Pan Fried Lemon Butter Chicken

I’ve got a simple weeknight dinner for you today that J and I have been loving recently: this Pan Fried Lemon Butter Chicken. All cooked in one pan, this simple dish of skinless boneless chicken thighs, lightly browned before being cooked in a rich, bright lemon butter is absolutely delicious at any time of year with a side of mashed potatoes and some seasonal greens.

Adapted from something slightly more involved (and using chicken breasts, which in my book are for making schnitzel and making schnitzel only) I found in the March edition of Delicious magazine this is one of those recipes that you’re going to want to bookmark or print out (there is a special print button down on the recipe box) right away as it’s a weeknight option that really is more than the sum of it’s parts.

A few notes on the recipe: I’ve gone all out on the rosemary here because I don’t think there are enough opportunities to use rosemary in everyday cooking, but the original recipe suggested simply leaving it out and garnishing the whole thing with parsley at the end, if that is more your style. I’d recommend roughly chopped flat leaf here.

Also, you’ll note that I’ve included whole thin lemon slices in the sauce. Yes, they’re mostly here because you eat with your eyes and they look pretty, but the original recipe does include them. Now, if, like me, you actually like eating whole lemon pieces warmed through in a lovely butter sauce and you can slice them thin enough, go right ahead: they are in the original recipe and I always enjoy eating them, but J hates them, and I think the majority of you might think that they’re a weird inclusion too. Don’t worry; you won’t harm the recipe in any way by simply leaving them out.

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Pan Fried Lemon Butter Chicken

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: One Pan
  • Cuisine: Italian


This easy pan fried chicken recipe is served with a delicious lemon butter sauce, perfect to serve with mashed potatoes and seasonal greens on busy weeknights!


  • 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • plain (all purpose) flour
  • freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 75g (2 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced (optional)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, plus extra to serve
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100ml (1/2 cup) water


  1. Lay the chicken thighs out on a chopping board and with the heal of your palm bash them out so they’re of an even thickness. Work smooth side up so you don’t mush up the flesh beneath. Season well with salt and pepper on both sides before tossing in a little flour so that they’re well coated.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium high heat in a large non-stick skillet or frying pan. Once the oil is shimmering add the chicken thighs, working in batches as necessary. Every time you turn the chicken add a little of the butter to the pan: this will help the pieces brown. Once the chicken pieces are well browned and cooked through, remove from the pan and keep warm in the oven on its lowest setting.
  3. Pour any excess fat from the pan and add the lemon slices (if using) and the rosemary sprig. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for a minute or two until the slices start to caramelise. 
  4. Add the lemon juice, the rest of the butter and the water. Whisk in the butter until it has melted, and allow the sauce to simmer until it has thickened and is nice and glossy; if it separates, add a little more butter. 
  5. Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and if it is a bit too sour, again another bit of butter. Return the chicken pieces to heat through with their resting juices just before serving.