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. Unlike lemon pepper chicken that is simply chicken covered with lemon pepper and baked, this recipe is bursting with flavor and the juicy delicious chicken is completely fork tender.
Why this recipe is so great:
- Crispy chicken: Because the boneless skinless chicken breasts are tenderized, lightly floured, and pan fried to a gorgeous golden brown, the outside is sealed and the inside is moist.
- Amazing sauce: The lemon butter sauce is what makes this recipe a home run. Typical lemon pepper chicken is just chicken covered in lemon pepper. This has a lemon pepper sauce that covers each bite.
- Quick and easy to make: Similar to my Chicken Piccata (but without the capers), this is a fantastic stove top dinner recipe perfect for any busy weeknight.
Exact quantities are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Lemon pepper chicken: boneless skinless chicken breasts, lemon zest, salt, pepper, flour
- Lemon pepper sauce: olive oil, butter, lemon juice, honey, fresh Italian parsley
How to make Lemon Pepper Chicken:
Detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Flatten the chicken breasts: Use plastic wrap or a resealable plastic bag for easy clean up. Pound with a mallet or roll with a pastry roller so that the chicken breasts are of uniform thickness. This makes the chicken incredibly tender and allows them to cook at an even rate.
- Season: Cover the breasts with lemon zest, salt, and freshly ground pepper, then lightly bread in flour.
- Cook: Fry the lemon pepper chicken breasts 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.
- Make the sauce: Add more butter to the pan along with lemon juice, honey, salt, and fresh parsley. As the butter melts, be sure to scrape every last bit off the bottom of the pan. Taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients, as needed.
- Serve: Slice up the chicken and add it, along with any juices from the plate, back to the pan with the sauce. Enjoy!
Recipe tips for perfect results:
- Amount of chicken: I used 1 ¼ pounds chicken for this recipe, but you can easily follow the same recipe and make anywhere from 1-2 pounds of chicken.
- Increase amount: 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.
- Balance the sauce: 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.
- Storage and reheating: Store leftovers in airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Reheat in pan over low heat or in microwave at 50% power in one minute increments.
Serve this recipe with:
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes or Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Oven Roasted Asparagus or Wilted Garlic Spinach
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Lemon Pepper Chicken
- 1 ¼ pounds chicken breasts (2 large boneless skinless - see note)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (the zest from one large lemon)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoon butter (divided)
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice (the juice from one large lemon)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 tablespoon Italian parsley (stems removed and leaves minced)
- Tenderize: Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap or gallon size resealable plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer until uniformly thick.
- Season: Cover 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.
- Cook: Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat in a large skillet. Ideally the temperature of the oil will be 350°F prior to adding the chicken. Pan-fry the chicken breasts, taking care not to overcrowd the pan.
- Turn: 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.
- Make sauce: Using the pan you cooked the chicken in over low heat, 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/or honey and continue to taste until it's perfect.
- Serve: 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 ¼ 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.