I’m a sucker for a sheet pan supper. The idea that I can pile a bunch of ingredients onto a single baking sheet, pop it in the oven, and have dinner at the ready feels like a culinary magic trick. And when that dinner also happens to be both delicious and nourishing? That borders on the supernatural, too.
This sheet pan chicken checks all the boxes. This dinner is a combination of juicy chicken thighs, capers, lemon, cherry tomatoes, and a generous shower of fresh basil. Everything is done at once and can be served straight from the sheet pan (who needs to dirty a second dish) especially on a weeknight?
A Sheet Pan Supper is a Weeknight Win
The tomatoes roast alongside the chicken until the juices ooze and they begin to caramelize. This recipe takes less than 20 minutes to assemble, so you won’t be in the kitchen long. While the chicken roasts, you can hang out on your front stoop with this easy-to-make Bees Knees Cocktail until the timer dings.
What Size Sheet Pan to Use
It might seem like a simple thing, but when it comes to sheet pan suppers, pan size is important. That’s because if your pan is too small, your ingredients will crowd and everything will cook unevenly and there won’t be any crispy bits (on the chicken or veg) that we all love so much.
It’s ideal to use a sheet pan that’s roughly 11 x 17 inches. That’s a standard jelly roll pan. If your baking sheets are small, consider dividing the ingredients between two pans instead. Lastly, I find food browns better when you use aluminum rather than a non-stick surface, particularly one that has darkened from years of hard work!
Swaps and Substitutions
One of the appealing aspects of this recipe is that it doesn’t have a ton of ingredients. It’s also very adaptable depending on what you happen to have on hand. Here are a handful of ideas for substitutions that might appeal to you:
- Swap chopped cilantro, parsley, or dill for fresh basil
- Use chicken legs in place of thighs (a kid favorite) or a combination of legs and thighs.
- Toss in a thinly sliced red onion or several scallions cut into one-inch pieces with the potatoes.
- Add a teaspoon of smoked paprika or red pepper flakes to the lemony dressing.
- Leave out the basil and instead, nestle bitter greens such as kale or chicories amongst the vegetables for the last 10 minutes of roasting.
- Add a handful of your favorite olives to the sheet pan.
Season the Chicken Ahead
If you have a bit of time, it’s ideal to season your bird a day or two before cooking. I typically salt and pepper the chicken and leave it uncovered in the fridge, making sure it’s not touching any other food.
The dry, chilled environment will help crisp the chicken skin and the salt will infuse the chicken with much needed flavor. If you don’t have time to pre-season, don’t fret. The chicken will still be plenty tasty.
Sheet Pan Supper Sides
This sheet pan supper will suffice as a complete meal, but you can also round it out with an extra vegetable if you like. Here are a few ideas:
- Pull out a second sheet pan and pile it with practically any vegetable under the sun—broccoli, asparagus, leeks, cauliflower, zucchini, or carrots. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the veggies alongside the chicken until tender.
- If you’re making this in the summer, steam, grill, or microwave several cobs of corn. If you have extra basil, chop it up and scatter it over the cooked buttered corn.
- Assemble a simple salad, such as butter lettuce tossed with a tasty vinaigrette, a bright, fresh cucumber salad, or an arugula salad with a splash of balsamic and olive oil.
More Satisfying Sheet Pan Suppers
- Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes
- Sheet Pan Honey-Mustard Pork Chops
- Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Eggplant Caponata
- Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos
- Sheet Pan Salmon with Broccoli and Miso Butter
Sheet Pan Lemon Chicken with Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Capers
It’s ideal to season your chicken with salt and pepper a day or two in advance for maximum flavor. Place the seasoned chicken in the fridge, uncovered to help crisp the skin and create more flavor. If you’re not a planner that’s ok. This will still be delicious without the extra dry time in the fridge.
- 1 1/2 pounds small, waxy potatoes, such as red, fingerlings, or yellow finn
- 1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1 large lemon
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 large cloves garlic, grated on a microplane or finely chopped
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven:
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cut the potatoes:
Slice the potatoes into 1/8 to 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
Assemble veggies on baking sheet:
Pile the potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and capers on a large baking sheet.
Make lemon dressing and coat veggies:
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice into a small bowl. Cut the remaining lemon half into several wedges and reserve for later.
In the small bowl with the lemon, whisk in the olive oil, cumin, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over the potatoes, tomatoes, and capers and use your hands to coat everything.
Spread out the potatoes, tomatoes, and capers into a single layer.
Season the chicken:
Season the chicken thighs on both sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Add chicken thighs to baking sheet:
Nestle the chicken thighs amongst the potatoes, tomatoes, and capers spacing them evenly across the baking sheet. It’s ok if some of the potatoes are beneath the chicken.
Roast the chicken and vegetables:
Roast for about 40 minutes, spooning or brushing the chicken with pan juices and stirring the potatoes about halfway through.
The sheet pan dinner is done when the potatoes are tender and starting to brown and the chicken is tender, the skin is crispy, and the meat registers 165°F with an instant-read thermometer.
Garnish, rest the chicken for 10 minutes, and serve:
Add the reserved lemon wedges to the baking sheet. Scatter the basil over everything. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and serve.