Baked Lemon Chicken in Under 45 Minutes

Baked lemon chicken recipe

The Spruce

  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Standing time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 6 chicken breasts (6 servings)

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Optional: 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 6 boneless (skinless chicken breasts)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lemon (thinly sliced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for baked lemon chicken
    Gather the ingredients for baked lemon chicken. The Spruce
  2. 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.

    Combine oil and butter
    Combine the olive oil, butter, lemon juice, chicken broth, garlic, and lemon zest. The Spruce
  3. 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.

    Season the chicken
    Season the chicken with salt and pepper. The Spruce
  4. Cover the dish and refrigerate the chicken for 2 to 6 hours. Do not refrigerate overnight, or the chicken will become mushy.

    Cover the dish
    Cover the dish and refrigerate the chicken. The Spruce
  5. When you're ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400 F.

  6. Thinly slice a lemon and place one slice on top of each chicken breast in the casserole dish.

    Cover chicken with lemon
    Thinly slice a lemon and place one slice on top of each chicken breast. The Spruce
  7. 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 F with a reliable and accurate meat thermometer.

    Bake chicken
    Bake the chicken, uncovered. The Spruce
  8. Let the chicken stand for 5 minutes before serving.

    Let chicken stand
    Let chicken stand before serving. The Spruce
  9. Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!

Tips

  • 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.
  • The chicken will not brown in this recipe. If you want browned chicken, broil the cooked chicken for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.