This lemon chicken tray bake with juicy chicken thighs is an easy one pan dinner, taking just 10 minutes to prep. Ready in 40 minutes, this versatile and simple way of cooking chicken in the oven is a great recipe for busy weeknights. Or whip up a large tray and use leftovers for a delicious meal the following night too!
Chicken thighs are a cheap and flavour packed way of enjoying chicken, from Basque chicken to chicken pie and here, cooked with soft and sweet onions, lemon, garlic and herbs. Adding stock half way through the cooking not only keeps the chicken thighs super moist, but you end up with this sweet, herby, sticky gravy to spoon over the chicken when serving.
Why we love this chicken thighs tray bake
- Easy way of cooking chicken so it stays juicy.
- Minimal effort – 10 minutes prep, then sit back and let the oven do the rest of the work.
- Leftovers taste great!
- It’s dairy free and gluten free.
- Minimal washing up – there is just one pan to wash, which is always a bonus.
- No marinading required – just add the ingredients to your oven dish, and bake!
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
- Chicken thighs – use skinless or skin on thighs, boneless or bone-in chicken thighs, chicken breasts, or drumsticks – please keep in mind that different cuts of meat will require different cooking times.
- Onions – I use red onions for their sweetness, but you can use brown onions if you prefer.
- Lemon – fresh lemon wedges add a beautiful fresh taste to the traybake, which you can’t get with bottled lemon juice.
- Stock – vegetable or chicken stock. You can also use a stock cube mixed with 150ml/ (⅔c) water.
- Rosemary – I like to use fresh rosemary, but you can also use dried rosemary – sub ⅓ – ½ teaspoon for the sprig of fresh rosemary.
- Bay leaves – these add a slightly pine background flavour, if you don’t want to use bay here are some substitutes for bay leaves.
How to make baked lemon chicken
(For full detailed recipe, please see recipe card below. These images and text are to help you along the way.)
- Place the chicken thighs in your baking dish with the lemon wedges and garlic cloves.
- Add wedges of red onion.
- Add fresh rosemary, dried oregano and bay leaves.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Pour over the stock and return to the oven for another 20 minutes, until cooked through.
Contrary to what many of us have been told, lemon juice (or other acids) do not tenderise chicken. Tender chicken depends more on if you overcook it, rather than the marinade. However, lemon juice adds a lovely bright flavour to chicken.
You you can overcook chicken thighs, but it is more difficult to do than overcooking chicken breasts.
My Recipe Tips
- You can use bone in chicken thighs – but remember they will take 10-15 minutes longer to cook.
- Preheat the oven properly before you put the chicken in to cook.
- Cooking the garlic cloves in their skin makes the garlic soft and sweet. Don’t waste it – mix it in with the chicken juices before serving!
- Potatoes – mashed, jacket, crunchy roast potato cubes, pretty duchess potatoes.
- Noodles, rice, bulgar salad
- Salad – a crisp green salad, pomegranate and rocket salad, walnut and pear, or for a Mediterranean flavour, this easy Greek salad.
- Greens – steamed broccoli, spinach, green beans (also delicious with this green beans with almonds)
- Fridge: Keep the cooked lemon garlic chicken covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Freezer: Store in the freezer for up to 3 months and defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Recipes for leftover chicken tray bake
This chicken and lemon traybake tastes delicious cold. Serve with a fresh salad or coleslaw, put it in a wrap with some avocado salsa, or make it in to:
- Coronation chicken – either serve as a chicken salad or in a sandwich (it makes such a delicious sandwich!)
- Talking of sandwiches, make a chicken banh mi baguette, full of fresh flavours.
- chicken naan – and have dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes
More easy dinner ideas for you
Lemon Chicken Traybake
- 4-6 chicken thighs skinless
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- 2 medium red onions each cut into 6-8 wedges
- 3 cloves garlic whole, with skins on
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
- sea salt
- 150ml (⅔c) chicken or vegetable stock
- Preheat oven to 200oC, 392oF | 150oC Fan, 336oF
- Place chicken in a 26cm x20 cm 10” x 7.8” baking dish.
- Squeeze over the lemon juice and place the squeezed wedges into the dish.
- Add onion wedges and garlic cloves.
- Drizzle over the olive oil, add the rosemary and bay leaves, sprinkle over the oregano and salt & pepper, and place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
- Pour over the stock and cook for 20 minutes until cooked through.
- Squeeze out the soft garlic from the skins, and mix into the juices at the bottom of the dish.
- Serve straightaway with the onions and spoon over that delicious flavor-packed juice from the bottom of the dish.