This creamy lemon garlic chicken is one of those recipes that once you try, you'll wonder how you ever made it this far in your life without this recipe. It's perfect for a weeknight dinner when you want something you can throw in the oven while you get other stuff done.
It also works for a dinner party when you don't want too much work, but want lots of flavors that are sure to impress guests. I love how easy this recipe is and how it gets a deep, rich flavor and I don't have to mess with the food very much.
A lot of chicken recipes want you to brown the meat or make the sauce separate. That's just too many steps for me. So I've gotten pretty good at simplifying recipes.
I mean, I'm a busy wife and mom. I don't need extra steps, like browning the chicken, picking out bones or even unthawing the chicken. There are basically three parts to the recipe - the herb sauce, the garlic, and optional extras and the cream sauce. Yes!
The garlic is so important that it has its own part. Don't skimp on the garlic. Nothing but the whole, real garlic cloves will work. Trust me. It's insanely delicious when you can smash the garlic with your fork and get a big bite of roasted garlic mixed with the cream sauce and roasted chicken.
Everyone I've made this recipe for loves it. My sister heard I was finally ready to take photos of it, after testing it at least 10 times, and she begged me to come over and have it again. My son literally held the plate up to his mouth and shoved it in. I thought about taking a video, but it really wasn't pretty. It's that good, though. Seriously.
Here are some tips and tricks and answers to questions you may have:
- I pretty much always use frozen chicken thighs from Costco. It just takes about 10 minutes longer than unthawed chicken and tastes the same. If you want to sub in chicken thighs with bones and skin, it tastes even better, but it's a bit more work. You need to brown the skin on the chicken first after you put the herb sauce on and before you put it in the oven. You may also need to drain the fat off unless you're doing Keto, and then you may want to leave it on. If you're cooking with the skin and bones, add about 10 minutes to the cooking time.
- Yes, you can sub chicken breasts or chicken tenders. I don't generally bake chicken tenders. I save those for the stove top. It's easy to overcook chicken tenders in the oven. Plus, they just don't have the depth of flavor. If you don't cook with chicken thighs often, I encourage you to try them in this recipe. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. With chicken tenders, I would take about 10 minutes off the cooking time.
- I often like to use regular, old yellow mustard. It has a stronger flavor. However, if you want it a bit more mild and more refined, try a dijon mustard, or even a whole grain dijon.
- To get more juice out of your lemons, roll them before you cut them.
- You don't HAVE to have fresh basil, but it really is better. If you don't have it, I usually just sub 2 tsp. of Italian seasoning.
- I have only used this recipe with heavy cream because I'm afraid the lemon will curdle with anything else. However, I've read similar recipes to mine and some people use light cream, half and half or milk. I can't guarantee the results because I haven't tested it myself. Just try it with the cream. Don't be scared of fat. It's so rich and creamy and you really don't eat that much of it.
- This recipe is the amount of sauce I like per pan of chicken. I usually end up making two 12" pans for my family, so you would need to double the sauce.
- The sauce isn't particularly supposed to be thick, but it gets pretty thicken just by using cream and because it reduces in the oven.
- I often double the sauce for each pan so there's plenty to go over rice or noodles. I find that if I don't, my kids and I are fighting over every last little bit of the sauce.
- Yes. I personally feel that all the fresh, whole cloves of garlic are totally necessary.
- My garlic sometimes gets overdone, like in the photo below, so sometimes I wait and don't add them until the last 20-30 minutes of cooking.
- If you really like the lemon flavor, feel free to put all the juice from the lemon in this dish.
- Adding lemon zest to this dish really helps to up the lemon flavor without changing the consistency.
- Fresh herbs are really good with this too. Don't be afraid to experiment with them and try different herbs. My favorites are fresh basil and fresh rosemary. And when using fresh herbs, you always need a lot more than with dry, because drying concentrates the flavor.
I would love to know if you try this recipe and what you think of it and if you make any changes to the recipe. Please comment below!Print
I love this recipe because it's not only easy to make, but the sauce is to die for!
- 6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard (or dijon mustard)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Basil (minced)
- ½ tsp Real Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes (or more or less, to taste. For a more mild flavor, you could use paprika.)
Garlic and Optional Extras
- 10 Cloves Garlic (whole, peeled)
- Onion, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash (optional)
Lemon Cream Sauce
- 1 Lemon (juiced, about ¼ cup or a little more)
- ½ Cup Chicken Broth (or water)
- ½ Cup Heavy Cream
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Basil (minced)
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- Lemon Slices (for garnish)
- Fresh Basil (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- While the oven is pre-heating, place chicken in a 12 inch enameled cast iron dutch oven. (You could also use a 9x13 baking pan, but it will probably take about 5 minutes or so longer because it doesn't conduct heat as well.)
- Combine the herb sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix with a basting brush.
- Brush the herb sauce evenly over the top of the chicken. Place in the oven. If frozen, cook for 20 minutes. If not, cook for 10 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, peel all the garlic cloves, then throw them randomly in the pan at the end of the 10 or 20 minutes mentioned above.
- Put the chicken back in the oven for 10 more minutes while you prepare the lemon cream sauce in the same bowl you used for the herb sauce.
- Dump the lemon cream sauce in the pan over the garlic but not over the chicken.
- Cook for another 20 minutes. (I usually take a 5 minute break, then start the rice cooking in my Instant Pot so it will be done at the same time as the chicken). Cream should be bubbling and slightly thicker.
- Serve with cooked rice, pasta, zoodles , quinoa or cauliflower rice - depending on your diet.
- Chicken can be served as is (if doing so, add the butter to the sauce and stir until melted and combined, then serve), or, if a thicker sauce is desired, you can pour the sauce from the baking dish into a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let cook down for 2-3 minutes, or just until the sauce thickens to the degree you want it to and becomes glossy. Whisk the butter into the sauce until melted and combined. Pour over the chicken and serve.
- Garnish with the lemon slices and basil.
Keywords: Baked, Easy, Creamy