Roasted Lemon Chicken Recipe

Chicken thighs are one of the best meats you can select if you're looking for something tender and moist. Recipe developer Jennine Rye of The Marshside Pantry came up with this roasted lemon chicken recipe with a flavorful, citrus marinade. "I tend to prefer to cook with chicken thighs simply because they don't dry out. I find they are more flavorful, and they roast really well because of their slightly higher fat content," Rye raves. "Over here in England, chicken thighs are often the cheapest cut of chicken in the supermarket — people overlook them way too much! It's a great meal for those who don't want to cut down on protein consumption, but worry about the cost of decent, quality meat. Also, the skin on them crisps up beautifully." 

Rye also shares her favorite part about this dish: "I love how simple and tasty this recipe is. It's so easy to throw together, and the chicken ends up so tender, juicy, and flavorful. It's pretty healthy, and it pairs well with so many different vegetable sides," she adds. "It's one I come back to time and time again because all you really need are lemons and some chicken." 

Gather the ingredients for this roasted lemon chicken

This recipe is pretty simple, and the good news is that you will only need a few ingredients to make it. Just get bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, dried thyme, salt, pepper, sliced lemons, and olive oil.

Once you have those items, you can throw together this roasted lemon chicken.

Make the chicken marinade

To make the chicken marinade, stir together the lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. "You don't want to marinade the chicken for too long," Rye warns. "Although it seems like it might impart a stronger flavor the longer it is left, past a certain point, the acids in the lemon will actually start to break down the meat fibers. Aside from that, you can't really go wrong with this one." 

Marinate the chicken

Now, toss the chicken thighs into the same bowl as the marinade. Mix well to coat each piece of chicken with a generous amount of marinade, ensuring you'll get a citrus punch in each bite.

Then, place the bowl in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours, allowing all of the flavors to soak into the chicken. This step is time-consuming but it's vital in terms of flavor. 

Cook the chicken thighs

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Them, remove the chicken thighs from the fridge. Add a few lemon slices to the bottom of the pan, and place the chicken thighs on top. Last but not least, drizzle the thighs with olive oil. The oil will help the chicken crisp up nicely in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the meat cooks through, and the skin gets nice and crispy.

Serve and enjoy

Once you remove the chicken thighs from the oven, there's only one more important thing you need to do — transfer it to a plate, and dig in. The chicken itself is terrific on its own, but Rye provides a few other serving suggestions that you may want to try. "This is a wonderful dish to make for a casual family dinner, or a meal with friends," she shares.

"It's easy to scale up or down, and chicken thighs are a really low-hassle meat to cook with; you can just leave them to roast while you get on with other things. It pairs really well with any type of potato-based side dish, or really any roasted or steamed vegetable. It's also delicious served with pasta, or a vegetable quinoa salad. I sometimes enjoy the chicken with just a side of salad for a super healthy lunch. The chicken leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, and consumed within 3 days."

Roasted Lemon Chicken Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
This lemon chicken recipe couldn't be easier to make or meal prep, thanks to this flavorful, stress-free marinade.
Prep Time
Cook Time
roasted lemon chicken in dish
Total time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 1 sliced lemon, for roasting
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper. Then, add the chicken thighs to the bowl, and coat them with the marinade.
  2. Cover, and place the chicken marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F, and transfer the chicken thighs to a baking dish. Set them on a couple lemon slices, and drizzle everything with olive oil.
  4. Bake the chicken thighs in the oven for 45 minutes, until the skin is crispy, and the meat is cooked through.
Calories per Serving 498
Total Fat 38.9 g
Saturated Fat 9.7 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 189.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g
Total Sugars 0.8 g
Sodium 540.8 mg
Protein 32.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe