This effortless chicken dinner has it all: crispy skin and juicy meat simmered in a luscious paprika-infused lemon butter cream sauce that you’ll want to pour all over everything — plus plenty of greens, which mean you don’t have to make a separate side dish.
Brown well-seasoned chicken thighs – chicken breasts work, too – in a skillet, simmer them in our “lick-the-spoon” sauce with handfuls of tender baby spinach, then finish the dish in the oven – all in that same skillet! – until the creamy sauce is rich and bubbling, and the chicken is perfectly cooked.
Look at that gorgeous color! Trust us, it’s matched by gorgeous flavor: the bright zing of the lemon cuts through the creaminess of the sauce, and the smoked paprika gives the dish almost a wood-fired smokiness, so every bite keeps your coming back for more. This is a weeknight meal that tastes like a date-night meal.
Got any fans of Hungarian chicken paprikash, Indian murgh makhani (butter chicken), or Italian chicken piccata at home? Well, this chicken’s bright, creamy, and deeply-spiced sauce will satisfy all of those cravings in one easy-to-make dish. It’s clear that savory, lemony chicken bathed in a buttery sauce is something people all around the world can get behind.
Lemon Butter Chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 4 chicken thighs or breasts (bone-in or boneless)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon (add the zest if you want extra lemon flavor)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Season the chicken thighs or breasts with paprika, salt, and pepper and toss to coat.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear it for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until it’s golden brown. Remove the chicken and set it aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan and drain the excess.
- Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the baby spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice, thyme, and lemon zest (if using). Return the chicken to the skillet, and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F/73°C. Serve warm.
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Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious.