This keto lemon garlic chicken is not just for people on the ketogenic diet, and it will quickly become your whole family’s favorite comfort meal. With the zesty fresh lemons and aromatic garlic, this fall-apart buttery chicken recipe has fresh flavors that is a delight to the senses. Since it’s made in the Instant Pot, it’s an easy dinner idea that’s ready in minutes with just a few common ingredients. It’s also the best way to meal prep chicken ahead of time if you’re into freezer meals like me! I’ve added a few side dish pairings too.
Keto Lemon Garlic Chicken – An Easy Meal Prep Recipe
When developing this recipe, I wanted to be absolutely sure I could provide something to my readers that didn’t take up a lot of their time for those busy weeknights. And the entire family had to be able to enjoy it. There is nothing more annoying that being the odd bird (heh) out eating a different dinner than everyone else.
It also had to useful for meal prepping ahead of time. Whether frozen and thawed later during the month or put in the fridge for meal prep during the week. I never cook during the week because I’m a meal prep maverick. This chicken recipe was quickly added to the rotation.
And the chicken had to fall apart and melt in your mouth. So the Instant Pot (or Crockpot) seemed like the best choice to hit all of my markers. Don’t you just love those set-and-forget (but don’t actually forget, because that would be bad), dump in the bowl, one pan recipe type meals?
If you just need, need, need a simple* chicken recipe that you can make over and over, plus pair it with endless side dishes, this one is it. *Yes, it’s actually simple with simple ingredients you probably have right now. No weird ingredients required.
Ingredients for Keto Lemon Garlic Chicken
- Chicken Thighs: The star of the dish! Chicken thighs are a keto favorite because they’re richer in fat than chicken breasts, keeping you fuller longer. Plus, they absorb flavors beautifully and stay juicy during cooking. And, as an added bonus, they’re usually cheaper because dark meat. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, but you can also use bone in. I included cooking instructions for both, plus frozen vs. fresh. And Instant pot vs. Crockpot! So many different ways to make this.
- Garlic Powder: This is a kitchen staple for a reason. Garlic powder adds a mellow garlic flavor throughout the dish. While this dish does have fresh garlic, the added garlic powder ensures evenly distributed garlic flavor so every bite of chicken has a consistent taste.
- Onion Powder: The subtle, sweet cousin of garlic powder, onion powder offers depth and a hint of sweetness. It’s like a gentle nudge of flavor, not too overpowering but definitely noticed. This is added right onto the chicken thighs along with the garlic powder, and don’t forget sea salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- Chicken Broth: The unsung hero of many recipes! It adds moisture and a robust foundation of flavor. Think of it as the base coat before you paint your masterpiece. Chicken stock works for this too. I also tested a version of this recipe with 14 ounces warm water and 1 packet (or scoop) of Savory Chicken Soup Keto Chow. It made it more creamy and the flavor was out of this world amazing, plus the added nutritional profile makes it more appealing to low carb and keto dieters. For an extra creamy sauce, experiment with heavy cream.
- Garlic Cloves: Fresh garlic cloves bring a more pungent, assertive flavor compared to garlic powder. They’re like the burst of energy in a dish, waking up all the other flavors.
- Zest of Lemon: This is where the zing comes in! Lemon zest adds a bright, citrusy spark without the tartness of lemon juice. It’s like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
- Juice of Lemon: Adding acidity and freshness, lemon juice can cut through the richness of the chicken and butter. It’s like a splash of cool water on a hot day – absolutely refreshing.
- Unsalted Grass-Fed Butter: Rich, creamy, and a keto favorite for good fats. Grass-fed butter also brings a certain luxe feel to the dish, making it feel more gourmet. It’s like putting on a fancy dress for a simple dinner at home.
- Parsley & Lemon Slices for Garnish (optional): While optional, these garnishes add color and a final touch of freshness. Parsley brings a hint of herbiness, and lemon slices are both decorative and practical for those who want an extra lemony kick. They’re like the cherry on top, but for savory dishes. Keep my secret…I didn’t have fresh parsley so I threw on some dried. You can probably tell from the picture, but that’s okay, it still tasted great. Top it off with some Italian seasoning for another fun experiment.
How to Make Meal Prep Keto Lemon Garlic Chicken in Instant Pot
- Slice or mince up fresh garlic.
- Roll lemon on the counter. Slice it in half. Use a juicer, fork, or simply squeeze lemon into a small bowl to extract juice from both halves.
- With that same lemon in hand, use a zester or small box grater to grate the colored parts of the peel until it gets to the white layer (the pith).
- Place chicken thighs in Instant Pot (or Crockpot).
- Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Add lemon zest, fresh garlic, cubed butter and lemon juice.
- Finally, add the chicken broth around the sides of the chicken. Careful not to wash off the seasoning.
And look at that, it falls right apart with just the push of a fork.
Favorite Sides for Instant Pot Keto Lemon Garlic Chicken
Some suggested side dish pairings include cauliflower rice, green beans, or roasted asparagus. Here are some more easy keto side dishes you’ll love.
You’ll find more detailed information and estimated nutrition below in the printable recipe card. As always, let me know if you make this dish and tell me what you think of it in the comments below! Fingers crossed for 5 stars. 🙂
Keto Lemon Garlic Chicken
- 6-8 chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups chicken broth (or 14 oz warm water & Savory Chicken Soup Keto Chow)
- 4 garlic cloves , sliced or minced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup unsalted grass-fed butter , cubed
- Parsley & lemon slices for garnish (optional)
- Slice or mince garlic cloves. Juice and zest one lemon. Set aside.
- Place chicken thighs in an Instant Pot or slow cooker.
- Season chicken thighs with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add lemon zest, fresh garlic, cubed butter and lemon juice. Add the chicken broth around the sides of the chicken. Careful not to wash off the seasoning.
- Cover Instant Pot or slow cooker. Follow cooking instructions below according to your ingredients and cooking method.
- For Instant Pot with boneless chicken thighs, set to manual 6 minutes if seared beforehand, 8 minutes if not seared, 10 minutes if frozen.
- For Instant Pot with bone-in chicken thighs, set to manual 8 minutes if seared beforehand, 10 minutes if not seared, 15 minutes if frozen.
- For a slow cooker, cook 3-4 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low.