This Easy Baked Lemon Chicken is . . . easy! This one-pot paleo dish made with fresh lemons, herbs and garlic is a quick weeknight meal, but it’s special enough for a dinner party.
Fresh lemons, herbs and garlic make this Easy Baked Lemon Chicken dish a quick weeknight meal. It will have you dreaming of the sun-drenched Mediterranean! This is a simple lemon chicken recipe for chicken thighs all made in one pan.
I’m not always on the lookout for the easiest recipe ever. I love playing around with food and changing recipes, and tackling something new that might be challenging to me. But if I tried to do that with every dish in a meal, my kitchen (and my meal) would likely be a disaster. So sometimes it’s great to find a short cut to a recipe and whip it up quickly so that you have time to concentrate on making an interesting side dish or salad or dessert. And that was the case with this recipe.
What makes this Baked Lemon Chicken so easy?
Often when I cook chicken thighs, I use a two-step method where I brown them in a skillet first before combining them with a sauce and baking them in the oven. Not this one. Simply heat a little olive oil, garlic, lemon and herbs in a saucepan, pour into a baking dish, place the chicken on top and bake in the oven.
That’s it! Done. The skin turns out nicely browned and crispy, and there is no risk of it coming off and sticking to your skillet.
Can I use chicken breasts with this lemon chicken recipe?
Yes! I adapted this recipe slightly from Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken Breasts on the Food Network. I’ve made it several times, using both boneless chicken thighs and bone-in thighs. I’ve also made it with chicken breasts. I find if I keep the skin on while baking, it keeps the chicken moist. If you use boneless, skinless breasts, be sure to baste frequently during cooking to keep them from drying out.
I prefer thighs over chicken breasts for this recipe as the thighs have more flavour and don’t dry out like breasts tend to do, but either will work. If using boneless chicken pieces, you can reduce your baking time. Just check it with a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked to a safe temperature. I have also used Meyer Lemons sometimes for their sweeter, more intense flavour.
What should I serve with this chicken dish?
I usually keep it simple and serve it with some steamed broccoli or asparagus and a side salad. This easy Baked Lemon Chicken also goes well with my Thai Coconut Rice, or try it with these crispy Apple Cider Roasted Root Vegetables .
What wine pairs well with this baked lemon chicken?
The lemon sauce on this healthy chicken dish has gentle flavours, so a simple white wine will pair well with it. You might like to try a Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio or your favourite dry white wine.
Can I freeze this lemon chicken?
Yes, this chicken freezes well. I remove the cooked lemon slices before freezing, cover the dish or transfer to an airtight baking dish and freeze it for another day. I thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, add fresh lemon slices, then reheat it covered, at 350°F. for about 30 minutes or until heated through. You may want to place it under the broiler for a minute or two to crisp the skin.
I make this recipe often, and have updated it by reducing the amount of olive oil needed, adding new photos and answering questions from my readers.
This Easy Baked Lemon Chicken recipe is . . . easy! Heat olive oil with garlic, lemon juice, wine and herbs, pour into the bottom of a baking dish and set the chicken on top. Spoon some of this seasoned oil on top of the chicken and bake!
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp minced garlic 6 - 9 cloves
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest from 1 or 2 lemons
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 whole lemon
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs OR 4 boneless skin-on chicken breasts
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Prepare the sauce. Gently heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the minced garlic and heat until tender but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the wine, lemon zest and lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and stir.
- Remove from heat and pour into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Place skin side up in the dish. Spoon some of the sauce over top to coat completely.
- Slice the lemon and tuck it in, skin side down (otherwise it will scorch) between the chicken pieces.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, (less for boneless breasts) depending on the size of your chicken pieces. Check for doneness. If the skin isn't crispy, place the dish under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes until browned.
Remove from oven, cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken just before serving.
I updated this recipe slightly from the original by reducing the amount of olive oil required to 2 tablespoons.