Baked Lemon Chicken is a super quick and easy recipe that uses just four ingredients. Lemon is a perfect complement to chicken, because its sweet tartness contrasts with the tender, mild nuttiness of the meat. The lemon also helps tenderize the chicken; the acid in the fruit helps break down some of the protein in the meat. Don't marinate the chicken too long, or it can become mushy or too soft.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the best choice for this recipe. They cook quickly and stay moist and tender because of the marinade. You can use chicken thighs if you'd prefer. In that case, use two or three boneless, skinless chicken thighs for each breast called for in the recipe, and increase the baking time to 30 to 40 minutes. Always test chicken with a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked to 165°F before serving for food safety reasons.
Serve this recipe with hot cooked rice or mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious sauce, along with some steamed asparagus or green beans. I often serve this recipe with a gelatin salad for a nice flavor, color, and temperature contrast.
Note: the chicken will not brown in this recipe. If you want browned chicken, broil the cooked chicken for a minute or two before serving.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, if desired
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
1. In a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish, combine the olive oil, butter, lemon juice, chicken broth, garlic, and lemon zest and stir to combine.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste and place it in the lemon juice mixture in the casserole dish; turn to coat the chicken on all sides with the lemon mixture.
3. Cover the dish and refrigerate the chicken for 2 to 6 hours. Do not refrigerate overnight, or the chicken will become mushy.
4. When you're ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
5. Thinly slice a lemon and place one slice on top of each chicken breast in the casserole dish.
6. Bake the chicken, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, basting the chicken once with the liquid in the bottom of the casserole dish, until the chicken registers 165 degrees F with a reliable and accurate meat thermometer. Let the chicken stand for 5 minutes before serving.