Lemon Garlic Chicken

5 from 26 votes

Lemon Garlic Chicken, whether in a skillet or on a sheet pan, brings a burst of zesty, savory goodness. Quick, delicious, and versatile, it's an ideal dish for any meal.

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Lemon Garlic Chicken proves that sometimes the simplest flavor combinations are the most delicious! Bright, citrusy lemon and savory garlic are really all you need for flavorful, tender chicken breasts—although fresh parsley and a few pantry seasonings help too. Easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but impressive enough to serve to guests this lemon garlic chicken will have everyone saying so good!

Skillet lemon garlic chicken breasts in pan, garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.
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This lemon garlic chicken recipe is everything a weeknight meal should be. 

It goes without saying that it’s easy—no one wants to come home from work and spend two hours cooking dinner. It’s also tender and juicy, full of fresh flavor, and it manages to be both simple and sophisticated, which means you’ll love it, and so will your kids.

These lemon garlic chicken breasts rely on staple ingredients found in nearly every kitchen—no searching high and low for obscure ingredients here! I also love that the flavor works with a wide range of cuisines, so you can pair your baked lemon garlic chicken breasts with everything from Lebanese Rice to Greek Orzo Salad and Cottage Cheese Alfredo Pasta.

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Mediterranean Inspired
Primary Cooking Method: Oven or Stove
Dietary Info: Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Keto
Key Flavor: Garlicky and Citrusy
Skill Level: Easy


  • So Much Flavor: With six cloves of garlic and the juice and zest of two lemons, this recipe is packed with big flavors. Parsley adds some freshness, while red pepper flakes add just enough kick to make things interesting.
  • Easy to Make: The simplicity of this recipe makes it perfect for busy weeknights. With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time, you can have a delicious meal on the table in no time.
  • Versatile: This healthy lemon garlic chicken works with a wide variety of side dishes, or you can keep dinner light and slice it up for serving over salad. 
  • Lighter Option: By using fresh, simple ingredients and lean chicken breast, this lemon garlic chicken is a great way to make a satisfying dinner that won’t leave you feeling heavy and weighed down afterward.

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken

Ingredients for recipe: fresh parsley, spices, oil garlic cloves, chicken breasts, and whole lemons.
  • Chicken Breasts: I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts to keep things easy.
  • Garlic Cloves: If your garlic cloves are especially large or small, adjust accordingly; you might need to use two smaller cloves in place of one average garlic clove.
  • Lemons: You’ll need the zest and the juice; zest the lemons before juicing them.
  • Fresh Parsley: While parsley is often used as a garnish, it contributes a lot of flavor to these lemon garlic chicken breasts. Don’t skip it!
  • Seasoning: Dried oregano, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes add some depth and heat.
  • Olive Oil: Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil here; it has a smoke point of around 410ºF. Use a cooking olive oil instead, which can withstand higher temperatures.
  • Use chicken thighs instead of breasts. Swap in boneless, skinless chicken thighs and simply cook the chicken a little bit longer.
  • Add vegetables. Toss in some sliced red bell peppers, red onions, or zucchini to make this lemon garlic chicken into a one-dish dinner.
  • Experiment with different herbs. Thyme, rosemary, or even basil would be delicious in this recipe.
  • Swap in a Meyer lemon. For a slight twist on the original, use a fragrant Meyer lemon instead of regular lemon in the lemon garlic chicken marinade.

How to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken

After marinating the chicken breasts, you have two options: you can cook the chicken in a skillet or on a sheet pan.

How to make lemon garlic chicken in a skillet

  1. Place the marinated chicken breasts in a skillet.
  2. Cook the chicken on both sides until it’s nicely browned and reaches a safe internal temperature.
2 image collage of 3 marinated chicken breasts in a skillet before and after cooking.

How to make lemon garlic chicken on a sheet pan

  1. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan lined with foil.
  2. Bake the chicken until it’s cooked through and reaches a safe internal temperature.
2 image collage before and after baking recipe on a foil lined sheet pan.

Tips for Making the Best Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts

  1. Make sure the chicken is uniform in thickness. Use a meat mallet to pound the chicken until each breast is the same thickness. This will ensure that they all finish cooking at the same time.
  2. Don’t over-marinate. Beyond 4 hours, the acid in the marinade will start to break down the protein in the chicken, giving it an unpleasant texture.
  3. Give the chicken space. If you’re making skillet lemon garlic chicken, make sure the chicken has sufficient space, or cook the chicken breasts in batches. If they’re crammed too close together, they’ll steam instead of searing.
  4. Let the chicken rest. For 5 to 10 minutes before serving. The resting time helps the juices reincorporate into the meat so your baked lemon garlic chicken breasts will be tender and juicy.
Lemon garlic chicken on a plate with crispy potato cubes and green beans.

What to Serve With Baked Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts

How to Store & Reheat Lemon Garlic Chicken

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat the chicken in the microwave or in a skillet set over medium heat until it’s warmed through.

How Long Will Lemon Garlic Chicken Last in the Fridge?

Leftover lemon garlic chicken will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I Freeze Lemon Garlic Chicken Breasts?

Lemon garlic chicken breasts can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use dried parsley instead of fresh?

No, dried parsley doesn’t have nearly as much flavor as fresh parsley. If you don’t have fresh parsley available, I recommend substituting another fresh herb.

Can I make this with bone-in chicken?

You can use bone-in chicken, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted, as bone-in chicken takes longer to cook. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165˚F.

What type of skillet should I use?

A cast iron skillet or regular skillet works best for this recipe.

Sheet pan lemon garlic chicken breasts on a foil lined cooking sheet, garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges.

Lemon garlic chicken is quick, easy, and versatile, making it ideal for busy weeknights! With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can have a delicious and healthy meal on the table in no time. It’s a recipe you’ll return to again and again!

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Lemon Garlic Chicken

Lemon Garlic Chicken, whether in a skillet or on a sheet pan, brings a burst of zesty, savory goodness. Quick, delicious, and versatile, it's an ideal dish for any meal.
5 from 26 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 404
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
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For the Marinade:

  • 4 (8-ounce) chicken breasts
  • 6 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large lemons zest and juice
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • Layer the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts so they are of uniform thickness. This will help them to cook evenly.
  • Add the peeled garlic to a cutting board and lightly smash with the side of a chef’s knife. Add the salt and using the side of the knife, work the garlic into a smooth paste. Transfer garlic paste to a large zip-top bag along with lemon zest and juice, parsley, oregano, red pepper, black pepper and olive oil. Seal the bag and give it a gentle shake to combine all of the ingredients. Add the chicken breast and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
  • When ready to cook, you can either cook the chicken in a skillet or in the oven.

To cook the chicken in a skillet:

  • Set a large coated cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Remove the chicken breast from the marinade and set in the pan smooth side down. Let cook undisturbed for about 7 to 9 minutes, then flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 7 to 9 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers the chicken at 165˚F.
  • Remove from heat and set on a plate to rest. Cover with foil to keep warm, then serve after about 5 to 10 minutes.

To cook the chicken in the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.
  • Remove the chicken breast from the marinade and place on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 16 to 22 minutes, or until or until an instant-read thermometer registers the chicken at 165˚F.
  • If desired, preheat the broiler to high and set the sheet pan under the boiler for about 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set on a plate to rest. Cover with foil to keep warm, then serve after about 5 to 10 minutes.


Serving: 1chicken breast, Calories: 404kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 145mg, Sodium: 851mg, Potassium: 966mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 464IU, Vitamin C: 38mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Entree, Main Dish
5 from 26 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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