These Lemon Chicken Thighs with crispy, salty skin, an acidic lemon kick, and always-moist thigh meat are a total winner of a chicken dinner that will only take you 5 to 10 minutes of prep time.
I’ve shared a bunch of uber-easy, busy-weeknight recipes over the years. (Salsa Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, and Oven-roasted Tri-tip are some of my favs.) And today I have another quick and simple dinner recipe for you: Crispy Lemon Chicken Thighs.
An Easy, No-recipe Chicken Dinner
This is my current go-to recipe for nights I don’t want to cook and I’m two seconds away from takeout or popcorn for dinner. It’s a super-simple one-pan dish, with almost no measuring involved, and the only thing you’re going to have to cut is a lemon.
See Also: Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
Best of all, the chicken is SO good, with crispy, salty skin, an acidic lemon kick, and always-moist thigh meat. It’s a total winner of a chicken dinner that will only take you 5 to 10 minutes of prep time.
How to Make Lemon Chicken Thighs
1. You start by patting down bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with a paper towel so they are completely dry (this allows the skin to get extra crispy). Then salt and pepper the thighs generously and add a sprinkle of ground thyme over the top. If you want to measure the thyme, use about 1/4 teaspoon, but it’s easier to evenly distribute the thyme by carefully sprinkling it directly out of the spice canister.
2. Heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken, skin-side down. The chicken will pop and sizzle as it cooks. This is normal, but if it’s making too much of a mess or making you nervous, cover the chicken with a splatter screen or turn the heat down slightly.
2. Cook the thighs until the skin is deeply golden and crispy. And then remove the pan from heat and flip. If you try to flip the thighs and the skin is sticking to the pan, the chicken’s not ready to be flipped. Put it back on the heat. The skin will self-release when it’s ready.
3. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lemon over the pan and then slice the other half and nestle the slices amongst the thighs.
4. Bake for 15 to 22 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the thighs reads at least 165°F. Thigh size varies wildly, so very large thighs may take longer to cook. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and serve.
What to Serve With Chicken Thighs
Serve two thighs per person for small thighs, one for large thighs (particularly when serving with a filling carb side). My family loves eating this with a side of white steamed rice and an oven-baked veggie that I cook on a lower rack of the oven at the same time as the chicken, like Roasted Zucchini or Oven-roasted Broccoli.
- More Carb Options: Parmesan Orzo, Mashed Potatoes and Quick Gravy, Cheddar Cheese Scones
- More Vegetable Options: Steamed Broccoli, Butter and Garlic Green Beans, Microwave Corn on the Cob
- Dessert Options (obviously essential): Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, Small-batch Brownies, and M&M Cookies
Batch-cooked or Meal Prep Chicken Thighs
These chicken thighs are actually a great option for batch cooking and meal prepping if that’s your jam. The recipe’s easy to size up since there’s practically no measuring anyway, and the thighs stay moist and tasty in the fridge. The skin won’t be crispy after reheating, but it will still taste great.
You can also pull the skin off some of the thighs and shred the meat to use on sandwiches, small batches of soup, or salads.
To make a larger batch of thighs, brown the thighs on the stove in batches, squeeze lemon juice over the top, and then transfer them to a lightly greased baking sheet instead of baking them in the skillet. Use the juice of one lemon half per skillet full of chicken thighs and just skip adding the extra lemon slices as described in the recipe as they won’t add much flavor sitting on a baking sheet.
If taking for lunches, you can de-bone the cooked thighs to make them less messy to eat. Just flip a thigh over, and use a paring knife to slice the meat away from the single bone. The bone should pull away pretty easily. Then you can slice the thighs into easy-to-eat pieces before packing them.
More EASY Chicken Recipes
Crispy Lemon Chicken Thighs
- Oven-safe skillet *
- Instant-read thermometer
Lemon Chicken Thighs
- 1 lemon washed
- 4 to 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs*
- Salt and pepper
- Ground thyme
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Slice half of the lemon into thin slices and set slices and remaining uncut half aside.
- Pat chicken thighs dry and sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and a light dusting (about 1/4 teaspoon total) of thyme.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, swirl oil around the pan so that it is completely coated. Place thighs in the skillet skin-side down, and cook until well-browned and crispy, about 4-6 minutes.
- Remove from heat and flip chicken thighs. Nestle lemon slices in the pan between the chicken pieces and squeeze juice from remaining lemon half over the chicken.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (longer for very large thighs), until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the thighs reads 165°F.
- Remove from oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using them. There is absolutely no additional cost to you.