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.
Sometimes simple is better. We love this baked lemon chicken recipe because it is made with a simple lemon chicken marinade and baked to juicy perfection. We are a little obsessed with all things chicken.
Chicken is easy to find, and easy to prepare. We love that it is versatile and packed with protein (extra bonus!). It really is one of our favorite proteins to make for our families.
What is in Lemon Chicken 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.
Love this lemon chicken? Try our other simple lemon chicken marinade recipe. You will LOVE it.
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Substitutions + Cooking Variations
Is it summer and you want to use your grill? Or, is your oven packed with other things? Try another cooking method below!
Stove: Marinate your chicken and then follow this juicy pan seared chicken cooking method for juicy chicken, fast!
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 Tips
Breast size matters: 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!
High-quality chicken tastes better: 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!
Can I use a different cut of chicken?
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 cook baked lemon chicken?
At 400ºF, your chicken breast should be fully cooked after 25-30 minutes. This goes for chicken breasts that are 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.
Store baked lemon garlic chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
- Freeze raw: Prepare the marinade including the lemon slices and garlic and toss everything into a gallon-sized bag with the chicken. Squish the ingredients around and remove as much air as possible. Seal and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw, and cook as directed below.
- Freeze cooked: Cook baked lemon chicken breast as directed below. Let it cool completely and then transfer it into an airtight container. Remove as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw and heat up in the microwave.
- 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!
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Baked Lemon Chicken Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Next, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the dish.
- In a small bowl, whisk together broth, lemon juice, and dried thyme and pour the mixture over the chicken breasts.
- Finally, evenly disburse the sliced lemons, garlic cloves, and butter pads in the baking dish.
- Bake chicken breast for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven.
- 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.
- Repeat that process one more time (cooking the chicken breast around 25-30 minutes) or until the center of the chicken breast reaches 165ºF.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.