Baked Lemon Chicken Recipe

Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipe: Baked Lemon Chicken

A few years ago, we gave up cable in an effort to trim some monthly expenses from our budget. There are only two channels we really miss. My husband and son miss ESPN terribly. Me? I miss the Food Network.

When we had cable, there were several shows I had set to record every day, but Barefoot Contessa was by far and away my favorite. In my mind, Ina Garten can do no wrong. Every recipe of hers I have ever tried is amazing, and most are simple enough for any home cook to replicate. I don’t know how she does it, but she nails it every time.

Somewhere along the way, I started following Ina Garten’s Facebook page, so her posts show up in my feed occasionally. These Lemon Chicken Breasts popped up a while back, and they caught my eye because the recipe looked so easy and yet so delicious. I’m always looking for new ways to cook chicken breasts, so I tried it.

I love that this chicken recipe doesn’t require any marinating time, and it is baked so it doesn’t make a mess on the stovetop or require weather conducive to grilling. It uses ingredients you probably keep in the house, and if you don’t, you should. I almost always have lemons on hand, and if I don’t have fresh thyme, I’ll substitute dried in a pinch. The chicken turned out every bit as good as I had hoped, and I’ve made it several times since.

Ina recommends using boneless chicken breasts with the skin on, but I always seem to have the skinless variety on hand, so that’s what I used. I can see how cooking it with the skin on would create a lovely browned crusted top, and of course it probably makes it extra moist and flavorful, but the skinless ones are delicious too.


The recipe is in Ina’s cookbook, How Easy Is That?, and you can also find it on her website, but here’s a printable for your convenience.

Easy Baked Lemon Chicken
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: Jo-Lynne Shane
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
This baked lemon chicken is the perfect easy recipe for a weeknight dinner, and yet it is so pretty and delicious, you could easily serve it to company. Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (I’ve only used skinless, but Ina recommends skin on)
  • 1 lemon
  • thyme sprigs for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for just a minute. You want it to soften but not brown.
  3. Remove from the heat, and add the wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour this mixture into a baking dish.
  4. Place the chicken breasts in the dish, and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the lemon into wedges and place them around the chicken in the pan.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. (If you use skin-on chicken, you can put it under the broiler for a couple minutes to brown the skin nicely. I didn’t bother with the skinless.)
  7. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with thyme, and serve over rice with the pan juices. Add a salad or a steamed green vegetable for a complete dinner.

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3 Responses

  1. So funny! This is my favorite Ina recipe! I make this all the time but I use bone-in breasts that I buy on sale when they go .99 a lb. I then make chicken soup with the leftover chicken and the broth/lemon mixture. So yummy!!

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