This recipe for Chicken Limone is incredibly tasty, super easy and needs just only a few basic ingredients!
Thin sliced chicken breasts are sautéed in butter and oil then doused in lemon and even more butter. Tangy, tender and buttery, this chicken with lemon will quickly become your number one midweek meal!
I can hear you asking what is chicken limone? Chicken Limone, also known as "pollo al limone", is one of those mouthwatering chicken recipes that everyone loves. Very similar to chicken piccata but with even fewer ingredients and just as flavorsome!
You’re going to love how easy this recipe is but also how impressive it looks and tastes. Chicken Limone is an excellent family midweek meal but exciting enough to impress your dinner guests! Satisfying but light with a lemon butter sauce that’s made in a matter of moments and definitely not boring!
You might be doubtful that chicken breast can really be that good - my husband was! However, you’re going to be really pleased when you follow my tip for brining the chicken breast after pounding. Just 15 minutes in the brine makes all the difference and resulting in a soft, melt-in-your-mouth chicken dish.
Add scrumptious roast vegetables like these Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli or these Roasted Zucchini and homemade focaccia or Ciabatta Garlic Bread and you have a well rounded meal that will please everyone even my husband loves it!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
Table of Contents
- Chicken Breasts - boneless skinless chicken breasts are easily purchased at the supermarket. You’ll need to slice these lengthwise so if you prefer to save a step, buy cutlets instead. Chicken tenderloin would also be a good substitute.
- All Purpose Flour - to lightly coat the chicken which will in turn thicken the sauce.
- Olive Oil - I generally use regular but if you prefer use extra virgin olive oil.
- Salted Butter - if you only have unsalted butter, add a little extra salt for seasoning.
- Lemon - one lemon should provide enough juice and zest. This recipe calls for ¼ cup lemon juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
- Salt - so important in this Chicken Limone recipe to create the brine which tenderizes the chicken. Just regular sea salt is what you’ll need.
Plus, you’ll freshly ground black pepper which adds so much to the flavor and water.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise
- Pound lightly between sheets of plastic to create even thin cutlets.
- Place in brine for 15 minutes
- Remove from the brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Dredge the chicken in flour.
- Heat oil and half the butter in a pan and fry the chicken in batches.
- When the chicken is done, remove it to a plate. Set aside.
- Stir remaining butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and water into the pan and bring to a simmer.
- Return chicken to the pan, turn to coat in the sauce and reheat for two or three minutes.
Hint: If you’ve had the heat a bit too high and there are a lot of burnt bits in the bottom of the pan, use a big wad of paper towel (being careful not to touch the hot oil!) to scrape out the worst of it. Don’t clean the pan completely - this is where the flavor lies.
- Gluten free - use cornstarch or arrowroot instead of all purpose flour to make this recipe gluten free.
- Dairy free - Use all olive oil to make this dairy free. The taste will be different but it will still be good. Be sure to use good quality olive oil.
- Garlicky - add garlic powder to the flour.
- Lemon Caper Sauce - add a few spoonfuls of capers to the sauce.
- Extra lemon - simmer lemon slices in the sauce before adding the chicken back in.
If you like thin sliced chicken breast recipes, be sure to check out my Italian Chicken Cutlets!
You’ll need a large skillet or frying pan for this recipe. I like to use my big stainless steel frying pan because it heats quickly and evenly. You could use a cast iron skillet but I wouldn’t recommend a non-stick pan because the recipe needs the bits that stick at the bottom of the pan for flavor.
Store any leftovers on a cover plate in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave. The sauce may thicken but it will still be good to eat..
I don't recommend freezing Chicken Limone.
Tips for Success and FAQ’s
If you have never brined chicken breast before I urge you to try this simple technique for mouth watering Chicken Limone. Be sure to rinse and dry the chicken slices well before going on with the recipe.
The next most important thing with this Chicken Limone recipe is not to overcook the chicken. The heat should be high enough so that it cooks quickly but doesn’t burn.
It’s essential not to crowd the pan. Cook the chicken in batches and set aside on a plate until it’s all done. Crowding the pan will cause the chicken to stew instead of sautéing.
Use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled for the best tasting lemon sauce. Plus including lemon zest adds an extra dimension to this lemon chicken recipe.
Because this recipe uses thin sliced chicken breast it will only take a minute or two on each side to sauté. Let your eye and nose be the judge. You’ll see that it is cooked through and it will smell delicious.
This recipe for chicken limone isn’t gluten free. To make it gluten free, use cornstarch or arrowroot instead of all purpose flour.
Sometimes it can be very hard to tell the difference between chicken strips and chicken tenders in the supermarket. Chicken strips are cut from chicken breast. While chicken tenders look very similar, they are actually the muscle under the chicken breast.
Chicken tenders are also known as chicken tenderloin. There is a very slight difference in flavor and nutritional content but can be interchangeable in recipes.
If you enjoyed this recipe, I'd really appreciate a star rating and a comment or tag me on instagram @marcellina.in.cucina.
Either way, I love to hear from you!
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Chicken Limone Recipe
- 1 ¼ pound large skinless boneless chicken breasts (600 grams or 2 or 3 chicken breasts)
- 2 tablespoons salt for brining
- 4 tablespoons all purpose plain flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons salted butter divided (56 grams)
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt extra for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or as desired
- extra lemon slices and chopped fresh parsley for serving
- Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise and pound lightly between sheets of plastic to create even thin cutlets.
- For extra tender chicken, brine for 15 minutes in salt water (fill a large bowl with barely warm water add 2 or 3 large tablespoons salt and stir to dissolve). Remove, rinse with cold water, dry with paper towels, and then continue with the recipe.
- Season flour with salt. Dredge the chicken cutlets in the flour, shaking off any excess.
- Heat the oil with half of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- When hot add the flour dredged chicken breasts in batches (if necessary) and one layer and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Season with a little salt and pepper when you turn the chicken cutlets. When cooked, remove to a plate.
- Reduce the heat a little and add the remaining butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and water to the pan.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring well, scraping up the pan crusty bits.
- Return chicken to the pan, turning to coat. Cook for two or three minutes until heat through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Serve with extra lemon slices and finely chopped parsley.
- Be sure to brine the chicken - an extra step but ensures tender, mouth watering chicken limone.
- Don't overcook or the chicken will be dry.
- It’s also important not to crowd the pan. Cook the chicken in batches.
- Use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled for the best tasting lemon sauce.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.