Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic

A fast, inexpensive dinner shouldn't sacrifice deliciousness. We marinate chicken thighs in garlic and lemon and bake them up for a quick weeknight meal.

Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic

If you’re looking for a quick, inexpensive weeknight dinner, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a great option. All they need is a few minutes in a marinade, 25 minutes or so in the oven (even quicker on a grill or grill pan) and they’re ready to go. Unlike chicken breasts, which dry out if you stare at them too long, thighs are extremely forgiving. They’re actually hard to overcook.

I like baking them with this lemony, garlicky marinade (recipe below), but you could easily switch the flavors around. I sometimes use soy, honey and ginger. Sometimes sage, rosemary and mustard. The process is the same. Really, by the time you’ve made a salad and opened a bottle of wine, they’re pretty much done.

IMG_3112 - Version 2If you do have a little extra time, they’re perfect with Mashed Butternut Squash with Thyme and Mascarpone.

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4 from 10 votes

Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic

A fast, inexpensive dinner shouldn't sacrifice deliciousness. We marinate chicken thighs in garlic and lemon and bake them up for a quick weeknight meal.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 342kcal
Author: Emily Clifton


  • 6 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) (about 1 1/2 -2 lbs)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest about 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice about 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes or more if you like it spicy
  • 3/4 teaspoon course kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, add all the ingredients except the chicken and stir together. Place chicken thighs into a ziplock bag, pour the marinade over and mix around until all the chicken is coated. Seal the bag and marinate for a few minutes (or up to a day, in the fridge).
  • Pour the chicken and the marinade into an oven safe dish (an 8" x 8" is perfect) and arrange so chicken is in a single layer. Bake for 25-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165°F).
  • If you want a darker top, broil on high for a minute before removing from oven.
  • Let the chicken rest, covered with foil, for 10 minutes or so. Serve with the pan juices and some lemon slices.


  • If you want a lot of sauce, cook in a smaller dish with the pieces closer together. If you like less liquid, use a larger dish and spread them out a bit further.
  • If you like the flavor of garlic, but don't want to eat whole pieces, remove the crushed pieces before you bake the chicken.


Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 472mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @NerdsWithKnives or tag #nerdswithknives!

55 thoughts on “Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Garlic”

  1. Sounds absolutely delicious! The thighs are marinating now, can’t wait to put them in the oven!!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  2. This recipe is amazing! Other than substituting sorghum for maple syrup, I followed the directions as written. This turned out great.

  3. Help! Where did the recipe go?? I found this page this morning and bookmarked it for tonight, but now there seems to be an error on the page and the recipe is gone! Super bummed because I had my hearts set on this for dinner tonight. Any way you can re-post so I can try it in the future? Thanks!

  4. I, too, used applesauce in place of apple juice which I did not have. Did not notice the sauce bit at all. To thicken, I added a bit of corn starch w/ cold water and served over brown rice. Awesome! Will be putting this in my can’t wait to make again file.

  5. Hi, I love this recipe. I have made it three times already and will do it again tomorrow. Easy, tasty all the ingredients I like together. I love the marinade and and left over get quickly mopped up with potato or bread. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  6. My new favorite recipe! Delicious tender chicken, great lemon flavor, tonight I’m adding spinach and fresh slices of Tomato and serving with basmati rice yumms

  7. I made this tonight. I sprinkled parmesan cheese on top, and broiled it for a few minutes at the end. It was sooooo good! Thanks for the quick, easy recipe!

  8. I’ve made this recipe several times and it’s always a hit. It’s now part of my regular rotation. I usually add a layer of halved, fresh mushrooms to the bottom of the baking pan before adding the chicken and marinade, and I always end with 5-10 mins under the broiler. Also, this works great as aake ahead freezer meal, just lay Ziploc bag flat in freezer, and when ready to use, allow to thaw then bake. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

    • I am making this tonight. The chicken has been marinating since this morning. Going to have it with sweet potato fries. Cannot wait to try it.

  9. I told my husband, “I’m feeling so grateful to be married to you” because he made this for me tonight. 😉 Fantastic, tender, and full of flavor. Thank you!

  10. This was so easy and so full of flavor! It felt much fancier than it was, and I think the perfect weeknight dinner. I paired mine with quinoa and roasted sweet potatoes w/ rosemary. This will be in heavy rotation. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Wonderful ! Only change was smoked paprika instead of red pepper. Oh, added some sliced sweet peppers on top with onion. Will be making this again. Would anybody know how many calories a serving would be ?

  12. Fabulous! A “keeper” in my house. Served over a saffron risotto with roasted brussel sprouts. Did use the broiler at the end. I did remove chicken from pan and tented as instructed but then poured the juices/marinade into small saucepan and boiled for 3 minutes. Made it a little thicker to top chicken with when served. Yummy!

  13. Can’t wait to use this recipe. Tonight is the night! I just sent it to my daughter, too, who doesn’t have time for long prep times since she’s in college and works. Can you give specifics for the sage, rosemary and mustard version? That sounds really good, too!

  14. Tried this with mushrooms, as per someone else’s suggestion. It was GREAT! The next day with the leftovers, I reduced the remaining juice a bit, added a generous splash of sherry, and then a dab of butter. Reduced a minute or two more till it was silky smooth. Sooooo delicious! One recipe, two slightly different flavors! I think the 2nd version was even better than the first!

  15. 5 stars
    I make this for my family all the time. And my father, who notoriously hates citrusy poultry, requests it by name! Served with garlicky noodles and some broccoli on the side, you have a satisfying healthy meal.

    • Hi Patty, I’ve never done these on the crockpot but I don’t see why they wouldn’t work. I would probably add some chicken stock to the pot to keep them from drying out, maybe 1 or 1.5 cups. Timing-wise, chicken thighs do well with low and slow, so low for 4 hours would be my estimation. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!

4 from 10 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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