I’m really amazed at how my tastes change with the seasons.  It’s certainly not intentional, but when the weather warms up I’m immediately in the mood for light, spring-inspired fare.  (Likewise, once fall rolls around, I’m all about chili and everything pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin!)  I have started to really enjoy lemon in desserts and baked goods, but I have yet to make many main dishes with lemon as the primary flavor.  The marinade and sauce provide just the right amount of lemon flavor without being overpowering or sour.  My main change was to dial down the amounts of fresh herbs because I thought they seemed a bit too much and I wanted the lemon to shine through.  I served this with baked garlic rice pilaf and roasted broccoli, and we thought the rice was the perfect compliment with its own little hint of lemon flavor.


2 tbsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2-4 lbs. of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks
2-3 tbsp. melted butter
Thinly sliced lemons, for garnished


  • 01

    Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large zipper-lock plastic bag.  Seal the bag and shake well to blend.  Place the chicken pieces in the bag with the marinade, pressing out excess air and sealing once more.  Refrigerate and let marinate for 2 hours.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and transfer to a baking dish, skin-side up, reserving the leftover marinade.  Brush the top of each piece of chicken with melted butter.

  • 03

    Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the skins are crispy and well-browned.  Halfway through baking, pour the remaining marinade over the chicken pieces in the baking dish.  Once fully baked, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before serving.  Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with lemon slices and serve.


  • Looks wonderful!! What a beautiful picture.

  • Ariana from Chicago

    Annie, this is very similar to the recipe I use. It’s delish! Only other things I add is some grated onion and olive oil to the marinade/”vinagriette”. Hands down one of our faves.

  • I love lemon with chicken. This looks amazing!! Beautiful recipe and photography!

  • This really looks excellent! Chicken piccata is one of my absolute favorite dishes (and my husband’s), so I know that we’d love this as well. I too love lemon in the spring time!

  • This looks great! Crisp and refreshing.

  • This looks so good! We eat a ton of chicken so I have got to try this! I will link it back to you when I do :)

  • I totally agree with you about changing tastes. I just wrote almost the same thing in my blog. Hooray for spring and for this delicious recipe!

  • I have to say. I crave pumpkin year round. But other than that, it is definitely weird how tastes evolve. I was all about apples all fall. Then grapefruit all winter. Now we’ll see where the weather takes me…

    This looks delicious. I think with the sides, you’ve made an absolutely perfect meal.

  • Truly summery, light and zesty, Annie. :-) This is so pretty with that wonderful crispy chicken skin. :-)

  • Jen

    I could be wrong, but after you marinade something (especially chicken!) you should be throwing out any leftover marinade. Putting the excess marinade that has been in contact with raw chicken over cooked or semi-cooked chicken seems like a no-no to me. Perhaps since it’s only half-way through the cooking it would be heated enough to kill any bacteria? I don’t know, but when I try this, I’ll be skipping that step :/ (Or, making some extra marinade to reserve before coming in contact with the chicken.)
    Looks delicious though. I’ve not tried lemon chicken, ever. But my tastes are growing so I’ll give it a try!

  • Annie

    Jen, normally you would be correct, but that extra 25 minutes or so of cooking time is plenty to kill the bacteria, especially at this high temperature. I think it’s fine, and I am a doctor after all :)

  • This looks amazing and savory! When I make lemon chicken, it incorporates lemon jello powder, which freaks the husband out! I’ve have to try this one:)

  • I noticed the same thing; my palate changes with the season, too. I’ve been wanting very light and summery flavors as well, especially citrus and cherry. Your chicken looks fantastic. :)


  • Annie, I’m thinking of making this meal soon but have a question about how you made the chicken and the garlic rice for the same meal. One requires 375 degree oven while the other requires 425. Did you use two ovens or did you meet the temps in the middle? I would love to make this complete meal like you did because it sounds so good! Thanks!!

  • Annie

    Hi Erica,
    Great question, I meant to mention that in the post. I just split the difference and set the oven at 400˚. It worked perfectly!

  • Yay! That makes me so happy! Did that affect the times for both the meals too???? I’m assuming that it will… I’ll keep a close eye.

  • HLE

    This looks amazing! I have been on such a lemon kick lately. I must try this ASAP.

  • Looks great! another awesome chicken recipe, definently going to try this out!! thanks so much for all your post, i have enjoyed them so much since I found your blog a couple weeks ago!

  • Jen

    Thanks for replying to my comment! That sets my mind at ease a bit. We’ve never encountered any food-poisoning, and I didn’t want to risk it now haha. After all, the majority of food-poisoning incidents are from home-prepared meals.
    I may try the whole recipe now :) Thanks again!

  • Annie

    Erica, nah, it’s only a 25˚ difference for each, and I figure many ovens vary by about that much in their temperature cycling. I used the times indicated in the recipes and it was fine.

  • Kim

    Hi Annie. This chicken looks great! Quick question…is the posted recipe the original or does it already reflect the decreased amount of herbs? Thanks!

  • Jackie Purcell

    I just uncovered your blog and so look forward to sitting down at
    the end of the day and “filling” up with the recipes. I have been cooking
    for MANY years and never tire of the symphony of the scents and tastes
    of a well orchestrated meal. You are a marvelous conductor!! Thank you.

  • Annie

    Hi Kim,
    I always post recipes as I made them, so in this case, I indicated the reduced amount of herbs. You can click the link at the bottom to compare to the original to see what changes (if any) I make.

  • Already made this for dinner last night, Annie. It was superb! And I served it with a side of broccoli and garlic rice (though I just cooked my brown rice in the rice cooker and threw in some garlic salt!) Thanks for having a thought process and a food craving that lines right up with mine! You never fail to give me inspiration when I need it!

  • Neen

    Annie –

    This looks like another great recipe! Fresh lemons are a must-have in our house. Can you use boneless chicken breasts?

  • I’ve been on a lemon kick lately, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the season! I like the look of this chicken!

  • Annie

    Hey Neen,
    I wouldn’t recommend boneless skinless breasts for this recipe because the use of the thighs/drumsticks, and the skin provides a lot of flavor. I have a different lemon marinade that I use for chicken kabobs and that would definitely work for the boneless skinless chicken breasts. I’ll share that soon.

  • Oh Annie, those look perfect! I am going to have to take this recipe to the grill!

  • Kamilah

    I absolutely LOVE your blog! I don’t know if I haven’t seen it or missed the post, but I would love the recipe to your baked garlic rice pilar. If at all possible can you tell me where I can find it? Thanks for all the wonderful work you put into this blog. I am always telling my friends about your recipes and to read for themselves.

  • Annie

    Kamilah, you can find it by using the search bar. It’s one of our favorite side dishes!

  • marissa

    Made this last night but didn’t have fresh lemons so I used juice in a jar (gasp I know!) and substituted orange zest. It was delish!! My kiddos and hubster loved it too. Thanks!

  • I love lemon flavoured things. *bookmarked*

  • This is really a wonderful recipe. Highly recommendable!

  • I have the same recipe posted on my blog right now. It’s a wonderful way to make chicken. Lemon and chicken are a great combination.

  • This was one of the best roasted chicken recipes that I’ve tried. I just loved the tart, lemony flavor! Thanks so much for sharing and for your wonderful photography – that picture drew me right in!

  • Annie

    Peggy, you can subscribe by clicking “RSS Entries” at the top right of the page. I do not do manual subscriptions myself.

  • Sally

    Could you also use bone-in skin on chicken breasts for this recipe?

  • Annie


  • Sally

    Oh ok. I ask because only thighs and legs are mentioned in the recipe and didn’t know if breasts wouldn’t cook through in 50-55 minutes.

  • Annie

    Well, the cooking time may vary. You’ll have to check and make sure it’s cooked through.

  • Adding this to “must try” list, thanks for posting the recipe :)

  • I made this tonight for dinner and it was fantastic!

  • Jennifer

    Tried this recipe last night and it was amazing!!!! Not only did it taste amazing but it looked beautiful too!!!

  • Annie,
    We just loved your chicken.
    I marinated it overnight, it was so lemony.
    It’s now our new family favourite!
    My son told me I was a star, which really made it worthwhile :)

  • Maria

    Thanks so much, we loved it! <3

  • tabitha


  • Just wanted to say Thank You for this delicious recipe! My husband and children loved it so much! The skin tasted amazing!

  • Meagan Townley

    Best lemon chicken we’ve EVER made…thank you so much for sharing your recipe!

  • Alison

    When I read all the comments, I thought there was no way it was THAT good. Well, I was wrong! I agree- the best chicken I’ve ever made. Amazing!!! I poured the pan juices over the chicken at the end and it just added to the wonderful flavors. This recipe stays! Thank you!!

  • Shelley

    This was really good! My son who is picky ate 2 legs off the bone, so not his thing + he licked his fingers afterwards! I’ll make this again, however, would double the marinade for some extra to pour over chicken as I didn’t really have any extra to add onto towards end of baking time. I like a lot of flavor so I’d also add another clove of garlic and add a bit more of thyme and rosemary. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  • Jennybird83

    That looks amazing! Cannot wait to make it. I will post on my food blog. Birdsnestoftwo.wordpress.xom

  • Lorieubanks

    Chicken looks delicious and can not wait to try it. I do have a question about pouring the remaining marinade over the chicken halfway through baking. How safe is it to use the marinade after having had the raw chicken in it and then using it again? You always wonder about this considering the raw chicken. Maybe I misunderstood the recipe directions.

  • Anonymous

    Because it will be baked, it is safe.

  • Jessica

    We have made this twice in the past month, it is one of my new favorites!! Thanks for such a great recipe!!

  • I substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast for the thigh meat. Still delicious!

  • I had these marinating in the fridge for 2 days and decided I needed to get them baked up before they went bad. I baked them up Friday night for hubby’s Saturday evening meal while I’m at work. He loves cold chicken and I thought these would be perfect. After baking and cooling off a while I ate one at about 1:00am. Oh My Gosh! It was sooo good! I even scraped up some of the pan drippings and ate it off the spatula! This is a definite keeper. I also just made the light brioche buns to go along with the chicken. This is my third time making the buns. Just as Joan Crawford said, “No More Wire Hangers!”, I say, “No More Store Bought Buns!” I peruse your blog every chance I get at work….once we get the patients asleep in their beds.

  • jmross

    Made this tonight for my family…very yummy and looked like something you would order at a nice restaurant. Only change I made was to add some olive oil to the marinade, and made extra marinade to use to baste 1/2 through the cooking time. Cooked @ 400 degrees in my convection oven for 45mins then let rest. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Berna Labartino

    Made this lemon chicken tonight and it was amazing. The only thing is that it was a bit dry. Next time I will leave it less time in the oven and it should be perfect. The remaining sauce dried up when I put it in halfway through baking. Would have enjoyed having some to pour on top of the oven potato chips I made with the chicken

  • Beth @ Aunt B’s Kitchen

    Hi. Found you by clicking on this recipe on Pinterest. It looks delicious.

  • Sulcoll88@gmail.com

    This was AMAZING. Really outstanding. I did add some olive oil to the marinade, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Thank you for posting!

  • I made this tonight w/ a few changes – 1) I used bone-in breasts instead, just needed to increase cooking time to about 1 1/2 hours, 2) Added some olive oil to marinade to make more, 3) Didn’t melt butter, just put a pat of butter on each breast, and 4) placed cubed red potatoes under the chicken to make it a 1 pot meal. LOVE D it!

  • Sburdine

    Made this last night, turned out great. I doubled the marinade and used half to marinate and then the other half for basting because I’m paranoid about cross-contamination. Really good flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Cori

    This is my 3rd time making it and I absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Oh, man, that looks delicious! Beautiful food photography, too.

  • Oh, man, that looks delicious! Beautiful food photography, too.

  • I made

  • I made this last week and

  • I made this last week and it was awesome! Told everyone how great it was. Cannot wait to make it again! A new favorite!

  • Kristin

    Wow…absolutely delicious! I overlooked this recipe many times, but noticed it again when you featured it in your seasonal recipes awhile back — so glad you did, because it’s phenomenal!

  • Nikki C Demoro

    I found this recipe on pinterest and it was delicious! The spinach salad on the side was a nice touch, especially since I’m on a no carb-no sugar diet :)

  • marius

    awesome awesome awesome french said Agreable jolie et tres bien a manger

  • Darrive2000

    awesome awesome awesome . French said Agreable jolie et bien a manger

  • Nikkiperez203

    I just made this for dinner tonight and it was a BIG HIT !!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe

  • Will try tonight. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Are you on the Diet Evolution eating plan — no carbs, no sugar. That’s the program I’m following. Tough to find good recipes.

  • zografia avgerou

    Can’t wait to try it! And i’ll make some of those amazing pitas breads of yours and dip them into the leftover cooked marinade with the melted butter!

  • Jessica

    Just made this last night and it was delicious!! I know a few people mentioned using boneless skinless chicken breasts, which I also used, and I would recommend shortening the cooking time a little. The flavor was really great but mine came out a little dry because the breasts cooked fast. I also split them which makes them cook a lot faster. A perfect, easy recipe!

  • I’m wondering how this would do in the slow cooker…..has anyone tried this yet?
    We have 3 soccer practices today and it would make it much easier. :)

  • We made this while camping, and we loved it, though I did have to change the cooking method to suit a camp fire, but it was so good, we’re making it again on this weekends camping trip.

  • Amandap

    Made Last night was soo good!!

  • george

    thats why it calls for thigh or drum sticks and not chicken breasts.

  • Kiley

    Eating this as I type.. but I have to say it was really difficult to put the fork down… but I wanted everyone to know HOW GOOD THIS IS. I used chicken leg quarters, marinated with the given recipe + 1/4 of olive oil. Cut up 2 baking potatoes, layered them in the bottom of a pot, laid the chicken on top & baked at 350 for 1.5 hours (I was gone and didn’t want them to be overcooked when I got home). I broiled them at 500 for the last 5 minutes. Also, when I added the sauce back in the pan I added an additional cup of chicken broth. The potatoes with the marinade are SO delicious and the chicken is just lemony enough and the crispy skin is to die for!

  • Carol

    I had googled this very recipe and couldn’t find one and this morning I opened up pinterest and voilă right on the first page!!!!!! Cooking for friends tonight..how’s that ! Thanks Annie :-))

  • natashasmiller

    I make this chicken all the time- I got it from simply recipes.. its perfect! I make it will chicken breast on the bon, with skin.. So good!

  • Lori Martin

    GREAT recipe! I found it on Pinterest and made it tonight. Thanks for sharing!

  • June Bug

    Made this for dinner last night…followed your recipe exactly… You are a rock star!

  • rinabrown

    really enjoying your blog, just remarkable

  • Sharon Kavanagh

    I made this,family loved it,repinned as a keeper. Thanks

  • Annalea McMillan

    Super delicious! If there is one thing I always have in the kitchen, it’s lemon and garlic, so this recipe is a win. I had to broil the chicken for about 8 minutes towards the end to get cripsy skins and in hindsight, I would recommend adding an additional sprinkling of spices (grill mix or salt & pepper) after brushing the chicken with butter –it adds a bit of texture and an extra bang of flavor to the skins. This recipe will definitely be added to my list of favs.

  • Lucy VP

    I really don’t think that just because you changed it from thighs to breasts makes it adapted…it’s stolen. There really should be more honesty amongst food bloggers.

  • annieseats

    Stealing would actually be passing it off as my own and not citing a source. There are subtleties to the verbage we use that you obviously don’t understand, but if you’re going to make accusations you should probably learn them first.

  • Teaching heart

    I made this and it came out perfect the first time! Do add this to your recipe box! Thank you Annie’s eats!

  • I am making it as I type, great thing i got my herbs, lemons all from my garden which made the smell even more intense. You got me on the little amount of ingredients that is needed.Making dinner for two now! Budget friendly luv it : )

  • AWESOME Chicken !! I made some xtra sauce to top, let it cook in oven
    it thickend up yummy!!

  • Melissa

    Great recipe! I didn’t have fresh thyme leaves or fresh rosemary leaves, I substituted with 3 tsps of Italian seasoning, which contains both rosemary and thyme. Turned out great..thanks

  • Jessi

    Hi :-) As delish as this chicken sounds (which I already pinned!) I was wonderingI you have a recipe for the rice pilaf? I’m always on the hunt for a good pilaf, it’s one of my favorite side dishes! Thanks!

  • annieseats
  • Robin Hellmold

    This was a huge hit! Thank you so much. I’m definitely going to make it again and again.