5 from 1 vote
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Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Breasts with Creamy Sauce

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Craving a delicious and easy-to-make dinner? This Instant Pot lemon chicken recipe is here to save the day. With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up a mouth-watering meal that’s both healthy and satisfying. Plus, it’s perfect for those busy weeknights when you want something quick but flavorful.

Lemon chicken with creamy sauce topped with a slice of lemons on a white plate.

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Imagine tender chicken breasts infused with zesty lemon and smothered in a creamy sauce. This easy dish is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and a surefire way to make your chicken taste even more delicious. Everyone will ask for seconds, whether you’re cooking for family or friends!

If you are on the hunt for more savory lemon recipes, I have a few more you might want to try out. Grab some fresh shrimp and make some lemon-garlic jumbo shrimp for a great appetizer or light meal. Or you could try a lemon and dill topping on baked halibut for a tasty main meal.

Still in the mood for more Instant Pot chicken ideas?  Try this delicious Instant Pot Chicken Marsala for another flavor-filled dish.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and Easy: This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. With Instant Pot recipes, you can have a delicious meal ready in no time.
  • Healthy and Nutritious: Made with wholesome ingredients, this dish is both nutritious and satisfying, making it a great option for a balanced diet.
  • Bursting with Flavor: The combination of zesty lemon and creamy sauce makes for a mouth-watering flavor that will have everyone asking for seconds.
  • Versatile: This dish pairs well with a variety of sides, from steamed vegetables to rice or pasta, allowing you to customize your meal to your liking.

What’s In This Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Recipe? 

Ingredients for Lemon chicken sitting on a wooden table.
  • Italian Seasoning: A harmonious blend of dried herbs including basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, Italian seasoning adds a depth of flavor to the chicken, enhancing its savory notes.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: These flakes bring a subtle kick of heat to the dish, balancing the richness of the creamy sauce and adding an extra layer of complexity.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are minced and sautéed, infusing the chicken and sauce with their pungent, aromatic flavor that is both robust and inviting.
  • Chicken Stock: A base made from simmered chicken bones and vegetables, chicken stock (chicken broth) adds richness and moisture to the dish, ensuring the chicken breasts remain tender and juicy.
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: Lean and protein-rich, boneless skinless chicken breasts are the star of this great recipe. They cook quickly and absorb the zesty lemon flavor beautifully, making each bite succulent.

The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

Lemon chicken with sauce on top garnished with slices of lemon.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Milk or Half-and-Half for Heavy Cream: If you’re looking to lighten up the sauce, you can substitute heavy cream with milk or half-and-half. While it may slightly alter the richness, it will still provide a creamy texture.
  • Chicken Thighs for Chicken Breasts: Boneless skinless chicken thighs can be used instead of chicken breasts for a juicier and more flavorful result. Remember, tender chicken thighs may require a few extra minutes of cooking time.
  • Vegetable Stock for Chicken Stock: For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock. This will still impart a delicious depth of flavor to the sauce.
  • Greek Yogurt for Heavy Cream: To add a tangy twist and reduce calories, you can use Greek yogurt in place of heavy cream. Be sure to whisk it in gradually to prevent curdling.
  • Fresh Herbs for Italian Seasoning: If you have fresh herbs on hand, swap out dried Italian seasoning for basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Fresh herbs will enhance the dish’s aromatic profile.
  • Capers or Olives: For an additional burst of flavor, consider adding capers or sliced olives. Both add a briny, slightly salty element that pairs well with the lemon.
  • Baby Spinach: Stirring in a handful of baby spinach at the end of cooking boosts the nutritional value and adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Make the dish even more exciting by incorporating chopped sun-dried tomatoes. They bring a sweet and tangy flavor that beautifully complements the lemon and creamy sauce.

How To Make Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken (step-by-step directions)

Collage of creating lemon chicken.
  1. Add to the Instant Pot: Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and chicken stock. Whisk together.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the Pot, coating them evenly in the stock mixture. (Photo 1)
  3. Close the lid and seal the valve. Set the Instant Pot cook time to high pressure for 12 minutes. Once done, perform a quick release by turning the sealing valve towards you. Remove the chicken and set aside. (Photo 2)
  4. Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté function and let it heat up for about two minutes. Add heavy cream, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce for about seven minutes. (Photos 3 & 4)
  5. Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over each breast, adjusting the amount to your preference.
Chicken with creamy sauce garnished with slices of lemon.

Recipe Tips

  • Season Your Chicken: Before adding the chicken breasts to the Instant Pot, season them generously with salt and pepper for added flavor.
  • Use Fresh Lemon Juice: Always opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice over bottled juice. The fresh juice will provide a more vibrant and authentic citrus flavor.
  • Adjust Heat Levels: If you prefer a milder dish, reduce the amount of red pepper flakes. Conversely, add more if you enjoy a spicier kick.
  • Layer Ingredients Properly: Ensure that the garlic and seasoning hit the base of the pot first before adding the liquid to prevent them from burning and sticking.
  • Monitor Sauté Time: When reducing the sauce, keep an eye on it. Heavy cream can thicken quickly, so stir occasionally to prevent it from burning at the bottom.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure the chicken is perfectly cooked, use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.

Alternate Cooking Methods 

Slow Cooker Method

  • Prepare the Ingredients: Season your boneless skinless chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and chicken stock.
  • Layer in the Slow Cooker: Place the seasoned chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Pour the prepared stock mixture over the chicken, ensuring each breast is evenly coated.
  • Slow Cook: Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it to cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
  • Make the Sauce: Remove the chicken breasts and set them aside about 20 minutes before the cooking time ends. Stir in the heavy cream, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese into the slow cooker, combining well. Allow the sauce to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until it thickens slightly.
  • Finish and Serve: Return the chicken breasts to the slow cooker, coating them with the sauce. Once warmed through, serve the chicken with the sauce drizzled over top.

Conventional Oven Method

  • Preheat and Prepare: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Mix the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and chicken stock in a small bowl.
  • Assemble the Dish: Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the stock mixture over them, ensuring they are well-coated. Cover the dish with aluminum foil to keep the moisture in.
  • Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Prepare the Sauce: In the final 10 minutes of baking, prepare the sauce. Combine the heavy cream, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir continually until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.
  • Serve: Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven. Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken breasts in the baking dish, or serve it separately, allowing your guests to add sauce to their liking.

Storing Tips 

Leftover lemon garlic chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure the chicken and sauce are cooled completely before sealing the container to maintain freshness and prevent condensation from making the dish soggy.

This dish is also freezer-friendly. To freeze, place the cooled chicken and sauce in a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags. Label it with the date and freeze it for up to 3 months. For best results, try to consume within this period to ensure optimal flavor and texture.

The next time you want this instant pot lemon garlic chicken recipe, you can use the microwave or the stovetop:

  • Microwave: Place the chicken and sauce in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or wrap to retain moisture. Heat on high for 2-3 minutes, or until thoroughly warmed. Stir the sauce halfway through to ensure even heating.
  • Stovetop: Reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a splash of chicken stock or water to the pan to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick. Stir occasionally and heat until the chicken is warmed through.

Avoid reheating more than once to maintain the quality and safety of the food.

A white plate of Lemon Chicken Breasts topped with a slice of lemon and asparagus on the side.

Serving Suggestions 

You can complement this instant pot chicken recipe with various favorite sides to create a balanced and satisfying meal. Here are some suggestions:

  • Steamed Vegetables: Lightly steamed broccoli, green beans, or roasted Brussels Sprouts are excellent choices. They add a healthy, crunchy contrast to the creamy sauce of the chicken.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes can be a comforting choice, soaking up the flavorful sauce beautifully.
  • Rice: Serve the chicken over a fluffy brown or white rice bed to absorb the lemon garlic sauce, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. Cauliflower rice is also a good alternative.
  • Quinoa: For a healthier alternative, quinoa provides a nutty flavor that pairs well with the zesty lemon sauce.
  • Pasta: A side of pasta, such as angel hair or fettuccine, tossed in olive oil and garlic provides a delightful chicken base and sauce base.
  • Salad: A fresh, crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette can balance the dish’s richness. Consider a simple mixed greens salad or something more elaborate, like a Greek salad.
  • Crusty Bread: A slice of crusty bread or a warm dinner roll is perfect for mopping up every bit of the delicious sauce. Or even make some homemade garlic bread for extra flavor.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use bone-in chicken instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts?

Yes, you can use bone-in chicken for this recipe. However, keep in mind that the cooking time
 will be longer. Ensure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F to guarantee it is fully cooked.

Can I add vegetables directly to the Instant Pot with the chicken?

Yes, feel free to add sturdy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or bell peppers to the Instant Pot with the chicken. They will cook alongside the chicken, absorbing the flavors of the sauce. Be cautious with softer vegetables, as they may become too mushy.

What can I use if I don’t have chicken stock?

If you don’t have chicken stock on hand, you can use vegetable stock or even water as a substitute. Add a bit of additional seasoning to compensate for the lack of flavor that stock provides.

How can I adjust the spiciness of the dish?

To make the dish less spicy, simply reduce or omit the red pepper flakes. Conversely, if you prefer a spicier kick, you can increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a dash of hot sauce to the sauce mixture.

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Need More Chicken Recipes? Try These:

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A white plate of breast chicken with creamy sauce and slices of lemon on top.
5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Breasts with Creamy Sauce


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Instant Pot
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields 2 portions
Craving a delicious and easy-to-make dinner? This Instant Pot lemon chicken recipe is here to save the day. With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip up a mouth-watering meal that’s both healthy and satisfying.

Ingredients 

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • cup (12 ½ g) parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • ¾ cup (177 3/7 ml) heavy cream

Instructions

  • Add to the Instant Pot: Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, and chicken stock. Whisk together.
    TBSP dried Italian Seasoning,¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes,4 TBSP garlic,1 cup chicken stock
  • Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the Pot, coating them evenly in the stock mixture.
    2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Close the lid and seal the valve. Set the Instant Pot cook time to high pressure for 12 minutes. Once done, perform a quick release by turning the sealing valve towards you. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté function and let it heat up for about two minutes. Add heavy cream, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce for about seven minutes.
    2 tablespoons lemon juice,¾ cup heavy cream,⅛ cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over each breast, adjusting the amount to your preference.

Notes

  • Season Your Chicken: Before adding the chicken breasts to the Instant Pot, season them generously with salt and pepper for added flavor.
  • Use Fresh Lemon Juice: Always opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice over bottled juice. The fresh juice will provide a more vibrant and authentic citrus flavor.
  • Adjust Heat Levels: If you prefer a milder dish, reduce the amount of red pepper flakes. Conversely, add more if you enjoy a spicier kick.
  • Layer Ingredients Properly: Ensure that the garlic and seasoning hit the base of the pot first before adding the liquid to prevent them from burning and sticking.
  • Monitor Sauté Time: When reducing the sauce, keep an eye on it. Heavy cream can thicken quickly, so stir occasionally to prevent it from burning at the bottom.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: To ensure the chicken is perfectly cooked, use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 528kcal (26%) Carbohydrates: 13g (4%) Protein: 33g (66%) Fat: 38g (58%) Saturated Fat: 23g (144%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 0.01g Cholesterol: 181mg (60%) Sodium: 434mg (19%) Potassium: 719mg (21%) Fiber: 0.5g (2%) Sugar: 5g (6%) Vitamin A: 1475IU (30%) Vitamin C: 13mg (16%) Vitamin D: 2µg (13%) Calcium: 173mg (17%) Iron: 1mg (6%)

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5 from 1 vote

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I just wanted to share this awesome Instant Pot lemon chicken recipe that’s perfect for busy weeknights. I really hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.

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