The most creamy lemon sauce for chicken, turkey or any roast poultry and to accompany vegetables. Quick and easy savoury recipe – just chicken stock, cream, lemon, three egg yolks and a little butter to make it glossy.

pot of lemon sauce, roasted chickens and pumpkins

Oven Roasted Chickens in France

This week the Autumnal chill has hit abruptly around Paris. Fumbling for gloves lost since last winter, I now have this awkward new boot walk as my feet are in straight-jacketed shock with thick chaussettes. Clothes shopping can wait. Instead, I gravitate towards the magical sizzling chicken rôtisseries dotted along the street on the way to the market.

In France, it’s a common sight at our markets and outside many butcher shops.

The fragrance of turning poulets rôtis dropping their juices over potatoes at the bottom of the roasting machines lingers all along the street. On top of it, rôtisserie roasted chickens are healthy as they’re not deep fried but oven roasted. No wonder roasted chicken is one of the most popular buys at the market!

french market chicken stand

Easy Savoury Lemon Chicken Sauce – it’s French Fast Food

Indeed, as it’s my kind of French Fast Food for the quickest, comforting dinner. The homemade part is this simple but divine creamy lemon sauce – made in just 25 minutes!

Mention chicken in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and at the market’s central aisle, you’ll find the poultry stall of Volaille de St Germain.

They’re not difficult to find since they normally pull the crowds for their top quality produce: enormous duck filets, paupiette parcels, poultry stuffing (perfect for stuffed cabbage), and saucisses de volaille (poultry sausages.)

roast chicken

plain roasted chicken at the French market – it needs lemon sauce!

Express Lemon Sauce for Chicken

And the family’s favourite part to go with the roasted chicken?  This creamy, tart lemon sauce. I’ve always been surprised that my children would prefer this sauce over ketchup! Plus – dare I even say it – my French husband doesn’t like cranberry sauce over the festive season. ‘Why do you serve de la confiture avec le dinde?’ he always asks. So this is my more savoury alternative.

It’s extra quick to make as there’s no need to sauté shallots in butter and add wine like you would do with a classic beurre blanc sauce – instead it’s just based on good quality chicken stock (I buy mine frozen), adding in a whole lemon (zest and juice) and cream. Voilà!

As a baker, I also love that it uses up 3 egg yolks (see the egg yolk recipe collection) so with 3 egg whites I can make macarons (spot my fizzy Orangina ones in the photo? Recipe in Teatime in Paris).

What Can I make with the Leftover 3 Egg Whites?

As yolks need to be used straight away, this is a handy recipe if you want to make the following treats. These are my favourite egg white recipes that are quick to make:

How to Make Lemon Sauce

This lemon sauce is best for roast chicken but also is ideal to accompany any leftover turkey over the holiday season. Serve with stuffed mini pumpkins as a side dish too.

whisking egg yolks and cream together to make a sauce

  • First heat the chicken stock in a saucepan and prepare all the other ingredients to have at the ready.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cream, lemon juice and zest.
  • Pour over the hot stock on to the liquid in the bowl, then transfer it back on to the medium heat in the saucepan. Whisk in the butter and continue whisking for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy.

lemon sauce for chicken and stuffed pumpkins

pot of lemon sauce, roasted chickens and pumpkins
5 from 1 vote

Creamy Lemon Sauce for Chicken

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course : Side Dish
Cuisine : French
Keyword : lemon sauce, sauce for roast chicken
Servings : 6 people
Calories : 92kcal


Quick and easy savoury lemon sauce to serve with roast chicken, turkey or to accompany vegetables.


  • 125 ml (4 floz/½ cup) chicken stock
  • 3 egg yolks organic
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice organic (unwaxed)
  • 100 ml (3.5 floz) half fat whipping cream (crème fleurette) 15% fat (less than ½ cup; 0.4)
  • pepper a few grinds of the peppermill
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter unsalted, roughly chopped


  • Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a saucepan.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with the lemon juice, zest and cream in a bowl. Pour over the hot stock then transfer the liquid back into the pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the butter and whisk constantly over a medium heat until the sauce thickens and bubbles. After whisking for at least 5 minutes the sauce will be glossy. Season to taste.


I deliberately don't salt the sauce with as there is enough in the chicken stock. However, feel free to season to your own taste.
Also delicious with stuffed mini pumpkins.
Good wine varietals that pair with lemon sauce: any 'creamy' chilled whites such as Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Marsanne, Roussane or Viognier are my personal favourites as they are buttery and fruity. So, a Côte du Rhône white to a Burgundy chardonnay to a Condrieu.
Measures: Please note that all my recipes are best made using digital kitchen scales in precise metric grams. Both ounces (and cups) are given as an approximate guide. 

This post was originally published 15 November 2012 but has been re-written with fresh images and now has a printable recipe card.

From the market

From the kitchen

26 responses to “Lemon Sauce for Chicken”

  1. 5 stars
    Love the recipe for creamy lemon sauce and it is so quick to make and accompany many dishes. Thank you for the easy to print recipe. Love to imagine the smell of the chickens roasting at the market.

  2. That lemon sauce looks incredible. Also I never thought to cook one of those little pumpkins. They are scattered all around my NYC apt. as decoration.

  3. What an amazing meal you’ve made from a simple rotisserie chicken! I love everything about this! Those little pumpkins look phenomenal!

  4. Mummy!!!
    I found how we comment on the blog!
    If I could, I would make you dinner tonight but I don’t cook as good as you!
    Lucie 🙂

    • Oh Sweetie, so proud of you. Thanks for helping in the kitchen last night – it won’t be long until you’ll be showing me YOUR tricks!

  5. am not a roast chicken addict but with a lemon sauce like this it makes all the difference – thanks for the tip, once again you’re the best – great post!

  6. These mini pumpkins look just yummy. I want to find them and add a pipkin of pepper. Reminds me of story telling to my grandchildren at this time of year.

  7. I can smell that chicken from here! LOVE this mini pumpkin idea. I’ve also just decorated with these things and had no idea they’re called Jack be little, either. Great job also with the lemon sauce for something different with our left-over turkey at Thanksgiving, Jill.

  8. I’m in love with those petite pumpkins, especially their name! And this tangy sauce would be a wonderful accompaniment to roast turkey… or a way to liven up the dreaded roast turkey leftovers!

    • Good idea, Ann. Cheers to leftovers and bringing out this for something slightly different (and quick!)

  9. Jill, your Macarons are divine but I love it when your savoury alter ego kicks in! What a great way to rock an already wonderful market roast chicken. These gorgeous little pumpkins really do take Cinderella to the ball.

    • Awe – lovely Hester! Thank you. You know, I’d LOVE to put tons of savoury recipes up but it looks rather strange on a macaron site. I’m kind of stuck in a rut here, eh?

  10. I love those stuffed pumpkins! I see so much orange chicken over here but lemon chicken is tastier i do declare!

    • I do declare that your orange sounds good. I’m sure this can be converted well to an orange sauce once you tire of lemon, Gerry!

  11. Mmmmm….the lemon sauce looks perfect for your Parisian roast chicken 🙂 And your stuffed pumpkins sound simply elegant…and so yummy with the bacon and chestnuts!

    • Thanks, Liz. Didn’t think that for things so quick to make they’d be so popular at home!

  12. Oh my goodness, those little jacks are adorable!! Funny, I never thought to cook with them, I just use them for decoration (Liv was very disappointed that 3 of those little guys were our ONLY decorations for Halloween. She said “Bad Mommy”. )
    I know what you mean about the cold! I also know that I am totally spoiled here in San Diego, but I’ve had to switch from my beloved flip/flops in the morning to my fuzzy boots, and my poor little Maltese Pups are snuggling together on a warm blanket. I say bring back summer!

    • Well I’m sure if you cook these little pumpkins you’ll be converted from decorating with them, Kim. Bring back summer indeed. Let’s hibernate and wake up in Spring!

  13. Simply gorgeous concept and execution!
    Just 3 minutes in the micro for the pumps? who knew

  14. A dinner fit for a King! Those teeny pumpkins are gadorable and more than delicious. And totally sign me up for that sauce. A tart, tangy TWOFER! (sauce and egg yolk usage) Well done 🙂

    • Thanks, Carsley. They’re both so easy but I’m now converted to this roast chicken quickie dinner!

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