook the chicken in batches so that you don't overcrowd the pan and cool it down too rapidly by adding too much chicken.
- You really can't taste the honey in the sauce. The sweet is meant to counteract the tartness of the lemon. Same with the salt. If the final sauce seems too tart, you can add small amounts of both honey and salt until it seems balanced.
Chicken breast recipes for dinner:
Any time I am not quite sure what to make for dinner, a pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts come to the rescue. I often will buy the vacuum sealed 3 pack at Costco so I always have some on hand.
Here are some quick and easy chicken dinner recipe ideas...