Learn how to cook chicken breasts on the stove with this easy lemon garlic chicken recipe! A vibrant citrus marinade with a little red pepper for a slight spicy kick, creates tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken breasts. Cooks in 15 minutes! 

pieces of lemon garlic chicken garnished with lemon wheels on a white serving platter next to a fork and a side salad in a bowl.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: juicy is always the goal! This lemon garlic chicken breast recipe follows this philosophy, using the same tried-and-true technique from my grilled chicken breast and baked chicken breast recipes. This time, I’m pan-searing them in a skillet for a golden brown exterior, and tender–and, yes, JUICY–center. 

The impossible choice with chicken breast is that one side is very thick while the other is very thin. That means you often overcook one side, or, worse, undercook the other. The secret is: you don’t have to settle for dry chicken! 

For this lemon garlic chicken recipe, I slice the chicken into thinner cutlets so they’re even all the way through then I give them a good soak in flavorful, lemon garlic marinade amped up with red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Flavorful and cooked in less than 15 minutes! It’s a win-win. 

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for Lemon Garlic Chicken
  2. How to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken
    1. At Least 30 Minutes Before Cooking: Marinate the Chicken
    2. Pan-sear the chicken:
  3. What to Serve with Lemon Garlic Chicken
  4. You’ll Also Love: More Chicken Breast Recipes
  5. Lemon Garlic Chicken Recipe
ingredients for lemon garlic chicken including lemons, chicken breast, parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Ingredients for Lemon Garlic Chicken

This ingredient list is pretty short, which is part of the beauty of this lemon garlic chicken recipe. The chicken is seasoned simply with aromatic spices and just a touch of red pepper flakes for a little kick. The lemon and garlic to do all the talking!

  • Flavor makers. Lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes (optional), salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning gives the chicken breast its bold Mediterranean flavor. You can make the Italian seasoning yourself using my easy recipe, or pick up a jar in the spice section of your local grocery store.  
  • Olive oil. Enriches the marinade, flavoring the chicken and keeping the lean meat juicy. Any high-quality extra virgin variety will do–you can find my favorites at our shop
  • Parsley. Grab the flat leaf Italian variety, as it tends to be more delicate and less bitter than its curly cousin. 
  • Chicken. I use lean chicken breasts for this recipe, but you can also substitute chicken thighs if you’d like. If you substitute chicken thighs, budget about 10 minutes per side–especially if you’re using the bone-in, skin-on variety. 
close up of lemon garlic chicken slices on a white plate.

How to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken

Be sure to budget at least a half hour for the marinade so the chicken can soak up all that delicious flavor. From there, it comes together in less than 15 minutes! To make it: 

At Least 30 Minutes Before Cooking: Marinate the Chicken

  • Make the marinade. Zest and juice one lemon into a large bowl. Add ¼ cup olive oil, 5 crushed or minced garlic cloves (use minced for a stronger flavor), 1 ½ teaspoons of Italian seasoning, and ¼ cup of chopped parsley. Optionally, add ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine and set aside.marinade for lemon garlic chicken in a glass bowl with a metal whisk.
  • Slice the breasts into cutlets. Place the chicken breast flat on a cutting board and position your non-dominant hand on top. Using a sharp knife in your dominant hand, carefully slice the chicken breast horizontally. Start with the thicker end and cut all the way through to the thin end. You should end up with two thin cutlets for each chicken breast. If the cutlets still need to flatten a bit, cover with plastic wrap and pound with a kitchen mallet (optional).
  • Dry and season the chicken. Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry. Season with a big pinch of kosher salt and black pepper on both sides. Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. This is a great time to get any sides ready! See below for my suggestions. raw chicken breasts marinating in a glass bowl.

Pan-sear the chicken:

  • Cook the chicken. In a large cast iron skillet set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, arrange the chicken pieces in the skillet. Do this in batches if you need to as you do not want to crowd the pan. Sear until both sides are golden brown and the chicken is nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. (Its juices should run clear.)2 pieces of lemon garlic chicken sauteeing in a cast iron skillet.
  • Rest. When the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 160°F, remove it from the heat. Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for another 5 minutes. The chicken will come up to 165°F and completely lose its pink center while it’s under the foil. While it rests, trim and cut a lemon into slices. 
  • Garnish and serve. Garnish the chicken with chopped parsley and lemon slices. Serve whole or sliced. 

What to Serve with Lemon Garlic Chicken

You’ll want some delicious sides to go along with this lemon garlic chicken recipe. The flavor is versatile so it works well with just about any salad, alongside vegetables, in a bowl with rice and Greek salad dressing—just to name a few ideas.

Italian roasted vegetables, lemon parmesan lettuce salad, Maroulosalata (Greek Lettuce Salad), and tabouli salad, and Mediterranean chickpea salad all come to mind, but you could really use this chicken breast recipe to add lean protein to just about any dinner. 

You’ll Also Love: More Chicken Breast Recipes

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4.94 from 43 votes

Lemon Garlic Chicken

Suzy Karadsheh
pieces of lemon garlic chicken garnished with lemon wheels on a white serving platter next to a fork and a side salad in a bowl.
A lemon and garlic marinade and a few simple tricks keep these chicken breasts tender and juicy. The lean meat is perfect for adding protein to salads, sandwiches, rice bowls, and more. Make sure to give yourself at least 30 minutes to marinate the chicken–it needs some time to soak up all that flavor. 
Prep – 10 minutes
Cook – 8 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total – 48 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 6
Course:
Entree/Poultry, Meat and Poultry

Ingredients
  

For the chicken marinade:

  • 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves crushed or minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley, plus more for garnish

For the chicken:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large chicken breasts)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Make the marinade: Zest and juice one of the lemons into a large bowl (save the other lemon for later). To the bowl, add olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and parsley and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Slice the breasts into cutlets: Place the chicken breast flat on a cutting board and position your non-dominant hand on top to hold it firmly. Using a sharp knife in your dominant hand, carefully slice the chicken breast horizontally starting with the thicker end and all the way through to the thin end. You should end up with two thin cutlets for each chicken breast. If the cutlets still need to flatten a bit, cover with plastic wrap and pound with a kitchen mallet (optional).
  • Dry and season the chicken: Use a paper towel to pat the chicken dry. Season with a big pinch of kosher salt and black pepper on both sides. Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  • Cook the chicken: In a large cast iron skillet set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, arrange the chicken pieces in the skillet. Do this in batches if you need to, as you do not want to crowd the pan. Sear for about 4 minutes on each side, or until both sides are golden brown and the chicken is nearly cooked through. (Its juices should run clear.)
  • Rest: When the internal temperature reaches 160°F, remove from the heat. Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for another 5 minutes. The chicken will come up to 165°F while it’s under the foil. There should be no pink on the inside. While it rests, slice the remaining lemon.
  • Garnish and serve: Garnish the chicken with chopped parsley and lemon slices. Serve.

Video

Notes

  • Only marinate the chicken for a maximum of two hours as the acidity may toughen the meat.
  • You can also substitute chicken thighs if you’d like, but budget about 10 minutes per side–especially if you’re using the bone-in, skin-on variety.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oilshoneyjams and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 268.8kcalCarbohydrates: 4.8gProtein: 32.8gFat: 13.1gSaturated Fat: 2.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.6gMonounsaturated Fat: 7.7gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 96.8mgSodium: 181mgPotassium: 642.6mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 322IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 33.5mgIron: 1.2mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I marinated the chicken for about 40 minutes before cooking and the flavor was amazing. I omitted the red pepper flakes only because I was making it for a friend who just started chemo and I didn't want too much heat. She loved it and agreed that it was delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe but might I suggest an edit, you have 2 lemons listed under the marinade ingredients but in fact you use only one in the marinade and never say what to do with the other, though I imagine it's for the lemon slices at the end for garnish. I made the mistake of using 2 lemons because the marinade calls for 2 lemons. It's my mistake for not reading down through the recipe to see the note to 'save the second lemon for later' but still it's misleading to list 2 lemons in the list of marinade ingredients.

  3. 2 stars
    The marinade didn't do anything and was
    Burned off during the cooking. The chicken was bland so I had to change the recipe to make it edible.

  4. 5 stars
    Midway through preparing this, I decided I was in the mood for more schnitzelly (is that even a word?) recipe, so after I marinated the cutlets (the marinade is out of this world) I coated them in panko crumbs and baked them for 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Fabulous.

      1. 5 stars
        Making this for the 3rd time this past two weeks because my family requested it!! If I ever go thru Atlanta I'm brining my book for you to sign 🤣