This Easy Chicken with Cream Cheese Pan Sauce recipe is super quick, crazy easy, and surprisingly delicious! It’s perfect for those busy weeknights but elegant enough for company! It’s the perfect way to use up those boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Way back in 2011, I posted this recipe for my Easy Chicken with Cream Cheese Pan Sauce. It was on the regular rotation at our house way back then and continues to be today. We probably make it a couple times a month.
This super delicious cream cheese sauce is a great way to dress up boring boneless skinless chicken breasts. And it’s super easy, too! The seasoning from the chicken, combined with the fond (that’s the brown stuff on the bottom of the pan after cooking the chicken), chicken broth, cream cheese, and just a hint of mustard creates a decadent sauce that you’ll probably want to pour over everything on your plate – like these mashed potatoes. At least that’s what happens at our house! Ha!
What is pan sauce?
Simply put, pan sauce is a sauce made in the same pan that you cooked your meat in. Traditionally, it is made by deglazing the pan with a liquid, such as stock or water. The liquid will loosen the cooked-on bits that have stuck to the pan. Those bits will add flavor to the sauce. You can then add other ingredients to the sauce, such as herbs, spices, or cream.
Pan sauces are a great way to add flavor and richness to your meal. They’re also relatively easy to make, and they can be customized to your liking. And an added bonus… less cleanup because the meat and sauce are all made in one pan!
Tips on pan-cooking chicken:
The most challenging thing about this Chicken with Pan Sauce is getting the chicken cooked correctly – but even that’s not too hard. You want to get the chicken cooked through, without burning the outside. Here are a few tips for cooking that perfect chicken:
- Thickness matters! The super thick chicken breasts from the grocery store won’t work the way they come. I suggest taking a sharp knife and slicing each breast in half lengthwise to create two pieces of chicken that are roughly 3/4 to 1-inch thick. If you still find them too thick, put them between two pieces of cling wrap or in a gallon zip-top bag and pound them thinner with a meat mallet. This will allow them to cook through quicker.
- Use a meat thermometer! I always recommend an instant-read meat thermometer. Not only does this ensure the chicken is cooked to a safe temperature, but it allows you to cook it right to 165° without going over and causing it to get dry. No one wants dry chicken. And, that’s the chief complaint I get from folks about using boneless skinless chicken breasts, so use that thermometer!
- You can use chicken thighs and frozen chicken breasts! This will also work with boneless chicken thighs. I’ve also been known to use some of those frozen chicken breasts that you buy in the big bag. Most of the time, those are thin enough to not need to be sliced. Just make sure they’re completely thawed before using them.
How do I quickly bring cream cheese to room temperature?
There are several ways you can bring cream cheese to room temperature quickly. Here are three different methods I recommend:
- Submerge in a large mixing bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.
- Microwave the cream cheese in 15-second intervals. Don’t over nuke it though! No one wants scorched cream cheese.
- Place in your hands while still in the packaging for about 15 minutes. Press the packaging back and forth in your palms until you can feel it is creamy and approximately room temperature.
Easy Chicken with Cream Cheese Pan Sauce
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature, cubed
- 2 teaspoons mustard (dijon, creole, or spicy brown)
- Trim excess fat and then slice the chicken breast in half lengthwise to equal pieces that are roughly 3/4 to 1-inch in thickness. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken (working in batches if necessary) in the skillet until it is cooked through and the internal temperature is 165°. Adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning and add additional oil if needed. Remove the chicken from the skillet and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Add the butter and melt. Add the chicken broth to the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the cooked-on bits.
- Bring the broth to a simmer and add cream cheese. Whisk together to combine once melted.
- Add mustard and continue to simmer until sauce starts to thicken, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the sauce is thick, return the chicken to the pan and coat with the sauce. Add additional broth if the sauce gets too thick. Serve immediately.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.