Oven Baked Lemon Chicken Thighs (Bone-In or Boneless)
This easy recipe shows you how to bake perfectly seasoned bone-in or boneless chicken thighs. You’ll love the flavors of lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs.
Chicken thighs are too often skipped over in favor of chicken breasts. I know that I’m in the habit of purchasing and cooking breasts like my Air Fryer Chicken Breasts, Ultimate Marinated Grilled Chicken, and Italian Marinated Chicken. But the truth is that chicken thighs are an incredibly cost effective (thighs are less expensive than breasts) and flavorful protein option. In fact they’re actually juicier than breasts because they’re dark meat and contain more fat.
Bone-in vs Boneless Chicken Thighs
Skin-on bone-in chicken thighs are going to give you the best results for a few reasons. The bone flavors the meat giving you a much richer chicken flavor. The bone and skin also helps to hold in moisture. That means your meat is going to be so much juicier and it won’t be as easy to overcook it. One last reason to consider bone-in thighs is that even though you’re getting more flavorful juicier chicken, you’re paying less for it! Bone-in thighs are less expensive than both chicken breasts and boneless thighs. Every bit of savings helps with the price of groceries being as high as they are these days.
I know some people are hesitant to prepare chicken still on the bone. If that’s you rest assured that skinless boneless thighs are still a great option. They’ll be more flavorful and juicier than breasts.
Baked Lemon Chicken Thigh Ingredients
- Chicken thighs: I recommend bone-in skin-on chicken thighs for the juiciest results but boneless skinless thighs also work great!
- Olive oil: Before baking the chicken thighs we first sear them in extra virgin olive oil to achieve a beautifully golden color.
- Minced garlic: Garlic and lemon are a match made in heaven! You can mince your own garlic or use a jarred variety.
- Lemon juice + whole lemon: This recipe is all about the bright flavor of lemon so we’re using lemon juice plus an entire lemon that we cut and add directly to the skillet.
- Rosemary + Oregano + Thyme: These fresh herbs pair so well with lemon.
- Seasonings: Salt and pepper are the only seasonings you need for this simple baked chicken recipe.
Can you use dried herbs instead of fresh?
I think it’s worth using fresh herbs here if possible. You’re welcome to use dried rosemary and oregano but keep in mind that dried will have more concentrated flavor. If a recipe calls for fresh herbs and you’re using dried, use about 1/3 of the listed amount. Since this recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of each herb, you’d want to do 1 teaspoon of each instead.
How long does it take to bake bone-in chicken thighs?
In this recipe we’re first searing the thighs on the stove-top for a total of 8 to 10 minutes. This gives us the golden color we want! Then bake the chicken to finish, another 20 minutes.
How long does it take to bake boneless chicken thighs?
First sear the thighs on the stove-top for a total of 8 to 10 minutes. Then bake to finish, another 15 minutes.
What temperature should chicken thighs be cooked to?
Chicken thighs should be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
How to store leftovers
Store leftover baked chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
You can also freeze baked chicken thighs in a freezer safe container for up to 4 months.
How to serve
I enjoy this chicken with Light & Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Green Beans. Other sides that would work beautifully are Rosemary Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Herb Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Broccoli, and Sautéed Broccoli.
Baked Lemon Chicken Thighs
- 6 chicken thighs, bone-in skin on or boneless skinless
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 whole lemon, sliced into chunks
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Add oil to cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Heat to medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add chicken skin side down (if using skinless either side is fine). Sear until crispy and golden in color, about 4 to 5 minutes. Chicken will not be fully cooked. We're just looking for some good browning at this step. Flip. Sear the other side.
- Remove chicken from the skillet. Add garlic. Sauté until golden in color, about 1 minute.
- Add lemon juice, fresh herbs, and lemon to the skillet. Add the seared chicken thighs back to the skillet.
- If using bone-in skin-on chicken thighs:Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- If using boneless skinless chicken thighs:Skinless and boneless thighs will cook a little faster so check for doneness at 15 minutes. You may find that you need up to 20 minutes but it's definitely worth checking earlier. You want the internal temperature to reach 165 F. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.