Baked Lemon Chicken

Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

One of my favorite things in the world is getting requests from you guys for recipes.  (Like, favorite — it seriously makes me so happy when I can hear what kind of recipes you want to be making!)

Without a doubt, one of the biggest recipe request successes we’ve had here at Gimme Some oven was my 5-step method for perfectly baked chicken breasts that I shared a few years ago, which tons of you had asked about and has now become one of the top-viewed recipes of all time here on the blog.  (Amazing!!)  But ever since then, we’ve had more and more people ask how to make a lemony version of the recipe.  So today, that request is my delicious command again.

I made you some baked lemon chicken breasts!

And I think you’re going to love them.

They’re incredibly easy to make, and only call for a few simple ingredients.  They’re perfectly juicy and tender, not at all rubbery or dry.  They’re perfect when served on their own, or mixed into any number of other recipes or repurposed as leftovers.  And more than anything, they are full of the best, delicious, fresh lemony flavor.

Mmmm, let’s make some.  


Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

As I mentioned in my earlier tutorial, it seems as though chicken breasts are definitely one of the most popular cuts of chicken that people prefer to buy.  But when it comes to baking, they can definitely be a little difficult at times to work with.  (Raise your hand if you’ve had a choke down a dry and rubbery chicken breast before — oof.)

But hakuna matata.

All you need is my simple 5-step method to remembering how to cook perfectly baked chicken breasts: B.R.R.R.R.

  1. Brine
  2. Brush
  3. Rub
  4. Roast
  5. Rest

You can read more about that in detail here.  But it’s all included in the recipe below.  Just brine the chicken in warm salt water for at least 15 minutes before baking, then brush on some melted butter, rub on some seasonings (or salt and pepper, in this case), roast the chicken on high heat, and then let it rest so that all of those yummy juices can collect before slicing.

Perfect chicken every time!  Yeah!!

Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

For this recipe, I went with a simple lemon garlic butter sauce, seasoned with salt and pepper and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  If you’re someone who cooks with white wine, I also highly recommend adding in a splash of something dry.
Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then feel free to add in a few extra lemon slices to the mix to look pretty when it all bakes up.  (Although disclaimer — I don’t recommend eating these or laying them directly on top of the chicken breasts, since they get a little bitter the longer they cook.)

Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

And after 15 minutes or so of baking — being sure to take the pan out every 5 minutes to re-baste the chicken with that yummy lemony butter sauce — this gorgeous chicken should be ready to go!  I use a this cooking thermometer (purchased on Amazon for about $10) to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked (160-170 degrees F).  Then you know it’s totally ready to go!

Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

Again, feel free to serve it plain along with your favorite sides.  Or get creative, and add it to a big green salad, or pasta, or panini, or whatever else floats your boat.  (Pro tip: I also definitely recommend making extra for leftovers, which you can dice or shred and add to just about anything, or freeze for later!)

Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

However you serve it, I feel like you really can’t go wrong with some classic lemon chicken.  :)

So grab some fresh lemons, and give it a try soon!

Baked Lemon Chicken

This baked lemon chicken recipe is perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, that have been pounded to even thickness and brined in saltwater (*see easy instructions below)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
  • optional garnishes: fresh lemon slices, extra fresh thyme sprigs

Directions:

*To brine your chicken breasts, simply fill a large bowl with 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt.  Stir to combine until most of the salt is absorbed.  Add the chicken breasts and let them sit in the mixture to brine for 15 minutes.  Or you can also also cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.  Remove the chicken breasts from the brine, rinse them with cold water, then pat them dry with some paper towels.

Heat oven to 450°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, melted butter, lemon juice, and thyme until combined.  Set aside.

Pour the melted butter mixture into a large baking dish, and place the chicken breasts on top of it in an even layer.  Use a pastry brush to brush the butter mixture all over the chicken breasts until they are completely coated on both sides.  Then sprinkle each chicken breast evenly with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

Then feel free to add in a few extra lemon slices to the mix to look pretty when it all bakes up.  (Although disclaimer — I don’t recommend eating these or laying them directly on top of the chicken breasts, since they get a little bitter the longer they cook.)

Bake for 5 minutes.  Then remove the pan from the oven and brush the chicken again thoroughly with the butter mixture.  Bake again for 5 minutes, remove and brush.  Bake again for 5-8* minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.  (So the chicken will bake for 15-18 minutes total.  If you use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature thickest part of the breast, it should be between 160-170°F.  The FDA recommends 170°F.)

*Or, if you want the chicken to be a little bit browned and crispier on top, you can turn the broiler on high for the final 3-5 minutes and broil the chicken until it is cooked through and extra browned on top.  Keep a close eye on the chicken so that it does not overcook and/or burn.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the oven and brush the chicken thoroughly with the butter mixture once more.  Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil, and let the chicken rest for at least 5-10 minutes.  Serve immediately, garnished with extra lemon slices and thyme sprigs if desired.

Or, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

This post contains affiliate links.

Baked Lemon Chicken -- perfectly juicy and tender, easy to make, and full of the best fresh lemony flavor! | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

  1. Medeja — May 9, 2016 @ 6:44 am (#)

    Looks so good that I am really tempted to try it asap :)

  2. SaraLily — May 9, 2016 @ 8:01 am (#)

    Ooooo perfect timing for me to catch up on recent blog posts – I was hoping to make something just like this with chicken tonight! Wooo! I think I have found my dinner! =)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 15th, 2016 @ 5:34 pm

      Thanks SaraLily — we hope you love it! :)

  3. Kari — May 9, 2016 @ 11:18 am (#)

    This looks like a perfect weeknight meal! Love the big pieces of lemon!
    Kari

  4. Riley Nowlan — May 9, 2016 @ 12:45 pm (#)

    These look delicious, can’t wait to try them! 

    Thanks for sharing! 

    Riley 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 9:03 pm

      Thanks Riley — we hope you enjoy!

  5. Molly A. — May 9, 2016 @ 3:01 pm (#)

    Perfect timing for this to land in my inbox! I had no idea what to cook tonight, but now I know! Thanks for saving Monday dinner!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 9:07 pm

      Thanks Molly — we hope you enjoyed this!

  6. Karen @ Seasonal Cravings — May 9, 2016 @ 3:40 pm (#)

    My kids’ favorite meals revolve around chicken breasts so even when I am sick of them, I have to keep trying to think of new ways to make them.  I am sure they will love this one!  

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 9:07 pm

      Thanks Karen — we hope you and your kids enjoy this!

  7. Roberta — May 9, 2016 @ 4:27 pm (#)

    Great looking recipe!  However, I would omit the last part about brushing the lemon mixture over the baked chicken because the brush and sauce has touched the raw chicken and could contaminate the cooked chicken.

  8. Roxana — May 9, 2016 @ 6:14 pm (#)

    That garlic lemon butter sauce is calling my name!  What a perfect and easy weeknight dinner!

  9. Lynn Marie — May 12, 2016 @ 9:29 am (#)

    I made this last night during a cold and wet spring night and it was pretty good. I did brine the chicken and it was really moist. If I were to change anything I would maybe add some capers or maybe a light sprinkle of sweet Paprika to the chicken.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 8:11 pm

      We’re glad you enjoyed this Lynn!

  10. Lacey — May 12, 2016 @ 2:52 pm (#)

    This looks amazing! I just have one question: could I get away with grilling this recipe?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 16th, 2016 @ 8:10 pm

      1Thanks Lacey — we hope you enjoy it! We haven’t tried grilling this particular chicken, but you could try!

  11. Lindsay Cotter — May 17, 2016 @ 5:28 pm (#)

    Love using lemon with chicken! I need to make this for dinner very soon!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 17th, 2016 @ 10:01 pm

      We hope you enjoy this Lindsay! :0

  12. Sommer @aspicyperspective — May 18, 2016 @ 3:56 pm (#)

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 19th, 2016 @ 8:39 am

      Thanks Sommer — we hope you enjoy it!

  13. Edu — May 22, 2016 @ 6:50 am (#)

    looks very delicious 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — May 23rd, 2016 @ 8:00 am

      Thanks — we hope you enjoy it!

  14. Kat — June 6, 2016 @ 5:32 pm (#)

    Made this for dinner tonight!! Very delicious! Very quick meal! :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 15th, 2016 @ 10:01 pm

      We’re happy you liked it Kat! :)

  15. Laura — June 7, 2016 @ 4:21 am (#)

    This was an awesome recipe!! Fail-proof, really. I definitely recommend it. I love the idea of the salt water brine, as it adds such an amazing taste to the chicken. The lemon and thyme work perfectly to compliment each other, and the taste is sublime. I have never had such a tasty chicken breast!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 15th, 2016 @ 9:59 pm

      Thank you Laura — we’re so glad to hear you enjoyed this!

  16. Katrina Wunner — June 7, 2016 @ 11:02 am (#)

    Can you replace the butter with oil?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 15th, 2016 @ 12:19 pm

      Hi Katrina! Yes, we think that would be fine! We do prefer the butter though, as we find it adds more flavor. :)

  17. Jackie — June 9, 2016 @ 10:55 am (#)

    I tried this and the chicken came out delicious! It didn’t look as pretty as your photos but it was still really yummy :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 15th, 2016 @ 8:14 am

      Thanks Jackie — we’re so glad you enjoyed it! :)

  18. Misty — July 5, 2016 @ 12:46 am (#)

    How much raw chicken would this be in total weight? Chicken breasts come in such a wide range of sizes. I LOVE savory lemon dishes and cannot wait to make this!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 6th, 2016 @ 9:45 pm

      Hi Misty! It would be around 2 lbs. We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  19. Krissana — July 10, 2016 @ 12:17 pm (#)

    How many pounds of chicken is 4 chicken breasts according to this recipe?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 11th, 2016 @ 7:36 am

      Hi Krissana — that should be about 2 lbs. We hope you enjoy!

  20. Rick Bauza — July 17, 2016 @ 6:08 pm (#)

    Wow what a flavorful moist deliciouse chicken. I followed your recipe and instruction step by step. The only 2 things I did different was add a splash of white wine. And instead of black pepper and kosher salt I used Lemon/ Pepper seasoning. It was yummly thanks for the recipe and for cooking and sharing with us such a delightful meal. My sides were German potato  salad and fresh Brocolini. My daughter had double portion, she loves Lemon chicken. Thank you God bless Mr. Bauza👍

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 17th, 2016 @ 9:23 pm

      Thank you Rick — we’re so happy you and your daughter enjoyed this! We think the splash of white wine sounds like a fabulous idea, and your sides sound delicious! :D

  21. Dirt — July 25, 2016 @ 6:58 pm (#)

    Tasted like an expensive hotdog. I added the wine. Maybe too much Tyme? I don’t know but the girl I made it for left 3/4ths of it on the plate. Not the intended response.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 26th, 2016 @ 9:50 am

      Hmmmm, this definitely shouldn’t taste anything like a hot dog (expensive or not). We’re not sure what could have gone wrong (maybe the chicken was bad?) but we’ve never had any issues before and this continues to be one of the recipes we get the most positive comments on. We’re sorry it didn’t turn out well for you guys!

  22. Jon — August 17, 2016 @ 1:34 pm (#)

    Wonderful recipe and tasty!

    But how do I get the color yours did? My chicken came out white!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 17th, 2016 @ 4:51 pm

      Thanks Jon — we’re so glad you enjoyed it! As for the color, hmmmm, we wonder if the chicken just didn’t get much of a crust on it (that’s what got ours golden-brown). So for next time, you can spray the chicken with some cooking spray (or brush with oil or butter) before baking, which will help. Or if you really want the crust and it’s not happening, you could cook the chicken until it’s nearly done, and then pop it under the broiler for a minute or two. That’ll definitely help it get a nice crust. We hope this helps for next time!

  23. April — August 22, 2016 @ 5:45 pm (#)

    Would this still be good without the thyme? Also is there a healthier alternative to butter? I wanna try this for my meal prepping

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 23rd, 2016 @ 11:49 am

      Hi April! Yes, we think this would still be good without the thyme, and you could use olive oil instead of butter if you prefer. We hope you enjoy!

  24. Tammy — August 23, 2016 @ 10:41 am (#)

    Has anyone tried this with more chicken…say enough for 16 people. I’d love to make this for a dinner but was worried about the prolonged cooking time I think would be required at that high temperature. If anyone used it for a large dinner party please reply. Thanks! ps…and post the adjustments if you had any. Thanks!

  25. Janelle — September 4, 2016 @ 7:55 am (#)

    My looks nothing like the picture. Hope it takes good. Maybe you should take a new pic.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 4th, 2016 @ 8:32 pm

      We hope you enjoyed it, Janelle!

  26. Improviser — September 8, 2016 @ 8:27 pm (#)

    I happily trotted off to make this and discovered my lemon juice to be expired. I substituted grapefruit! I used a bit less because it’s much sweeter. I also didn’t have kosher salt, so used less of that. WOW. So moist and delicious. Amazing recipe, have saved it to use again. Thank you!! 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 8th, 2016 @ 10:47 pm

      We’re so glad you loved it, Shelly, and that you were able to make do with the grapefruit! :)

  27. Chris — September 20, 2016 @ 5:24 pm (#)

    Tried making this tonight. Seems like 15 minutes is really short for chicken in the oven. After 18 minutes (last 3 minutes with the broiler) the chicken is only at 120F. Baked it at 450F but doesn’t seem to be done at 18 minutes

    • Ali — October 12th, 2016 @ 5:32 pm

      Oh strange — was the chicken frozen when you started cooking it? Either way, I’m glad you checked the oven temp to make sure — different ovens definitely cook it differently. (We’ve tested this one multiple times in my oven, and it seems to cook it according to the recipe directions.)

  28. Kalpana — October 27, 2016 @ 4:46 am (#)

    Hello Ali ! I’m searching for chicken recipe and landed to your site. Thanks for sharing this Lemon chicken recipe with us. It looks delish. Can I use Olive oil instead of butter and in what quantity. Waiting to hearback :-)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 28th, 2016 @ 12:16 pm

      You’re so welcome, we hope you enjoy! And yes, you could use olive oil instead of butter (still use 3 TBS).

  29. Lorie — October 29, 2016 @ 5:12 pm (#)

    Didn’t turn out at all.  Chicken wasn’t done in 18 minutes and the chicken wasn’t bad or frozen!
    Won’t make this again:(

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 3rd, 2016 @ 4:07 pm

      We’re sorry to hear that Lorie, but that’s really strange! It sounds like maybe the chicken breasts were thicker than usual, or perhaps the oven temp was off? How much longer did it take to bake?

  30. Michele — October 31, 2016 @ 10:31 pm (#)

    I made this for dinner tonight, but instead of chicken breasts I used turkey breasts. It came out moist and flavorful. You could taste the herbs and lemon but not over powering.   For s side dish, I made egg noodles with lemon butter sauce. My husband enjoyed the meal. I like to try new things. I will definitely make this again.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 11th, 2016 @ 11:20 am

      Thanks for sharing with us, Michele — we’re glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe and we think your sides sound yummy! :)

  31. Taryn Isaacs — November 4, 2016 @ 7:55 am (#)

    I’m SO excited to make this tonight for Shabbat! Here is my question – do you place lemon wheels in the pan to bake with the chicken? I see them in the picture (and they look baked) but I didn’t see that step in the directions. Do I need to be cautious about where I place them to provide good flavor? Thanks!!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — November 14th, 2016 @ 11:07 am

      Hi Taryn! We’re so sorry for getting to your comment late. Since the lemon wedges are optional, we didn’t mention them in the instructions for the recipe, but earlier in the post — sorry for the confusion, we just updated the recipe to better clarify this.

      Feel free to add in a few extra lemon slices to the mix to look pretty when it all bakes up. (Although disclaimer — I don’t recommend eating these or laying them directly on top of the chicken breasts, since they get a little bitter the longer they cook.)

  32. dora — December 30, 2016 @ 4:02 pm (#)

    how much salt does brining in salt water add’ also could one use olive oil instead of butte?r,

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 16th, 2017 @ 8:20 pm

      Hi Dora, we’re sorry for just now getting to your comment! According to the website we read, “Properly brined meats can soak up about 10 percent of their weight in brine, which is to say that if you have 1 pound (16 ounces) of meat in our brine, it will absorb 1.6 ounces of the solution. So, 1.6 ounces x 6.6 percent (the percentage of salt) = .11 ounces of salt, or 3.25 grams, which is how much salt you add to your pound meat by brining it according to this recipe. Depending on your perspective, of course, this might seem like a lot or not much at all. If just seasoning meat superficially, I might use a little more than half this amount of salt.” And yes, you could definitely use olive oil instead of butter. We hope you enjoy! (And here’s the website we got the sodium info from: ).

  33. Bonnie — December 30, 2016 @ 11:57 pm (#)

    This is absolutely the best lemon chicken I’ve ever made. The flavors were delightful and perfect! Moist and tender, nice presentation and easy to serve. Don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a chicken dinner more. Thank you so much!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 16th, 2017 @ 8:14 pm

      Thank you for your sweet words, Bonnie! We’re so happy you enjoy the recipe!

  34. Ayala — January 9, 2017 @ 5:19 am (#)

    What alternative to butter would work? I can’t use dairy. Thanks!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 11th, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

      We would recommend olive oil. We hope you enjoy! :)

  35. Margie — February 3, 2017 @ 4:36 pm (#)

    I cooked this for dinner tonight, it was delicious. The only question I have is how many calories is in one piece of chicken. I try to keep tract of the calories I eat everyday.

    Thank you for any help you can give.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 5th, 2017 @ 9:12 pm

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Margie! Unfortunately though, we aren’t sure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in the chicken. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  36. Denise — February 9, 2017 @ 4:08 pm (#)

    Tried this recipe it was very good.  Had to cook a bit longer but still was not long .   Great for a dinner after a long day of work 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 9th, 2017 @ 7:20 pm

      We’re glad you enjoyed it, Denise!