Greek Lemon Chicken

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This lemon chicken recipe is all about juicy, tender, and golden-baked chicken thighs coated with the best lemon-herb Greek marinade. It’s quick to prep, easy to cook, and the results are fantastic!

Greek lemon chicken in a baking dish
Photo: Gayle McLeod

If there is one chicken recipe I could live off of, it’s this Greek lemon chicken. I’m a sucker for skin-on chicken thighs given how naturally juicy and flavorful they are. Plus, I love how it’s virtually impossible to overcook chicken thighs in the oven. But this bright and herby lemon chicken marinade is what makes this dish so satisfying.

If you’ve been making my recipes for a while, you may have come across different variations of this marinade on my website previously. And that’s because Mediterranean recipes are the heart and soul of how I cook! From my video on simple chicken marinades to this Greek sheet pan chicken and Greek chicken kabobs, lemon chicken recipes have become a Downshiftology staple.

If you watch the video below, you’ll see that I serve up these Greek lemon chicken thighs with a side of lemon herb rice (from my cookbook) and air fryer green beans to complete the best dinner ever. But keep scrolling for even more side dish ideas!

Ingredients for Greek lemon chicken

Lemon Chicken Ingredients

You’ll be glad to hear that this recipe is extremely pantry-friendly, including the chicken marinade! Here’s what you need. 

  • Chicken: Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs lend the juiciest meat and crispiest outer skin. If you’re using frozen chicken thighs, let them thaw in the fridge overnight before making this recipe.
  • Liquids: A combination of extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and Dijon mustard make up the base of the marinade. And if you want to amp up the lemon flavor, add a bit of lemon zest to the mix or save some lemon slices to add on top before cooking.
  • Seasonings: Dried oregano, dried thyme, fresh garlic, salt, and black pepper are the ultimate Mediterranean flavor combo. And for this recipe, do stick with dried herbs instead of fresh ones.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below

How To Make Greek Lemon Chicken

Make the marinade. The prep time for this is super minimal, just stir the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. If you’d like to save extra time, make the marinade a day in advance and store it in the fridge. Then give it a whisk before using it the next day.

Greek lemon chicken marinade in a bowl

Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken thighs to a large bowl, pour the marinade on top, and give the chicken a quick toss. Then, let the chicken marinate for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge. See notes below on marinating time.

Marinating Greek lemon chicken in a bowl

Bake the chicken. Assemble the chicken in a baking dish skin side up (I’ve linked my favorite one below). Pour the remaining marinade on top and bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350°F (180°C). You can check to see if the chicken is done at 175°F (80°C) by using an instant-read thermometer. For extra crispy skin, turn on the top oven broiler in the last 2 to 3 minutes.

Greek lemon chicken in a white baking dish

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you marinate chicken in lemon juice?

Acidic marinades shouldn’t be used for more than 3 hours. After this point, the chicken thighs will become far too tenderized and have a gamey-like texture. For me, the ideal time is about 1 to 2 hours.

What to serve with Greek Lemon Chicken?

Complete this Greek-inspired meal with a fresh Greek salad that is made with my famous Greek salad dressing. For a heartier meal, plate it with other side dishes like rice or cooked vegetables. My favorites to pair with this are garlic herb roasted potatoes, green beans with shallots, or garlic-sauteed spinach.

Can I use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs?

Yes, you can use this same marinade to cook with both types of chicken. For chicken breasts, follow my best-baked chicken breast recipe. For chicken thighs, you can reduce the time by half.

A close up of Greek lemon chicken

How To Store Leftover Chicken Thighs

  • To store for the week: Enjoy portions throughout the week by storing them in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.  
  • To freeze for later: Store leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Then thaw them in the fridge the day before you plan to reheat them. Trust me, finding a batch of this chicken in your freezer is a gold mine!
  • Reheating chicken: Good news, chicken thighs are less likely to dry out when reheating. But you can always add a little moisture back in by adding a splash of water on top or layering a damp paper towel over the chicken piece before microwaving it.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

I’ve got plenty more chicken thigh recipes or chicken breast recipes for you to enjoy. But here are some of my favorites that I make most often:

I hope you love this Greek lemon chicken as much as I do! Once you make it, let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.

A baking dish with Greek lemon chicken

Greek Lemon Chicken

4.97 from 132 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 pieces
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This lemon chicken is the best dinner with juicy, tender, and golden chicken thighs coated in a delicious lemon-herb Greek marinade. Watch how I make it and serve it up in the video below!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Make the marinade: In a small bowl, stir together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, mustard, salt, and pepper.
    A bowl of Greek lemon chicken marinade
  • Marinate the chicken: Add the chicken thighs to a large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours (and up to 8 hours) in the fridge.
    Marinating Greek lemon chicken
  • Transfer to baking dish: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the chicken in a baking dish and pour the remaining marinade on top.
    A white baking dish of Greek lemon chicken
  • Bake the chicken: Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked and registers 175°F (80°C) on an instant-read thermometer. Optionally, you can baste the chicken a few times while it cooks. And for extra crispy skin, turn on the top oven broiler in the last 2 to 3 minutes. If you're serving this dish up for a dinner party, you can garnish it with lemon slices if you'd like.
    A baking dish filled with Greek lemon chicken thighs

Nutrition

Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 707mg | Potassium: 325mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Greek lemon chicken, lemon chicken, lemon chicken recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




259 Comments

  1. This recipe has become a family favorite, thanks Lisa!! Perfect flavorful base protein for meal prep, goes great on a salad, in a wrap, with veggies and rice/potato on the side; the possibilities are endless.

    Loved by my toddler, hubby and the rest of our dinner guests!5 stars

  2. I had made a similar variant of this recipe before. I found the marinade intriguing, and it will definitely become part of the “arsenal.” Oddly, in the comments I read (which is always helpful) I didn’t see the suggestion to first brown the chicken. I used a large oval Creuset dutch oven (enough room for six thighs) in which I heated up some butter and and then browned the two sides of the (marinated) chicken thighs. I gave each side maybe 5 to 7 minutes, on the top of the stove. I removed the chicken and covered the entire bottom of the dutch oven with lemon slices (also something that I didn’t see suggested) before placing the chicken back in the Creuset, adding more of the marinade, and then placing the whole shebang in the pre-heated oven. The lemon slices are an absolute hit and none were left by my two friends last night!

    I like the “gentle” temp of 350 F (some recipes call for 400 F and a shorter time in the oven) because it allows you to put a dish with potatoes simultaneously into the oven for the final 25 to 30 min. (I used p. slices, onion, a few serrano pepper slices (de-seeded they give just a bit of a kick), garlic, rosemary, and kosher salt, all mixed with some olive oil).5 stars

  3. Great marinade! I’m married into a Greek family so I’ve done this more than once! We usually add potatoes and roast everything together. I process the marinade and then sprinkle some extra herbs on top of the meat/potatoes. I don’t usually add mustard but I thought, how could this be bad? and I used it. I also added a few extras like a dash of a seasoning blend that I like. Meat and potatoes tasted fantastic. This will become my go-to. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Ruth – Potatoes would be a great addition to this recipe! And happy to hear you ended up loving the mustard in it.

  4. Can i make this a couple hours before dinner? does it reheat well? Also, for how long should I bake it if I use chicken breasts?
    Thank you

    1. Yes, it does reheat well. I meal prep it often. Chicken breasts usually cook in about 20-25 minutes in the oven. Enjoy!

  5. definitely a keeper! love this recipe, I did make it differently but it still came out amazing!!! I used frozen chicken breasts, in a pressure cooker for 10 mins, used the broth to boil some bell peppers, cut the breasts into strips and added them back into the mix.

    thank you for such an easy and fresh recipe.5 stars

  6. This recipe is fabulous. Such wonderful,flavors. We are making it again and again. Turns out great with minimal marinating. Healthy and delicious.

    1. Hi Deborah – Yes, you can. But I would double check the proper cooking time and temperature for baked chicken cutlets!

  7. Holy smokes. This recipe is delicious! I did with chicken breast since that’s what I had in the fridge. Equally as awesome and super juicy.5 stars

  8. This is definitely a 5 star recipe. I have made this several times for different family members and friends and they have all wanted the recipe. The only modification I made was to use 1/4 cup olive oil, as opposed to 1/3. Thank you for a great and easy recipe.5 stars

  9. So good!! Followed the recipe exactly. Will definitely keep in the rotation, my husband loved it!5 stars

      1. I made this and the lemon herb rice for dinner tonight. I followed both recipes exactly. Delicious! We had seconds. Thank you!5 stars

  10. Very easy to make and incredibly tasty. I used boneless, skinless thighs and I can imagine how tasty it would be with the bone and crispy skin.
    I served this with creamy orzo and green beans.5 stars

  11. This is my go to recipe, I leave the chicken in the marinate overnight and find the acidity of the lemon helps make the thighs less fatty. Can’t recommend enough!5 stars

  12. Made this dish tonight after my sister gave me a bunch of fresh lemons from her lemon tree. Fresh squeezed lemon juice does add to the overall flavor. Excellent dish, will make again !5 stars

  13. I love lemon so this was perfect and so easy to make.
    Followed the instructions exactly except for used 10 thighs and there was enough yummy broth in the pan to simply put it over some angel hair pasta as a side.5 stars

  14. Quick and so easy to prepare. My husband really enjoyed this meal. He said chicken was moist and very tasty. Did I mention, how EASY it was to fix? Full disclosure, I do not like chicken, but I like to find recipes to fix for him. I served with Jasmin rice and lemon asparagus.5 stars

    1. Hi Teri – You can use this same marinade for chicken breasts, but I would follow my baked chicken breast recipe for proper cooking temperature and time.

  15. Made this recipe with chicken thighs without skin and the top didn’t come up crispy even though i broiled them for 5 min. The flavor was great though!!4 stars

  16. OMG! This was amazing. I added carrots and had to double the sauce, the chicken soaked most of it up when I marinated them. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.5 stars

  17. There was a lot of marinade
    Next time more lemon , more salt and less olive oil.
    Despite this the chicken was delicious and well cooked.
    A good recipe and will be repeated4 stars