Lemon chicken lies in pieces on a plate.
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Juicy lemon chicken from the tray

Juicy lemon chicken tastes wonderfully aromatic! Chicken thighs, lemon, garlic and coriander form the basis for an after-work dish that you can prepare quickly and easily. All you have to do is marinate the chicken pieces, place them on the tray and bake in the oven until crispy.

The chicken recipe is not only a great oven dish for everyday use, but also for special occasions or larger groups. You can easily scale it up for several people, add the marinade and flavor a whole chicken. For intense roasted flavors, you can also prepare it on the grill – I particularly like it grilled over charcoal.

Chicken is a good source of protein , which your body needs to build muscle and boost your immune system. If you cut away the skin before cooking, it can also contribute to a balanced diet – or you can use chicken breast directly.

Selecting the ingredients for aromatic lemon chicken

Of course, the best ingredients are needed for heavenly good taste. I prefer to buy them fresh at the market from local organic farmers.

Ingredients for lemon chicken.

Ingredients for the chicken drumsticks with lemon (you will find the exact quantities in the recipe card):

  • Chicken thighs
  • Olive oil
  • Coriander, fresh
  • Organic lemon (lemon zest and lemon juice)
  • Garlic
  • Spices: Cumin, cinnamon, pepper, salt

Preparing the chicken: marinade and spices

As lemon and coriander already provide a lot of flavor, I hold back a little on the spices. The lemon marinade is based on the best olive oil, which is then flavored with coriander, garlic, lemon, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Oil, spices and herbs for the lemon marinade.

Now it is important that the chicken pieces are covered all over with marinade. Put everything in a freezer bag or bowl and cover it. The chicken can then marinate well in the refrigerator.

Not a fan of coriander? For some, the green herb tastes like soap – not for me. I love fresh coriander! But the recipe for lemon chicken can of course be varied and adapted as desired. Here is an example of a lemon marinade with thyme and rosemary:

  • Olive oil
  • Organic lemons
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Salt and pepper

The ingredients are mixed together to create an aromatic marinade that infuses the chicken with Mediterranean flavors. You can also mix in some honey – it caramelizes during roasting and makes the skin crispy.

You can also place whole or halved garlic bulbs on the baking tray, as well as lemon slices or sprigs of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme or oregano.

How long should the chicken marinate?

I actually always recommend 4 hours so that the flavors can infuse well into the meat. Overnight is best, of course, as this makes it very flavorful. But if you don’t have that much time, let it steep for 30-60 minutes. During this time, the chicken also absorbs the marinade, but only superficially and not as intensively.

While roasting, you can brush the chicken with the remaining marinade again and again. This makes it tender and juicy.

The perfect lemon chicken – the preparation

Lemon chicken served on a plate with lemon wedges and coriander.

The spices were recommended, the marinade mixed, the thighs put in – time to put the lemon chicken in the oven. Here you can find the quick guide to preparing them in the oven:

  1. Grate the zest from the lemon and squeeze out the juice. Chop the garlic and coriander.
  2. Mix the oil, garlic and coriander paste, lemon zest and juice, spices, salt and pepper to make a marinade.
  3. Divide the chicken thighs into upper and lower legs and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes (I recommend approx. 4 hours or overnight).
  4. Bake the chicken at 200°C top/bottom heat for approx. 25 minutes and then roast for 5 minutes using the grill function.
  5. Serve the lemon chicken with Lebanese flatbread and tabouleh or smashed potatoes, for example.

This oven dish is so easy: you can prepare the chicken recipe in 10 minutes and cook it in 30 minutes. And because it’s sizzling away in the oven, you can do other things at the same time.

A real treat in the oven: baking time and temperature

The baking time varies depending on whether you opt for a whole chicken or just chicken pieces. I used chicken legs for our lemon chicken because you can make smaller portions that way.

The chicken pieces need approx. 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 200 °C top/bottom heat.

Would you like to cook sustainably and save some electricity? Then save yourself the preheating and put the tray in the oven immediately after you have started the oven. This only extends the baking time by a few minutes.

If you want to make sure that the meat doesn’t get too dry, I advise you to use a thermometer. The core temperature of chicken thighs is approx. 80-85 °C. With chicken breast it is a few degrees less: 75-80 °C. If you follow this temperature specification, it will be nice and juicy, tender and crispy.

Lemon chicken served on a plate. Alongside coriander and Lebanese flatbread.

How do I know if the chicken is cooked?

As just mentioned, you can work with a roasting thermometer that you set to approx. 80 °C. When the cooking level is reached, it starts to beep.

But you don’t have a thermometer to hand? There is another way to test whether the meat is cooked – using the“juice test“. To do this, cut a thick area of fat on the thigh: if the juices run clear, the lemon chicken is ready.

Tips and tricks for juicy meat and crispy skin

Why does everyone love chicken so much? Clearly because of the spicy, crispy skin! Ok, the athletes tend to leave it out and treat themselves to chicken breast – but they love it too! This is because the protein content of meat is very high and keeps you satiated for a long time. Back to the crispy skin…

  • Season the chicken on all sides. Rub it in well to give it flavor.
  • Brush it with oil or your own stock from time to time.
  • If the skin is not crispy despite the specified cooking time, turn on the grill function of the oven. But then sit in front of it – sometimes it heats up so quickly and so hot that the chicken legs burn quickly.
  • Brush the chicken skin with honey a few minutes before the end of the cooking time. It caramelizes under the heat and the chicken becomes nice and crispy.
  • For particularly succulent meat, place it in a roasting tin and only remove the lid a few minutes before the end of the cooking time. This allows the skin to roast and crisp up while the meat remains incredibly aromatic.

Side dishes with lemon chicken

There are so many delicious and great things you can serve with lemon wedges. First, of course, I recommend the three classics:

However, if you want to save time or you have something to do on the side, then do everything in the oven. For example:

Smashed potatoes served with harissa mayo. There is cutlery next to it.

Or do you eat a predominantly low-carb diet? Then a simple salad is the right choice:

Broad bean salad served on a plate.

Have any of my ideas inspired you? Then try out one of the combinations and if you don’t like any of them, you can find more recipes in the magazine.

How long does the roasted chicken keep?

There’s still some chicken left on the tray, but you’re absolutely stuffed and can’t eat any more? Then listen to your body and only eat as much as you really need. Simply put the remaining lemon chicken in a Tupperware container. Packed airtight, it will keep for 2-3 days at approx. 4 °C in the refrigerator. You can then wrap the leftovers in a wrap or mix them into a salad.

I don’t even know what you’re waiting for! Pop the chicken in the oven, because it’s perfect for any time of year – in summer it brings fresh flavors to the table and in winter it conjures up some sunshine in the house. Have fun preparing them and bon appétit!

Recipe for juicy & aromatic lemon chicken

Zitronenhähnchen liegt in Stücken auf einem Teller.
Print Recipe Rezept speichern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time 4 hours
Servings 4 Persons
Calories 409


  • Food processor or hand blender


For the chicken

  • 4 Chicken thighs
  • 1 untreated lemon (40 ml juice)
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 30 g Cilantro (set some aside for garnish)
  • 60 ml Olive oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper, coarse
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

To serve

  • Lebanese flatbreads


  • Divide the chicken thighs into upper and lower legs. To do this, use your fingers to feel the center of the joint where the two bones meet. This is the point where you can easily cut through with a sharp knife.
  • For the marinade, wash the lemon well, grate the zest and squeeze out the juice.
  • Peel the garlic and puree together with the coriander in a food processor or finely chop with a knife.
  • Mix the oil, garlic and coriander paste, lemon zest, 40 ml of the lemon juice and the spices to make a sauce.
  • Leave the chicken in the marinade for approx. 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C top/bottom heat and bake the chicken for 25 minutes. Then switch the oven to the grill function and roast the lemon chicken for 5 minutes.
  • Serve the lemon chicken with Lebanese flatbread and tabouleh or smashed potatoes, for example.


Recipe contains affiliate links.


Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 345mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 633IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg

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