Lemon Garlic Chicken? Yes, please. Tender, juicy chicken in a zippy lemon and olive oil sauce laced with plenty of garlic and oregano. It’s a dish fit for dinner guests as well as plate licking in private.
I’ve been making this dish for at least 20 years and for good reason. The chicken is succulent and the sauce makes you consider drinking it. One of the best parts? It tastes even better the next day! Perfect for making ahead!
Boneless chicken breasts are a universally liked protein, but can easily be boring. And they’re super easy to overcook! With a little proper handling, the chicken in this dish is moist, tender and full of flavor. I always make extra for leftovers throughout the week.
Simple Steps for Delicious Lemon Garlic Chicken
Trim and thoroughly season chicken breasts. Briefly sear both sides of the chicken breasts on a HOT grill or in a heavy skillet. Remove to a baking dish when only HALF COOKED through!
Stir together sauce ingredients: lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper, olive oil, oregano and lots of garlic. Pour over chicken in baking dish.
Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes to finish the chicken and to cook the sauce through.
A Perfect dish for making ahead
There are two ways you can make this dish a day or two ahead of when you’d like to serve it. Prepare the dish the whole way through, refrigerate it, then gently heat it up for serving. OR refrigerate it after you pour the sauce over the par-cooked chicken, then finish it in the oven near serving time.
I’ve done it both ways with great success. The acidic lemon juice and strong flavors in the sauce act as a wonderful marinade.
What to serve alongside?
Be sure to serve Lemon Garlic Chicken with crusty bread to sop up all that yummy sauce. It also pairs deliciously with sides of rice and broccoli. Try it with my Perfect Rice Pilaf.
Lemon Garlic Chicken
- 5-6 boneless chicken breasts (approximately 2 lbs)
- salt and pepper for seasoning chicken
Lemon Garlic Sauce
- 1 cup lemon juice (bottled, or 4-5 juiced lemons)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1-2 Tablespoons chopped garlic, to your tastes
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Trim chicken breasts and cut in half vertically if large. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper.
- On a hot grill or in a heavy skillet heated hot and with a little oil, cook the chicken about 1 minute per side, just until nicely colored. DO NOT COOK THROUGH. ONLY COOK HALFWAY DONE. Remove to a baking dish, top side of chicken up.
- To make the sauce, pour the lemon juice into a medium bowl and stir in the sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the oil. (Don't bother creating an emulsion, once the sauce heats, the emulsion will break anyway.) Stir in the garlic and oregano.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and place the dish in the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. If you like, you can take the internal temperature of a thick chicken breast and it should read 160°.
- If you cook your chicken through when you’re coloring it on the grill, your finished chicken will likely be dry. Don’t leave while you’re grilling it, just stand there. And whatever you do, don’t look at social media!
- Bottled lemon juice is just fine to use for this dish, especially since you need so much. If you use fresh lemons, include the zest of a whole lemon for good measure.
- The flavor of this dish is wonderfully stronger the next day, perfect for making ahead.
- To make ahead: Refrigerate the dish after pouring on the sauce, but before baking. It can chill and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, covered. When you’d like to serve it, let it sit out on the counter for an hour to come to room temperature. Bake as directed, but it may need a little more time in the oven.
- Serve with crusty bread to mop up the yummy sauce. Rice and broccoli are also good sides.