Five-Ingredient Lemony Chicken

Five-Ingredient Skillet Chicken

A traditional roast chicken is always delicious, but what about those nights when you just don’t have the time? Enter this one-pot skillet chicken. It boasts the same savory flavor with half the work — and requires only a handful of ingredients. So, to continue our month of chicken dinners, food genius Amanda Frederickson shows us how it’s done…

Five-Ingredient Lemony Chicken
By Amanda Frederickson

I am always on the lookout for simple, tasty, one-pot meals that are healthy and hearty. These oven-roasted chicken thighs with lemon might take the cake. Compared to chicken breast, thighs are more flavorful and much juicier. When you brown the skin and then braise the thigh meat you are left with chicken that is tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. (Tip: One of my favorite tools in the kitchen is a meat thermometer to take the guess work out of cooking meat. I use it all the time — especially with chicken.)

Recipe: Five-Ingredient Lemony Chicken
Serves 2 to 4

You’ll need:

2 1/2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 5 or 6 individual thighs)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp lemon juice
Lemon slices
Freshly cracked pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Liberally sprinkle salt over chicken thighs.

In a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet, warm the olive oil over medium high heat. Place the chicken, skin side down and brown until crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Depending on the size of the pan, this can be done in batches.

Remove the chicken and carefully pour off the fat into a small bowl. (Discard fat after it cools.)

Scatter onions in the pan and sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat. Place the chicken skin side up on top of the onions. Carefully pour chicken broth and lemon juice around chicken thighs. Scatter lemon slices on top and sprinkle with pepper.

Roast chicken thighs for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165F. Let chicken rest in braising broth for 5 minutes before serving.

Thank you so much Amanda! Your recipes are always delicious.

P.S. More recipes, including chicken parm meatballs and lemony white bean soup.

(Recipe and photos by Amanda Frederickson. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)

  1. melissa davis says...

    Just made this tonight- easy, quick and delicious!! My husband and son went bananas over it, too. :) Another awesome recipe, Amanda!!!

  2. David says...

    The photo looks like there is fresh thyme in there, so I added it. Yum. I had smaller thighs. I still baked it for 25 minutes. Delicious! I gave extras to an ailing neighbor. Sent a photo to some friends. They wished they were eating here!

  3. Raquel Moncada says...

    de-lish! I used chicken breasts and it worked great, thanks!

  4. Kate says...

    Made this last night – it was delicious! Only change I made was that I skimmed the recipe at work and didn’t realize it needed to be finished in the oven – so I just did it all over the stovetop. Worked great – delicious!!

  5. These are beautiful! I love how chicken thighs cook with skin on them – crispy and totally photogenic. I do a similar recipe with a dash of cayenne for my spice addiction. Thank you for sharing! :)


  6. Kim says...

    You are knocking it out of the park with the skillet meals this week. The chicken parmesan was really good and I can’t wait to try this one, too.

  7. Rachel says...

    I added some mixed olives to the dish before I baked it. It was a big hit. I can see this being a great meal to bring to a new mom.

  8. This chicken looks delicious! I cant wait to try out the recipe

  9. Leslie says...

    Can this recipe be done with chicken breast or boneless thighs had did it come out if anyone tried it

    • Kathryn says...

      I made this last night with split chicken breast halves (which comes bone in, skin on). It needed to stay in oven slightly longer because they are thicker, about 30-35 minutes to reach 165 degrees. Let it rest 5-10 minutes under foil before eating. It turned out awesome.

  10. LAURA FERNANDEZ says...

    I’m so excited about making this tonight!! Thanks for easy great recipes!!

  11. Reem says...

    This might be a silly question, but I’ve never know the best way to discard chicken fat or any used oil. Thoughts?

    • Emma Bee says...

      Pour it in an aluminum can, stick it in the freezer, then throw out with regular trash.

    • Cazmina says...

      Old cooking oil can actually be recycled, you could check to see if there is a system for it in your local area.

  12. Totally making this! Yum.

  13. Cassie says...

    Has the CoJ team ever thought about featuring a plant based meal? (Maybe you have in the past and I never saw it; my apologies if so!) I have been vegan for a while, but more and more of my friends (and even my stubborn parents!) having been changing to a plant based diet. I would love to see recipes featured that show that a plant based diet is one of abundance. :)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thanks so much for the tip, Cassie! Love that idea. We will definitely keep this is mind.

      Stella xoxoxo

    • Dougal says...

      “But there’s no demand for that because it’s shite.”

  14. Have anyone tried chicken wings and chicken breast with this recipe? Thanks a million!

    ps. Simple peach cobbler recipes. Thanks again

  15. This is the “Canal House Chicken” from Food52 genius recipes!

  16. Trisha says...

    Chicken thighs always! I always request my husband make “stovetop” chicken with the thighs because they are always so so delicious. Never dry like the breast. Love anything you can make in a cast iron skillet!

  17. Alena says...

    Shouldn’t it be called Seven-Ingredient Lemony Chicken?

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hi Alena! We typically don’t count basics like salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil, etc, because you already have them in your pantry. Hope this helps clarify!


  18. Kristin says...

    Looks like a great recipe! I’m a little confused by the “same flavor with half the work”. Do you mean in half the time? A whole roast chicken is a lot less work than this…(but does take quite a bit longer in the oven, albeit it hands-off time).

    • That was my first thought, roast chicken is so easy!

  19. Lily says...

    Looks delicious!

  20. Sonya says...

    This looks so good! Thank you for featuring such great, easy dinner recipes lately! I’m often a bit intimidated by recipes on blogs but this looks doable and delicious.

    I know it’s not the sexiest small appliance, but would you ever consider featuring a slow cooker recipe? I’ve found my slow cooker to be a huge asset during busy times.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Thank you so much for your feedback, Sonya! We really appreciate it. I finally ordered a slow cooker and it’s been really amazing. Love your idea on slow cooker recipes.


    • I second this! Even 20-30 minute recipes are too much with a whiny toddler afoot at 5 pm. I use my slow cooker all the time, but I find that fresh, bright recipes are kind of limited, and I’m not too fond of the dump-a-can-of-condensed-soup-in-there method.

    • Alice says...

      Third this!

  21. I find that dark meat chicken tastes a bit better when cooked to a higher temperature, more like 185. There’s a lot of connective tissue that breaks down at the higher temperature, resulting in a tastier chicken. And don’t leave the citrus in the cast iron too long after cooking, it’s not good for the pan. But boy, nothing gets a good sear like cast iron!

    • Melissa says...

      That is SO interesting because I adore chicken thighs on my grill but I don’t love the taste of them when I try and replicate on the stove top/oven, I must not be cooking them long enough/hot enough – thank you!

  22. C says...

    This looks so good!!!

  23. This looks delicious! I don’t have a cast iron skillet. Is there another type of skillet that I could use for the stove and the oven? Or, could I transfer everything to a glass dish or corning ware for the oven part without ruining it? (Ok, the 2nd question is probably for me because grace is not one of my attributes!!)

    • Sara says...

      I’ve made a really similar dish to this before with a butterflied chicken and I just put it in an oven safe steel skillet and it worked great! I thought about another dish too, but the thought of transferring hot food just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Lara says...

      I would personally recommend using a Pyrex (glass) or other dutch oven type dish instead. I find anything acidic in nature (tomatoes, citrus) breaks down the seasoning of a cast iron more quickly. It’s a bit of a process to season so I often use another dish (though I will admit it does always look so pretty in the rustic iron pan!)

    • Allison Mathis says...

      You can get a Lodge cast iron skillet at Target for around $20. :-)

    • Emma says...

      Yes – you can crisp up the skin in any skillet (stovetop), then transfer to an oven-safe baking dish. I would recommend also sweating/caramelizing the onions stovetop, with the chicken, before putting it all together in the oven.

      To make the transfer easier, you might want to use a fish spatula (long and relatively narrow compared to most spatulas) if you have one, or tongs if not–or a combination of both.

    • Hi there! You can use any oven safe cookware for this recipe. I hate doing dishes so I keep it all in one pot, but you could definitely transfer to a Pyrex dish or use stainless steel to sear and cook in.

    • Thank you everyone for your responses! So very helpful!