This lush, lemony cream sauce coats thin-cut, browned chicken breasts beauties with mushrooms for a fast and easy 30-minute chicken dinner.
Having more than one simple chicken breast dinner recipe in regular rotation is like having dinner in the bag. This recipe just keeps getting better because there’s only one skillet needed for both searing and saucing to get the cooking job done. In this soon to be classic, I followed much of the same methods I use in my chicken piccata, creamy chicken breasts mushrooms and leeks and chicken breasts with creamy mushroom sauce, but with even fewer ingredients, it seems even simpler.
For faster cooking, the boneless, skinless chicken breasts are cut in half lengthwise, browned, then bathed in a creamy lemon sauce flavored with sweet vermouth. Oh, the flavor! I’m always adding mushrooms to my meals, where they add another layer of earthy flavor alongside spunky Parmesan and zippy lemon zest, adding brightness to every bite. If mushrooms aren’t your thing, sub in artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, or leave them out and keep this sauce simple.
What’s In This Creamy Chicken Breast Dinner
This cream sauce combines only the essential elements for a decadent bite: Cream and butter for lushness, sweet vermouth for complexity and depth, and both lemon juice and zest to cut through the richness.
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need:
- skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- canola or vegetable oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- white or brown button mushrooms
- fresh lemon juice and lemon zest
- sweet vermouth or other fortified wine such as Marsala or Madeira
- heavy cream
- grated Parmesan cheese
- parsley for garnish
- cooked white rice, pasta, egg noodles, or veggies
How to Cook the Chicken Breasts
Thanks to generous seasoning and a quick fry, this chicken is moist and flavorful.
Sauté the mushrooms first, set aside, then cook the chicken in the same skillet.
To create a thinner scallop, cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Use a thin, sharp knife to slice the chicken breast in half to make two thinner scallops. A thinner breast cooks faster and stays moist.
Pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness. This ensures that the meat cooks uniformly throughout and it speeds up the cooking process.
Season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Seasoning both sides of the chicken breast adds flavor so don’t be too shy. All it takes is a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to get the job done.
For a quick fry of the chicken breasts, use a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Avoid using a non-stick pan. To build flavor, you want the chicken to leave bits in the bottom of the pan for the piccata sauce. A non-stick pan won’t create those bits.
When frying, use a combination of butter and oil. The oil tempers the butter so it doesn’t burn, and the butter adds that golden color and flavor to the chicken.
How to Make the Creamy Lemon Sauce
Keep the flavor bits in the pan after browning the chicken. The browned bits on the bottom of the skillet add flavor and depth to the sauce so you don’t want to wipe them out. However, you should remove any blackened or burned bits so the sauce isn’t bitter.
Alcohol is flammable, so remove the pan from the heat or flame before adding the vermouth. Nobody wants a kitchen fire.
Zest the lemon before squeezing it for the juice. A solid, firm lemon is easier to grate and produces more lemon zest when grated before juicing.
Cook the cream and reduce the sauce before adding the mushrooms. Mushrooms have a high water content that releases as they cook. Cook the mushrooms before the chicken breasts, set aside, and add them back to the sauce after it has reduced so the sauce doesn’t thin out.
How to Finish This Creamy Lemon Chicken Breasts and Mushrooms Recipe
Add the chicken breasts and mushrooms back to the skillet. Once the sauce has reduced, warm the chicken and mushrooms directly in the sauce, turning the chicken breasts to coat.
Sprinkle the chicken with Parmesan cheese to melt. Add a savory tang with sprinkles of Parmesan that melts into the sauce from the residual heat. Or, pop the skillet under the broiler for a more browned Parmesan topping.
Garnish with more lemon zest and herbs. Finishing the dish with a last sprinkle of lemon brightens and lightens the entire meal.
Ingredient Substitutions for this Recipe
What can I substitute for the vermouth in this recipe? Substitute the alcohol with chicken broth instead of wine. Or, try a sweetened, fortified wine like marsala or madeira. White wine works too, but the flavor won’t be as complex.
What type of mushrooms can I use? Use as many varieties of mushrooms to complement the chicken that you crave. White, brown, portobello, cremini, oyster, shiitake or porcini. Use what you have, use what you can find. And if you can only find one variety, that works too.
Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? Yes, skinless, boneless chicken breasts work fine in this recipe. But note that chicken thighs may need to cook for a different amount of time than specified in the recipe below.
What types of herbs can I use in this recipe? Parsley, dill, tarragon and even mint work well with this flavor combination.
What to Serve with Lemon Cream Chicken Breasts
- Oven Roasted Asparagus
- Easy Lemon Rice Recipe
- Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Breasts and Mushrooms
- 2 cups mushrooms , quartered
- 4 tablespoons butter , divided
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sweet vermouth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon peel
- 1 cup cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- minced parsley for garnish
- Cut each chicken breast in half horizontally. Pound the chicken breasts lightly with a meat mallet for even thickness, about 1/2 inch thick. Season the breasts with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat in a large skillet and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher salt and cook for 3 minutes or until the mushrooms soften and brown. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl.
- In the same skillet over medium-high, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the canola oil. Add two of the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook until golden browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and repeat with the other two breasts. Leave the browned fond and any residual goodness in the pan. Discard any burned bits and wipe out any extra dark spots of the pan.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Carefully add the vermouth, lemon juice and lemon peel. Return to medium high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, scraping the cooked bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the cream and cook for a few more minutes for the sauce to thicken and reduce. Add the chicken and mushrooms back to the skillet, toss in the cream, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cook for 2 more minutes to warm the chicken and melt the cheese. Taste the sauce for seasoning and garnish with parsley. Serve with steamed rice, noodles, potatoes, or other vegetables.
More Chicken Breasts Recipe Ideas
- The Best Chicken Piccata
- Easy Chicken Marsala
- The Best Baked Chicken Breast
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom And Leek Chicken Breasts
- The Best BBQ Chicken
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken
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