Spicy Lemon and Garlic Pan Fried Chicken Strips
Sep 03, 2017, Updated Nov 01, 2023
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Spicy lemon and garlic pan-fried chicken strips captivate the senses with their enticing aroma, delivering a fiery kick, a zesty tang, and a robust garlic flavor, all encapsulated in a delightfully crispy exterior. It’s a delicious, easy low-carb skillet dinner that is great in wraps, salads, with rice, or vegetables!
Don’t want all the extras in a recipe post? We provide a skip to recipe button in the top left corner, as well as a clickable table of contents, just below, to help make this page easier to navigate.
Table of contents
Easy Spicy Lemon Pan Tried Chicken Strips
Spicy lemon and garlic pan-fried chicken strips offer a tantalizing combination of flavors and textures that are sure to delight the palate. The chicken strips are marinated in a zesty blend of fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, and a variety of spicy seasonings, ensuring that every bite is infused with bold, robust flavors. The acidity of the lemon not only adds a bright, citrusy kick but also helps to tenderize the chicken, resulting in strips that are both flavorful and succulent. The garlic adds a pungent, aromatic depth to the dish, while the spices bring a welcome heat that lingers on the tongue.
When it comes time to cook, the chicken strips are pan-fried to perfection in a hot skillet, creating a crispy, golden-brown exterior that provides a satisfying crunch. The high heat of the pan works to sear in the juices, ensuring that the strips remain moist and tender on the inside. The result is a dish that balances the fiery heat of the spices with the refreshing tang of the lemon and the savory goodness of the garlic. Served alongside a cool, creamy dip or a fresh salad, these spicy lemon and garlic pan-fried chicken strips make for a delicious and flavorful meal that’s as suited to a weeknight dinner as it is to a casual gathering with friends.
How to Make Spicy Lemon Chicken
First assemble the following ingredients:
- Butter (4 tbsp) – Butter adds a rich, creamy texture and a warm, comforting flavor that enhances the overall taste of a dish.
- Chicken (1 lb) – Chicken has a mild, slightly savory flavor that absorbs and complements the seasonings and ingredients it is cooked with.
- Celtic sea salt (1 tsp) – Celtic sea salt enhances the natural flavors of ingredients with its briny taste and trace minerals, adding depth to the dish.
- Black pepper (2 tsp) – Black pepper introduces a sharp, piquant warmth, adding complexity and a slight heat to the flavor profile.
- White wine or chicken stock (1/2 cup) – White wine brings a bright acidity and a fruity undertone, helping to balance richer ingredients and deglaze cooking pans. Chicken stock provides a savory, meaty foundation, enriching the dish with a complex layer of flavors.
- Garlic (1/4 cup) – Garlic adds a pungent, aromatic kick, contributing a deep, savory note that intensifies when cooked.
- Red pepper flakes (2 tsp) – Red pepper flakes offer a fiery, spicy heat that lingers on the palate, adding excitement to the dish.
- Cilantro (1/4 cup) – Cilantro introduces a fresh, citrusy, and slightly peppery flavor that adds brightness and a hint of herbaceousness.
- Lemon – Lemon provides a tart, refreshing zing, cutting through richer flavors and adding a burst of citrus that enlivens the entire dish.
Use this Method
Cook Chicken. In a large, heavy pan heat butter until melted on medium high heat – as hot as you can get your pan without burning the butter. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Salt and pepper chicken generously while cooking. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Make Sauce. Deglaze pan with wine or stock, let cook down – about 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan! Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and stock has mostly cooked off – another 3-4 minutes. Add lemon juice. Add red pepper flakes and cilantro, stir.
Combine. Add back chicken to pan, toss well to coat in sauce. Continue to heat for 1-2 minutes until chicken has absorbed a bit of the sauce. Serve hot with rice, vegetables, in a wrap or over a salad!
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Pan-Fried Chicken Strips
Marinate for Flavor: Ensure that the chicken strips are marinated for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 2 hours as the acid from the lemon can start to break down the chicken if left too long.
Balanced Ingredients: Use fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, and your choice of spices. Ensure there’s enough oil in the marinade to keep the chicken moist.
Slice Evenly: Cut the chicken into even strips to ensure uniform cooking.
Pat Dry: Before marinating, pat the chicken dry to help the marinade stick better and result in a crispier exterior when cooked.
Preheat the Pan: Ensure the pan is properly preheated before adding the chicken to get a good sear.
Don’t Overcrowd: Cook the chicken in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can cause the chicken to steam rather than fry.
Use the Right Oil: Use an oil with a high smoke point to prevent burning.
Let it Rest: Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes after cooking to let the juices redistribute.
Serve with a Dip: Serve with a cooling dip to balance the heat, or a lemon wedge for an extra burst of citrus.
Adjust the Heat: Feel free to adjust the amount of spicy ingredients to suit your personal taste.
Even Coating: Ensure the spices are evenly distributed in the marinade for a consistent flavor throughout.
Yes, you can use either chicken breasts or thighs, depending on your preference. Chicken breasts will give you leaner, slightly firmer strips, while thighs will provide a juicier, more tender result.
Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Avoid overcooking, as this can dry out the chicken. Cooking the strips on medium-high heat allows for a good sear on the outside while keeping the inside juicy.
Can I bake these chicken strips instead of pan-frying them?
You can use bottled lemon juice, but fresh lemons are preferred for the best flavor. If you’re in a pinch, a tablespoon of vinegar can also work as a substitute.
The level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference by altering the amount of spicy ingredients like chili flakes or hot sauce in the marinade.
Store any leftover chicken strips in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yes, once cooked and cooled, the chicken strips can be frozen in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Enjoy with Lemon Garlic Chicken
Spicy lemon and garlic pan-fried chicken strips are versatile and can be paired with a variety of sides and drinks for a well-rounded meal. Here’s a guide to help you choose the perfect accompaniments:
- Cooling Dips: Serve with a cooling dip like tzatziki, ranch, or a garlic aioli to balance the heat.
- Rice or Quinoa: A side of fluffy rice or quinoa can act as a neutral base, soaking up the flavors.
- Steamed or Grilled Vegetables: Opt for mild vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, or bell peppers to add nutrition without overwhelming the palate.
- Fresh Salad: A light green salad with a lemon vinaigrette can complement the citrus notes in the chicken.
- Sweet Potato Fries: The sweetness of the fries can offset the spiciness of the chicken strips.
- Corn on the Cob: Grilled or boiled corn can provide a sweet and juicy contrast.
- Garlic Bread: For an indulgent option, serve with garlic bread to double down on the garlic flavor.
- Light Beers: A crisp lager or pilsner can refresh the palate between bites.
- White Wine: Choose a light and crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.
- Iced Tea: A lemon or peach iced tea can complement the citrus notes and provide relief from the spice.
- Sparkling Water: A cold sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon can cleanse the palate.
- Cocktails: Opt for a light cocktail like a gin and tonic or a mojito.
- Fruit Sorbet: A lemon or berry sorbet can offer a refreshing end to the meal.
- Light Cakes: A sponge cake or angel food cake can provide a sweet contrast without being too heavy.
- Fruit Salad: A fresh fruit salad with a drizzle of honey can soothe the palate and add a sweet note.
Try these Sweet C’s favorites next:
Also try my favorites like Spicy Tequila Lime Chicken Fettuccine, Chicken Taco Stuffed Peppers, Cheesy stuffed chicken parmesan, Whole Roasted Montreal Chicken , Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Bowls, and One Pot Lemon Chicken and Asparagus.
Spicy Lemon Garlic Pan Fried Chicken Strips Recipe
If you love this easy recipe please click the stars below to give it a five star rating and leave a comment! Pease also help me share on facebook and pinterest!
Follow on Instagram
CONNECT WITH SWEET C’S!
Be sure to follow me on social media, so you never miss a post!
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 lb chicken, Sliced
- 1 tsp celtic sea salt
- 2 tsp pepper, fresh cracked
- 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup diced garlic
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes, adjust for desired spice
- 1/4 cup cilantro, diced
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 lemon, sliced into thin wedges
- In a large, heavy pan heat butter until melted on medium high heat - as hot as you can get your pan without burning the butter.
- Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6-8 minutes.
- Salt and pepper chicken generously while cooking.
- Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Deglaze pan with wine or stock, let cook down - about 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan!
- Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and stock has mostly cooked off - another 3-4 minutes.
- Add lemon juice.
- Add red pepper flakes and cilantro, stir.
- Add back chicken to pan, toss well to coat in sauce.
- Continue to heat for 1-2 minutes until chicken has absorbed a bit of the sauce.
- Serve hot with rice, vegetables, in a wrap or over a salad!
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra expense to you.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 422Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 139mgSodium 843mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 30g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.