This Creamy Garam Masala Lemon Butter Chicken is about to be one of your favorite chicken dinner recipes to add into your weekly rotation! A creamy, vibrant lemon butter sauce compliments the crispy garam masala spiced chicken to make this dish oh so comforting. It comes together in under 30 minutes for a delicious, flavorful dinner.
This is a flavorful spin on the classic lemon chicken that's so easy to prep! Between lemon pepper chicken or a buttery lemon sauce, lemon chicken is one of my favorite go-to recipes when cooking chicken. Add in a whole lot of garam masala to the chicken and lemon butter sauce and it completely elevates the dish. Garam masala is a "warming" grounded blend of toasted spices that instantly makes any dish super flavorful. If you don't already have it as part of your spice collection, you'll definitely want to add it ASAP!
This weeknight chicken dinner recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and it's ready and prepped for a few days! It's absolutely delicious when served with something carb-y, especially toast to sop up all the leftover sauce. Orzo, rice, or even spaghetti would be so good, too.
How to Prep and Cook the Crispy Chicken
We're using 2 large chicken breasts for this recipe - coming to about 1.25lbs or so for both of them so that there is enough sauce to go with it. You can use chicken thighs as well, but it may be better to give the thighs a good sear, make the sauce, replace the chicken in the pan, and pop it into the oven to finish cooking the thighs.
- Prep the chicken. Start by cutting any of the fat off of the breasts or thighs. Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken in half lengthwise to create two thin pieces of chicken breasts, four pieces total. Pound out any thick sections of the chicken.
- Season the chicken. Liberally season the chicken with salt and pepper according to taste. Rub the breasts with garam masala to lightly coat the surface.
- Dredge in flour. Coat both sides of each piece of chicken in all-purpose flour.
- Sear and cook. Heat a deep, 10-inch skillet on medium to high heat. Melt a tablespoon of butter. You may need to add an additional tablespoon of olive oil depending on how nonstick your pan is. Once the pan is really hot, carefully lower in the chicken breasts and press the surface down on the pan so it gets that satisfying sear sound. Cook on each side for 2-4 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the skin is crispy. Be careful not to overcook! Overcooked chicken breast is dry and has a chewy texture. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and on to a plate and let it rest while you make the sauce.
How to make the Lemon Butter Sauce
Making the lemon butter sauce is so easy!! It is ridiculously creamy, rich, and citrusy which makes for a comforting warm meal. You'll need to prep by juicing a lemon and zesting about half of the lemon as well.
- Make the sauce. In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium to low and melt the remaining butter. Scrape up any brown bits, that's where all the flavor is! Add in the minced garlic and remaining garam masala and cook until it's fragrant. Then add in the lemon zest, parmesan cheese, chicken broth (or water), and heavy cream. Simmer the sauce until it thickens, about 2-4 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, pour in the lemon juice.
- Combine with the chicken. Add the chicken back in and use a spoon to coat the chicken in the sauce.
- Serve. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, lemon slices, and parmesan cheese. Serve with rice and veggies, orzo, or toasted sourdough!
Browned Lemon Butter Sauce
If your lemon butter sauce has browned instead of a bright yellow, that's totally fine! It will still taste the same. This may be for a few reasons -
- The butter browned from being on heat for too long
- The remaining bits from searing the chicken
- The sauce was simmered for too long
You'll want to work quickly while making the sauce because it gets the beautiful bright color from the butter and lemon, and the heavy cream lightens it.
How to Store the Chicken
I love meal prepping this dish!! I use airtight meal prepping containers and fill each container with a piece of chicken and then the rest with rice and whichever veggies I have on hand.
To reheat - Warm it up in the microwave for a minute or on the stovetop on medium heat for 5 minutes.
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Creamy Garam Masala Lemon Butter Chicken
- 2 large chicken breasts (~1.25 lbs)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp +¼ tsp garam masala
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- juice of one lemon
- zest from ½ a lemon
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chicken broth low sodium (optional)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- handful of parsley
- Prep the chicken both breasts by removing any fat and then slicing lengthwise into 2 thin slices. Liberally season the chicken with salt and pepper, and then rub them with about 2 tablespoons of garam masala. Pour the flour into a plate, and dredge both sides of the chicken with flour.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch pan on medium to high heat, and carefully add the chicken breasts. Cook each side for 3-4 minutes, until the inner temperature reaches 165°F.
- Remove the chicken on to a plate. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the pan on low to medium heat. Add in the minced garlic and ¼ tsp of garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add heavy cream, chicken broth, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Simmer for 2-4 minutes until it begins to thicken up, and then add in the lemon juice at the end.
- Add the chicken back into the pan and baste it with the sauce. Remove the chicken from heat and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices. Serve with rice, veggies, or toast.
- It's completely fine if the lemon butter sauce has browned. It just means the sauce has probably spent a bit too much time on heat and the butter has browned. It will still be as delicious - if not more!