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This easy roasted lemon chicken breast is flavored with fresh lemons, onions, garlic, and herbs. The skin is crispy and golden brown, while the meat is tender and juicy. Pair the lemon garlic chicken with any of your favorite sides — from cornbread to biscuits, salad to green beans. It’s a simple baked chicken dinner that the whole family will love!

Overhead shot of roasted lemon chicken in a pan

Lemon Garlic Chicken

Few meals are more comforting or more delicious than a roast chicken. This easy lemon chicken recipe takes inspiration from the aromatics used to flavor a whole roasted chicken, but this dish uses individual chicken breasts (or thighs) for an easier, quicker cooking method. You get all of the crisp skin and juicy meat — with minimal effort!

This simple lemon chicken involves the very easy process of arranging bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces on top of a bed of fresh lemon slices, onion slices, garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme. The meat absorbs the flavor of the aromatics as everything roasts in the oven, yielding delicious meat that you can use in a variety of ways. It’s delicious in soup, with pasta, in sandwiches, or paired with your favorite sides!

The Difference Between Roasting and Baking Chicken

While these terms are often used interchangeably, they’re not actually the same. Roasting and baking are both dry heat cooking methods that use hot air to conduct heat at 300°F or higher. Originally, roasting described food that was cooked over an open flame. Today, roasting is done in an oven. Technically, roasting requires a higher temperature (400°F and above) to create a browned, flavorful “crust” on the outside of the chicken, while baking occurs at lower oven temperatures (up to 375°F).

The higher roasting temperature for this recipe (425°F) yields chicken with a beautiful golden brown, crispy skin and tender, juicy meat. It truly can’t be beat!

Do you cover chicken when roasting in oven?

For this recipe, you’ll roast the chicken uncovered the entire time. This allows the skin to get incredibly crispy in the oven, turning that beautiful golden brown color.

Arranging lemon slices in a roasting pan

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a simple lemon chicken recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Lemons, onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary: aromatics that flavor the meat as it roasts.
  • Chicken breast: use bone-in, skin-on chicken breast for the best flavor and the juiciest meat. You can substitute with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs if you prefer. The thighs will cook a little bit faster.
  • Olive oil: adds flavor to the chicken, and helps the skin turn a beautiful golden brown color. You can substitute with melted butter if you prefer.
  • Kosher salt and pepper: to season the chicken.
Bone in skin on chicken breast on a tray

How to Make Lemon Chicken

This easy roasted chicken recipe comes together with about 10 minutes of prep. There’s no need to truss a whole bird, sear meat in a skillet, or even baste it in the oven. Just arrange the ingredients on a pan and your job is done!

  1. Arrange the lemon slices, onion slices, peeled and smashed fresh garlic cloves, and fresh herbs on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.
  2. Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels, rub with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper on all sides.
  3. Place the pieces of chicken (skin-side up) on top of the sliced lemons.
  4. Roast the chicken in a 425°F oven for 45 minutes, or until an instant read meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165°F.
  5. Spoon juices from the bottom of the pan over the chicken, if desired.
  6. Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  7. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  8. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, or other herbs, if desired.
Side shot of lemon garlic chicken in a roasting pan

How to Know When the Chicken is Done

The total baking time will vary depending on your individual oven, on the size of your chicken breast, and on the temperature of your chicken when it goes into the oven. As a result, a meat thermometer is the best tool to know when your chicken is cooked through. The meat should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

This can take as little as 30-35 minutes for very small chicken breasts, or as long as 1 hour for very large chicken breasts. I used 2 chicken breasts that weighed about 1 lb. each and required a total cooking time of 45 minutes.

What to Serve with Lemon Roasted Chicken

This lemon chicken goes well with almost any of your favorite sides. Here are some easy ideas:

Overhead shot of lemon chicken on a dinner table with a side of cornbread

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Reheat

Allow the chicken to come to room temperature on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet or roasting pan and place (uncovered) in the oven until the skin is crisp and the chicken is warmed through. Be careful not to leave the chicken in the oven for too long or it will dry out.

How to Use Leftover Lemon Garlic Chicken

Shred the leftover meat and use the cooked chicken in casseroles (like Chicken SpaghettiChicken Noodle Casserole or Chicken and Stuffing Casserole), in soups (like Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup or Brunswick Stew), in stuffed potatoes, in Chicken Salad, in Chicken Enchiladas, for Chicken Pot Pie, or on top of Caesar SaladSo many delicious options!

Recipe Variations

  • Scale the recipe to suit the size of your family. Make a larger bed of aromatics and roast as many chicken breasts as you need. Just make sure to leave plenty of space between the chicken pieces so that the heat can properly circulate and each piece gets crispy (rather than steamed).
  • Switch up the herbs and just use your favorites. For instance, parsley, chives, and oregano are also nice options here.
  • Using boneless, skinless chicken breast? Baking with the bone and the skin will give you a more juicy, flavorful breast; however, you can use boneless, skinless meat if you prefer. The boneless, skinless chicken breast will only need about 30 minutes in the oven.
  • Substitute bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the breast meat. Chicken thighs typically have a shorter cooking time, so they will likely only need about 30-35 minutes.
Side shot of lemon chicken breast in a roasting pan with fresh herbs

Tips for the Best Lemon Chicken Recipe

  • Bring the chicken to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting in order to ensure even cooking.
  • Pat the chicken dry before seasoning. Removing the extra moisture will help the skin get nice and crispy in the oven.
  • Use a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan lined with foil. A lot of fat and juices will drip off of the chicken as it roasts, so the foil-lined sheet catches those drips and makes cleanup easier.
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken and on the temperature of the meat when it goes into the oven. As a result, a meat thermometer is always the best way to know when your chicken is done. It will be perfectly tender and juicy when it reaches 165°F.
  • For the juiciest meat, allow the chicken to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
Overhead shot of a dinner table with roasted lemon garlic chicken and broccoli on the side

More Roasted Chicken Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of roasted lemon chicken in a pan

Lemon Chicken

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 2 – 4 people
Calories 424 kcal
This easy roasted lemon chicken breast is flavored with fresh lemons, onions, garlic, and herbs. The skin is crispy and golden brown, while the meat is tender and juicy!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on split chicken breast (about 2 large chicken breasts)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet or a roasting pan with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup, if desired. Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil.
  • Arrange the lemon slices, onion slices, garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and rosemary sprigs in the prepared pan.
  • Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels. Rub with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken (skin-side up) on top of the sliced lemons, onions, garlic, and herbs.
  • Roast the chicken for 45 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Bring the chicken to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting in order to ensure even cooking.
  • Pat the chicken dry before seasoning. Removing the extra moisture will help the skin get nice and crispy in the oven.
  • Use a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan lined with foil. A lot of fat and juices will drip off of the chicken as it roasts, so the foil-lined sheet catches those drips and makes cleanup easier.
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken and on the temperature of the meat when it goes into the oven. As a result, a meat thermometer is always the best way to know when your chicken is done. It will be perfectly tender and juicy when it reaches 165°F.
  • For the juiciest meat, allow the chicken to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
  • Scale the recipe to suit the size of your family. Make a larger bed of aromatics and roast as many chicken breasts as you need. Just make sure to leave plenty of space between the chicken pieces so that the heat can properly circulate and each piece gets crispy (rather than steamed).
  • Switch up the herbs and just use your favorites. For instance, parsley, chives, and oregano are also nice options here.
  • Using boneless, skinless chicken breast? Baking with the bone and the skin will give you a more juicy, flavorful breast; however, you can use boneless, skinless meat if you prefer. The boneless, skinless chicken breast will only need about 30 minutes in the oven.
  • Substitute bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the breast meat. Chicken thighs typically have a shorter cooking time, so they will likely only need about 30-35 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 424kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 47gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 143mgPotassium: 510mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 224IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: Lemon Chicken, lemon garlic chicken, lemon roasted chicken
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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