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Lemon Basil Chicken is marinated with mouthwatering, flavorful ingredients before being pan seared to perfection! Make this bright and zesty dinner quick before the summer’s over.

A white pan with cooked chicken in it is placed on a white tile surface.
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July is almost over already, and no, I can’t believe it! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was excited for spring to come to an end and the hotter summer months to roll in, but here we are.

Before the summer officially comes to a close and all those fall recipes start presenting themselves, you’ve really gotta make this easy lemon basil chicken. It’s rich with all those bright summer flavors you know and love!

Primarily, it’s got a ton of zesty lemon flavor that basically screams summer. But beyond the natural lemon zest and juice that flavor these chicken breasts, there are other tasty ingredients at play, too. Freshly chopped basil is the other key component to keeping this dish light and summery, while garlic and butter create even more of a flavor profile that will really make you want to go back for more.

This recipe is simple, summery, and downright delicious.

It’s also wonderfully easy to make, too! Marinating does take a full 6 hours to get the chicken really flavorful, but I promise the end justifies the means. After the chicken breasts soak up all of those zesty flavors in that time period, all you have to do is flip the breasts around in a pan until cooked through, and you’re done!

It’s a foolproof recipe that always yields the perfect summer dinner, every time.

Two chicken breasts are cooking in a pan with lemon, olive oil and basil.

Ingredients for lemon basil chicken

  • Chicken breasts – Before marinating the chicken breasts, make sure to pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Basil – Use fresh basil, NOT DRIED! Freshly chopped basil is an experience aromatically and does wonders for the flavor of the chicken.
  • Garlic – While pre-minced garlic is sometimes a good hack in the kitchen to save time, I highly recommend chopping up fresh garlic cloves for the best flavor here.
  • Olive oil – I like using rich extra virgin olive oil, as it has the most noticeable taste that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients at play.
  • Lemon – All you need is about one large lemon, zested and juiced.
  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted! It just depends on your preference.
A sliced chicken breast is in a pan with lemon slices.

Can you make lemon basil chicken in the oven?

You could bake this on baking sheet by putting the chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 20 minutes.

Do I have to marinate the chicken?

Yes! It gives it so much more flavor and it’s the easiest marinade! It is why the dish is called lemon basil chicken!

Can I use chicken thighs?


A sliced chicken breast is served over a portion of spaghetti noodles on a white plate.

What should I serve with lemon basil chicken?

I love serving this chicken over noodles, especially spaghetti noodles! It’s also delicious when plated with rice as well. Don’t forget to garnish with a little extra basil and a slice of lemon for the best presentation!

How long will lemon basil chicken stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the refrigerator, these cooked chicken breasts will stay fresh for about 3-4 days. I recommend heating them back up in a pan over medium-high heat, flipping for just a few minutes until they’re heated through again.

A green tea towel is placed next to a pan and two full plates.

Check out some more of my favorite summer-friendly dinners!

Grilled Cumin Lime Shrimp Tacos

Cajun Brown Butter Scallops

Pineapple Soy Grilled Chicken

Tortilla Crusted Tilapia

4.34 from 3 votes

Lemon Basil Chicken

Lemon Basil Chicken is marinated with mouthwatering, flavorful ingredients before being pan seared to perfection!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Marinate time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 2 chicken breasts, damped dry
  • ½ cup (12 g) freshly chopped basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
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  • Add chicken breasts to a large plastic bag and pound the thick side of the chicken until it reaches the thickness of the thinner side of the breast.
  • Add the basil, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice to another large zip lock bag and stir to combine then add in the chicken breasts.
  • Push all the air out of the bag, seal it and toss the chicken in the marinade to coat completely.
  • Refrigerate for about 6 hours, flipping the bag over every two hours to ensure that all the chicken gets marinated evenly.
  • Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes but do not burn the butter, you want to get the pan really hot before adding the chicken.
  • Drain the chicken from the marinade and add it to the pan and let it cook for three to four minutes without moving it.
  • Flip the chicken over and let it cook undisturbed once again for another 5 minutes, then flip it back over.
  • Reduce the heat to low medium and let it cook slowly for 10 to 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 °F (74 °C) when inserted into the center of the chicken.
  • Slice and serve over pasta or rice and garnish with fresh basil and lemon wedges if desired.


Serving: 1chicken breast, Calories: 412kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 280mg, Potassium: 961mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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Recipe Rating


    1. correct! you can season it with salt and pepper if you’d like during the cooking process if you think that it will need it! :)