Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs and Asparagus

4.41 from 20 votes
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Paleo and Keto diet friendly One Pot Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs and Asparagus is a delicious low carb dinner that is also great over rice or pasta, or just over grilled vegetables for a creamy rich meal everyone loves! Bursting with lemon garlic flavor that is so delicious you’ll want to lick the pan!

chicken thigh sand lemons on asparagus with seasonings
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Healthy Easy Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs and Asparagus

My husband has been sticking to a keto diet ahead of new years resolution time – and has lost over 35 pounds eating rich, creamy, and totally indulgent foods.

We’ve always had a hard time dieting in our house, but the delicious low carb chicken dinners we’ve been coming up with lately have been a huge lifesaver – and this creamy chicken and asparagus recipe is one we’ve had time after time in our weekly rotation, and always love it!

This one-pot creamy lemon chicken thighs and asparagus melds the rich flavors of seared chicken with the bright zestiness of lemon and the tender snap of fresh asparagus, all enveloped in a lusciously smooth cream sauce. This dish is a perfect weeknight dinner, offering the ease of a single pot for cooking and minimal cleanup, without compromising on depth of flavor or presentation. The harmonious blend of ingredients and the simplicity of its preparation make it an appealing choice for both family meals and impromptu dinner parties.

chicken thigh sand lemons on asparagus with seasonings

How to Make Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs and Asparagus

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Clarified Butter (2 tbsp) – Adds a rich, silky foundation to the dish, enhancing the depth of flavor and aiding in the caramelization of ingredients.
  • Chicken Thighs (4-6) – Serve as the succulent centerpiece of the dish, with their juicy meat providing a hearty texture and robust flavor.
  • Onion (1) – Offers a sweet, aromatic base that complements the other flavors, becoming tender and translucent as it cooks.
  • Garlic (1/4 cup) – Infuses the dish with a pungent, earthy undertone, essential for building a complex flavor profile.
  • Chicken stock (1 cup) – Provides a savory liquid base that deglazes the pot and contributes to the sauce’s depth and richness.
  • Whipping cream (1 cup) – Brings a velvety, luxurious texture to the sauce, balancing the acidity and spice with its smoothness.
  • Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup) – Adds a nutty, salty dimension to the creamy sauce, enhancing its thickness and taste.
  • Italian seasoning blend (1 tbsp) – Offers a medley of herbs that imbue the dish with a classic Mediterranean fragrance and flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes (1 tsp) – Introduce a gentle heat, adding a subtle kick that contrasts the creaminess without overwhelming it.
  • Lemon juice and slices (1/4 cup) – Provide a bright, citrusy lift to the dish, cutting through the richness with their zesty tang.
  • Asparagus (1 pack) – Brings a fresh, slightly grassy note and a crisp texture, offering a vibrant contrast to the creamy chicken.

Use this Method

Cook Chicken. Heat butter in a large pan over medium high heat. When butter is foamy and melted, add chicken thighs and cook on medium high until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side (add extra minute per side if bones still in thigh). When chicken is browned and crisp, remove and set aside on plate lined with paper towel.

Add Veg. Add onion to pan and cook to browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir to prevent burning. Cook until soft and fragrant.

Make Sauce. Add stock and let reduce, another 4 minutes. Turn off heat and add cream, whisking vigorously as you add to pan. Add chicken back to pan. When cream is well incorporated into sauce, return heat to medium high.

Add Cheese and Herbs. Stir in lemon juice, parmesan cheese, herbs, red pepper flakes, lemon slices, and asparagus. Cook 5-8 minutes until chicken has reached 175 internal temperature and asparagus is soft and bright green.

Finish. Top with additional parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately over pasta, rice, or with grilled vegetables.

chicken thigh sand lemons on asparagus with seasonings

Tips and Tricks for Making Lemon Creamy Chicken Thighs and Asparagus

Sear the Chicken: Start by searing the chicken thighs, skin-side down, in a hot, oven-safe pot or skillet to achieve a crispy, golden-brown skin. This step adds depth of flavor and texture to the dish.

Season Well: Generously season the chicken with salt, pepper, and any other desired herbs or spices before searing to ensure it’s well-flavored.

Deglaze the Pan: After removing the chicken, use a bit of white wine or chicken broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits (fond) from the bottom. This adds incredible depth of flavor to the sauce.

Use Fresh Lemon: The zest and juice of fresh lemons will give your dish a vibrant, fresh flavor that bottled lemon juice can’t match. Add lemon zest for an aromatic boost and lemon juice for acidity.

Control the Cream: Add cream carefully and warm it slightly before adding to the hot pan to prevent it from curdling. If you prefer a lighter version, you can substitute half-and-half or a mixture of milk and a little flour to thicken.

Simmer Gently: Once you’ve added the chicken back into the pot with the cream and lemon sauce, ensure the heat is low enough to allow the dish to simmer gently. This prevents the sauce from separating and the chicken from becoming tough.

Don’t Overcook the Asparagus: Add the asparagus towards the end of the cooking process to ensure it remains vibrant and tender-crisp. The residual heat will continue to cook the asparagus even after you’ve turned off the heat.

Thicken the Sauce: If you find the sauce too thin after cooking, you can remove the chicken and asparagus and simmer the sauce a bit longer to reduce it. Alternatively, a cornstarch slurry can be added to thicken it without altering the flavor.

Adjust Seasoning: Before serving, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. The acidity and saltiness should balance the creaminess of the sauce. You want a perfect balance in your creamy lemon garlic chicken thighs and asparagus.

Garnish for Freshness: Garnish the dish with fresh herbs like parsley or dill and additional lemon slices or zest right before serving to enhance its fresh, vibrant appeal.

Choose the Right Pot: Use a wide, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet that can accommodate all the ingredients comfortably and is suitable for both stovetop searing and oven baking if necessary.

Let the Chicken Rest: Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes after cooking and before serving. This helps the juices redistribute, ensuring the meat is juicy and flavorful.

One-Pot Efficiency: To minimize cleanup, prepare all your ingredients ahead of time, and use the same pot for searing, sautéing, and simmering. This not only saves time but also intensifies the flavors by building layers in one po

chicken thigh sand lemons on asparagus with seasonings in a pan with sauce

FAQS

How can I prevent the cream from curdling?

To prevent curdling, avoid letting the dish boil once you’ve added the cream. Maintain a gentle simmer, and consider tempering the cream by gradually mixing in some of the hot liquid from the pot before adding it all.

Can I substitute the asparagus with another vegetable?

Absolutely, you can use green beans, broccoli, or snap peas as a great alternative to asparagus, adjusting the cooking time as needed to ensure the vegetables are tender-crisp.

What can I use if I don’t have fresh lemons?

While fresh lemons are preferred for their flavor, in a pinch, you can use bottled lemon juice and dried lemon zest. However, the fresh version provides a brighter, more vibrant taste.

Is it necessary to sear the chicken before simmering?

Searing the chicken is highly recommended as it adds depth of flavor and texture to the dish. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step, but the final dish may lack some complexity.

Can I make this dish dairy-free?

For a dairy-free version, you can use coconut milk or a dairy-free cream alternative. Keep in mind that this may slightly alter the flavor profile of the dish.

How do I thicken the sauce if it’s too runny?

If the sauce is too thin, remove the chicken and vegetables and simmer the sauce to reduce it, or use a slurry of cornstarch and water (1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water) added to the simmering sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

This dish is best enjoyed fresh, but you can prepare it ahead and reheat gently over low heat, adding a little extra broth or cream if the sauce has thickened too much in the fridge.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently to avoid overcooking the chicken and vegetables.

Can I freeze this dish?

Freezing is not recommended due to the cream in the sauce, which may separate and change texture upon thawing and reheating.

What to Enjoy with Chicken and Asparagus

Rice Varieties: A simple side of steamed white rice, brown rice, or a fragrant jasmine or basmati rice can absorb the creamy sauce and balance the flavors.

Roasted Potatoes: Small, roasted baby potatoes or fingerlings seasoned with herbs like rosemary or thyme can add a comforting, earthy component to the meal. Try this recipe!

Grilled or Roasted Vegetables: Besides asparagus, other vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or cherry tomatoes can be grilled or roasted to enhance their sweetness and provide a colorful side.

Pasta: Lightly buttered or olive oil-tossed pasta, such as angel hair or spaghetti, can serve as a bed for the chicken, making the creamy lemon sauce a perfect pasta dressing.

Bread: A crusty baguette or slices of artisan bread are great for soaking up the delicious sauce, adding a textural contrast to the creamy dish.

Salads: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing can add a crisp and refreshing element, balancing the richness of the creamy sauce.

Quinoa or Couscous: These grains make for a healthier alternative to traditional carbs and offer a slightly nutty flavor that complements the creamy lemon sauce.

Polenta: Creamy or grilled polenta can provide a comforting base that pairs wonderfully with the flavors of the chicken and asparagus.

Herb-infused Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes infused with garlic, rosemary, or thyme can add depth and complement the creamy texture of the chicken dish.

Sautéed Spinach or Kale: Leafy greens like spinach or kale can be quickly sautéed with garlic and olive oil, offering a healthy and flavorful side.

Wine Pairing: A glass of crisp, white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a light Chardonnay can complement the lemony sauce and elevate the dining experience.

Lemon Risotto: A lemon-infused risotto can echo the citrus flavors in the chicken dish, making for a harmonious pairing.

Cauliflower Rice: For a low-carb option, cauliflower rice can serve as a light and healthy base, absorbing the sauce and flavors of the dish.

Steamed Broccoli or Green Beans: These steamed vegetables can add color and a slight crunch, offering a simple yet nutritious side.

Sweet Corn: Buttered sweet corn, either off the cob or in kernel form, can add a sweet contrast to the tangy and creamy chicken.

If you love this easy keto diet chicken and asparagus dinner, you’ll also love these creamy, rich and low-carb one pot dinner ideas: Creamy One Pot Chicken Stroganoff, Creamy Pepperoncini Chicken Tender Skillet, Cheesy Pizza Chicken, and One Pot Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs and Mushrooms.

Try these salads:

chicken thigh sand lemons on asparagus with seasonings

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Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs and Asparagus in a skillet. This one pot keto dinner is a delicious twist on a classic creamy chicken thigh dish.
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Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken and Asparagus

Paleo and Keto diet friendly One Pot Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken and Asparagus is a delicious low carb dinner that is also great over rice or pasta, or just over grilled vegetables for a creamy rich meal everyone loves! Bursting with lemon garlic flavor that is so delicious you’ll want to lick the pan!
Course One Pot
Cuisine American
Keyword asparagus, chicken, keto, lemon sauce, main dish, one pot, one pot chicken, paleo, poultry, simple dinner, whole 30
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 520kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter clarified
  • 4-6 chicken thighs, boneless or bone-in
  • 1 onion diced
  • ¼ cup garlic diced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whipping cream heavy
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 bundle asparagus woody ends trimmed off
  • ½ lemon sliced into thin rounds

Instructions

  • Heat butter in a large pan over medium high heat.
  • When butter is foamy and melted, add chicken thighs and cook on medium high until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side (add extra minute per side if bones still in thigh).
  • When chicken is browned and crisp, remove and set aside on plate lined with paper towel.
  • Add onion to pan and cook to browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and stir to prevent burning. Cook until soft and fragrant.
  • Add stock and let reduce, another 4 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and add cream, whisking vigorously as you add to pan.
  • Add chicken back to pan.
  • When cream is well incorporated into sauce, return heat to medium high.
  • Stir in lemon juice, parmesan cheese, herbs, red pepper flakes, lemon slices, and asparagus.
  • Cook 5-8 minutes until chicken has reached 175 internal temperature and asparagus is soft and bright green.
  • Top with additional parmesan cheese if desired.
  • Serve immediately over pasta, rice, or with grilled vegetables.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 230mg | Sodium: 480mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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4.41 from 20 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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1 Comment

  1. Sharon says:

    5 stars
    Enjoyed this recipe