Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken

5 from 2 votes
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These homemade chicken tenders are simmered in a creamy lemon herb sauce for a hearty main course that the whole family will fall in love with. Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken is fit for any special occasion, yet easy enough for a busy weeknight!

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders with a Creamy Lemon Sauce

This easy recipe starts with every kid’s favorite – chicken tenders. I like to throw them together from scratch with gluten-free breadcrumbs, but frozen chicken tenders will do the trick just fine. Either way, they’re going to get a serious upgrade when they simmer in that sumptuous lemon herb sauce!

Growing up, this chicken was my family’s favorite special occasion meal. My mom got the recipe from her coworker’s friend whose Italian mother – Mrs. A – created it. Originally, the chicken tenders were baked in the lemon sauce. But when I revived the dish for my own family, I made a couple of changes to Mrs. A’s initial recipe. One of them moved things over to the stove.

The only other significant change I made was to the sauce’s thickening method, which required a flour-based roux. In order to keep the chicken gluten-free, I switched it to a cornstarch slurry. These changes not only made the dish more diet-friendly, but they also made it even easier to prepare! Plus, my updated version tastes just as divine as the original.

A dark teal plate containing lemon chicken, cooked broccoli, rice and a lemon twist

What You’ll Need

Each ingredient that goes into the chicken tenders and the skillet lemon sauce is listed below. Let’s dive right in!

For the Chicken Tenders

  • Chicken Tenderloins: Boneless and skinless.
  • Egg: To help the breading adhere to the meat.
  • Salt & Pepper: Added to taste.
  • Italian-Flavored Breadcrumbs: I use gluten-free breadcrumbs, but feel free to reach for whatever you have on hand.

For the Lemon Herb Sauce

  • Butter: Unsalted.
  • Low Sodium Chicken Stock: Or broth.
  • Cornstarch: This will form a slurry that’ll be used to thicken the sauce.
  • Dried Parsley
  • Dried Oregano
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed from about two lemons.
  • Salt & Pepper

What Cut of Chicken Should I Use?

Boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins are the way to go when it comes to homemade chicken fingers. Remove the narrow white tendon in the middle of the meat by carefully wiggling the edge of a knife against it and pulling it off. If you’d like to lighten things up a bit, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead, but they don’t absorb the flavor or help to thicken the sauce quite as well.

Chicken tenders in a serving platter beside a stick of butter, cornstarch, fresh lemons and the rest of the recipe ingredients

How to Make Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken

Go ahead and use your go-to chicken tenders for this recipe – whether they’re baked, fried or frozen. When in doubt, stick with the fail-proof tenders below! You also have the option to make gluten free air fryer chicken tenders.

Make the Chicken Tenders

Prep for Baking: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a cooling rack onto a cookie sheet and grease it with oil or cooking spray.

Combine Egg, Salt & Pepper: Crack the egg into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper, then lightly beat the egg with a fork.

Coat Chicken in Breading: Add the chicken to the beaten egg, tossing to fully coat each tenderloin. Place the breadcrumbs into a bowl and, one at a time, roll the egg-covered tenderloins into the breadcrumbs to coat them completely. Place the breadcrumb-coated tenders onto the prepared rack. Once all of the chicken is coated and arranged on the rack, spray it with oil or cooking spray.

Bake: Bake the chicken tenders for 10-12 minutes, depending on their size, then flip them over. Once flipped, bake them for another 10-12 minutes.

Remove From Oven: Take your baked tenders out of the oven and set them aside.

Make the Sauce

Melt Butter: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Make Slurry: While the butter is melting, whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth until it’s fully dissolved, then add the slurry to the skillet.

A cornstarch and chicken broth slurry being poured into a skillet full of melted butter

Add Herbs & Spices: Add the parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.

Cover & Simmer: Cover the saucepan and bring the liquid to a simmer.

Add Lemon Juice & Chicken: Uncover the saucepan and add the lemon juice, then lay the chicken fingers in the sauce.

Simmer: Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the sauce has thickened.

Enjoy! Serve your skillet lemon chicken over brown rice or another desired base. Top it with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if you’d like.

Tips for Success

The helpful tips and tricks below will have you cooking up lemon chicken like a pro! Give them a read before you take a stab at the recipe.

  • Fresh Lemon Juice is Key: The lemon juice is a hugely important component of this dish. You definitely want to squeeze it from the fruit yourself – bottled lemon juice lacks that authentically fresh flavor.
  • Flip the Chicken: When you’re cooking the chicken tenders, it’s important to flip them over at the halfway point. This way, both sides will get equally crispy and neither will overcook.
  • Use Cold Broth: Keep the chicken broth chilled until you’re ready to make your cornstarch slurry. If the broth is warm, the mixture could clump up. The cornstarch should be fully dissolved in the broth before it’s exposed to any heat.
A close-up shot of skillet lemon chicken on a dinner plate along with rice and veggies

Make it a Meal

Throughout my childhood, my family enjoyed our skillet lemon chicken over angel hair or linguini pasta. These days, I usually serve it over brown rice. If you do want to partner it with pasta, I recommend doubling the sauce recipe so that you have plenty to coat the noodles. And don’t forget to add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

When it comes to side dishes, you honestly can’t go wrong. Whether you serve your chicken with Parmesan Roasted Broccoli, Baked Italian Herb Fries, Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls, or anything in between, dinner is sure to be a slam dunk.

A plate of lemon chicken, rice and broccoli with a skillet full of more chicken in the background

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Once your skillet chicken has cooled completely, wrap each tender in aluminum foil and refrigerate them in an airtight container. Enjoy them within 2 days for maximum freshness. Reheat the chicken in a 400°F oven until it’s warmed through (this should take about 10-15 minutes). Alternatively, you can warm up the tenders in the microwave.

Do These Freeze Well?

They do! Instead of placing your wrapped and stored chicken tenders in the fridge, keep them in the freezer. Just be sure you’ve put them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Enjoy frozen tenders within 4 months and thaw them out in the fridge before you reheat them.

The completed lemon chicken inside of a skillet with three thin lemon slices
5 from 2 votes

Mrs. A’s Skillet Lemon Chicken

These homemade chicken tenders are simmered in a creamy lemon herb sauce for a hearty main course that the whole family will fall in love with. Mrs. A's Skillet Lemon Chicken is fit for any special occasion, yet easy enough for a busy weeknight!
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Stove

Ingredients

For the Chicken Tenders

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins or breasts cut into thin strips
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs, gluten free if needed or plain breadcrumbs plus 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

For the Lemon Herb Sauce

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (half a stick)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about two lemons)
  • Rice or pasta and parmesan cheese for serving if you are using pasta, you may want to double the sauce recipe

Instructions

Make the Chicken Tenders

  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a cooling rack on a cookie sheet, and spray with oil or cooking spray.
  • Crack egg into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and lightly beat with a fork.
  • Add chicken to egg, and toss to coat completely.
  • Place breadcrumbs in a bowl and, one at a time, coat the chicken tenderloins and place on the rack.
  • Once all of the chicken is coated, spray with oil or cooking spray.
  • Bake chicken on the rack on top of the cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes, depending on size, then flip and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Make the Sauce

  • Prepare the Chicken Fingers as directed above, or according to package directions or your favorite recipe.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
  • While the butter is melting, slurry the cornstarch in the chicken broth, the add to the skillet.
  • Add the salt, pepper, parsley, and oregano, cover and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the lemon juice, then lay the chicken fingers in the sauce.
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and thickened.
  • Serve over rice or pasta, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Notes

  • To Store: Wrap cooled tenders in aluminum foil and refrigerate in an airtight container. Enjoy within 2 days.
  • To Reheat: Heat chicken in the microwave or in a 400°F oven until warmed through.
  • To Freeze: Keep wrapped and stored chicken in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Nutrition Facts
Mrs. A's Skillet Lemon Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 425 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 180mg60%
Sodium 250mg10%
Potassium 772mg22%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 42g84%
Vitamin A 469IU9%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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22 Comments
  1. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    What a great back story for this yummy dish, Brianne. I hope Mrs. A knows that you guys request her dish for special occasions. I’d be so honoured if I were here. This sounds absolutely delicious!

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