Thai Baked Lemon Chicken

Thai Baked Lemon Chicken

 The Spruce

  • Total: 72 mins
  • Prep: 12 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: serves 2 to 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
536 Calories
22g Fat
44g Carbs
41g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: serves 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 536
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 29%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 123mg 41%
Sodium 2369mg 103%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 41g
Calcium 263mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In this easy recipe, both lemon and lemongrass (a flavor staple in Thai cuisine) are used to bolster a delicious garlic-infused, juicy baked chicken. Chicken legs and thighs, otherwise known as quarter pieces, are perfect to use and make great individual serving portions.

This may become one of your standard dishes for impressing guests because it's both easy to make and beautiful to serve. The mild flavor will make it a hit with everyone, even potentially picky eaters. Serve this chicken over rice or with potatoes.


  • 2 to 4 pieces of chicken (leg and thigh quarter pieces, or 6 to 8 drumsticks with skin)
  • pinch of salt
  • Garnish: lemon slices and fresh cilantro (optional)
  • For Lemon Marinade:
  • 3 tablespoons​ lemongrass (can be purchased frozen at Asian stores or 1 1/2 stalks fresh lemongrass, prepared)
  • 1 lemon (squeezed for juice)
  • 6 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 to 2 red chili peppers (fresh, minced, or 1/3 to 1/2 tablespoon dried crushed chili, add more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup coconut milk or evaporated milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl. Stir well to dissolve the honey into the coconut or evaporated milk. Set aside.

  2. Spread the chicken pieces out in a flat-bottomed baking dish. Be sure not to remove the fat from the chicken pieces—most of this will help flavor the chicken and keep it moist as it cooks.

  3. Pour 3/4 of the lemon marinade over the chicken pieces. Turn the chicken pieces in the sauce several times, ensuring they are well-coated. Reserve remaining sauce for later.

  4. Leave the pieces turned skin-side down in the sauce and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours ahead of time.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Turn the chicken pieces skin-side-up and sprinkle each with a little salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish around the chicken, ensuring it won't dry out.

  6. Bake uncovered on the middle rack of your oven for 1 hour. After 30 minutes, drizzle chicken pieces with the remaining marinade. Test the chicken for doneness once the skin turns golden brown.

  7. Spoon some of the juices from the pan over the chicken to serve. Garnish with lemon slices and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Enjoy!