Relish in the flavors of Tuscany with my Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken! Using homemade Tuscan seasoning, heavy cream, and kale, this decadent chicken dish comes together in a flash, making it perfect for a weeknight meal. Even the kids will love this creamy chicken! Dairy-free option.
Your new favorite dinner recipe is here! Everyone wants a meal that combines lean protein, a decadent sauce, and dark leafy greens. A dish like Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken provides enough richness to feel satisfied but enough healthy ingredients for nutrition benefits.
This is a one-pot meal, so cooking and clean-up are as easy as can be. Simply sear the seasoned chicken breasts in the skillet, then make the sauce.
Finish the chicken inside the sauce so that it cooks all the way through and absorbs all of the wonderful Tuscan flavors. My creamy chicken is perfect served with mashed potatoes, rice, veggies, or your favorite side dish.
If you are vegetarian, this dish can easily be made with just pasta---check out this Easy Weeknight Creamy Tuscan Ravioli or you can use: cauliflower steaks, tofu, or eggplant. I like to use chicken because it is a reliable, tasty protein source that is fairly inexpensive. Plus, chicken takes on any flavor that you pair it with. Once you make this Creamy Lemon + Herb Parmesan sauce once, you'll pair it with everything!
Health Benefits of Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken
When it comes to cooking, I like to use the best, freshest ingredients possible. High-quality ingredients generally mean more health benefits, prettier colors, and better flavors.
For example, buying pasture-raised chicken means that the chicken had a happy life on the farm. Free-roaming organic chickens tend to have a higher quality of life and taste better than factory-produced chickens. Pasture-raised chickens are also often cared for without growth hormones or antibiotics in their feed.
Chicken provides tons of lean protein. A diet high in protein can lead to a boosted immune system, metabolism, and digestive tract. Chicken is generally considered one of the healthiest animal protein sources.
In addition, kale provides omega-3 fatty acids to this dish. Omega-3s are healthy fats that our bodies thrive on but do not produce on their own. You can also find omega-3 fatty acids in spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
In the end, be sure to look for the highest quality ingredients that you can find. It really makes a difference in the final dish.
Ingredients for Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken
The ingredients for this stew are important for developing the right flavor notes. Here’s what you’ll need:
Chicken. You can use a mixture of thighs and drumsticks, just remove the skin first.
Tuscan seasonings. I like to create my own personal blend of dried thyme, smoked paprika, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and dried rosemary.
Butter. Use unsalted butter to control the flavor of the dish.
Olive oil. Extra fat to this dish that adds additional flavor.
Garlic. I recommend fresh, but you could use ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.
Chicken stock. Use low-sodium store-bought or make your own.
Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always!
White wine. Choose a dry wine that you like the taste of.
Lemon juice. You can use store-bought or freshly-squeeze juice from an actual lemon.
Parmesan cheese. You could also use pecorino romano.
Kale. Use fresh for best results, but frozen also works! Ensure that it’s chopped.
Lemon zest and slices. Use freshly grated lemon zest and thin slices of ½ a lemon for extra bold lemony flavor---the highlight of this dish.
How to Make Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken
Cooking creamy lemon herb parmesan chicken is generally an easy process—in total about 30-35 minutes. You first start by cleaning and washing your chicken pieces to ensure that they are clean and ready to be seasoned. I like to wash my chicken with both vinegar and lemon to help keep things clean and sanitized.
Once your chicken is clean, then it’s seasoning time! I’m all about seasoning every “layer” of my food, therefore, the chicken gets direct seasoning and so does the sauce. Let everything marinate for 5-10 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter and once fully heated, add the minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the seasoned chicken and cook on each side until seared, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once brown on each side, add in the remaining ingredients and bring everything to a simmer until the chicken becomes tender and fully cooked through.
Homemade Tuscan Seasoning Blend
Sure, you can find pre-made seasoning blends at the grocery store. But there’s nothing like the fresh, customized flavor you get by making your own blend. The herbs and spices in the Tuscan spice mix for this recipe are inspired by the fresh herbs that grow in Italy, mixed with a bit of heat from smoked paprika.
You can Store the seasoning blend in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. Use it on anything from simple roasted vegetables to salad dressing to herb oil for dipping bread.
How to Serve Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken
You can serve this Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken with whatever your heart desires. I like to add pasta and some rice to sop up all of the rich creamy lemony herb flavors. It would pair great with white rice, brown rice, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat servings in the microwave or on the stove to serve.
You can also freeze leftover chicken for up to six months. Then defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat to enjoy.
Can I Make Dairy-Free Creamy Lemon Herb Parmesan Chicken?
Yes! To make this sauce dairy-free, simply use vegan butter instead of the regular butter. Then swap the cream with full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. And use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese or nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.
In a large bowl, add your freshly cleaned + rinsed chicken along with the salt, black pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, and thyme, mixing everything together until chicken is fully coated. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
COOK THE CHICKEN:
In a large skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat, add the butter and once fully melted, add the minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant and translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the seasoned chicken and cook on each side until seared, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once brown on each side, remove from skillet and set unto a plate to "rest" while you make the sauce.
TO MAKE THE CREAMY LEMON TUSCAN SAUCE:
In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil until heated.
Add in 1-2 Tbsps tuscan blend seasonings and stir until well combined.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly add in the heavy cream, chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, and white wine, stirring until combined. Let it slightly bubble for 1-2 minutes and then add in the grated parmesan, whisking until fully melted and sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the lemon slices, stirring them into the sauce.
Add in the chopped kale, stirring until combined and return the chicken breasts. Let everything simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
Stir the sauce occasionally and spoon it unto the chicken breasts as they continue to cook.
Remove from heat once done.
To serve, enjoy the chicken with your favorite side (i.e. rice, pasta, veggies, etc.). Garnish with a bit of grated parmesan (for extra cheesy flavor), if desired.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
GREENS: To add a bit more flavor to this dish, you can always feel free to add in your favorite greens such as spinach, broccolini, collards, or asparagus.
TUSCAN SEASONING (STORAGE): Any leftover tuscan blend seasoning can be stored in a ziplock bag or jar for later use or used as garnish.
DAIRY-FREE OPTION: To make this sauce dairy-free, simply use vegan butter instead of the regular butter. Then swap the cream with full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream. And use your favorite dairy-free shredded cheese or nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.