Gimme Some Oven

Baked Lemon Chicken

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

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! |

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! |

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! |

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! |

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 $15) 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! |

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! |

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!

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Baked Lemon Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 26 reviews
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


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


  • 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


  1. *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.
  2. Heat oven to 450°F.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, melted butter, lemon juice, and thyme until combined.  Set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.)
  7. *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.
  8. 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.
  9. Or, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

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

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120 comments on “Baked Lemon Chicken”

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

  2. 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! =)

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

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

    Thanks for sharing! 


  5. 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!

  6. 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!  

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

  9. 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.

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

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

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

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

  13. looks very delicious 

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

  15. 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!!

  16. Can you replace the butter with oil?

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

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

  18. 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!

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

  20. 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?

    • 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. 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.

    • 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. Wonderful recipe and tasty!

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

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

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

  26. 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!! 

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

  27. 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

    • 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.)

    • Mine was still raw after the time specified in the oven.

    • Oh no, we’re sorry to here that, Tere! Perhaps the chicken breasts were really large? If so, next time we would suggest pounding them with a mallet so they don’t take so much extra time to cook!

  28. 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 :-)

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

  29. 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:(

    • 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. 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.

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

  31. 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!!

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

    • 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. 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!

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

  35. 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.

    • 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. 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 

  37. This was excellent! We served it with rice, and poured the leftover juices over the rice. Wonderful flavor!

  38. Made this for dinner tonight for the eat eating part of my family. They really liked it, but would have liked it to be a little browner. I am worried that browning it would dry it out, so I may save this for chicken salad sandwiches, where I’m sure it would be stellar. Thanks for a good recipe! (by the way, I brined mine for about 1 1/2 hours)

    • Thanks for sharing, Vivian — we’re glad you and your family enjoyed this!

  39. Tried this last night and it was great. I happened to have chicken breasts marinating in “lemon pepper” marinade at home and was looking for a recipe that would work with them. Found this and skipped the brining part. Other than that we skipped the lemon slices and thyme, opted for extra pepper (and I love a dash of McCormick salt free all-purpose seasoning), and served with baked potato and green beans. My bf was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was, considering I’m a hit or miss cook lol! Saving this recipe, will make again!

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Denise — we’re glad to hear you and your boyfriend enjoyed this!

  40. This was absolutely wonderful. I have never brined chicken before, but I’m never going back now! My chicken came out with just the perfect amount of seasoning, beautifully tender and juicy. I used a little more lemon juice, as the garlic/butter mixture seemed a little solid to me and I didn’t have any white wine. I added a few sprigs of Rosemary vs sprigs of Thyme as I try to use what I have on hand before it goes bad (I only cook for myself and my boyfriend) The Rosemary added a nice touch and contrasted with the dried thyme I used in the mixture. No extra lemon wedges for us, but followed everything else to the letter and came out GREAT! A definite staple in our meal rotation now. Thanks!!

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Summer — we’re so glad you loved the recipe! :)

  41. Amazing recipe.  Added 1/2 cup white wine and doubled the rest as my chicken breasts (4) were huge at a pound each.  Took close to an hour to bake to 160 basting every 15 min.  Strained and skimmed the leftover liquid adding 3/4 cup milk to make a wonderful sauce after boiling down and thickening with some cornstarch.  Best chicken breasts I’ve ever made!!

  42. I am going to make this tonight with white rice and roasted broccoli! Should be so tasty

  43. Oh my gosh! I made this recipe intending to use the chicken as the base for all my week’s lunches (salads, rice bowls, yada yada). This chicken was so finger-licking good that pieces were disappearing out of the pan as it sat on the cooling rack. Within 20 minutes, every last piece was gone. In the end, I drizzled the remaining sauce over rice and blanched broccoli…and they ate it! New family staple is discovered!

    • Thank you so much, Nicole! We’re happy you and your family loved it! :)

  44. I made it exactly as it said and there was way too much liquid. I had the same experience as some of the others with it being white, at first being way undercooked and taking a lot longer to cook. I also tried the broiler part and it didn’t work at all (my broiler works, the chicken just didn’t change). It was just ok. But I will try again with less lemon juice and some tweaks. Thank you though!

    • Hi Mari! We’re so sorry to hear that. :( It sounds like it was a really large chicken breast, and maybe rather thick? Did you pound it first?

  45. Thank you so much for this lovely and easy recipe! While I’ve done a lot of baking and other cooking in my life, I haven’t cooked much meat, and this turned out wonderfully the first time. Because of dietary restrictions, I needed to use garlic-infused olive oil instead of the garlic and butter, but it was flavorful and juicy. I was surprised by far 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme went in flavoring the chicken. Definitely a keeper!

  46. I made this tonight following the recipe but mine came out far to salty! It was inedible it was so salty. I was disappointed because it looked awesome and looked beautiful when it was finished but I just couldnt eat it.
    I left it in the brine only a few hours and I did use normal butter. I am not sure why it ended up so salty :/

    I will most likely try it again omitting some of the salt it calls for.

    • Oh no, we’re so sorry to hear that Michelle! :( Was your chicken pre-packaged in a brine solution? Or did you make sure to rinse the brine off afterwords? We’ve found that a lot of places do that nowadays, which could account for the extra saltiness (this chicken really shouldn’t be salty).

  47. Just saved this recipe also, because I am trying your baked chicken right now for supper! always looking for good baked chicken recipes or any recipes that aren’t dry and good for you! My husband had bypass surgery and I want to be cooking as healthy as possible , but with lots of good taste!!!

  48. Simplest lemon chicken recipe. I subbed rosemary fur thyme. Tasted like the recipes with white wine and capers. Picky kids gobbled it up!

  49. Made this last night and it was delicious! I brined the chicken and followed all the steps necessary and OMG I’ve never had chicken so moist and delicious so far! I have to say that my chicken did not get nice and brown colour that yours did even with being under the broiler for 3 minutes, but maybe it was because I used olive oil instead? Nevertheless a new fan favourite and will be added into my dinner rotation. PS. Just as good cold and served over salad the next day too ;) Thanks again!

  50. Was reluctant to make this because I’ve just never found a great baked chicken breast recipe. But this was amazing! So flavorful and juicy, made sure I followed the basting instructions closely. Making it again tonight for more friends! And hopefully more rave reviews.