Easy Panko Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce
This panko crusted chicken with lemon cream sauce is one of our favorite recipes to make for when guests come to dinner. It’s super easy to make the panko breaded chicken and the lemon sauce for the chicken is only a couple of ingredients.
The creamy lemon sauce tastes amazing over the panko chicken and it’s even better if you add some mashed potatoes to your plate as well. Trust me. It’s incredibly delicious and tastes very similar to the Chicken Costoletto served at The Cheesecake Factory.
I love that golden brown breaded chicken with hints of parmesan cheese and lemon zest. The outside of the panko chicken is perfectly crunchy (the kids think it’s chicken nuggets!), while the inside is juicy, moist chicken.
The sauce is to die for, with its hint of butter and garlic, and that final note of lemon at the very end is what really makes it special.
Panko Chicken Ingredients
This easy breaded chicken recipe comes together quickly and doesn’t use any special ingredients. Here’s what we used to make the panko chicken and the lemon cream sauce:
- Chicken breasts
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Shredded Parmesan
- All-purpose flour
- Unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- Better Than Bouillon
- White wine
- Heavy cream
What is Panko?
Panko is a special type of Japanese breadcrumb that’s made from loaves of crustless white bread. Panko is typically much lighter and flakier than regular breadcrumbs, which results in homemade breaded chicken that doesn’t taste as heavy.
How to Make Breaded Chicken and Lemon Cream Sauce
First thing’s first, you want to get your chicken breaded. It’s really quite simple, but it makes the perfectly crunchy chicken. Flour, egg and panko bread crumbs mixed with lemon zest and parmesan cheese are all you need.
First dredge your chicken in the flour. We add salt and pepper to this step so that the chicken is well seasoned. Cover each side and lightly shake off the excess.
Next up is the egg. You need to create a “glue” in order to keep the bread crumbs stuck on the chicken. Since you already dipped in the flour you just need something to moisten and create the glue. Egg is perfect.
Last is the panko. Gosh, I love panko. It’s seriously the best bread crumb around. For real. Plus this one has all of the cheese and lemon zest in it to add a burst of flavor.
Now just fry up the chicken in a skillet. This post on how to perfectly cook a chicken is all you need. It’s an awesome and easy method that will have your chicken perfectly white through the whole middle without ever cutting into the chicken.
How to Make Lemon Cream Sauce
The lemon sauce is actually quite easy as well. All you have to do is cook the butter and garlic, add the flour, which will act as a thickener.
The most important step at this point is to now cook that flour flavor out for about 30 seconds by continuing to whisk it in the pan. Flour is the best thickener for a cream sauce as it will blend will and works the best.
Quickly add the white wine, we use cooking white wine since we don’t drink alcohol, and although a white grape juice is a normal substitute for white wine, in this cream sauce it ends up a little too sweet and flowery for my taste.
Next, add the cream and cook until thick. Bringing the sauce back to a boil and then allowing it to stay at a gentle boil, around medium, maybe medium high heat for a few minutes will thicken it. Now just season to taste and don’t be afraid to add a little more salt as a flavorless sauce is merely under-seasoned. Lastly, add the zest, juice and seasoning.
Can I Prep Panko Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce in Advance?
I don’t recommend prepping the panko chicken ahead of time since it’s best fresh from the skillet. However, you technically can make the lemon cream sauce in advance but you may want to consider a couple of things.
A cream sauce thickens as it cools, so you can add a couple extra tablespoons of liquid to reduce how much thickening occurs. You should always cool your sauce, which can be done by placing it in a clean, cool bowl or also putting that bowl over an ice bath as you don’t want a cream sauce to sit out for very long.
Finally, press plastic wrap directly onto the cream sauce in the bowl and use a sharp knife to puncture a hole or two. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. We also like to just use a ziploc bag and press the air out.
Note that the lemon cream sauce sadly doesn’t keep very well, so by the third day it’s time to let it go. We like to use it in a new way for leftovers like a casserole the next night.
Can You Freeze Lemon Cream Sauce?
Cream sauce can be frozen though it tends to curdle a bit upon reheating. That’s why we are obsessed with our Food Saver as it allows the air to be sucked out and we can usually get a few weeks out of a cream sauce in the freezer.
How to Reheat Lemon Cream Sauce
To reheat the lemon sauce for the chicken, heat water in the base of a double boiler, then place the sauce in the top of the double boiler in a glass bowl. It’s very important to heat slowly, stirring occasionally to help counteract the tendency to curdle. If your lemon cream sauce is a little too thick, merely add a little milk or cream back in.
What to Serve with Panko Chicken
Panko chicken pairs well with any number of sides! The panko crusted chicken and lemon cream sauce are both nice and bright in flavor, which is why we enjoy pairing it with a heavier tasting side like creamy mashed potatoes.
Here are a few other easy side dishes we serve with this easy breaded chicken:
- The Best Mashed Potatoes
- Grilled Lemon Pepper Asparagus
- Lemon Roasted Broccoli
- Dill Pea and Cucumber Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Simple Garlic Roasted Veggies
Tips for Making Panko Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce
You technically don’t have to pound the chicken flat before cooking it, but it actually makes the cooking process easier in the long-run. Pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness ensures that they cook at the same rate throughout.
A lemon cream sauce is different than just making a regular cream sauce. Have you ever noticed that your sauce can separate or clump up? Acid will break up your sauce so it’s absolutely essential that you add that the very last (white wine does actually count, but it’s not as bad as lemon juice).
Also note that there are really no substitutions that can be made when prepping the cream sauce. Heavy cream is essential, as is real butter. Without them, your cream sauce may not thicken up properly.
Panko Crusted Chicken With Lemon Cream Sauce
Panko Crusted Chicken with Lemon Cream Sauce
- 2 Large Chicken Breasts
- 1 1/2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese , shredded
- Zest of 1/2 Lemon
- 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Black Pepper
- 1 Egg , slightly beaten
- Olive Oil
- Unsalted Butter
Lemon Cream Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 1 Tablespoon Better than Bouillion
- 1 Garlic Clove minced
- 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoon White Wine
- 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1 Lemon , zested and juiced
- 1 Pinch Kosher Salt
- 1 Pinch Fresh Black Pepper
Make the Panko Chicken:
- Place the egg in a dish.
- In another dish place the flour, salt and pepper.
- In one last dish place the panko, lemon zest and parmesan cheese.
- Place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or a ziploc bag and pound to 1/4 inch thick.
- Remove the breasts and slice them diagonally creating 4 chicken breasts instead of 2.
- Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then egg and lastly the panko.
- Add two breasts at a time to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden and cooked through, adding more oil and butter to the pan as needed.
Make the Lemon Cream Sauce:
- Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, and concentrated stock.
- As the two begin to melt add the garlic and cook until everything is melted together and the garlic is fragrant, about 1 min.
- Add the flour and whisk vigorously. Everything will come together in a clump. Continue to whisk for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute to cook out the flour-y taste.
- Quickly add the white wine and then the heavy cream.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Whisk for a minute and reduce to a simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened.
- Add the lemon zest, and lemon juice. Continue to whisk until everything is well incorporated.
- Remove from heat and serve over the chicken alongside sides such as asparagus, roasted mashed potatoes, fingerlings etc.