Creamy Garlic Chicken with Thyme
The best creamy garlic chicken, ready in 30 minutes! This recipe delivers tender chicken breasts nestled in a mouth-watering garlic cream sauce. Round out the flavors with lightly caramelized onions and fragrant thyme for an irresistible yet easy dinner.
Serve it with a simple side of green beans or an arugula Parmesan salad. Don’t forget some crusty bread to soak up the extra sauce.
You can never have too many quick and easy dinner recipes up your sleeve, and this creamy garlic chicken is destined to be a go-to. Tender chicken, a rich cream sauce, woodsy thyme, and all the garlic. Not raw, pungent, in-your-face garlic. Let’s be honest, no one loves that. But soft, mellow garlic flavor woven into the sauce and mixed with onions, herbs, and a bit of lemon? Yes. That’s what we’re after here.
This recipe is a decadent, garlicky spin on our popular lemon thyme chicken. Herbs and citrus do a wonderful job of transforming that weeknight workhorse, the chicken breast, into a dish worth coveting. So the same combination is called into action again, this time complemented by a few additional stars: onions, garlic, and cream.
Creamy garlic chicken: ingredients
This is a perfect example of how simple, everyday ingredients can make the most outstanding meals. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts – the boneless, skinless variety. Now, a standard chicken breast might be an inch or more thick, which is generally not likely to cook evenly and well in skillet recipes like this. You’ll want to slice them straight in half through the middle, so if you start with two thick pieces, you’ll then have four thin ones. Bonus – you may only need to buy two chicken breasts to feed a small family, or to have dinner and leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
- Yellow onion – use about 1/2 of a medium onion. You can stash the rest in the fridge, or chop and freeze it, to use another day.
- Garlic – obviously! You’ll need about a dozen cloves, so just buy a whole head if you need it.
- Chicken broth.
- Thyme and parsley. You can used dried in a pinch but fresh is really lovely here, worth picking up if you’re at the store.
- Staples – salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, butter.
But can we talk about the garlic?
You might be concerned about using so much garlic in a single dish. Trust. Cooking whole cloves like this imparts a very different flavor than you’d get from frying this much minced garlic. It will be mellow and rich and delicious.
I admit that I’ve taken recently to buying peeled garlic, because I’m lazy like that. But if you’re looking for a quick hack to peel a lot of garlic quickly, this video is fun to watch!
How to make garlic chicken: tips and tricks
The other thing to love about this recipe is that it’s made in one skillet and takes just about 30 minutes, start-to-finish. No complicated prep.
You’ll lightly season and sauté the chicken breasts, transfer them to a plate, then prepare the sauce right in the same skillet. This not only reduces the clean-up burden, but also ensures the sauce has maximal flavor, because it incorporates all the delicious browned bits left from cooking the chicken.
A few more tips for making this perfectly, the first time and every time:
- If you can, let your chicken sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before you start. Removing the chill helps it to cook more evenly.
- Use an instant read thermometer* to take the guesswork out of knowing when your chicken is cooked. Such a tiny investment for a lifetime of perfectly-cooked, tender chicken, without the hassle of slicing into each piece.
- Pay attention to the portion of the directions that indicates when to reduce the heat from medium-high, to medium, to medium-low. This is important to ensure the sauce thickens but doesn’t seize up, particularly when incorporating the cream at the end. I like to make this in my trusty 12-inch stainless skillet*; you can also use a cast iron pan, just be extra sure to reduce the temperature, because cast iron retains heat exceptionally well!
- If you have an open bottle and feel frisky, pour a splash of white wine into the sauce along with the chicken broth, lemon juice, and thyme. It will add one more element to the sauce!
- If you want to save time but still make the finished dish look nice, use dried thyme in the sauce and a few sprigs of fresh for the garnish. Easy, delicious, and beautiful, best of all worlds.
Enjoy! If you make this Creamy Garlic Chicken or any other recipe from Nourish and Fete, please rate it and leave a comment below. We love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!
Creamy Garlic Chicken with Thyme
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
- 12-15 whole cloves peeled garlic
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- fresh thyme, parsley, and lemon wedges, for garnish optional
- Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise so you have 4 thin pieces. Sprinkle both sides of each piece lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Warm the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until it forms a nice golden crust and is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Using the back of a knife, smash half of the garlic cloves, then add both the smashed and whole cloves to the pan with the onions. Cook 2-3 minutes more, until the garlic is fragrant and lightly browned on the outside, then add chicken broth, lemon juice, and thyme. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze any browned bits, and let the sauce simmer for about 4 minutes. It should be noticeably reduced.
- Reduce heat again to medium-low, then stir in the cream. Return chicken to the skillet and let everything simmer gently for 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. Garnish with fresh thyme and parsley, lemon wedges, and a little more black pepper, as desired. Serve and enjoy!
More easy chicken recipes
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Easy One-Pan Greek Chicken with Olives
- Balsamic Cranberry Chicken Skillet
- Honey Mustard Chicken Skillet
- Balsamic-Glazed Bruschetta Chicken
- Chimichurri Chicken Skillet with Asparagus
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18 Comments on “Creamy Garlic Chicken with Thyme”
I used chicken tenders and the chicken turned out moist and delicious. Easy recipe that everyone loved. I will definitely make it again!
Just finished making this receipe. It came out better than i expected.
I added white wine to the sauce and then used cream cheese insteead of the cream as i could not get cream.
Will be servimg it with ghee rice, a.side of.green beans and papad. Waiting to see how my parents like it.
I was searching for a recipe that was easy and included chicken breasts, garlic, onion, and thyme as we are starting to recover from the flu and these ingredients are natural immune boosters and decongestants. I followed the recipe, but I substituted cream cheese for the heavy cream because that’s what I had on hand. I also doubled the sauce portion of the recipe and served it all over fettuccine. I cooked this in a cast iron skillet and adjusted the temps down slightly from the recipe.
Wow!!! This meal is definitely worth making and will become a regular rotation for our dinners. Thank you so much for helping my household feel a little better.
I am so happy this was a winner for you, and love your adaptations! Thank you so much for sharing this helpful review, and I really hope you are all fully recovered. 🙂
Made this for dinner tonight, was an absolute hit! Family really enjoyed it! It is a “definitely make again” meal 🙂 Only thing I did differently was cut the chicken in strips. Made it with lime pepper steamed rice. Amazing recipe! Thanks for sharing!!
This sounds delicious but I can’t have a lot of dairy. Do you think it would work with dairy free yogurt instead?
I think this would work with dairy free yogurt, though you might need to thin it out a bit with your favorite dairy-free milk or a smidge of water.
I made this over rice for my husband and I. My goodness, it was so wonderful. Similar to scampi sauce but the added thyme just brought it to another level. And so easy! Except balling my eyes out chopping onions.
Delicious and easy! My son (25) LOVED it. Every bit was consumed!
So happy to hear that, Meg! Thank you for sharing!
This is definitely the best creamy garlic chicken! I often make this for my grandma when she comes to stay with us for a while, and she usually sneaks into the kitchen to get more. All of the ingredients really work together and create an outstanding meal. The chicken turns out so tender. The dish also makes your house smell fantastic. Absolutely irresistible.
My grandma loves when I serve this with mashed potatoes. As for me, I prefer to have this served with beans. Tastes like heaven.
Monica, thank you so much for sharing such a great recipe and all of your useful recommendations. I’m sure they’ll help your readers a lot.
Thank you so much, Ann, for this nice review! If you ask me, your Grandma is lucky to have your cooking in her life! 😉
Oh my goodness! Loved, loved this recipe! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
What a fabulous recipe! So tasty and easy! Will definitely be making again!
I just saw, and saved, this post on instagram! What a delicious chicken dish – I love the flavours! My family is going to enjoy this very much.
We are definitely on the lookout for new chicken recipes to try! The large quantity of garlic just increases the appeal to me! Wondering, have you ever tried leftovers in a sandwich? Our teen son is looking to add some variety to the chicken sandwiches I make for him, now using a fairly plain baked chicken breast.
I don’t think I’ve made chicken this way yet, so I am really keen to try your recipe. It does look amazing. And the fact that the recipe takes under 30 minutes makes it perfect.
Awesome dish and awesome flavor. I love garlic flavor and just want to try making this amazing dish.