This recipe for creamy skillet chicken is a terrific 30-minute gluten-free dinner. In this dish, chicken breast or chicken thighs can be used—whichever you prefer. The homemade cumin sauce combines Greek yogurt with fresh lemon juice, and takes just 10 minutes to prepare.
Gluten-Free Chicken Dinner
This 30 minute chicken dinner idea is perfect for a gluten-free meal. Serve it with quinoa, rice or gluten-free pasta and your favorite veggie. You’ll already be at the stove so, the pasta, quinoa or rice can cook while you make the chicken.
My secret to multi-tasking is to cook my veggies in the same pot with my rice or quinoa. YES, this is possible! After 10 minutes of cook time, much of the water has been absorbed leaving a stable surface to add some veggies.
For the last 5-10 minutes of cook time for rice or quinoa, simply lay some asparagus, broccoli or green beans right on top of the rice or quinoa, cover the pot and and you’ll have steamed veggies ready at the same time. Only one pot to wash for 2 dishes!
My grandmother used to make a salad dressing with lemon, olive oil and cumin that I LOVED. It is the inspiration for this one-pan chicken breast or thigh recipe. Cumin is a great complement to the bright, fresh flavor of lemon. It adds an almost smoky, earthy flavor.
Fresh squeezed lemon juice is best for this recipe. The prepared stuff just doesn’t taste the same. You’ll need 2-3 lemons to get 1/2 c of juice.
Green onion is my onion of choice but shallots or Vidalia onion would work well in this recipe.
If you are ok with dairy, use a plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a good easy thickener to give a sauce a creamy smooth texture.
The base for this sauce is low-sodium veggie broth or chicken broth. It combines with the yogurt to make the sauce the perfect consistency. Be sure to use a low sodium one so you can better control the salt level.
A small amount of sweetener is included in the recipe. It is needed to balance the sourness of the lemon juice and just a couple of teaspoons does the trick. I use agave, but honey would add another tasty layer of flavor. Sugar or other other sweeteners will work too since it is a small amount and meant to be a balance.
How to Cook Chicken in a Skillet
The key to cooking chicken in a skillet is to control the heat. It is important that the chicken cooks through on the inside without drying out the outside. The thicker the piece of chicken the slower you’ll need to cook it. So here are some tips for perfectly cooked chicken:
- Always start with a hot pan. Heat the pan for a minute or two on high (1-2 minutes longer if using a cast iron skillet).
- A)dd a light coating of high heat oil like avocado, canola or sunflower oil and heat 30 seconds more.
- Pat the chicken dry, sprinkle with salt and add to the pan. Cook for 1 minute then turn the heat to medium or low-medium for large pieces (8 ounces or more each).
- Cook for 2-3 minutes more, then flip.
- Cook approximately 2-4 minutes more, depending on the size and thickness of the pieces of chicken.
- The best way to test chicken for doneness is to use a meat or instant read thermometer. Chicken is safe to eat at 165°F. If you have a thermometer, place it into the thickest part of the chicken and to test. Leave the thermometer in until you are ready to serve the chicken. Pulling it out too soon will release the juices leaving the chicken dry.
Skillet Chicken with Cumin-Lemon Sauce
- 1¼-1½ lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- ⅓-½ c broth
- 1 stalk green onion
- ⅓ c lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
- ½ Tbsp plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt (dairy-free subs ok)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp sweetener (agave, honey, sugar)
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1-2 pinches red chili flakes
- Chop the stalk of green onion into ¼" rounds
- Juice the lemon and strain out the pulp and seeds.
- Pat the chicken with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides with a light coating of salt.
- Place a large skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add a light coating of olive oil and heat another 30 seconds.
- Place the chicken in the pan, turn the heat to medium (low-medium if your pieces of chicken are large or more than 8 oz each) and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through.
- Add the lemon juice and flip the chicken over to coat both sides with lemon.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate.
- Add half of the green onion and all of the cumin to the pan and simmer 2 minutes.
- Add the yogurt, ⅓ c of the broth, sweetener, salt and chili flakes and stir well with a wire whisk.
- Cook, stirring constantly for one more minute. The sauce will thicken more once removed from the pan. But if it is too thick, stir in ¼ c of broth.
- Taste. If it's too sour, add a half teaspoon of sweetener and a pinch of salt.
- Place the chicken back in the pan and coat with the sauce.
- Serve over, pasta, rice or quinoa and top with the remaining green onion.