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Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs (Easy Skillet Recipe)

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Boneless Lemon Chicken Thighs are a simple low carb meal! This quick and easy recipe is perfect for hectic weeknight meals. Featuring a classic blend of lemon, garlic, and rosemary, this dish doesn’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to deliver robust flavor. 

Chicken thigh with quinoa on a white plate.

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Cook up these lemon garlic chicken thighs and let the whole family enjoy them! When it comes to easy weeknight meals, it doesn’t get much better than simple and easy dinner recipes just like this one!

Want more delicious lemon recipes to try out?  Still have some lemons handy? Then you could make some Italian lemon ricotta cookies. Or for the adults, make some fun lemon meringue shots for your next cocktail evening.

If you love chicken breast or chicken thigh recipes like these lemon chicken thighs, you may also enjoy these Slow Cooker BBQ Peach Chicken Thighs with a Cayenne Kick!

Step-by-step instructions plus images below!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe…

  • Quick and Convenient: Perfect for busy evenings, this skillet recipe takes little time to prepare, making it an ideal choice for a last-minute dinner option.
  • Flavorful and Aromatic: The combination of lemon, garlic, and rosemary not only infuses the chicken with zesty and herby notes but also fills your kitchen with a delightful aroma.
  • Versatile Serving Options: These lemon boneless chicken thighs pair beautifully with a wide range of sides, from simple steamed vegetables to creamy mashed potatoes, allowing for varied and balanced meals.
  • Healthier Choice: Opting for boneless chicken thighs means enjoying a leaner protein source that’s lower in carbs, suitable for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet.

What’s In This Lemon Chicken Thighs Recipe

Ingredients for lemon boneless chicken thighs sitting on a white countertop,
  • Lemons: The star ingredient, fresh lemons provide the zesty punch that is essential for this recipe. Not only does the juice bring a bright tartness to the dish, but the zest can also be used to add an extra layer of citrus flavor.
  • Garlic: By using minced garlic cloves, we infuse the chicken with a robust and aromatic flavor that garlic is famous for. It’s crucial for creating that mouth-watering taste that complements the lemon beautifully.
  • Rosemary: This herb is a powerhouse of flavor, offering a woody aroma and a lemony-pine flavor that marries well with the chicken and lemon. Rosemary not only enhances the dish’s taste but also its presentation.
  • Chicken thighs: Chosen for their juiciness and flavor, boneless and skinless chicken thighs are the perfect canvas for the lemon, garlic, and rosemary to shine. They offer a tender and delicious bite every time.
  • Olive oil: A couple of tablespoons are all it takes to provide a healthier cooking medium that adds a subtle, fruity background note. Olive oil is ideal for searing the chicken to perfection while keeping the dish low in unhealthy fats.
  • Black pepper: This common seasoning adds a necessary heat and depth to the recipe, elevating the flavors of the lemon, garlic, and rosemary, and offering a gentle contrast to the dish’s bright notes.

The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Use garlic powder – if you don’t have minced garlic, use garlic powder instead.
  • Cook with chicken breasts – While using chicken thighs is delicious, you can make this same recipe using chicken breast.
  • Change up the seasonings – Adding Italian seasoning, onion powder, or even some chili pepper flakes are a great way to add flavor.

How To Make Baked Chicken Thighs With Lemon (Step By Step Directions)

  1. In a small mixing bowl, blend the lemon zest (reserve half for later use) and juice with minced garlic and chopped rosemary to create the marinade. Keep the unused lemon zest in a tightly sealed container in the freezer for other culinary uses, such as flavoring marinades, soups, or dressings. Set aside the remaining lemon juice for later steps.
  2. Open the chicken thighs to expose their full surface and season with salt and pepper as preferred. Place the thighs into a large zip-lock bag and pour the prepared marinade over them. Ensure the bag is securely closed, then toss gently to make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated in the marinade. Refrigerate the marinating chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes, though leaving it overnight is recommended for deeper flavor infusion.
  3. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high setting. Extract the marinated chicken thighs from the bag, letting any excess marinade drip off back into the bag, and then discard the leftover marinade. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the chicken in batches. Place the chicken in the pan and sear until each side turns a golden brown, roughly 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the cooked thighs and set them aside on a plate.
  4. Lower the heat and introduce the reserved lemon juice to the pan, adding a quarter cup of water if needed to help scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Return the chicken thighs to the pan, letting them simmer in the juice for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they are thoroughly cooked. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and black pepper according to taste. Once ready, remove the chicken from heat and it’s ready to be served alongside your chosen accompaniments.
Rosemary lemon chicken with quinoa and a lemon wedge on a white plate.

Recipe Tips

To store leftovers, add them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge. You can also create a freezer meal or two by freezing the meat and using it for other healthy recipes and delicious meals.

Alternative Cooking Methods

This versatile lemon chicken thighs recipe can easily be adapted for cooking in an Instant Pot or a slow cooker, offering convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Instant Pot Method:

  • Place the seasoned and marinated chicken thighs at the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Add the reserved lemon juice and a 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth to ensure there is enough liquid for pressure cooking.
  • Secure the lid, set the valve to “sealing,” and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Once done, allow natural release for 5 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure.
  • If you desire a golden finish, you can briefly sauté the chicken in a pan or use the Instant Pot’s sauté function before serving.

Slow Cooker Method:

  • Place the marinated chicken thighs into the slow cooker.
  • Add the reserved lemon juice without the need for additional liquid.
  • Cover with the lid and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender and fully cooked.
  • For a more intense flavor, reduce the sauce by transferring it to a saucepan and simmering until thickened, then pour it over the chicken before serving.

Storing Tips 

To ensure the longevity and quality of your leftover chicken thighs, proper storage is key. Refrigerate the leftovers by placing them in an airtight container; they will keep for up to four days. 

For longer storage, freezing is an excellent option. First, allow the chicken to cool completely. Then, transfer the thighs to a freezer-safe bag or container, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Frozen chicken thighs can last for up to 4 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight if frozen. 

You can reheat the chicken in a covered skillet over medium heat until warmed thoroughly. Alternatively, use a microwave, covered, on a medium setting, checking frequently until hot. Reheating in the oven is also an option—cover the chicken with foil and place in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Boneless chicken thighs with quinoa, rosemary, and a wedge of lemon on the side.

Serving Suggestions

Baked chicken thighs with lemon are incredibly versatile, pairing well with a variety of sides to complement their zesty and aromatic flavors. Here are some serving suggestions to complete your meal:

  • Roasted Vegetables: A mix of roasted vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers not only adds color to your plate but also a range of beneficial nutrients. The slight char from roasting enhances the natural sweetness of the veggies, creating a perfect harmony with the tangy chicken.
  • Quinoa or Rice: For a wholesome and comforting base, consider serving your lemon chicken thighs over a bed of fluffy quinoa or rice. These grains absorb the rich flavors of the lemon and rosemary, making every bite even more delicious. Or even pair it with crockpot Spanish rice for extra flavor.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes make an excellent side, offering a silky-smooth texture that complements the tender chicken. For an extra burst of flavor, a hint of garlic or some grated Parmesan can be mixed into the potatoes or use the air fryer to make some mashed potato bites with bacon.
  • Couscous Salad: A light and fluffy couscous salad, peppered with cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a lemon vinaigrette, can add a Mediterranean twist to your meal.
  • Garlic Bread: For those who love a good piece of bread to sop up sauces, garlic bread rolls are a fantastic choice. Its crispy edges and soft, flavorful center make it irresistible next to the succulent chicken.

Recipe FAQs

How do you know when chicken is done cooking?

Using a meat thermometer is the best bet. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. As long as it reads 165 degrees or higher, the chicken is done and ready to enjoy.

How do I get a golden crispy skin?

If you want golden brown skin on the outside, you don’t want to remove the skin from the chicken before cooking it. Just add some oil to the skin side to let it crisp up in the oven.

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of bone-in?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken thighs for this recipe. The cooking time might be slightly shorter since boneless meat tends to cook faster. Keep a close eye on the internal temperature, looking for the 165°F mark to ensure they are fully cooked.

Is it necessary to marinate the chicken thighs before cooking?

While not strictly necessary, marinating the chicken thighs can significantly enhance the flavor profile of the final dish. Even a brief 30-minute marinate in the fridge will allow the lemon, herbs, and seasonings to infuse the meat with additional depth of taste. If you have the time, marinating for a few hours or even overnight will yield even more flavorful results.

Other Easy Chicken Recipes

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Plate of Chicken Thighs with rosemary and sliced lemon on the side.
5 from 1 vote

Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs (Easy Skillet Recipe)


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields 4 Servings
These quick and easy rosemary lemon chicken thighs are perfect for hectic weeknight meals. Featuring a classic blend of lemon, garlic, and rosemary, Yes! please 

Ingredients 

  • 2 lemons large, zest, and juice, divided
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp rosemary leaves chopped
  • 8 chicken thighs skinless and boneless
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl, blend the lemon zest (reserve half for later use) and juice with minced garlic and chopped rosemary to create the marinade. Keep the unused lemon zest in a tightly sealed container in the freezer for other culinary uses, such as flavoring marinades, soups, or dressings. Set aside the remaining lemon juice for later steps.
  • Open the chicken thighs to expose their full surface and season with salt and pepper as preferred. Place the thighs into a large zip-lock bag and pour the prepared marinade over them. Ensure the bag is securely closed, then toss gently to make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated in the marinade. Refrigerate the marinating chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes, though leaving it overnight is recommended for deeper flavor infusion.
  • Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high setting. Extract the marinated chicken thighs from the bag, letting any excess marinade drip off back into the bag, and then discard the leftover marinade. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the chicken in batches. Place the chicken in the pan and sear until each side turns a golden brown, roughly 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the cooked thighs and set them aside on a plate.
  • Lower the heat and introduce the reserved lemon juice to the pan, adding a quarter cup of water if needed to help scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Return the chicken thighs to the pan, letting them simmer in the juice for an additional 3-4 minutes or until they are thoroughly cooked. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and black pepper according to taste. Once ready, remove the chicken from heat and it’s ready to be served alongside your chosen accompaniments.

Notes

To store leftovers, add them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge. You can also create a freezer meal or two by freezing the meat and using it for other healthy recipes and delicious meals.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 579kcal (29%) Carbohydrates: 7g (2%) Protein: 37g (74%) Fat: 45g (69%) Saturated Fat: 11g (69%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Monounsaturated Fat: 21g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 221mg (74%) Sodium: 176mg (8%) Potassium: 555mg (16%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 1g (1%) Vitamin A: 220IU (4%) Vitamin C: 30mg (36%) Calcium: 49mg (5%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

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