Baked Lemon Chicken is chicken breast meeting its real, actual potential! Yes, it’s easy, but this recipe is also juicy (never dry or rubbery!), flavorful (savory and bright!), and quick (done cooking in as little as 14 minutes!).
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Why You’ll Love This Easy Oven-Baked Lemon Chicken Breast Recipe
- Based on the Best. I have spent an obscene amount of time perfecting my method for Baked Chicken Breast so it turns out juicy and delectable. I used that same technique for this baked lemon chicken breast recipe, so hand-to-heart, this baked chicken WILL NOT disappoint.
- Mega Fast. Depending on the size of the chicken breasts, this lemon chicken can be done cooking in as little as 14 minutes. While I do love Baked Bone in Chicken Breast, it takes longer to cook, and we don’t always have the time or patience, right?
- Deeeelicious. In addition to its reputation for being rubbery and dry, baked chicken is also synonymous with being bland and boring. This lemon chicken is anything but! It’s tart and bright and bold thanks to the lemons, with woodsy rosemary and plenty of garlic for a nice savory contrast. (Baked Fried Chicken and Baked BBQ Chicken are also mega-flavorful.)
How to Make Baked Lemon Chicken
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts. The ultimate easy weeknight protein.
- Garlic. Think of this recipe as baked garlic lemon chicken—lemon alone would fall flat, so the garlic plays a key supporting role.
- Rosemary. You can use fresh or dried rosemary. It’s a fabulous complement to lemon, a pairing I also use in this Baked Salmon recipe.
- Ground Black Pepper. If you want to go for a more baked lemon pepper chicken feel, you can up the amount of black pepper.
- Lemons. Lemon juice and zest makes for a zippy marinade, plus we roast lemon wedges in the baking dish with the chicken.
- Whisk. Combine the lemon chicken marinade ingredients in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.
- Marinate. Place the chicken breasts in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade in. Set in a dish and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.
- Bake. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish with lemon wedges and bake until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F. Set the baked lemon chicken on a cutting board, cover, and rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. ENJOY!
- Try Other Herbs. Thyme also pairs well with the lemon in this baked chicken recipe, or garnish with chopped fresh parsley or basil after baking. Or use a combination of herbs for herbed lemon chicken.
- Use a Meyer Lemon. When Meyer lemons are in season, use them in this recipe for an aromatic twist on the original.
- Make Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs. Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts.
- Grill It. For grilled lemon chicken, marinate the chicken breasts as directed, then grill following the instructions from my Grilled Chicken Breast.
- Baked Lemon Chicken With Potatoes. For a complete dinner in a single pan, try my Sheet Pan Lemon Chicken, which has potatoes and asparagus. Or serve this recipe with Oven Roasted Potatoes.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover baked lemon chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Get an extra meal out of your baked lemon chicken breasts by cubing the leftovers and tossing them with Garlic Pasta the next day.
What to Serve with Baked Lemon Chicken
- Vegetables. Easy sides like Sautéed Broccoli, Air Fryer Green Beans, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts pair well with this recipe.
- Potatoes. Roasted Fingerling Potatoes or Garlic Mashed Potatoes would also be fantastic.
- Rice. You can’t go wrong with baked lemon chicken and rice! Try Lemon Rice to double-down on the citrus, or serve the chicken alongside creamy Beet Risotto.
- Pasta. Try baked lemon chicken with orzo or go with this easy Lemon Pasta recipe.
- Salad. Slice the chicken and serve it over Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad or this Spinach Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Dish. When you want to keep your chicken moist, cooking it in a baking dish (as opposed to spreading it out on a larger pan) helps.
- Instant Read Thermometer. Never over-cook your chicken again!
- Liquid Measuring Cups. Love using these as an alternative to bowls for whisking marinades. The spout makes it easy to pour!
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Let the Chicken Come to Room Temperature. Of course, it’s important to refrigerate the chicken breasts as they marinate (this goes for when you’re using Chicken Thigh Marinade or Chicken Marinade too). But while you preheat the oven, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter. This will help it cook more evenly and stay moist all the way through.
- Use an Instant Read Thermometer. Rather than focusing on the clock, watch the temperature! This is the surest way to know when chicken is safe to eat—but not overcooked. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast; I like to pull chicken out of the oven when it reaches 155 degrees F, as the temperature will rise to 165 degrees F during the resting time.
- Don’t Skip the Rest. Speaking of resting time! You absolutely need to let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing into it. During this time, the juices will reincorporate into the meat. It’s key to tender, juicy chicken.
- Don’t Marinate Too Long. After more than 8 hours, the acid from the lemon will begin to break down the proteins in the chicken. And no one wants mushy baked lemon chicken! Worst case scenario, if you have a change of plans and can’t cook the chicken when you originally planned, pop it in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge, then bake as directed. (Freezing pauses the marinating process, but once the chicken is thawed, you need to cook it right away.)
Baked Lemon Chicken
- Lightly pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness (place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top to keep it tidy). Transfer to a sturdy ziptop bag.
- In a bowl or a large liquid measuring cup with a spout. Add the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Zest both lemons into the bowl, then juice in 1 of the lemons. Whisk to combine, then pour over the chicken. Reserve the second lemon.
- Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, turn to coat the chicken, then place in a dish or on a plate to catch any drips. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
- When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the dish. Scatter the lemon wedges around the chicken.
- Bake the lemon chicken for 14 to 16 minutes (for small/medium breasts that are about 6 to 7 ounces), 16 to 20 minutes (for medium/large breasts that are 8 to 10 ounces), or 20 to 25 minutes (for larger breasts). For absolute best results, use an instant read thermometer. When the breasts reach 165°F, they are done (I prefer to remove chicken at 155°F, as its temperature will rise as it rests).
- Place the chicken on a cutting board. Cover and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the baked lemon wedges
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken breast in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F, or cut it into pieces and gently microwave (splash some water or broth over the chicken to keep it moist).
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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