Lemon Rosemary Chicken
This easy Lemon Rosemary Chicken recipe uses simple ingredients and takes just 30 minutes, but tastes like a gourmet meal. Bright citrus and fresh rosemary complement each other perfectly, and a simple pan sauce brings it all together.
One of my firmly held beliefs is that you can never have too many easy chicken recipes. It’s just such an easy and relatively affordable protein, and one that is versatile and easy to cook in a snap.
Enter this favorite: a skillet chicken breast recipe with lemon, fresh rosemary, and a simple pan sauce. This is a spin on our lemon thyme chicken skillet, which is my husband’s perennial favorite. For some reason, my son one day latched onto the idea that he prefers rosemary to thyme, and here we are.
Why You’ll Love It
This recipe has a lot to commend it. You’ll find that it’s:
- Quick and easy: A true 30-minute meal, all cooked in one skillet. No need to transfer to the oven or use multiple pans.
- Short on ingredients. No one wants a long shopping list, and I’d bet you can already find most of these things in your pantry.
- Light but flavorful: Citrus and herbs deliver a lot of flavor without weighing you down.
- Delicious with the pan sauce: Bonus points for drizzling the sauce over side dishes or swirling a piece of bread around the plate to soak it all up.
Ingredients & Common Substitutions
Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make this, as well as possible substitutions.
- Chicken. If your chicken breasts are sliced thinly, it really helps them to cook quickly and evenly without drying out. You can buy “thin-sliced” breasts at most grocery stores, but it’s also easy to just cut thicker breasts in half through the middle so each piece becomes two.
- Rosemary. Those vibrant, beautiful fresh sprigs are front and center!
- Garlic. Mince up fresh, whole cloves of garlic if possible. Jarred pre-minced garlic works well as a substitute.
- Chicken broth. I usually use low-sodium broth, but you can also use regular or no-salt broth, as well, and simply adjust the salt added otherwise to your taste.
- White wine. Any dry-ish white wine that you would be willing to drink will have a nice taste in this dish. I like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio best. That said, it’s optional — if you prefer not to use wine for any reason, you can simply omit it or substitute an extra 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
- Lemon juice. Again, fresh is best; the citrus flavor is a key element, and nothing beats the flavor of fresh-squeezed juice.
- Butter. Adds richness to the sauce.
- Staples: Olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper.
Will chicken thighs work?
Yes, chicken thighs will work in place of the chicken breasts here. They will, however, require a longer cooking time, and if you’re using significantly more meat, as measured by weight, you may want to increase the sauce proportions accordingly. Always use an instant-read thermometer if possible to be sure your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Have time for a quick marinade? Try this recipe for lemon chicken thighs instead!
How To Make Lemon Rosemary Chicken in a Skillet
You can find a traditional recipe card below and step-by-step photos here. Either way, you can easily see how truly simple this is. It’s one of the dishes I can count on being able to make even with both kids at home and underfoot.
You’ll begin by seasoning the chicken breasts with kosher salt and black pepper — be sure to season both sides for maximum flavor — then pan-frying them quickly in a drizzle of olive oil. Once browned with golden bits, remove them to a plate to rest, as shown below. Leave the pan on the heat.
Add another drizzle of olive oil if the pan looks very dry, then add minced garlic and chopped rosemary. Allow these to sizzle for 30-60 seconds, just until they are very fragrant. Don’t worry about the stuck-on browned bits, because…
… we’ll take care of that in the best possible way: deglazing the pan! Pouring a bit of broth or cooking stock into the pan immediately stops the garlic from burning and allows you to use a spatula (my favorite has a contoured edge) to easily lift off those browned bits. This has the dual benefit of making your sauce much more flavorful and your pan much easier to clean.
Add remaining liquid — wine if using, or more broth or stock. Allow the mixture to simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Add in lemon juice and pats of butter, to thicken and enrich the pan sauce.
Finally, add back in the chicken breasts. Spoon sauce generously on top, allow to warm, and garnish as lavishly as you would like with lemon wedges and more fresh herbs.
More rosemary is an obvious choice, but flat leaf Italian parsley is very attractive and fits the flavor profile, too.
If you don’t have additional lemon wedges but still want an extra pop of citrus flavor and pretty color, grate a smidge of lemon zest over the skillet or plates just prior to serving.
Pair lemon rosemary chicken with a simple Italian salad, roasted asparagus, or broccolini for a tasty, simple meal. I usually make a small portion of couscous or orzo to go with it, as well, or finish off a take-and-bake bread.
Whatever else you do, be sure to spoon some of the lemon rosemary pan sauce over your side dish selections, or pour on a little extra to mop up with small slices of bread. This is very satisfying.
Storage & Reheating
This lemon rosemary chicken keeps and reheats very well, so it’s terrific for meal prep or lunch planning purposes. Leftovers always disappear!
- Store individual portions or a larger amount tightly-covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, then reheat on 50% power in the microwave until warmed through.
If you enjoy this, you’ll also love my oregano chicken, creamy garlic chicken, chicken Florentine, Tuscan chicken, lemon chicken pasta, and balsamic chicken with spinach, bacon, and mushrooms. You can never have too many options!
If you try this Lemon Rosemary Chicken, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Lemon Rosemary Chicken
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts thin-sliced, see note
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10-12 cranks fresh-ground black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine optional, see note
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- extra rosemary and/or Italian parsley optional garnish
- Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then place in the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add a tiny bit more olive oil to the skillet, followed by the garlic and rosemary. Sauté for 30-60 seconds, just until fragrant, then add broth. Add wine, if using. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen any browned bits.
- Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, probably 4-5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, followed by the butter, and simmer until butter melts. Sample and add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Return chicken to the pan and spoon sauce generously over each piece. Sprinkle with parsley and additional rosemary or lemon wedges, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
- About the Chicken. If your chicken breasts are sliced thinly, it really helps them to cook quickly and evenly without drying out. You can buy “thin-sliced” breasts at most grocery stores, but it’s also easy to just cut thicker breasts in half through the middle so each piece becomes two.
- About the Wine. You can omit the white wine or substitute it with an extra 1/2 cup chicken broth, if you like.
- Small Twist. For an easy flavor boost, try seasoning the chicken with salt & lemon pepper seasoning in step 1, if you keep it in your pantry.
This post was originally published April 29, 2021. It has been updated with new photos and more helpful information on the recipe steps.