This Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken recipe is a staple in my weekly food prep, and it’s paleo and Whole30-friendly!
As an urban apartment dweller, I don’t have a grill, so finding a way to cook chicken breasts that didn’t result in a dry chunk of protein became a priority. Seriously, not much more sad than a dry chicken breast, amirite?
Watch my cooking show episode for Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken:
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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 Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken has become my go-to method for quick prep.
What really takes it to the next level is using a microplane or small grater to add the zest of the lemon to the mix. It really bumps up the lemony flavor!
I recommend doubling or tripling this Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken recipe so you have leftovers for your week ahead. It’s great tossed on salad or paired with some veggies and a quick sauce for a complete meal.
Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken Recipe
Easy Pan-Fried Lemon Chicken is the juiciest chicken breast recipe you'll ever make. Never eat dry chicken again.
- 1 chicken breast
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1-2 tsp olive oil or avocado oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- In a large plastic ziptop bag, combine the chicken breast, lemon zest & juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Press the air out of the bag and seal.
- Use a meat pounder or rolling pin to flatten the chicken breast into one even thickness.
- Let the chicken marinate for at 30 minutes for best results but you can cook it right away if needed.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add more of your fat of choice, such as coconut oil.
- Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side or until completely cooked through.
- Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Looks delish and So easy!! Thanks for sharing!
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!
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.
Hi Roy!! Good to hear from you! This recipe always keeps it from getting dried out. Any comps coming up?
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?
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!
Made this for dinner tonight. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Vicki…I’m really happy to hear that YAY!
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!
Hi there!! Thank you 🙂 With regard to sides, what are your favorite veggies? I can maybe give you a suggestion from there.
any and all! I think the only thing the kids don’t really like are carrots!
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.
Kelly, that sounds positively amazing!
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!!
I’m really happy to hear that, Liz!! My goal is definitely to help with simple recipes whenever I can 🙂
Loving this site and all the awesome recipes! Thank you!
Hi Susan…I’m super thankful that you stopped by to say hello 🙂 Means a lot to me.
I am making this as I type…made it with the scrumptious salad you suggested! (citrus avacado) and the dressing is easy and to die for! (we already ate the salad! ha ha I am also doing a stir fry of all of our favorite veggies to go as another side. YUM!!!
thanks so much for this!
I’m stoked you like it! 🙂
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!
Just reading that description made my mouth water!! Sounds like an amazing combination, Louise!
Louise – how about sharing that garlic and rosemary sweet potato recipe to go along side this wonderful chicken????
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!
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!!!!
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 🙂
What is the recipe for those sweet potatoes? Sou nds delish!
Hi Heather! I’m not sure which you’re talking about. Let me know and I’ll write back.
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 🙂
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.
I just squeezed the lemon juice onto the raw chicken and my chicken is turning white? Is it supposed to do that?
that happens…nothing wrong with that..it’s the acid “cooking” the chicken meat
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.
Hi Bryan! Absolutely! I love the way you think 🙂
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)
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!
THIS WAS WONDERFUL, I RECENTLY FOUND PALEO COOKING AND MY FAMILY AND ME LOVE IT THIS I WILL BE TREASURE FOR YEARS TO COME
Hi Tammy! I’m really glad that you liked it, and I hope you find more tasty recipes as you continue eating Paleo!
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!
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
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
Hi Ginny…I’m pretty sure you’ll like this!
Im making this tonight with mashed cauliflower and roasted asparagus. I cant wait!!
How did it turn out?
Can you marinate this overnight in the fridge or would that be too much?
You certainly can!
Would 1 lemon be too much for 1 breast? Cause I use to cook a whole chicken and I only use 1 lemon.
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!
Just wondering if this would make a good freezer meal? 🙂
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!
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!!
You can definitely cover it after you brown the outsides (or try covering with the splatter guard).
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!
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. 🙂
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.
Yay!! What a great idea!
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!
Ahhhhh! I’m so excited to hear that. Glad I made you a believer!
This was delicious!!! Thank you! It was so good that I am making a second batch for my kids to take for school tomorrow for their lunch. This will definitely be going into my normal rotation of dinners! Thank you!!!
That’s great Steph. Love to hear it’s a new family favorite. 🙂
I’ve made this recipe three times now and I love it! The second time I made it, I didn’t have any lemons on hand, so I tried using lemon juice from a bottle and it wasn’t nearly as delicious. The lemon zest gives it a much larger citrus kick! This recipe is a keeper for our family and has made its way into our regular rotation of dinners. Thanks!
Thank you, Tarissa! It’s definitely one of my go-to quick meals. A classic favorite.
Wow, just made this for dinner and out was delicious and filling. Served it beside a spinach salad with broccoli and mushrooms… Wow!!! It’s awesome!!
Yay! Glad you enjoyed it and that salad sounds tasty!
Hi! I loved this recipe! New to paleo. I even added a little garlic to spice it up. Thanks! By chance, do you know about how many calories each chicken breast has?
Hi Erin! Glad you liked it. You can find info about calories here: http://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=chicken+breast+nutrition
I just made this chicken and it came out freaking amazing!! I made it for my lunch tomorrow and i nibbled on it a little to see if it was good… immediately regretted not making two. More easy recipes like this please!!!
Thank you Steph!
The whole family loved this chicken and it was so fast, easy and fresh! Thank you!
It’s one of my favorites.;)
This really is a very simple recipe, which is awesome. It just goes to show how easy and simple Paleo cooking can be.
Sweet!! Super glad to hear that Rebecca!
I poured the marinade into the pan & reduced it down to a delicious lemony sauce. It was VERY lemony, even without the zest. Good thing everyone here loves lemon!
Made extra to put on salads tomorrow….
Oh yes, if you reduced it down it would be quite strong. I might suggest adding some salt-free chicken broth to it so it’s not quite as powerful.
I have had this recipe bookmarked for quite awhile, but finally tried it last night. Very good flavor and really SO easy. We will definitely be having this on a regular basis. Thanks!
Erin, I’m excited to hear that you enjoyed it!
I’m looking forward to making this, I have most times use ziploc baggies to pound chicken breasts to even thickness, it rocks!
Your recipe is so simple, I know it’s easy to memorize…but still, I’d like to print it. Did you know there is a big advertisement in the middle of the print?
Hi Lisa…is it covering up any of the text?
So good! I left out the salt and pepper, and crushed garlic into the mix instead. The pounding and the zest made a huge difference. Why didn’t I think of pounding?
Hi Eric, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!
Made this for dinner. So good, quick and easy.
This really was the juiciest chicken I have ever made. Thank you so much! Quick question, what would be the best type or brand of pan to use for this recipe? I used a cast iron skillet and the chicken stuck to the pan a little and there was also some smoke that filled the room. Suggestions would be appreciated!
Hi Emily…I use cast iron. You need to make sure yours is well-seasoned 🙂 Cast iron heats up slowly but then it holds heat well, so once it’s hot try reducing the heat.
I almost had a panic attack when my link to this recipe on Stupid Easy Paleo didn’t work. I’ve been making this recipe for years (and apparently despite its simplicity, always need the recipe!) and whenever I remember it, it ends up back into the weekly rotation for a few months. I appreciate having the cooking times listed and it’s literally never failed me following your exact directions. I love the pretty updated website and pics, but I have to say I miss that charred/crusty/juicy pic of this chicken from the old site 😉
I’m so glad you love this one! It’s a classic!