If you're looking for quick and easy weeknight dinners, you're going to be obsessed with this one pan creamy garlic chicken. Just 5 simple ingredients, easy to make, and ready in less than 15 minutes, this is one recipe you'll want to make again and again. This keto creamy garlic chicken is savory, decadent and completely gluten free.
A common struggle with trying to get a homemade dinner on the table every night is time, right? Everyone wants to eat at home, but when it comes down to it, we're SO short on the one thing we all wish we had more of: time.
What if I told you it was possible to make a delicious dinner in the same amount of time it takes for you to pick up a pizza? You would probably think I'm crazy, but it's absolutely true. This one pan creamy garlic chicken uses just 5 ingredients (I'm counting salt and pepper together!), and is ready in just 15 minutes. It cooks quickly, and tastes DELICIOUS.
Not only that, it's low carb and gluten free too. I know, It just keeps getting better! The secret is in slicing the chicken breasts into cutlets. This takes a literal minute, and yet helps the chicken breast cook through in a flash. Just 5 minutes on the first side, and 3-5 minutes on the second, and you're ready to rock and roll.
No pre-made sauces, no heavily processed ingredients. All you need is just a few staple ingredients and you're ready to make this keto creamy garlic chicken. During the time that the chicken breasts are cooking, you can prepare a quick side to go with it. I think my Instant Pot frozen broccoli would be a delicious and simple side dish that requires just a few minutes of hands on time. You could also do an easy tossed salad, or some raw crudités and dip on the side.
Let's get started and I'll show you how it's done.
- Chicken breast: You'll need about 2 large chicken breasts, split in half, OR 4 chicken cutlets.
- Garlic: You can't have creamy garlic chicken without garlic, right? You'll need about 4-5 cloves.
- Butter: Everything is better with butter, and this is no different. Using butter adds a savoriness to the sauce, and browns the chicken perfectly.
- Heavy cream: Rather than creating a roux based sauce, heavy cream is used. This keeps it simple and works great for keto, gluten free, and low carb diets.
- Salt and pepper: Just a little bit of salt and pepper to season the chicken and we're ready to go!
How to Make Creamy Garlic Chicken
To start off, we are going to cut our chicken breasts into cutlets. You do this by running a knife through the thickest part of the breast, and cutting through to form 2 smaller, thinner breasts (AKA chicken cutlets). Doing this helps your chicken cook more quickly in the hot skillet, making for a quick and easy dinner.
Once you've split your chicken breasts in half, sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the skillet and chop the garlic.
Browning the Chicken Breast
Cooking the Chicken
Start by heating a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven (this one is my favorite!) over medium heat until the pan is hot. It's essential to use a heavy bottomed skillet to ensure your chicken does not burn.
Add the chicken breasts in a single layer, and sear for 4-5 minutes. Then, flip your chicken cutlets using tongs and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until each chicken breast reaches of a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF at its thickest spot.
Remove the fully cooked chicken breasts from the skillet and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
Making the Creamy Garlic Sauce
Remove the skillet from the heat and add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Swirl it around with a wooden spoon to melt. With the skillet still removed from the heat source, add the minced garlic cloves and sauté just until fragrant, which should be about 30 seconds to 1 minute at the most.
Immediately pour in the heavy cream and use the bottom of your wooden spoon to scrape up any of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. This will incorporate those caramelized and flavorful elements into your cream sauce, and is just AMAZING.
Return the skillet to the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the skillet and stirring the sauce until it has thickened. This normally takes just a few minutes, but may take a little more time if your your temperature is a bit lower.
Adding the Chicken Back In
Remove the sauce from the heat and add the chicken breasts back to the skillet. Spoon the sauce over them, or toss to coat with the garlic cream sauce.
Garnish with parsley for a special touch, and serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks
- Use fresh garlic cloves - While it is incredibly convenience, using jarred pre minced garlic is not suitable for this recipe. Since it is the primary flavor in this one pan creamy garlic chicken recipe, it's essential we use fresh garlic to impart that particular flavor. Jarred minced garlic or garlic powder will not yield the same results.
- Have your heavy cream ready - Since we don't want the garlic to burn, it's essential that the heavy cream is poured in immediately after the garlic has become fragrant. There isn't enough time to go grab it from the fridge first, since garlic burns very easily. Have your heavy cream at the ready and pour it in very quickly.
- Slicing into cutlets - The chicken breasts are cut in half widthwise in order to help them cook more quickly and evenly. This has the added benefit of helping your dinner to stretch to 4 servings, rather than 2. If you're not familiar with how to do this, you can see this tutorial from Serious Eats on how to cut a chicken breast into cutlets.
- Deglazing the pan - Typical deglazing is done with wine or broth, but in order to get a nice, thick and creamy sauce (no roux or flour needed), we deglaze the pan with heavy cream. Simply use the bottom of your wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits and stir them into the simmering garlic cream sauce.
- Watching garlic closely - As mentioned, garlic can burn VERY quickly. It really should only cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute (at the maximum), and then immediately have the heavy cream added in. It's important that you don't walk away from your pan during this time, as garlic is not very tasty when burned. If you notice a bitter flavor, it's likely that you overcooked the garlic.
Variations and Substitutions
Keto/Low Carb/Gluten Free: The recipe as written is keto, low carb, AND gluten free, so no adjustments needed!
More Flavors to Try
I've tried this easy skillet chicken recipe with SO many different options, and I hope to share many of them here on Dash for Dinner over the next several months (and years, as I try new versions). Here are a few that we've tried and loved:
- Mushroom chicken - Use just 1 minced garlic clove and ½ of a pound of sliced mushrooms. Brown the chicken on both sides, remove from the pan, and add the mushrooms and garlic. Saute until the mushrooms are soft. Then, stir in the heavy cream and let the sauce thicken. Add the chicken breasts back in and serve immediately.
- Rosé Chicken - Use just 2 garlic cloves, and add 2-3 tablespoons of good quality tomato paste at the same time as the garlic. Sauté until fragrant, then stir in the heavy cream. Top with parmesan cheese and minced fresh parsley.
- Red Pepper Chicken - Reduce the garlic to 2-3 cloves and stir in chopped roasted red peppers after the sauce has thickened. Find the full recipe and instructions in my recipe for Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken.
How to Serve Creamy Garlic Chicken
- Cooked rice
- Hot cooked pasta
- Mashed potatoes
- Steamed or roasted veggies (use the Instant pot for extra ease!)
- Dinner rolls
Keto and Low Carb Options:
- Cauliflower rice
- Mashed cauliflower
- Steamed broccoli
- Roasted or sautéed green beans
- Other steamed or roasted veggies
More Low Carb Dinner Ideas
- Creamy Red Pepper Chicken
- Air Fryer Rotisserie Style Whole Chicken
- Air Fryer Sausage and Peppers
- Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Low Carb Chicken Parmesan - Cafe Delights
One Pan Creamy Garlic Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts split in half widthwise (approximately 1 pound)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons salted butter divided
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cut your chicken breasts in half widthwise, making two thinner pieces with each breast. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper to your taste.
- Heat a heavy bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until the pan is hot.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the butter, and swirl with a wooden spoon or a pair of tongs until completely melted.
- Add the chicken breasts in a single layer, and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Flip the chicken breasts, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until each chicken breast reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165F.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the skillet and place them on a plate. Set aside.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Swirl to melt.
- Add in the garlic cloves, and sauté just until fragrant; 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Pour in the heavy cream and use the bottom of the wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Once most of the browned bits are scraped up, return the skillet to the heat.
- Simmer for 1-2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the skillet and stirring the sauce, until it has thickened.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and add the chicken breasts back into the skillet. Spoon the sauce over them, or toss to coat with the sauce.
- Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.
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