Lemon Chicken

This easy lemon chicken recipe is your ticket to an easy weeknight dinner! Not too lemony, just right. It's made with garlic, butter, lemon, thyme, and rosemary.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Marinating time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 3 to 4 pounds chicken parts (thighs and legs recommended), skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest (about zest from 2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • Lemon slices for garnish


1 Marinate chicken: Place lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large, non-reactive bowl, whisk to combine.

With the tip of a sharp knife, cut into the underside (skinless) of each chicken piece one or two times by about 1/2 an inch. (This will help the marinade penetrate.)

Place the chicken pieces in the bowl and turn to coat with the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

Raw Chicken Marinated and Zested With Lemon

2 Place chicken in baking dish, brush with butter: Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken from marinade and place in a single layer in a large baking dish, skin side up. Reserve the marinade. Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter on each piece of chicken.

Butter Brushed Lemon Chicken in Baking Dish

3 Bake and baste with marinade: Bake for 20 minutes and baste the chicken pieces generously with the reserved marinade. Continue baking for another 15 to 25 minutes (a total of 35 to 45 minutes), until the skins are crispy brown, and the chicken is cooked through, juices running clear (internal temperature of 165°F).

Depending on the size of the breasts, they may be ready before the thighs, so if you are cooking a mix of chicken parts, keep that in mind, you may have to take them out of the oven before the thighs.

Fully Cooked Lemon Chicken Recipe In Baking Pan

4 Let rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes before serving.

5 Save meat juices to serve with chicken: Pour the juices from the pan into a serving bowl. Use a tablespoon to skim the fat off the top (save the fat for cooking with later, or discard, but do not discard down the drain or it will solidify and clog your drain).

Serve the chicken with the juices on the side or a little poured over the top of the chicken.

Serve alone, or with steamed rice, buttered noodles, angel hair pasta, or mashed potatoes.

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  • Saline Bepsko

    This was absolutely delicious and super moist. I will surely make it again. My only concern is the skin. When I cooked the chicken the skin didn’t brown up/turn crispy lime the way yours does in the photo.

    Is it because it wasn’t dry? I was pouring the liquid marinade on the chicken. Could that have been why I didn’t get crispy brown skin? Although the the chicken was delicious the rubbery skin put me off.

    Any advice as to how to improve it the next time?



    • Summer Miller

      HI, Saline! I’m glad you loved the recipe. Thanks for letting us know. Typically, dry skin equals crispy skin, yes, but these should crisp up for you. You could try to skip the basting part and see if that yields a crispier skin for you or you could roast the thighs in a larger pan to help prevent steaming. Your oven might also run cool, and that could impact how crispy they get. Good luck!

  • Paul

    I also added a bit of ginger with the garlic. Hoping this will still work well, but it was so easy and simple to prepare.


  • Chris

    Hmmm, thinking about adding a touch of honey to this. Comments?

    • Carrie Havranek

      Hi, Chris. Thanks for your question. I’m assuming you mean in the marinade? Should be fine as long as it’s just a tablespoon or so, with the caveat that the sugars in this will cause things to brown a bit faster. Another option, and this is probably what I would do, is to whisk in a tablespoon of runny honey to the pan juices and then serve that over the top of the chicken. Sounds good to me!

      • Chris

        I had thought of doing just that, adding to the pan juices, but I forgot after removing the pan from the oven and seeing those four beautiful, crispy-skinned thighs. No wonder Elise is a thigh girl. Lol! No way would I pour the juices over the skin, but I did dip the chicken and the mini French baguettes and the new potatoes into those juices. Oh, Mama!!

        Yet another successfully tried recipe from Simply Recipes.

  • Nichole

    This is a shockingly good dish especially in light of how easy it is to make. We make it often, following the recipe verbatim! Much appreciated Elise!


  • Kristen Wrate

    I just tried this recipe it works very well and it’s delicious.


  • Ginger Williamson

    Delicious! A new favorite for my family. Made two batches to enjoy it the next night.


  • Goldie Hollis

    I only have frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast, so I’m going to cook this in my instant pot. It won’t have the crunchy skin but I think cooked under pressure in the lemon sauce it will be good. We will see. I’m trying it tonight.

    • Quip

      Hey! I’m doing a similar thing tonight! How’d it go last night?

  • john

    very easy to make following recipe. And so very tasty. 1st time I’ve made this, won’t be the last.


  • Kelhappy1

    We love this recipe. My daughter always requests it. It is so easy and delicious. Last night we served it with roasted brussle sprouts, a sweet potato and stuffing. It came out perfect and my daughter went for seconds.


  • trudi

    I added oil and paprika to the marinade and the skin took a lot longer to crisp up but all in all very delicious!!!


  • Mark

    Delightful recipe, especially when you consider how simple and easy it is. I fixed eight thighs, which I trimmed pretty closely. I had little marinade left for basting, but I poured off 1 3/4 cups of drippings when I was done. Fortunately, in my fear of preparing top little pasta, I prepared way too much, so the the drippings had a place to go.


  • Judy C

    Very flavorful! We just loved it! I made it for weeknight dinner and thought it was delicious enough for company. Used the entire recipe of marinade for 4 bone in chicken thighs and had plenty of marinade in reserve that I added to the pan juices half way through the cooking time, which we used on our plain rice. Another winner Elise – thank you!


  • Tony Wren

    Nice, but nothing special. Not enough marinade to “reserve” and use for basting. Not enough pan juices to serve separately – just dribble it over as you serve it. Kosher salt is a waste of cupboard space – just use sea salt for everything.

  • Jody Timm

    Husband and I loved it! Thank you!


  • Chloe

    Hey Elise, Im thinking about making this dish tonight, however I’ve got the whole chicken leg and not just the thigh, should I adjust the cook time?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Chloe! Emma here, managing editor. You shouldn’t need to adjust the cooking time too much, if at all. Start checking at 35 minutes, and continue cooking until the juices run clear and the chicken registers at least 165F in the thickest part with an instant-read thermometer. Enjoy!

    • linda

      wonderful thank you

  • Nina

    Hi Elise I was going to make this dish tonight, but I don’t have any thyme or rosemary. What other herbs do you think would go good with the lemon?

    • Elise Bauer

      How about oregano? Lemon and oregano are a classic Greek pairing.

  • Gretchen Webster

    Hi Elise, I’d like to make this for company tomorrow evening. Do you think I could add baby carrots and mushrooms in the bottom of the roasting pan? Would the mushrooms make it too watery? Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Gretchen, I do think the mushrooms would make it watery. Also I’m not sure about the flavor combination of mushrooms with lemon chicken. I would recommend root vegetables instead, like carrots, parsnips, celery root, and or onions.

      • Gretchen Webster

        I went with the carrots on a bed of angel hair pasta decorated with fresh lemon slices. The company loved it! Many thanks!

  • Angie

    Looks delicious! Can you marinate it overnight?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Angie, I have marinated the chicken overnight without an issue, though for some people the result might be too lemony. Also the acid in the lemon juice can start to break down the chicken, so you don’t want to keep the chicken in the lemon juice too long. That said, I’ve done it overnight and it was fine.

  • Emily

    This has become one of our all time favorite recipes, whether as a comfort food family meal or to serve to company. Tastes yummy at any time of year. My husband and I both cook and usually one of us becomes the primary cook for a given recipe, but we both cook this one.


  • Allegra

    This recipe is foolproof and delicious. I’ve made it many times and even when I skip marinating it or omit a spice, it turns out well. Great in oven or on grill.


  • Bryan Peters

    Sounds simple & delicious!! However, I don’t particularly care for thyme… Any substitute suggestions? Or would you recommend simply omitting it? Thanks!

  • Linda

    I have made this for over 30 years and am so happy you posted the recipe. I never took time to write it down but it is exactly how I make it.
    I was searching for something new to do with chicken thighs and when I saw this I decided there isn’t a better recipe so sticking with it

  • Emily

    We made this for the first time when having a friend over for dinner at the holidays. It’s now Jan 18 and we have made it twice more since then. In other words, this has become an instant classic, if not an obsession, in our household. Thank you for this great recipe!

  • Jackie

    Elise, this is exactly why you are my go-to girl! I needed something relatively fast and simple for Sunday dinner and remembered seeing this. It was delightful! Just lemony enough. And the fresh rosemary and thyme are so perfect with it. I served it with yellow rice and a mix of yellow squash, zucchini, caramelized onions and garlic. Oh my! This was an easy answer to my arroz con pollo craving!

  • Cassandra

    Hi! Super excited to have this tonight! Just a question-have you ever tried grilling this on the Bbq instead?

  • Maneesha

    I’ve made this many times & it’s one of my favorite baked chicken recipes. If I remember correctly your original version of this recipe had you put bits of solid butter on the skin to let it melt in as it bakes. Why did you modify it to brush on melted butter? I’m curious to know what difference it makes.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Maneesha, I checked back through earlier versions and we’ve always used melted butter. It’s just easier to spread evenly over the chicken that way.

  • sree

    This is a fabulous baked lemon chicken recipe! My variation: Rather than zesting my ripe Meyer lemon, I chopped it finely for the marinade after juicing it, and it added some amazing extra aroma and flavor to the final chicken dish! Left overs were also SUPER fragrant and tasty! Thanks Elise!

  • Erica

    I know that this recipe is not meant to be used for boneless chicken breasts, but has anyone tried this and if so would appreciate any feedback. My husband and kids are very picky and don’t like chicken parts/skin…. ;) thanks!!

    • Sandra

      Hi, I used chicken breasts but next time I would not cook it so long as it was a bit dry. I also added olive oil to the marinade as there was no skin on the chicken and thought it need some oil. Was good but a bit dry. Oh well you live and learn, next time I shall adjust the time.

  • Cecilia

    It looks so delicous! I was actually gonna try this out in the weekend, but I don’t have any lemon. Do you think I can use lime instead? Or should I just skip it? I do not fancy driving into the store again just for a couple of lemons.. Thanks for the recipe! :)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Cecilia, limes are more acidic than lemons, so I wouldn’t use quite as much or marinate quite as long. I don’t know how rosemary will go with the lime, you might want to use cilantro stems instead.

  • Corina

    I love lemon chicken thighs too! The meat is just so tender and suits the lemon perfectly.

  • Mark Morley

    This was very good. I was looking for a good Lemon Chicken recipe and because I like the recipes that I have made from your site before, I came here without looking anywhere else. Thank you Elise.

  • Lesley

    Whenever I bake chicken without searing the skin first it never comes out crispy. What am I doing wrong?

    • steve miller aka (hunts with DRAHTHAARs)

      maybe your oven is not hot enough. have you calibrated it? last time i checked my oven it was 35 degrees on the low side. once adjusted all my baked items started coming out better. I don’t have a cheap oven either. So all ovens need to be checked.

      I also find that if I use a pan that is too deep, the meat won’t sear as well. A shallow pan exposes the meat to the oven heat better.

  • Steve miller

    This sounds delish. You can go with many adaptations too.

    I would take those juices and a little Dijon mustard to finish the sauce to spoon over the meat.

    I look forward to trying many of your recipes.

  • Angie @ Angie Anew

    Could I freeze the chicken IN this marinade?

    Well that’s an idea. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you! ~Elise

  • Matthew Jeans

    Actually cooked this up following your recipe last night for the wife and kids… and boy did they love it. You get some extra brownie points from me since the wife gave me so many! Thanks. :)

  • Chelsea

    This recipe is by far my favorite of all time… I LOVE IT! I found it a while ago, saved it, and never wrote down where it came from. I first thought it was by Ina Garten because all of the flawless recipes I come across seem to be hers, but I just recognized the picture of your serving dish and finally figured it out! That’s how long I’ve been making this for… thanks so much for the best dish ever!! Your blog is such a great and reliable place for full proof recipes.

  • Anju

    Elise, I’ve been following your recipe blog for ages and have always loved your recipes but never commented through the website. But a couple of days ago I made your lemon chicken recipe and it was just so divine that I feel compelled to end my silence and tell you what a great service you’re providing to all the people out there who are searching for great, easy-to-make recipes. I’ve easily used 50+ of your recipes over time and they’ve never failed to produce a great dish, whether it’s your lemon chicken or your orange cornmeal cake or your Irish beef stew or fruitcake. Thank you for everything!
    (p.s. When making desserts, I frequently add less sugar than you recommend, sometimes putting only half the amount you suggest. But that could be just a function of not having an American taste for sweets. I’ve always been really happy with the end-product even with half the sugar.)

    Thank you Anju! ~Elise

  • Regina

    To the poster who asked about a way to infuse the flavor more with a shorter marinating time – try a Cajun Injector (the thing that looks like a big hypodermic needle – you can buy it at your local mega-mart)… you’d have to strain the marinade, but I bet it would work. And I bet this chicken (if there is any left over) would make an AMAZING chicken salad to put on those Cheddar Cheese Puffs ( http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/cheddar_cheese_puffs ) for a light lunch. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm…. can’t wait to try it.

  • Shelly Franz

    Elise..this is in the oven as I type this. But I’m going to be serving with and/or over buttered egg noodles instead of rice. My house smells absolutely divine!
    I was surprised when I saw how little the marinade made, but it turned out to be the perfect amount. Usually I tend to overdo it on the marinade and have a ton left over. No waste this time!
    Will try the chicken piccata recipe soon… Thanks for a great website, I can’t tell you how many times you’ve saved me from a boring dinner just because I couldn’t think of anything to make!

  • Stephany & Adam

    I have to thank you, I made this chicken tonight and oh my goodness the best chicken I’ve ever made! This is now going to be a staple in our house. I never heard about cutting into the chicken before the marinade, but wow it made a huge flavor differnece.


  • dessinateur

    Gorgeous, i made this for my friends, it was a greta succes ! Thanks !!!

  • Heidi A

    I am a thigh person but my husband – totally breast! So when I am baking both thighs and breasts together I cut the breasts in half crosswise, so they are basically the same size/shape of the thighs. (I pull the breast pieces a bit earlier, though, as you suggest here.) It might seem unnecessary but I think it makes for a prettier presentation on a platter. Beautiful photo, by the way!

  • Nikki

    Made this tonight – delicious.

    I love how your recipes keep getting positive comments for years and years. Timeless.

  • justme

    This recipe is perfection. Great way to use the blooming thyme. Had it with Greek Salad and some warm pita. Thanks!

  • Erin

    Just wanted to shout out to this fabulous recipe! I have probably made it 10+ times since first reading it over a year ago… classic flavor combo that packs a punch!

    I can see that a lot of people want to prepare and marinade the chicken a day in advance. I get it, I work until 5 pm each day and really can’t devote more than 45-60 minutes to cooking dinner. What has worked brilliantly for me is to put together the marinade with everything but the lemon juice. I do include the zest, and juice the lemon but reserve the juice! Then you can marinade overnight for convenience. The next day the chicken is ready to go straight in the oven, and you can add the lemon juice with the butter! It really helps keep the chicken skin crispy without having to prepare the dish two hours in advance.

    I have also taken the same marinade and done a whole roasted chicken with the zested lemon in the cavity of the bird. It looks great when I want something really special.

    Thank you for this recipe Elise! Keep them coming :)


  • Nancy

    Like Jackie, I too am without oven right now and use electric skillet. I drained chicken and browned each side, poured remaining juice from bag, covered simmered (chicken breasts) for 35 mins. Let rest for 5 minutes then took meat out, cooked down juice until brown and thickend and poured on top. Was delicious!!! Hope this helps Jackie!

  • Jackie

    I am without a range for a while. Would it work to make this in my electric skillet? If so, what should I do differently?

    Your guess is as good as mine. I don’t cook with an electric skillet. ~Elise

    • steve miller aka (hunts with DRAHTHAARs)

      Maybe a dutch oven?

      • steve miller aka (hunts with DRAHTHAARs)

        I meant a dutch oven on the BBQ

  • Ellison

    I tried out this recipe today for the first time and it came out great. I did make one change since I didn’t have the fresh herbs I used dried herbs de provence instead. Chicken came out moist and delicious. Will definitely make again.

  • Marie

    Loved this recipe. I refrigerated all the juices that were left over, and used them the following day in a rice dish. I cooked some brown rice risotto style, but instead of wine I used the yummy (chicken jelly gloop) juices. It was really amazing. Light, lemony…will have to make both again soon. :D

  • Sade

    Hi Elise, this is one of my favorite chicken recipes! Would I be able to toss some potatoes, carrots, or other vegetables in with the chicken for the roasting? None of the comments seem to mention doing any such thing, so I’m wondering if the lemon flavor would be too overwhelming in such a preparation or even if there’s a health risk to be concerned about.

    Sure, we toss in root vegetables all the time with roasting chicken. They may take longer to cook than the chicken though, so you may want to take the chicken out of the oven before the veggies. Sort of depends on how big the pieces are of the veggies. No health risk that I know of btw. ~Elise

  • momkel

    Absolutely, hands-down, BEST lemon chicken! The recipe doubles easily and was a huge hit with my book club.

    I used a mixture of breast and thighs, with the breasts cut in half as some one previously suggested. I marinated my chicken for about 5 hours. The chicken looked a little ugly when I took it out of fridge but cooked up beautifully!

    Thank-you for this delicious recipe.

  • lareina

    Made this for friends today and it was fantastic. Added a little extra virgin olive oil to the marinade (because it had to marinate longer, and I thought it would cut the acidity and lessen the mushiness) and some Cajun seasoning powder for a dash of heat and it turned out fabulously. I agree with others who have said bone-in chicken parts are much better than boneless breasts. I did use skinned pieces, but it tasted fantastic so no regrets.

  • joan

    What I really love about this recipe is the lemon zest. Our family gobbled the lemon chicken,read the directions and tadah! Thanks.

  • fl bayou girl

    d-lish; I halved the recipe and wished I had made more. I too used split breasts and unexpectedly marinated for over 24 hours! The bigger breast did fine and the others were not nearly as mushy as I had anticipated. This will be my go to chicken recipe from now on, thank you very much~


  • Naomi S.

    This is the best lemon chicken recipe ever! I absolutely agree that you need to use chicken thighs with bone-in and skin on. It makes all the difference in flavor and tenderness. I tried this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and it just wasn’t the same…sure maybe its healthier, but you don’t have to eat the skin if you don’t want too…just give it to someone who does want it. In my case my husband never passes it up. Since this was first posted I must have made it at least a dozen times. It goes really well over white rice because the rice absorbs the lemon flavor. Delicious! Thank you Elise for sharing! Its one of my absolute favorite recipes of all time.

  • M.

    Just made this one and it was amazing. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m looking forward to trying out more of your recipes.

  • Arvadya

    I made this last week. But, due to the time constraints, I only managed to marinade the chicken for 1.5 hours. It turned out great; the chicken was so tender and juicy and it was not too lemony at all. Just delicious!
    Today, I am going to make it again, but will pair it with Curry Coconut Rice that I found on other website.. Yumm..

  • Willie

    What made your recipe the best I could find (outside of the fact that it tastes so good) is that you don’t batter the chicken (plus points). But I don’t use butter so substitute olive oil infused with lemon (you can get some with Meyer lemons but I like the regular lemon flavor better since it doesn’t distract from the other ingredients) and olive oil infused with garlic mixed together. Yum.

  • Angie

    Wow, is this amazing! I was skeptical about piercing the chicken for fear of losing all the wonderful juices, but it turned out far better than I imagined it would–juicy and tender with a delicious golden brown skin! Used 2 breast halves, split, and 6 thighs, about 3 lbs of bone in meat. Tripled the garlic (we are garlic people) and adjusted the herbs to taste, but this is by far the best recipe I’ve used for Lemon Chicken! Keep up the good work, I love reading your entries and recipes!

  • Miranda

    Thanks for the recipe! It was fantastic and super easy. My husband could not get enough.

  • Betsy

    Love your blog! I would like to make this soon – but I was wondering if I can just brush with some olive oil instead of butter? Or, do you think it will take lots of way?

    Does the butter add lots to the taste (sure I love butter but i’m out), or do you think its more to help crisp/color skin. I’m just guessing.

    Butter almost always adds something to the taste, but go ahead and try the olive oil, it should work fine. ~Elise

  • LP

    I’m a 12 year vegetarian. I was making Christmas dinner for a ardently committed carnivore. I wanted something that would be fairly simple to do since I’m unused to cooking meat and didn’t want to kill him. I found your recipe (been following your excellent blog for a few months!), bought some happy chicken thighs, and whipped this up really quickly. (For sides I had some sauteed kale/cranberry/raisin/walnuts and baked sweet potato)

    The humanely treated, organic, free range chicken thighs (more expensive, but much better) were very flavorful and a really good complement to the subtle and tangy marinade. The chicken turned out really, really moist and flavorful. The drippings in the pan were terrific! Highly recommend scraping these up. Thanks for the yummy, easy recipe!

  • Paul Legato


    I am excited to make this recipe for a Hanukkah dinner on Sunday. I will have limited time on Sunday to cook so I am planning on making it on Saturday.

    Any suggestions on how to best reheat this so the chicken doesn’t dry out?

    Hi Paul, your guess is as good as mine here. I usually just reheat things in the microwave. ~Elise

  • Lakshmi

    This is seriously the best chicken I’ve made. Amazing. Thank you!!!

  • Nan

    I wonder…can this be marinated and frozen for future use? I am thinking the lemon juice, frozen, wouldn’t break down the chicken too much? Any thoughts?

    Personally, I wouldn’t do it, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Roberta

    Elise, thanks for sharing this recipe with us! I love your blog, always showing great recipes, photos, stories… I made this chicken today and it was delicious!!

  • Penny

    Oh so amazing! I just discovered your blog and this was my first recipe. Can’t wait to check out others, but this was a hit and chicken thighs are super cost-effective!

  • Carly

    I just made this last night and served it with baked lemon rice & frozen artichoke hearts sautéed in lemon butter. It was absolutely delicious. My husband and father in law were oohing and ahhing throughout the dinner.

    The marinade didn’t seem to be enough, there certainly wasn’t any left over to baste with; so next time I’d double the marinade. Otherwise, perfect.

  • Erin M.

    WOW I made this a few weeks ago and it was fantastic, both the first time and cold the next day for lunch. I am going to make this again today, in fact my chicken thighs are in the fridge right now marinating, and I have a question for you. How would you recommend preventing the juices from splattering all over the oven? The marinade and the chicken fat just covered my oven in sticky juice last time. Could I use the glass lid that goes with my Pyrex basking dish, or put a piece of foil over the top? Both of these options seem like they would change the way the dish cooks. This very tiny issue won’t prevent me from making the dish, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions. Thanks :)

    Hmmm, chicken does tend to splatter. Try to use a high sided roasting pan (2-inch sides), that might help catch some of the splatter. Definitely do not tightly cover, or you’ll end up with steamed chicken not roasted chicken. ~Elise


  • Janet_C

    This was SO good; will defintely make it again. Used a 5 lb family pack of thighs and there was plenty of marinade for basting.

  • Allison

    WONDERFUL! I’ve made this twice now and it’s come out great both times. The second time I skipped the butter and forgot to baste but just spooned the juices from the pan over the chicken before serving. I also marinated the chicken for more than the recommended two hours both times (anywhere from 5-8 hours) and everything was fine. Thanks Elise!

  • Sheila

    This was the best chicken I have ever made, bar none! Love it, and will make this often. Super easy, especially since I don’t consider myself that talented in the kitchen!

  • colin

    I’m 21 and just got access to a real kitchen and the first thing I made was this. Even without the thyme, it is literally the best chicken I’ve ever had. Great recipe.

    So glad you like it! ~Elise

  • Jamie

    I made this chicken for my family last week and it was absolutely delicious. I used all chicken parts and they all turned out moist and so flavorful. I did double the marinade because the first batch covered most of the chicken so I made another batch to baste with.

  • Yvonne

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit with my family. This will definitely go on the list of regular meals. Delicious recipe, thanks for sharing it.

  • Katy

    So delicious! I ended up marinating mine overnight due to unforeseen circumstances and it was still fabulous. Thanks for sharing :-)

  • cake lover

    This is a great recipe. I tried it and really loved it.

  • Brandi

    Fantastic! Moist and delicious! Will make again for sure!


  • Mark

    For years I’ve been looking for lemon chicken as good as what my mom used to make, and this just may be it! I doubled the marinade and brushed the chicken with duck fat before cooking instead of butter (my wife is allergic to dairy products), but otherwise stuck to the recipe and the results were excellent.

    Thighs would have been my first choice, but I had a whole cut up chicken on hand so that’s what I used. The breast meat came out moist and delicious — especially with some of the defatted drippings ladled on. I look forward to making this again!

    Duck fat. Yummmmm. What a great sub for butter! ~Elise

  • Natalie

    I finally made this recipe and it was fantastic. I love the breasts with the skin on.

  • Audrey

    Just cooked this today. I wasn’t left with a lot of juice (or any) but that was because I wasn’t checking it in the oven and so the juice just burnt (this is only my second “real” dish, haha!). That said, the chicken came out pretty good! I’m hoping to revisit this recipe again! Thanks!

  • kookie in London

    Hi Elise, this was so, so good. I made it last night with super cheap chicken and was astounded at how tasty it was. So we’re having it again tonight! Chicken is from the butcher this time. I’m on a diet and this works perfectly. Hope that my daughter will like it too. If not – all the more for me!

    Moist and tender despite the surprisingly long cooking time. No need to brine when the recipe is so good as is.

  • Christel

    Elise, I poured off the juice to stop the stewing and I did not bother grilling the thighs. They tasted absolutely divine. Will do the recipe again with chicken thighs with the skin on. Definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

    Great! Glad to hear it. ~Elise

  • Christel

    What could have happened? I followed the recipe exactly, but I had only skinless chicken thighs and they are stewing right now in the oven, totally colourless. I guess I will have to put them under the griller for a moment. I am so disappointed. They look nothing like the photos but I hope that they will taste good anyway.

    Well, if you don’t have the skins, then they aren’t going to look anything like the photos. The skins provide a lot of flavor here, and help keep the meat from drying out. I wouldn’t do this recipe without them. ~Elise

  • Steph

    I made this with a bunch of drumsticks and thighs and it turned out great following the recipe. I used the remaining meat to make a lemony chicken noodle soup for tomorrow. I sampled it after if was done and it was so good. I love the addition of lemon in a chicken soup.

  • Mark L.

    Thanks Elise, I noticed most of your chicken recipes don’t call for brining. Any particular reason why you don’t brine? I made the lemon chicken with the following revisions last night and it was fantastic: brined the chicken pieces (all bone in thighs with skin) for 40 minutes in two quarts of water in which I dissolved 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbls of vodka, and the zest and juice of half a lemon. Thoroughly dried the chicken with paper towels before placing it in the marinade. Also subbed 1 tbls of chopped fresh Greek oregano for 1 tbls of the thyme and grilled rather than baked the chicken, brushing the thighs with olive oil before grilling.

    Hi Mark, I guess I don’t brine because I haven’t found a need to. The chicken we make turns out moist and flavorful without brining, unless of course we over cook it. Brining can help expand that window between done and overcooked, so if it works for you, great! ~Elise

  • sierra

    Made this recipe tonight and it was a HUGE hit! My husband says it’s the best chicken I’ve ever made.

  • Victor

    Tried this one tonight – a BIG hit! easy and inexpensive. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender.

  • Espahan

    I wish I had a lemon tree. This recipe looks really good. Guess what we are having for dinner tomorrow? My one question is, I have been buying free-run chickens and I notice they are a little tougher. I am wondering if the marinade will tenderize the meat? I am a seasoned cook. Ha, ha, but don’t know much about marinating.

  • CJ McD

    We usually use oregano in place of the rosemary but either way, this is probably my absolute FAVORITE way to flavor chicken. Sooooo good! And I’ve had lemon on my mind. Going to make a batch of thighs this weekend!

  • Susan

    Well, I’m a breast girl. I am learning to like the dark meat since I found out that soaking the chicken in water with just a pinch of salt will render all the bloody guck from around the bone. In this recipe, using the breast, I add some light olive oil to the marinade (and some red pepper flakes) and bake as directed. The oil helps keep the meat moist.

  • mantha

    Delicious combination of lemon and herbs. The flavor reminds me of Greek country food, which is one of my favorite cuisines. Simple goodness, especially with fresh herbs.

    Thigh meat has sometimes gotten a bad rap for being fattier, but there are ways to control the amount of fat you actually eat, until it’s not much different from white meat — and more recently there have been studies and such coming out that show dark meat of poultry to be a good deal higher in iron and other minerals.

  • Tiffany

    This has become a staple in my kitchen. I have made it many times, and it is a huge hit with guests. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Rachael Pehota

    This recipe is fantastic, though I add a little bit of honey for some sweetness. Turned out perfectly.

  • Lindsay

    I have commented on this before a couple years ago, but I want to let you know that this is a monthly, if not almost weekly staple in our home. My twin two year old boys LOVE it. It only takes me 5 minutes to whip up the marinade now and I have the recipe memorized!

  • joanne

    My husband made this recipe while I was at work. I thought it was very good, but maybe we would use little less thyme and rosemary next time. Also I would not call this a marinade but would call it a recipe for a chicken rub.

  • Tomoko Negishi

    I have made this dish many times. It is a big seller and usually no left overs. However, when there has been left overs, I have eaten them cold and it is great. Perfect lunch the next day with some rice and vegi.

    Worth making over and over.

  • Sharon

    So delicious! I had a bunch of lemons this week and fresh rosemary in the fridge. This is a new family favorite. Served with jasmine rice..yummy

  • Bea

    Great recipe. Very easy. Just leave yourself enough preg/marinade time.

  • susan briscoe

    Has anyone tried serving this cold. I am always looking for a chicken receipe that I can use on a picnic?

  • Cajun

    I am from south Louisiana and if you are also, this recipe may not be for you. It’s ok, I would try it again, but only while making a few changes. Of course you would need to season it like a cajun to improve it (haha), but you definitely need to dilute the lemon juice!! It is way too much lemon, it overpowers everything. It would be good with a lighter lemon flavor instead of it being so tart. Also, u could cut back just a little bit on the rosemary and thyme.

  • tomoko

    Great dish. Family friendly and very tasty. Your recipes have not failed me once, and more often than not, they make me look good. Thanks!

  • Kapil

    This was a really great tasting and easy to make recipe. Never used lemon zest before. Since I am a former vegetarian I was not use to cooking meat, but the steps here were super easy to follow and clear.

  • Tina

    Oh my gosh – this was so easy and absolutely delicious! We only used dark meat and served it with a ‘Provencal’ White Bean side dish. I will definitely make this for our Valentine’s Dinner Party this weekend, as it can be done ahead and just thrown in the oven when the guests arrive so that I, too, may enjoy cocktail hour without slaving in the kitchen! Another fabulous recipe – thanks, Elise!

  • DD Can Cook

    Mmmm…super tangy and delicious. I scored a big vat of Meyer lemons from a friend’s tree and came across this recipe while searching for something to make with lemon and chicken. As a thigh girl myself, I loved the crisp crunchy goodness of the lemony chicken skin. Definitely not a low-cal recipe but really tasty nevertheless. Thanks!

  • Annalisa

    Just a comment about marinating overnight, I make a lemon marinade for grilling chicken thighs (dark meat girl as well!), it’s just lemon juice, beer (one bottle), sliced onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and cilantro, I throw everything in a big bowl (including the juice lemon rinds), mix well and cover with plastic wrap over night and grill the next day. Serve with home-made salsas, beans, rice and home-made flour tortillas or corn (store-bought). No one’s ever thought it was too mushy. Maybe it’s a preference though?

    If you are including beer in the marinade, that is diluting the acid of the lemon juice, which is a good thing if you are marinading overnight. ~Elise

  • Alaska Girl

    Holy Smokes! Awesome chicken. My husband loved it, and it took zero effort. Cooked up some wild rice and finished it off with baked apples and cream. Yum.

  • Lindsey

    This is an amazing recipe! Serving it again for New Year’s Eve. Thank You!

  • Ellen :|: CheapCooking.com

    Tried this tonight but added a bit of white wine to the marinade. Quite good but still a bit lemony for my taste and I only marinaded an hour. Maybe my lemons are stronger flavored somehow…. Still quite good. I had fresh rosemary but dried thyme, homegrown garlic, homegrown lemons. Love anything I can make that is mostly homegrown.

  • Sarah

    Made this tonight for dinner – Scrumptious!
    Only marinated for an hour so will try 2 next time but was very good. Roasted up some red pepper and yellow grape tomatoes for 15 mins with some thyme and olive oil and mixed them in with the chicken and some brown rice. Lovely. With the left over lemon marinade mixed in with the rice – it turned out really well.
    Definitely a keeper!

  • Monica

    My husband said this was the best chicken dish I’d ever made. It was really delicious! And with no fat in the marinade and just a little butter on top, I didn’t have any pangs of guilt about eating the skin.

    I let in marinate about 4 hours- got it started while the kiddo was napping – with no problems.

    We’ve added it to the “Cook Often” list.

  • Sarah

    Great recipe, thanks. I am not usually a big fan of lemon chicken – mostly because the lemon is always overpowering. This was not, it was the perfect amount! We did alter the recipe a little we had limes so we used lime and lemons & we cooked the chicken on the BBQ. It was too nice outside not to light it up!

  • Chantel

    Quick question: How would you adapt this recipe for boneless, skinless chicken breasts… or do you need to change anything at all? Thanks for the great recipe. The picture makes me WANT to cook!

    The only thing I would change is to reduce the cooking time. ~Elise

  • Madeline

    Just thought I’d let you know that I did try this recipe out the other week, and two more times since then! It’s fantastic. You’re right, the lemon isn’t overpowering at all. It’s one of our new favorite chicken recipes.

  • Angela

    Thank you for this recipe. I tried this recipe over the weekend and it was amazing and so tasty. I will definitly make this again. This was great. Thank you again. My son wants to try the pineapple upside down cake next.

  • Videl

    Absolutely fantastic!
    We could taste the lemon, but it wasn’t too lemony.
    Very easy to prepare.
    I baked the thighs and drumsticks first, but gave them a crispy boost on the grill.
    Will do it again for sure!

  • Erin

    This recipe was amazing! I LOOOVVVE all things lemon and was looking for a new way to do chicken and this fit the bill. As my husband said when it came out of the oven – “It looks just like the picture!” (clearly not all my meals accomplish that). FABULOUS!!!

  • Kathy

    I make something very similar only with a TON of garlic roasted in the pan with the chicken. I bet this is good with couscous!

  • Jancd

    I made this for dinner tonight and it turned out just like your picture. I just made 4 thighs for my husband and I along with a baked sweet potato and salad. It was so tasty and easy. Thanks for the recipe.

  • chris p

    Hey everyone I made this the other night and put it in the fridge for what was supposed to be a few hours and it turned into a couple of days before I could bake it–it was delicious and I did not think the fiber of the meat was broken down–the spices had a nice time to permiate the chicken and it was making my guests mouths water–a side note I did not have any lemons and used lime juice it was superb!

  • Linda

    THANK YOU, ELISE! for another wonderful recipe. I made this for dinner tonight, and it was so perfect. I didn’t change any of the ingredients or your instructions. The end result was as you said: not too lemony. You know it is lemon and garlic but the flavors are not overpowering. I think the skin must be eaten as that has so much of the flavors within it. (I’ve convinced myself that the fat has baked off and, therefore, not as many fat grams.) I served this with jasmine rice. This would be perfect for company. I’ll make it again and again.


  • Sarah

    I made this for our Sunday night dinner and it was wonderful. Your site has converted me to being a “thigh girl”, skin and all. Thanks!

  • Sue

    Can this be marinated overnight (for convenience)… or will it be too lemony or to tart?

    More likely too mushy as the acidity of the lemon juice will begin to break down the protein fibers of the chicken. If I were pressed for time I would just marinate the chicken less rather than over night. ~Elise

  • angela

    I have a general question regarding marinade times. When a recipe calls for 2 hours marinade time, is that concrete? Especially with a marinade like this that is all acid and no lipid? I would love to have this on hand as a go-to, but since I hate to skimp on marinate times, it just doesn’t fit into a weeknight schedule. Do you have any tips?

    Marinate it less? ~Elise

  • rei

    Will the flavor be just as good if I grill instead of bake?

    Very likely. ~Elise

  • Roberta

    This sounds delicious and easy and I mean to try it very soon! Just one thing: I don’t buy plastic things like gallon freezer bags. Why not marinate the chicken in a baking dish or corningware, and forego the plastic? Thanks!

    Marinate the chicken however you are comfortable doing so. ~Elise

  • Tami

    Made this recipe last night and it is so delicious. The whole family loved it!!! Thank you.

  • Nandita

    Thanks for this recipe! I had a couple of lemons I wanted to use, so when I saw this recipe I bought some chicken and made it tonight. A success! All the flavors were wonderful together. I added some grated fresh garlic and paprika to the seasonings. Delicious!

  • Lindsay

    What I love about this blog is that, unlike on the food network website, ALL of the recipes are good. Pick any recipe. Bam. Delicious.

    This was no exception, and CHEAP! 5 lbs of thighs for 3.44. I made it tonight. My husband is away for an internship for a month and I am alone with our babies, and this recipe was just a little more work than a frozen dinner! I wasn’t able to baste and it still turned out amazing.

  • Leah

    Great recipe, just made it with breasts. Cooked it a little less but it was a huge hit. Thanks

  • Rita

    I made this chicken tonight. It was awesome!! Thanks for the great recipe Elise. I’m with you when it comes to eating the crispy thigh skin!! Yum!

  • Kevin

    No oil in the marinade? I’m shocked! But perhaps I’ll try it. My traditional welcome-to-the-grilling-season meal is charcoal-grilled lemon chicken, fruit pilaf, a salad, and Pimms’ No. 1 Cup with soda and lime. Alas, a new county fire ordinance means grilling is no longer an option for me.

  • Linda

    Hi Elise

    I am breast girl but I love those chicken legs too!
    Your recipe is very close to the roasted chicken I cook with this exception.
    Like you, I roast at 425 but only for 30 minutes to crisp the skin, then I drop the temperature to 350 so I don’t have to baste. It keeps most of the juices in the chicken. I roast for an hour or so till chicken is done depending on the size of the chicken.
    I am a fan of lemon; I buy dry lemon peel in bulk so it goes in alot of things like salad dressing, veggies, and anything roasted or grilled. I love lemon juice to tenderize meats.

    Linda in Washington State

  • Min

    Hi, here the lemon chicken recipe is almost the same. Only we do it the unhealthy way. After marinating, dip into corn flour and deep-fry it. Yummy !

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I make a version of this with boneless thighs, marinated in the same flavors and cooked on the grill under a brick. Chicken and lemon together — amazing.