How To Make Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken
Loaded with yummy flavor, this easy lemon chicken recipe is perfect 30-minute dinner for two. Put a few simple ingredients together, make a healthy side of quinoa or some roasted veggies and enjoy your evening.
So, dinners had always been a bit of a hassle for me. You probably know that feeling when you’re struggling to eat healthily but once you got home after a long day, you just no longer care what’s going to your stomach. You just need to unwind and there is no time to dance around your kitchen for 2 hours preparing a healthy meal.
But then I realized what my mistake was. Healthy doesn’t mean complicated or time-consuming. In fact, it takes less than 10 minutes to put all the ingredients together and just wait a couple more until it’s ready. Sounds too easy? Well, because it is! The interesting thing about cooking easy and healthy is that it tastes like you’ve spent at least half of the day to have this for your dinner. But now we know the secret, right?
So back to our baked lemon chicken recipe. You’ll be amazed how tender and juicy it turns out! Loaded with all kinds of yummy flavors – savory, but with a hint of sweetness – it’ll become your favorite dinner option very soon. They’re perfect when served on their own but it won’t ever hurt to add your favorite healthy side.
Also, I found it really useful to make a few extra servings for later. They may be used for your lunch sandwich or salad, or make a delicious wrap with chicken and veggies. Get creative!
So how to make this lemon chicken at home? Simple! Follow the recipe below.
- 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 tablespoons 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 tablespoons melted butter
- Lemon slices for garnish
- 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 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. 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.
- 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.
- Let rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes before serving.
- 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.