Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken

DSC_0197As an urban apartment dweller, I don’t have a grill (womp womp!), so finding a way to cook chicken breasts that didn’t result in a dry chunk of protein became a priority. I’m also in love with brining chicken and pork prior to cooking but that requires some planning and extra time to let the brine sit, so this has become my go-to method for quick prep.

Bonus points for using a microplane or small grater to add the zest of the lemon to the mix.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a plastic zip top bag, combine the chicken breast, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Press the air out of the bag and seal.
  2. Use a meat pounder or rolling pin to flatten the chicken breast into one even thickness. I have also used an empty Nalgene bottle for the same purpose when I didn’t have a meat pounder. Improvise. Be a MacGuyver.
  3. Let the chicken marinate for at 30 minutes for best results but you can cook it right away if needed.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add more of your fat of choice, such as coconut oil.
  5. Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side or until completely cooked through.
  6. Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

 

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66 thoughts on “Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken

    1. Steph Post author

      Thanks Lindsay!! I think the secret is in lemon and pounding the chicken flat…it’s my go-to way to make it :) Hope you enjoy!

      Reply
  1. Roy

    Great recipe, my chicken breast seem to always be dry. Keep em coming ,I’m trying to be realy strick on my diet to see if it helps me on competition days.

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Roy!! Good to hear from you! This recipe always keeps it from getting dried out. Any comps coming up?

      Reply
      1. Roy

        I’ve done 2 comp’s this summer; did ok, got 8th in one mid May (out of about 30 guys), then got roped into doing a fund raising event for a friend who made the games this year. They put me in an elite mens division with a few guys that are southeast regional athletes. Got beat in that one good but I held my own and stayed close in all the wod’s, but as always it was fun. How about you?

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          That’s awesome Roy!! Great work :) Hey…nothing like pushing yourself to expand a bit beyond your comfort zone, right? That’s where the magic happens. I’m okay…waited until after Regionals to have a cyst removed from near my tailbone. I’ve been not able to do anything for 2 weeks…probably another 2 weeks until it heals fully. Other than that life is good!

          Reply
  2. Tabs

    They looks fantastic and dead easy. My only problem (I have with every meal) is what sides to have with it. Anything you could recommend? Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi there!! Thank you :) With regard to sides, what are your favorite veggies? I can maybe give you a suggestion from there.

      Reply
    2. Kelly

      Hi! One of my favorite side salads to make is a combination of cucumber, olives, tomatoes, green bell peppers and (these are optional-depending on how strict you want to be) fresh mozzarella. You can also throw in some pepperoni or another meat if you want to have the salad on its own.

      Reply
  3. Liz

    Ok I made this last night and I was seriously dreaming about it today! It is hands down the best, most flavorful chicken I can ever remember making. I wish I had more chicken so i could’ve made more!! I used thin cutlets to begin with, so I didn’t pound them out. I really can’t thank you enough for this recipe!! For us new to paleo and also new to cooking, we need these easy peasy simple recipes. This is my new go to!!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      I’m really happy to hear that, Liz!! My goal is definitely to help with simple recipes whenever I can :)

      Reply
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  5. Louise

    Wow completely agree with Liz. Made this for the first time last night, and oh my gosh this was amazing chicken. And so simple! I also didn’t pound it, but cut it butterflied, I also left it to marinade for about 45 as I forgot about it, and poured all the marinade into the pan – because why not? I also had the heated up leftovers for lunch today and gosh it was even better than last night.

    I served it with a garlic and rosemary roasted sweet potatoes….. which may have also just become my favourite side dish.

    Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Just reading that description made my mouth water!! Sounds like an amazing combination, Louise!

      Reply
    2. cindy

      Louise – how about sharing that garlic and rosemary sweet potato recipe to go along side this wonderful chicken????

      This chicken was SO AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS….wow, what a hit for dinner tonight!

      Reply
  6. Ali

    Hi Steph!

    WOW I am in love with your website!!!!! I always struggle diet wise, and can’t seem to get down to less than 10% body fat. I find bland food a struggle, and there’s only so much Broccoli I can take before it feels unappetizing.

    Just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for your website, wish I had discovered it sooner. I’ve LIKED your FB page and will be sure to share your recpies.

    I was about to get a take away and ‘eat out’ as I couldn’t bare the thought of cooking the same old style chicken over and over. I have the ingredients for this recipe and I will be trying this out right now!!!!

    Best wishes,

    Ali!!!! XOXO

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Ali…oh, I definitely hear you on being tired of broccoli :)

      I’m really happy you’ve found everything helpful. Hearing that from folks really motivates me to keep doing the best I can for you!

      I usually keep cooking on the simple side but I love finding ways to kick things up a bit in terms of flavor. Have a fantastic weekend :)

      Reply
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  8. Linda

    OMG I did not expect this to be as good as it was!!! Just made it and love it! Keeps the chicken moist and was quick to make…I only marinated for 15 mins but it was still delicious! Thank you for this recipe :)

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Linda! I’m really happy to hear that you liked it. It’s one of my go-to ways to make chicken now a days. You’re very welcome.

      Reply
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  10. Bryan

    If I want to cool multiple breasts at one time (to save for later), would it be ok to use a gallon size bag, and multiply the ingredients by how many breats I have? It would take up a lot less time then putting each one in a bag.

    Reply
  11. Sarah

    I love you, forever and always. I made this up about a week ago – and between every bite I had to stop and say to myself “my god this is so yummy”. I just couldn’t get over it. I made two so I would have left-overs for the next day, and as they were rather thick even with my trying to flatten them, I seared them on medium heat for 4 minutes each side in the pan, then popped it in the oven at 180 celcius for about half an hour with the remainding sauce poured over the top! First time I’d seared then baked as well, and it was just amazing.

    I’m currently making it now, but I’ve had to use bottled lemon juice as I’m out of lemons, and I’ve also added in some honey. Once its ready to bake I’ll drizzle some more honey on top :] Every time I’ve had it with baked pumpkin and sweet potatoes.

    Thanks so much for this recipe. Its really made me ecstatic for having started paleo (since I never would have found this recipe otherwise)

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Awwww thanks Sarah!! I’m super glad you liked them…your description is making my mouth water so much. Love the idea of baked pumpking, too!

      I’m really happy you stopped by to say hello!

      Steph

      Reply
  12. TAMMY C

    THIS WAS WONDERFUL, I RECENTLY FOUND PALEO COOKING AND MY FAMILY AND ME LOVE IT THIS I WILL BE TREASURE FOR YEARS TO COME

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Tammy! I’m really glad that you liked it, and I hope you find more tasty recipes as you continue eating Paleo!

      Reply
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  14. myohmichael

    I’m so pleased to say that I made this successfully tonight and it was wonderful! I’m completely new to cooking (and terribly inept) but by mistake bought 6 chicken breasts instead of three last week and had to find something to make with the extras- this was a hit! I will definitely be making this over and over again! THANK YOU!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hey there! Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know. Sometimes there’s nothing worse than that but I’m glad you were able to get a great result out of it :0

      Reply
  15. Ginny

    I was just telling my husband this morning about how I dread to cook chicken because it always comes out dry. This sounds so simple! I’ll have to try it. Thanks

    Reply
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    1. Steph Post author

      You’re only the using the juice as a marinade so I find a bit more to be better than not enough. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Abbey…I confess to not freezing meat much after it’s been cooked. I haven’t tried freezing this recipe but it’s worth a shot!

      Reply
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  20. Jen

    Another fan of your recipes here! This chicken was SO tasty, my family devoured it!
    Just wondering, after I cooked about 8 breasts like this, I had a huge mess of splattered grease everywhere.
    I cook because I have to, not because I like to (unfortunately)… and the mess makes it that much more annoying for me. Of course wine helps… and I used the empty bottle to pound my chicken out ;)
    But do you have any tips on how to keep it cleaner? Am I doing something wrong? I used a large non stick skillet on medium high with coconut oil. Trying again tonight. I may just keep the lid on while they’re cooking, do you think that will cause a problem? Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      You can definitely cover it after you brown the outsides (or try covering with the splatter guard).

      Reply
  21. Sandy

    Thank You!!!…. the recipes you provide are amazing and don’t call for so many weird ingredients…I Love That! I suffer with IBS and my hubby now has high blood pressure from being overweight. I could not get him to diet until I could serve a good variety of yummy healthy food….now he says dieting isn’t so bad and has already lost 13 pounds….I’m so happy I found you!! Your recipes are awesome and so convenient. Keep up the good work…You’re helping so many get back on the road to good health…and you are very appreciated for it!

    Reply
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  24. Holly

    My mom made this for me the other night since I’m doing the Whole30. This is awesome! I’m trying it today to see if I can replicate the awesomeness. :)

    Reply
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  26. Wendy

    Finally! An easy recipe for one! This was incredibly good. I didn’t add any extra oil to the pan for cooking – I just emptied out the ziploc in the pan and that seemed to provide enough. I also steamed some broccoli, and after removing the chicken I whisked the broccoli around the pan to add a bit of browning/lemony flavor.

    SO GOOD!

    Reply
  27. Jenny

    After all these comments I was skeptical. How could it be sooooo yummy with only a few ingredients?
    But, I have to say it’s one of the best chicken breasts I’ve ever had! Thanks so much!

    Reply
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