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Lemon Chicken

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Calories: 465
Lemon Chicken breasts baked in a baking dish

Our easy lemon chicken recipe shines with a sunny, lemony zing. Garlic and herbs—plus a glug of white wine—mean that these juicy, tender chicken breasts are as delicious as they are healthy.

A Healthy, Baked Chicken Breast That’s Anything but Boring (We Promise!)

Lemon chicken is really just a simple baked chicken recipe, jazzed up with some punchy ingredients that add lots of flavor without taking away from how super-healthy baked chicken breasts are. Our lemon chicken recipe is fast and easy—a recipe you might turn to on a busy weeknight when you need dinner to be simple as it can be. It’s also a great one to include in your weekend meal-prep (if you do that kind of thing) because one of the many reasons we love lemon chicken breasts is their versatility. Having a container of them in the fridge, all baked and ready to go, means you’ve got the makings of lots of meals! They can anchor a simple and healthy lunch salad, and are delicious sliced up into hearty sandwiches—ones where the bread is slathered with mayo and Homemade Pesto—for dinner, too.

Ingredients laid out for Lemon chicken, chicken breast, lemon, olive oil, lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, spices
spices in a bowl with olive oil
4 chicken breasts with olive oil and spices in a baking dish.
lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.

A Flavor-Giving Trifecta Makes this the Best Lemon Chicken Recipe, Ever.

Let’s start with the good news: lean and protein-packed, boneless, skinless chicken breast is super healthy! The bad news: boneless, skinless chicken breast is kind of bland! The solution? Use the chicken breast as a blank canvas for all of your favorite big flavors, without undermining its’ inherent healthfulness. Our lemon chicken recipe does all of that thanks to a few of our favorite big, bright flavors:

  • Lemon, three ways. We aren’t messing around—this isn’t just lemon chicken. It’s LEMON chicken! We use lemon zest, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and whole lemon slices to give this lemon chicken recipe all of the citrusy punch that we possibly can.
  • Garlic, two ways. We could maybe have called this lemon garlic chicken, since our recipe calls for both fresh garlic cloves and (you guessed it) our beloved garlic powder.
  • Herbs, herbs and more herbs. A whole garden’s worth of fragrance and flavor, all from a few dried herbs that you probably already have in your pantry.
lemon chicken breast in a baking dish with herbs and lemon juice and lemon slices

How To Make Lemon Chicken

Our easy, baked lemon chicken recipe is healthy, fast, and so, so delicious. The key is coating the lemon chicken with lots of moisture-giving things, and watching that internal temp closely so that you don’t over-bake the chicken.

  1. Make a lemon chicken marinade. Well, it’s really more like a rub or a paste, because our lemon chicken recipe requires no actual marinating (yay!). But basically, we coat the chicken breasts in a thick, olive oil-based herb paste flavored with oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Make the lemon chicken sauce! Stir together all of the zingy things—white wine, fresh garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice—to make the sauce that the chicken breasts will bake in. You’ll also use this sauce to baste the chicken as it bakes, ensuring that these bright flavors have a chance to be absorbed by the chicken (without having to actually marinate the chicken).
  3. Bake! Until you get that internal temperature reading of 165°F. Then it’s time to dig in!
4 Baked lemon chicken breast in a baking dish topped with lemon slices

Tools You’ll Need:

Lemon Chicken breasts baked in a baking dish
Lemon Chicken breasts baked in a baking dish topped with lemon slices and parsley

You’ve Got Chicken Breast Problems, We’ve Got Chicken Breast Solutions.

We know—we talk a LOT about chicken thighs. But we’ve got love for chicken breast recipes, too. Here, we’ll prove it:

Lemon garlic Chicken breasts baked in a baking dish  topped with

Healthy, Flavorful, Easy.

This one really is all of the things. We hope this healthy lemon chicken recipe felt as miraculously breezy to you as it does to us. Let us know how it all went down! Snap a photo of your baked lemon chicken and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Lemon Chicken

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Calories: 465

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless chicken breasts (roughly 2.5 lbs)
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 2 tsp Thyme, dried
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Salt, divided
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio or pinot gris
  • 2 tbsp Minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 Lemon, cut into 6 slices, optional

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to create a thick marinade/paste. Coat the chicken breast with seasoning paste.
  4. Using the same bowl mix together the white wine, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over chicken breast.
  5. If using, nestle the lemon slices between the chicken bake for 15 minutes, baste the chicken with the pan juice, bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165 F.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 465
  • Protein 55 g
  • Carbohydrates 4 g
  • Total Fat 22 g
  • Dietary Fiber 0 g
  • Cholesterol 168 mg
  • sodium 941 mg
  • Added Sugars 2 g

Lemon Chicken

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Janet M Worrell

    Do I have to use wine, is there a substitute?

    You could use chicken stock!

  • Michelle Nicholasen

    Should I tenderize the meat first by pounding it to get it more flat?

    Nope! No need to do that.

  • Justin Kayce

    Any Recommended sides?

    Our simple Italian salad, crispy smashed potatoes or roasted broccoli would all make great sides!

  • christian jeremiah harvin

    can there be a substitute for the wine?

    Yep! Chicken stock makes a great substitute.

  • Lauren Bacon

    can I make this with a frozen chicken breast?

    yes! You might have to cook it longer if it isn't thawed out first.

  • Mike Stempler

    When my wife first sent me this recipe, I was skeptical. It's not flashy, and it didn't grab me as anything special. Honestly, it didn't occur to me until I started eating it how incredibly nuanced it actually is. First, it's the juiciest, tenderest, oven-prepared chicken I've ever had (I bake it until the thickest part of the chicken shows 155°, which took about 35-40 minutes total). I don't know if it's the alcohol in the wine or the acid in the lemon juice, but the inside of that chicken is just so beautifully cooked. Second, the seasoning is just out of this world. It's still hard for me to believe how good it is despite having such common ingredients. But the combination of the herb paste (I went heavy on the thyme, oregano, and minced garlic) and the white wine mixture gives the chicken a depth of flavor that...well...that I really just cannot shut up about.

    Gosh Mike. Thank you so much! We love hearing stories like this.

  • Jennifer Kerbaugh

    I let my seven year old daughter help me cook this tonight. She loves to cook - but eating is a whole different story. First words out of her mouth are usually “this is disgusting.” So, needless to say, I was a bit nervous with this. She watched as I measured out each of the ingredients and she helped pour it all over the chicken (we got busy talking and forgot the brown sugar 😬) - but when the final product came out of the oven - wow! It looked divine and my house smelled so good. I served this on top of cous cous and with a side of roasted Brussel sprouts. As my daughter ate I watched and waited - she looked at me with a big ol’ smile and said “this is delicious!” Even my husband, who is not a lemon fan - and who gets nervous when I try new recipes - loved it! He said the lemon was a good taste for the summer, and even suggested we try this recipe with white fish. So, overall - if these two crazies like it - it’s a great recipe and we will be having this again!!!

    Love this review! Thanks for giving it a try!

  • Mary Collins Tarrant

    Excellent recipe. We pulled it from the oven at 150º and climbing. I poured the sauce into a small sauce pan and reduced it for about 10 minutes, then poured it over the chicken breasts. My husband loved the sauce so much he dipped his bread into in and ate it all up.

    Yay! I love this hack so much!

  • dakotataylor22

    This was delicious!

    Yay!

  • Betsy Kenerson

    This is one of those recipes that ends up tasting as good as you think it will. Not skimping on the garlic pays off without being overbearing. Then the white wine and lemon zest hit every taste bud. Have to admit I used half the thyme & oregano called for. Just personal preference. I could eat this sauce on EVERYTHING except dessert...it's that good. Savoured each bite with roasted broccoli and pappardelle al limone I made yesterday. Not bad for a Monday night. :)