Skillet Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Quick and EasyGluten-FreeLow CarbPaleoChicken

Easy! Lemon Rosemary Chicken ~ Chicken thighs rubbed and marinated with lemon, rosemary, garlic, then seared in skillet and finished in oven.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of the blessings of our mild California climate (aside from the shorts and flip-flops weather while much of the country is bundled up in several layers of wool and fleece) is that I can look outside my kitchen window in February and see a lemon tree heavy with fruit and bushes of rosemary, oregano, and other herbs. Thus the inspiration for this easy skillet chicken thigh dish!

I chose rosemary to go with the lemon and garlic in the rub for the chicken, but you could easily use oregano or thyme or a mix of all three if you want. My father for one is not too fond of rosemary, so if I were making this for him, I would use thyme.

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Skillet Lemon Rosemary Chicken

The dish couldn’t be simpler. You first make a rub with rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil, and marinate the chicken pieces in this rub with a little lemon juice for an hour or two.

Then you brown the the thighs skin side down, turn the chicken pieces over, wiggle some garlic and shallots in between the thighs, and roast in the oven until cooked through.

Do a little bit of thinking ahead to marinate chicken and then cook up the whole thing in less than half an hour. Easy!

Skillet Lemon Rosemary Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Marinating time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4

We are using fresh rosemary. Dried rosemary can get a bit "stick"-like, so I'm not sure how well it would do as a substitute (if you try it with dry rosemary, please let me know how it works out for you in the comments!). I suggest that if you don't have fresh herbs, use half as much of a dry Italian herb mix.


  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Zest of one lemon (1 to 2 teaspoons)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 or more shallots, peeled, halved (optional, can use 1/2-inch thick wedges of red onion, or skip)


1 Make rub with the rosemary, zest, garlic, salt, and pepper: Place the rosemary, lemon zest, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper in a mini-chopper and pulse until well ground. (If you don't have a mini-chopper, just mince the rosemary and garlic very fine, and mix with the rest). Then add the tablespoon of olive oil and pulse again.

2 Marinate chicken thighs with rosemary lemon rub: Place the chicken thighs in a (non-reactive) bowl and rub all over with the rosemary lemon herb rub. Arrange the thighs skin-side down and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Let marinate for an hour at room temperature, or chill several hours or overnight, and let sit at room temp for an hour before cooking.

3 Preheat oven to 350°F.

4 Sear the chicken thighs: Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a cast iron (10 to 12-inch) or other large relatively stick-free oven-proof skillet (hard anodized aluminum will work well) on medium high to high heat.

As soon as the oil is shimmery hot, pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels and lay them skin-side down in the pan.

Sear the thighs without moving them for 3-5 minutes or until nicely browned.

Turn the thighs over in the pan so they are skin-side up. Remove the pan from heat.

5 Arrange garlic and shallots between chicken thighs and roast in oven: Place garlic cloves and either shallots or onion wedges in between the chicken thigh pieces in the pan. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken thighs reach 170°F.

Remove from oven.

As a safety note (having burned my hand in the past), I recommend rubbing an ice cube on the handle of the hot pan as a way to cook it down quickly. Then be sure you keep the handle covered with a pot holder so that someone (including yourself) doesn't inadvertently pick up the pan with the hot handle on their bare hands.

Serve with a side of rice, pasta, bread, or potatoes, or over a bed of baby arugula or spinach leaves for a low carb option.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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31 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Megan

    I love this recipe. I like to add baby potatoes, carrots, and a little butter under the crispy skin seared chicken thighs before they go in the oven. Yum!


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  2. Carol

    This recipe was so easy and taste wonderful. I will cook this again at least weekly. My husband loved it!!! We call it a KEEPER!!


  3. Ariane

    That was really, really good! I made a quick sauce with the cooking juices by adding broth before thickening with cornstach, and omg! So delicious!

    As for the excess marinade, you can use a spoonful or two to flavor basmati rice, or carrots!


  4. Bree

    I made this again last night, but this time I used dried lemon thyme (from my herb garden that now covered in snow). I also used red onion wedges because that’s what I had at home. Very easy with ingredients I typically have at home and very delicious! Love new skillet recipes!


  5. Betty-Kay

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I made it tonight for dinner and my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I used dried rosemary and whizzed it and the other marinade ingredients in the small jar of my Blendtec. It worked very well. I substituted onion slices for the shallots as they were what I have on hand. I probably put in more than the recipe required, but I’m glad I did because they tasted wonderful! I’m already thinking of occasions I can make this again in the future. Mmmmmmm…


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