This creamy lemon chicken, or Pollo al Limone in Italian, is a very quick and easy recipe. Chicken breast bites with a creamy lemon sauce, ready in 30 minutes, and perfect for any weeknight meal. Serve them with some greens or broccoli and some bread to scoop out all that creamy lemon sauce.
Chicken is one of the most versatile meats and that’s why I cook it so often. You can marinate it, bread it, steam it, fry it, bake it, dress it in sauce, shred it and so much more.
But whenever I feel tired or uninspired and don’t know what to cook, I always go back to the classics, and one of our favorite Italian classics is “Pollo al Limone” or lemon chicken.
The original version is “Scaloppine al Limone” which are thin veal escalopes with a creamy lemon sauce. The recipe is essentially the same but with a different protein. Another difference is that in many cases the milk or cream is omitted. See more details below in the paragraph about the lemon sauce.
How to make the creamy lemon sauce
The creamy sauce is what makes this dish fantastic. It’s easier than you may think but there’s a trick which is often missed.
As mentioned above, the original recipe of “Scallopine al Limone” does not include any cream or milk. So how does the sauce becomes creamy? You may think. If you just squeeze lemon juice on meat, you will only get the flavor, but not a sauce.
The trick is to coat the meat in all-purpose flour before cooking it. You can then brown the meat in butter as you would normally do and in the end, add the lemon juice. The butter and the flour coating will make a sort of rudimental roux that will turn the lemon juice into a creamy lemon sauce.
But if you want it even more creamy, then you can add some milk or cream. In this recipe, I add some milk. The lemon flavor will soften lightly and the sauce will coat the meat wonderfully.
The best part is then scooping out all the sauce from the pan with a piece of bread.
What to serve with lemon chicken
Whenever I cook meat or fish, I always need to serve it with a side dish. Without it, it feels incomplete. Side dishes don’t have to be complex or laborious. Sometimes a simple salad will do.
But my favorite side dish for most meat or fish dishes is simply sautèed or roasted veggies. My most used veggies as a side dish are:
- Spinach, sautèed in olive oil with a couple of garlic cloves and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of nutmeg.
- Green Beans, first boiled for a few minutes and then sautèed in olive oil with a minced garlic clove and seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Broccoli or Broccoli rabe, sautèed in olive oil with a garlic clove and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and chili pepper flakes.
- Potatoes, boiled and lightly mashed with a fork, seasoned with a minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, and parsley. Or mashed finely to make creamy mashed potatoes.
These are my go-to side dishes. They’re super quick and easy to make, as you can see they don’t have many seasonings and ingredients. This is how we mostly cook in Italy, simple seasonings to highlight the flavors of the main ingredients.
You can feel free to serve this Pollo al Limone with whichever side dish you prefer. From sweet potatoes to brussels sprouts, to carrots, or any of the options above. Just think about what goes well with the lemon flavor (almost everything) and there you go.
“Pollo al Limone” Creamy Lemon Chicken
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 1 Lemon
- All-Purpose Flour
- 2/3 cup Milk, whole
- Black Pepper
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks, then add the flour in a bowl and coat well all the chicken pieces. Set aside.
- In a skillet, add the tablespoon of butter and turn on the heat. When it melts, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
- Add the milk and lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to taste. Mix well and bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and let the sauce reduce for 10-15 minutes until creamy.
- Serve immediately with freshly chopped parsley.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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