Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken

Baked Lemon Chicken is one of the easiest and healthiest dinners of all-time! Made with a delicious buttery, garlic, lemon sauce, you can serve this baked lemon chicken with pretty much everything.

sliced chicken on plate

Beautifully baked lemon chicken really makes any weeknight dinner a success! Pair this dish with your favorite quinoa salad and roasted potatoes.

I remember growing up, baked chicken was a staple at our house. Typically my mom would marinate chicken breast in Italian dressing and then bake it or grill it for an easy weeknight meal. This recipe is just as simple but even fresher! Plus, it will produce super tender, juicy chicken breasts everyone will love! 

The Marinade

  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is key to this recipe. Once you juice your lemons, save the rinds and bake it with the chicken breast!
  • Broth: Chicken broth not only adds a little bit of salt but a bit of savoriness to this dish!
  • Thyme: Fresh or dried thyme adds the perfect hint of flavor!
  • Butter: Don’t skimp on the butter in this recipe. It adds a little bit of fat and a lot of flavor.
  • Garlic: We love roasting full cloves are garlic because it adds flavor but doesn’t overdo it. Option to get a more intense flavor with minced garlic.
lemon chicken marinade

Chicken Breast

This recipe calls for 1.5 lbs. of chicken breast. We suggest buying 4 chicken breasts that are 1/3 lb. each so that your chicken bakes evenly. It’s common these days that you can buy 1 single chicken breast that is 1.5 lbs. and that is going to throw your bake-time way off!

Furthermore, when in doubt, buy high-quality chicken breast (organic/free-range)! Yes, it’s a little bit more expensive, but it tastes so much better and is better for the environment.

The key to moist lemon chicken: In addition to not overbaking, basting your chicken breast with the sauce will help prevent it from drying out. It will also help infuse your chicken breast with all that lemony flavor!

Try Other Types!

Want to switch things up a bit and use a different cut of meat? Be our guest! Here are a few other types of chicken to try!

  • Chicken Thighs – boneless or bone-in would work!
  • Chicken Legs – try marinading chicken legs and then grilling them instead!
  • Full Chicken – Use this marinade with a full chicken.

How Long to Bake Lemon Chicken

At 400ºF, your chicken breast should be fully cooked after 25-30 minutes. This goes for chicken breasts that around 1/3 lb. each. Anything larger will take longer to cook and anything smaller will take less time to cook.

The goal is to get the internal temperature of your breasts to 165ºF for fully cooked chicken.

raw chicken with lemon, garlic, and butter

Other Methods to try!

Grill: Grill your chicken breasts at 400ºF for 14-16 minutes. You can follow a more in-depth method on how to grill chicken HERE.

Air Fryer: Once you’re done marinading your chicken breast, cook them in the air fryer! Set your air fryer to 400ºF and cook chicken breast for 25 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes.

Instant Pot: Easily turn this into shredded lemon chicken by pressure cooking the chicken breast + marinade on high in your Instant Pot for 12 minutes. Quick-release your Instant Pot and then use 2 forks to shred.

Slow Cooker: Use our slow cooker chicken method to cook your lemon chicken on high for 2-3 hours or low for 6-8!

baked lemon chicken in dish

Serving Suggestions

Veggies: Serve your baked lemon chicken with pretty much any vegetable. We suggest roasted root vegetables, baked potatoes in foil, or roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon.

Grains: You can keep it simple and serve this chicken next to quinoa or brown rice, or jazz it up even more with a quinoa salad!

Salads: From quinoa tabouli to a veggie-packed Brussels sprout salad to broccoli salad…pretty much any salad would be perfect next to this chicken.

Got leftovers?

  • Make a Bowl: Turn your lemon chicken into some kind of buddha bowl by meal-prepping it along with your favorite veggie and grain.
  • Add it to Soup: Shred your leftovers and add it to pretty much any soup recipe for added protein.
  • Chicken Salad: Whip up a basic, Greek-yogurt chicken salad with the leftovers.
  • Pasta: Use the leftover sauce from baking to make a delicious lemon-butter pasta sauce! Toss your chicken with some noodles and you’re good to go!
chicken breast on plate

Healthy Chicken Recipes

Recipe

Lemon Baked Chicken

Baked Lemon Chicken is one of the easiest and healthiest dinners of all-time! Made with a delicious buttery, garlic, lemon sauce, you can serve this baked lemon chicken with pretty much everything.

    Author: Linley Richter

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 lb. chicken breast, (4 large chicken breasts)
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 large lemon, sliced
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
    • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pads

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
    2. Next, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the dish.
    3. In a small bowl, whisk together broth, lemon juice, and dried thyme and pour the mixture over the chicken breasts.
    4. Finally, evenly disburse the sliced lemons, garlic cloves, and butter pads in the baking dish.
    5. Bake chicken breast for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven.
    6. Using a marinade brush or baster, brush the tops of each chicken breast with the baking liquid from the bottom of the dish. Then, Place back into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
    7. Repeat that process one more time (cooking the chicken breast around 25-30 minutes) or until the center of the chicken breast reaches 165ºF.
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