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So saucy! One skillet is the only pan you need to cook this tender chicken and flavorful creamy lemon herb sauce. Originally published in 2016, this garlicky and herb-infused creamy lemon thyme chicken now features nearly double the sauce so there’s extra for spooning onto each scrumptious bite.

chicken breasts in creamy lemon thyme sauce in cast iron skillet

My website is full of baking recipes, but when I put together a truly fabulous dinner that the entire family enjoys, it would be silly not to share it! We’ve been making this creamy lemon thyme chicken on repeat for a few years and we love it with extra sauce. The written recipe below is exactly how I make it these days.

I usually serve it with rice and a vegetable. The importance of a quick, easy, and delicious meal is worth its weight in gold and luckily this meal checks all 3 boxes!

This Lemon Thyme Chicken is a 1 Pan Wonder

Today’s easy dinner was inspired by another recipe favorite: cilantro lime chicken. Both dishes include a flavorful creamy sauce and juicy chicken cooked & combined in just 1 pan. The chicken recipes start on the stove and finish in the oven, so make sure you use an oven-safe skillet.

Yes, it’s all cooked in just 1 pan! I usually use a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet but any oven-safe skillet does the trick.

chicken breasts in creamy lemon thyme sauce in cast iron skillet

You Can Make This with Chicken Breasts or Chicken Thighs

I usually prepare this meal with boneless skinless chicken breasts, but chicken thighs are just as tasty. When using chicken thighs, I reach for boneless just because they’re easier to eat, but bone-in works too. The directions remain exactly the same whichever you use, but you may need to cook the chicken for a shorter period of time depending on its thickness.

Grab these ingredients:

ingredients in bowls and on plate including raw chicken breasts, lemon, olive oil, butter, chicken broth, and thyme

Let Me Show You How Easy This Is

The chicken is your first focus. Add salt and pepper to the chicken and then cook it in your skillet on the stove with a little olive oil. Brown it on both sides, but don’t worry about cooking it through in this step because it will finish cooking in the oven with the sauce. Cover and set the *mostly cooked* chicken aside.

In the same pan, prep the lemon thyme sauce. Simmer chicken broth, lemon juice & zest, chopped onion, garlic, and fresh thyme together. Reduce it down and then stir in heavy cream and butter. Simmer until slightly thickened, about the same consistency as heavy cream itself.

Now combine both the chicken and sauce. But I won’t blame you if you want to drink the sauce first.

chicken breasts on white plate and lemon thyme sauce in skillet

And finish it in the oven until the chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile, you can make a couple easy side dishes like rice and/or steamed vegetables– anything to soak up that creamy lemon sauce! You could even roast some potatoes in the oven before the chicken cooks or whip up a fresh salad.

Here’s Why You’ll Love This Creamy Lemon Thyme Chicken

  • Fresh thyme is great, but if dried is more convenient, use that instead.
  • There’s no shortage of that rich lemon thyme sauce!
  • Preparation is a breeze.
  • Perfect with rice and a vegetable for a casual weeknight meal, but can be fancied up with crowd pleasing sides like biscuits, roasted potatoes, dinner rolls, olive bread, mashed potatoes(spoon the sauce on top!), garden salad, corn on the cob, and more.
chicken breast with lemon and herbs on plate with rice and asparagus
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chicken breasts in creamy lemon thyme sauce in cast iron skillet

Creamy Lemon Thyme Chicken

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

One oven-safe skillet is the only pan you need to cook this tender chicken and flavorful creamy lemon herb sauce. Fresh thyme is great, but you can use dried if that’s all you have. See recipe note.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (around 1.5 lbs total)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) chicken broth (I recommend reduced sodium)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (1/3 of a medium onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1.5 teaspoons dried)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • optional for garnish: lemon slices and fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. If the chicken breasts are unevenly thick, pound them down so they’re roughly all the same thickness.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken breasts lightly with the salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 7-8 minutes, turning once halfway. You want the chicken nice and browned on the outside, but not fully cooked in the centers because they will finish in the oven. Set chicken on a plate and cover tightly with foil until step 5.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  4. Remove skillet from the stove and add the broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, onion, garlic, and thyme. Return skillet to the stove over medium high heat. Cook and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a boil. Allow to boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to around 1/2 cup (120ml). Stir in the cream and butter. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally, and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add chicken to the sauce and place the skillet in the preheated oven. Bake until the chicken is fully cooked through, about 10 minutes. (Chicken is considered done when an instant read thermometer reads the center of the thickest part as at least 165°F (74°C).)
  6. Serve chicken with sauce spooned on top and any of the listed optional garnishes. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat to your liking.

Notes

  1. Chicken: I usually prepare this meal with boneless skinless chicken breasts, but chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in) are just as tasty. The directions remain exactly the same whichever you use, but you may need to cook the chicken for a shorter period of time depending on its thickness.
  2. Milk or half-and-half: You can use whole milk or half-and-half instead, but for the thickest, richest sauce I highly recommend heavy cream. Whichever liquid you use, make sure it is at room temperature to help prevent separation or curdling.
  3. Adapted from Skillet Cilantro Lime Chicken

Keywords: lemon thyme chicken, skillet lemon chicken

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Made this for dinner today! It was super easy and really flavorful. I bought thin-cut chicken so I just skipped the oven part and it was still great. Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Omg Sally ! I just tried the lemon thyme chicken and it was AMAZINGLY delicious! I’m not a fan of lemon but hello this recipe made me a believer .  I’m so happy you are posting more dinner recipes!!  Thank you for yet another wonderful meal! 

  3. Wow! I made this last night and it was awesome!  Just the right amount of lemon. I’m one of the ones who would love to see you do a savory and/or salads cookbook. You’ve posted some really delicious S/S recipes, and this chicken is one of them! 

  4. I made this spontaneously last night, but didn’t haven any lemons so I used bottled lemon juice plus orange zest! It was delicious. I can’t wait to have it again!

  5. Hi Sally,

    I made this chicken for dinner last night and it was so good!  To save some calories, I used fat free half and half instead of heavy cream.  The flavors are completely on point…this recipe is definitely a keeper!

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe!

    Krista

  6. I made this recipe today and it was so delicious I licked the plate! I used whole milk @ room temp, still perfect. I think next time I’ll cut the onions lengthwise instead of dicing them. That might preserve their “onionness” a bit more.

  7. Hi Sally! Will it be alright if I switch up the recipe by replacing thyme with Rosemary? Or would everything be out of balance?

  8. Thank you so much for making this a part of my life! Omg this has to be the best thing I’ve ever made! It was absolutely delicious! I couldn’t believe I made something so good.

    1. This is delicious! Just the right amount of creaminess, thyme and lemon. It is a new favorite.

  9. I was thinking of replacing lemons with oranges, and chicken broth for beef broth. Is this doable? Also for a low fat tip y’all! -swap out, heavy creams and whole milks with water ( lightly salted)

  10. It’s absolutely delicious. The taste is creamy and light. I love it. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I’ll add it on my dinner recipe. Thank you!

  11. Can this dish be frozen? I haven’t tried it yet but sounds good for a big family dinner in July.

    1. Hi Virgina, it can certainly be frozen but it tastes much better when baked fresh. The creamy sauce can separate when thawing– stirring it brings it back together– but again, it’s not nearly as tasty as it is when enjoyed the same day you cook it.

  12. I made this recipe for my family and everyone loved it! I made it with light cream, since we didn’t have heavy cream, and it was still great. So nice to have a new chicken recipe!

  13. Fabulous! Instantly a new fave for us. I made this today and served over homemade pasta. Wow, wow, wow! Thank you for this tasty and easy recipe.

  14. I loved this recipe. I will be making it again and again with asparagus and rice and homemade cranberry sauce. Thank you Sally

  15. This was so delicious, just as I was hoping it would be! This is definitely a winner in our house, and I’ll be making it again for sure!
    One error I noticed, where it says the amount of heavy cream, it says cups then tablespoons. I was confused with both being there but went with the cups.

  16. Really liked this recipe. We were having friends to dinner in Paris. I decided to use this recipe and found out that broth doesn’t exist in Paris only bouillon cubes. I subbed wine mixed with a bit of water. I used crème fraîche for the sauce and tarragon instead of thyme because I had it. I had bone in chicken thighs. We all loved it. Can’t wait to try the lime version.
    Merci Sandra

  17. Made it last night. Family loved it! It’s a keeper!

  18. Very tasty dish. My sauce came out a bit thin. I reduced it as directed. But it was delicious nonetheless. I served it with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans.

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