Lemon Chicken


Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

My brother and I like to have these conversations about what dishes we enjoyed the most while growing up. My mom’s Lemon Chicken always comes up in the top 5 because THE SAUCE OMG THE SAUCE. We would fight over the crispy burnt onions on the edges of the glass baking dish; my mom never had to work hard to scrub the pan. Having a sibling who also loves crispy bits was a just a weeeeee bit dangerous. Fights ensued and then came taunting. Growing up is fun!

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Now, I’m the only person in my family that likes crispy bits (totally awesome!) but Cooper and I BOTH are pizza crust people so I guess there’s that…We fight over Casey’s crust…

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Let’s get back to the sauce. It’s dreamy/tangy and the onions are mostly soft while some of them are crispy!  My parents were out of town and I didn’t want to bug my mom asking her for the recipe so I came up with my own interpretation.  First I used olive oil instead of butter. If you want to sub butter for olive oil, she uses about 1 stick. Or– you can go half & half. Either way, it makes a delicious sauce. The olive oil is just as good.  My mom also uses chicken thighs on the bone while I go boneless. Casey doesn’t like having to cut around the bones (I don’t blame him!) so we almost always go boneless.  She also dredges the chicken in flour before she bakes it. Doesn’t do much for the texture but I assume it thickens the sauce? I also added a bit of parsley at the very end to garnish and some sliced lemons in the mix. Fancy!

Any who- this is a pretty quick/easy recipe with a big impact. I almost always serve it with rice and a side of broccoli. I hope one day you’ll have people talking about how it’s one of your top 10 meals. Enjoy and thanks, Mom!

And we’re off!

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

We’re gonna chop up the onion, mix the herbs with the olive oil (or butter) and add the thyme & oregano.

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

See? The juice of 1 1/2 lemons goes in as well.

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Now we stir in the chopped onions & garlic.

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Lightly oil up the baking dish you’re going to bake the chicken in. Add the onion mixture on top and stir!

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Season with salt & pepper and divvy up the lemon slices around the chicken.

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

And we’re baked! It takes about 35-40 minutes at 375F. If you want to make the sauce creamier, add a little butter at the end.

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

I highly recommend serving the chicken over rice. It’s really good with potatoes too.

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Because….JUICE.

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Here are those burnt bits I was telling you about…

Lemon Chicken // shutterbean

Lemon Chicken

serves 4

  • 1  1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for pan
  • juice of 1  1/2 large lemons, plus 5-6 slices of lemon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly drizzle olive oil in a glass baking dish or enamel pan. Add chicken thighs and set aside. In a large measuring cup or bowl mix together olive oil, lemon juice, onion, garlic, thyme and oregano until well combined. Pour onion mixture over chicken thighs and toss to coat. Nestle lemon slices around the chicken and season with salt & freshly cracked pepper.  Place chicken into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken), until chicken is thoroughly cooked and the juice is bubbling. Cover the pan and let chicken sit for 5 minutes and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve on top of rice, making sure to spoon the juices on top.

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100 Comments

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  • Jess
    February 17, 2014

    This looks SOOOOOO good! I was just sitting here thinking about what to cook tonight and then kinda procrastinating by looking at your blog (imagine!) and BOOM. Lemon Chicken’s on the menu tonight :-) Plus I’m on this bonkers clean eating detox and whaddya know, this is totally compatible! THANK YOU :-)

  • Jane M
    February 17, 2014

    Well you had me at LEMON! This recipe couldn’t be any easier too! #yum!

  • February 17, 2014

    Oooh those onions+the sauce looks magical. I pretty much adore anything with lemon, so this would probably easily become a favorite of mine, too.

  • February 17, 2014

    Looks like a perfect dinner! All that gorgeous lemon is making me crave springtime!

  • February 17, 2014

    Ooh, I love the simplicity of this. Must try!

  • February 17, 2014

    i know many lemon fans who would go bonkers for this!

    http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2014/02/valentine-day-recap.html

  • February 17, 2014

    This reminds me of Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Roast Chicken with Lazy Mash http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/lemon-roast-chicken-with-lazy-mash. We practically drink the sauce!

  • Cara
    February 17, 2014

    Making tonight! Yum!!

  • February 17, 2014

    I love this! I am on a total lemon kick, thanks to your lemony chicken and orzo soup. Once I ge through that, I’m totally on to this chicken. xx

  • Nicole
    February 17, 2014

    Thank you! I was looking for a lemon chicken recipe that was easy for tonight’s dinner.

  • February 17, 2014

    I’m loving this post! Beautiful shots, and I can taste the flavours through the screen.

  • February 17, 2014

    I want to eat this and it’s only 11:02am and I have no chicken in my house, TRACY.

    That is all.

  • Aubrey
    February 17, 2014

    This may be a pretty basic question but how do you prepare the chicken for cooking? Do you trim off the “weird” bits? Do you leave some fat on?

    • Tracy
      February 17, 2014

      I didn’t do much trimming on this batch. I get boneless/skinless chicken thighs from my local grocery store. I would definitely trim any weird bits if you see any. A little fat is cool. Adds to the flavor of the sauce.

  • February 17, 2014

    Yessss to burnt bits and pizza crust! When I was a kid I always used to try and steal fried chicken crumbs before anyone could get to them…same idea I guess.

    This chicken looks awesome!

    • Tracy
      February 17, 2014

      have you ever had a dutch crunch roll? i would steal the bits at the bottom. SO GOOD.

  • February 17, 2014

    Ahh chicken juice is the best, and with some crusty bread?! Mmm hmm. Your mama has a great recipe here, looks amazing!

  • February 17, 2014

    This looks too perfect. The little lemon-scented roasty onions are calling me!

  • February 17, 2014

    Growing up & fighting over food was such fun, hey? In retrospect. At the time it was like my world was ending when my brother took the rest of my chip packet. Thief. Thanks for sharing, Ben will go mad for this because of chicken + lemon + rice + sauce. Enough said. Thanks Tracy & Tracy’s mum!
    Heidi xo
    ps burnt bits fo life!

  • Stacey
    February 17, 2014

    This is what I’m going to have for dinner. Tracy and Tracy’s Mom to the rescue. So simple and delicious-looking/sounding.

  • February 17, 2014

    Oh my boyfriend is going to love this dish! Anything chicken goes down well, and he won’t even have to fight me for the burnt bits because I’m one of those terrible vegetarian types :)
    Thanks for another omnivore friendly meal for my beloved!

  • February 17, 2014

    This is enough to make me want to go out again to the grocery store right now, in the dark and cold, and cook this and have a midnight dinner. :)

  • February 17, 2014

    Made this for dinner tonight, thanks! So good.

  • February 17, 2014

    Yes to crispy pieces. My husband and I fight over those. This dish looks amazing!

  • Heather
    February 17, 2014

    Huge hit with the family. Thanks tracy.

  • February 17, 2014

    I just wanted to tell you how beautiful I think your blogs are! Your photos and layout are truly awesome. I found your recipe for Arugula Hazelnut Salad and am positively hooked on it…could have it every night. Thanks for helping us generate a family favorite. I use hazelnut oil for all or half of the Olive oil to really punch up the hazelnut flavor.

    • Tracy
      February 18, 2014

      Oh!! I bet that hazelnut oil is great! I’m so pleased that you liked that salad recipe. It’s one of my favorites :)

  • February 18, 2014

    You’re lucky to have a mom that’s such a good cook! Mom recipes are the best! Reading your post reminded me of my favorite recipe from my mom – stuffed cabbage!

  • February 18, 2014

    Mmmm, I love lemon and chicken together. This looks delicious!

  • next week this is happening. looks sooo good.

  • February 18, 2014

    I just finished cleaning the kitchen after making this for my brother and I tonight :) SO so good. I added a teensy bit of heavy cream to the sauce and served it over gluten free fettuccine! Thanks for another terrific recipe!

    • Tracy
      February 18, 2014

      That sounds great!!! I love the idea of putting it over past. YAY!

  • Lena
    February 18, 2014

    Yum! :) I can’t wait to try this. Thank you for all of your amazing posts. :)

  • February 18, 2014

    Burnt pieces!! Yes to them and everything else in this pan. Love how simple and tangy the chicken is :) So happening this weekend!!

  • February 19, 2014

    I made this last night. It’s so easy and so good! Thanks, Tracy!

  • Sheri
    February 19, 2014

    Don’t have thighs but I do have a package of chicken breasts – would they work? This looks sooo good!

    • Tracy
      February 19, 2014

      yup! The cooking time might need to be adjusted but keep your eye on them! :)

  • jess
    February 19, 2014

    I made this recipe last night- SO delicious. I only had chicken breasts on hand and they worked well as a substitution. We will definitely make them with thighs next time, but the sauce and burnt bits were SO SO GOOD.

  • February 19, 2014

    yum. I make a similar roast chicken and I hoard all the crispy bits- the very best part. I love how easy this looks- I have to put in the weeknight lineup!

  • Susan
    February 19, 2014

    Made this for dinner tonight with some brown rice. It was yummy. My husband and son both enjoyed it too. Simple goodness.

  • February 20, 2014

    I’m curious. Does the sauce end up really tangy? I notice that no sweetener (honey, brown sugar, maple syrup etc) was added to balance out the tang. Or perhaps the sweetness of the onions is enough? I love lemon with chicken, Chinese or Western style.

    • Tracy
      February 20, 2014

      The onions add a little sweetness. It’s not sour just a little tangy. Try it!

  • I love lemon chicken. I’ll be making this for dinner soon!

  • lynda
    February 20, 2014

    thank you for this recipe! I made it for myself last night (hehe) and I was in heaven! Super easy and definitely yum. I had it over brown rice with a side of roasted asparagus (which I threw in the oven while the chicken was resting).

    • Emily
      February 21, 2014

      I did the same thing! This dinner with asparagus, which I placed in the oven partway through the chickens’ cooking time. It was a fantastic combination and really easy. Unfortunately my husband is really picky, and he thought there was too much lemon. Maybe I’ll make it again and just reduce the juice. But I really liked it.

  • Kelsey
    February 20, 2014

    I just want to reach into my screen and place a sixth lemon slice in the dish. Is that weird of me?

    Yeah, it’s totally weird. I’ll just be going now.

  • February 21, 2014

    Tracy, I adore dinners like this. Something the kids will like, but still interesting enough for us to enjoy. I’m so making this ASAP! Thanks for sharing.

  • February 21, 2014

    I’ll admit at first I wasn’t compelled to make this dish, because, well, I have about 100 chicken dishes that I have bookmarked already. But after reading about the sauce – THE SAUCE – I am now moving this one to the front of my list. Looks amazing!!

  • Jo
    February 21, 2014

    Too late today but tomorrow’s dinner for sure!!

  • February 22, 2014

    Howdy,
    I cooked this last night and am going to write an article about it on my site – full credit and links back to you included.
    I have to say that it was f**king sensational and gave me a culinary boner.
    One of the most basic meals to cook that will probably become a staple, I only had to buy the lemon as had the rest in the house already.
    The smell of it cooking was enough to nearly drown me in my own saliva and the actual taste and that sauce – OMFG!!!!!
    I served it on quinoa – and just a superb meal – thanks so much for the recipe.
    JK

  • Emily L
    February 23, 2014

    Just made it tonight and it was super tasty and comforting! I served on top of brown rice with a side of sauteed chard and mushrooms. My onions weren’t super burnt-y but maybe my oven wasn’t hot enough.

  • February 24, 2014

    This looks so delicious and so EASY. Can’t wait to make it.

  • Carrie
    February 24, 2014

    Tracy, LOVE this recipe! I made it and it was delicious, except for the texture. I just don’t like the texture of baked chicken (because I’m weird, NOT because there was anything wrong with the recipe!) Do you have any thoughts about how to cook this in the Crock Pot? I love the concept of lemon chicken but apparently am pretty high-maintenance :)

    Thanks for posting this… you always inspire me to cook dinner! :)

  • Sheri
    February 26, 2014

    This recipe was a huge hit in our house. I added some chopped up artichoke hearts and it was an amazing addition. Thanks so much!

    • Tracy
      February 26, 2014

      You’re the second person who has added artichokes! I am going to do that next round!!

  • Adrien
    February 27, 2014

    I made this last night and it is so fantastic! I improvised a little bit and used bone-in chicken breasts but it still turned out wonderfully! This is also really delicious over spinach for a next-day salad and you can even use the oniony sauce as dressing :)

    • SONIA
      March 28, 2014

      Hi Adrien!

      When you substituted Bone-On Chicken Breast, how did you adjust your time or temperature? Would LOVE to make with Breasts!

      Please and Thanks!

  • March 1, 2014

    I made this earlier in the week and it was so great! And I just saw that some people added artichokes and I’m doing that next time. I may also try your mom’s method of dipping the chicken in flour to make the sauce a little thicker. Just to try it. It was really SO good – thanks for posting this.

  • Megan
    March 2, 2014

    Tracy, this recipe is delicious and as a bonus, easy! Thank you! I made it for dinner Friday and served it with brown rice and roasted asparagus. My boyfriend and I gobbled it up and enjoyed the leftovers Saturday. The brown bits and the juice are da bomb!

  • vlb987
    March 2, 2014

    Lemon Chicken is one of those that I haven’t found a perfect recipe for yet! I definitely have to give this one a try. Your blog is beautiful and your pictures are on point! Looks so so so so delish!

  • Rita D
    March 3, 2014

    Tasty and tender, but mine didn’t brown and get the “burnt bits” as described. I think I need to use a larger pan, so there’s more room between the thighs and they are not as “deep” in the sauce (which IS delicious!)

  • Jenny
    March 4, 2014

    Just made this tonight and it was great. I used drumsticks instead and baked them for 45-50 minutes. I also used 3 pounds of meat and kept the sauce the same because I was trying to cut back on the calories. I cut off the skin from the drumsticks but the meat was still tender after baking. Love the recipe!

  • March 5, 2014

    Really looking forward to making these tomorrow night! This recipe sounds amazing.

  • Angela
    March 6, 2014

    Any ideas on how long this should bake with bone-in chicken thighs? I can’t wait to make this tonight, but I try to buy bone-in to keep the cost down. :)

    • Tracy
      March 6, 2014

      Shouldn’t take that much longer! I’d check it at the time I suggested and maybe add a few minutes.

  • Bettina
    March 31, 2014

    This was lovely! I used 3 Meyer lemons for the juice, as they are smaller in size. Just turned the broiler on at the end of the cooking time for some quick extra browning. Wonderful, very quick midweek family meal. Many thanks!

  • Felicia
    April 7, 2014

    I’m wondering if this will work in a slow cooker (though wouldn’t have the yummy burnt onion bits unless it got a quick broil in the oven to finish). If I get brave and try it I will report back. Anyone else tried it?

    • Felicia
      April 11, 2014

      Winner winner chicken dinner! I’ve not tried it in the slow cooker yet, just had some unexpected late afternoon free time yesterday. Turned it in to a “clean out the fridge” version with a leek instead of regular onion, and also some chopped mushrooms and asparagus. Served over wild rice, hubs and 3-year-old son cleaned their plates. Yay, a new recipe in the rotation!

  • Bettina
    April 8, 2014

    Just made it again. My next door neighbor spoils me with Meyer lemons from his tree. Scrumptious, you have to try this!

  • Reynaul
    April 21, 2014

    Made this for Easter dinner and everybody loved it! Thanks!

  • Anna Macrae
    April 22, 2014

    This recipe looks incredibly delicious and I’m planning on making it with bone-in/skin on chicken thighs. Would you recommend that I sear the chicken on the stovetop before baking?

    Many thanks, Anna

    • Tracy
      April 22, 2014

      I would brown them up a bit. Yes. You’d probably want a crispier skin.

  • Mary
    April 23, 2014

    Made this last night and it was so good! I used chicken breasts and served it on top of a bed of sauteed kale. Added a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese on top for an added creaminess. Thank you yet again for a great recipe!

  • Ann
    April 23, 2014

    Made this for dinner last night with brown rice and steamed asparagus and it was perfection! So great for an easy, spring-y meal. I used a sweet onion because my husband bought them by mistake (the nuances of onion varieties are lost on him), and I actually think it worked really nicely with the tanginess of the sauce. Thanks, Tracy!

  • kim
    April 25, 2014

    Has anyone tried making this then freezing right in the pan, then reheating later? Having family in town and want to make all the dinners in advance.

  • Mary
    May 15, 2014

    This was delicious but I didn’t get any crispy bits :( I don’t think I had quite 1.5 lbs of chicken and so I may have had a little too much liquid. But I out it under the broiler for 2 mins and that helped a little! Thank you! I will definitely be making this again esp when my parents visit!

  • Janis
    May 16, 2014

    I’ve made this recipe about ten times now–it’s definitely become a household staple! The only thing I’ve modified is adding bacon (you can never go wrong adding bacon!). Thank you so much for sharing such an easy-to-prepare, delicious meal!

    • Tracy
      May 17, 2014

      Whoa!!! Bacon!!! I know a lot of people who have added marinated artichokes. I’m gonna try that next!

  • little e
    May 19, 2014

    It looks really pretty in the pan after cooking. The onions don’t completely get soft in 30 minutes, and it’s not as flavorful as described. NO crispy bits either unless cooked for longer than 30 min. Sorry..not a winner for me.

    • Tracy
      May 19, 2014

      I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. I hope you find a Lemon Chicken recipe that does. Good luck!

  • dana
    July 21, 2014

    What could you do for somebody that doesn’t like onions?

    • Tracy
      July 21, 2014

      Scrape them off? And serve the chicken without? The onions are really apart of the experience.

  • Alessandra
    April 22, 2014

    Made it yesterday.simply delicious, perfect and well balanced. It could represent my land without any problem, as the herbs you mention are used daily in our tradition, as well as extra virgin olive oil … yeah a typical Italian recipe … bye from the Adriatic coast of Italy!

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