Garlic Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe

I’m realizing that we tend to eat a lot more meat in the winter. The rest of the year we usually stretch our meats in pastas, casseroles or stir fry like this week’s beef broccoli.  But in winter we often want meaty main dishes like crispy fried chicken, pan fried steak, or these simple and homey garlic lemon chicken thighs.

In the various harvest seasons we get a LOT of fresh vegetables from our CSA so eat more vegetarian meals.  But winter is when we start eating down the freezer.  I try to limit my fresh produce to wintry greens like spinach, kale, chard and Brussels sprouts.  We eat a lot of vegetables that I’ve canned and frozen in their peak season.  The last of the fall squashes and fruits I’ve canned round out our sides along with potatoes and root vegetables.

I came up with this recipe back when I lived in Hawaii.  On my budget of $12 a week for food, finding 15 chicken thighs on sale for $3 was a dream come true!  Grocery stores often mark down meat that’s been in the refrigerated section for a while.  The good news is that you can simply freeze the meat and it will last several months just fine!  I like to freeze mine in 2-4 pieces for easy thawing depending on what I’m making.  You can either use plastic food storage containers, or reuse plastic Ziploc bags.

These chicken thighs weren’t quite as cheap, but close.  I got 20 thighs for $6.  As for the seasonings, you can get a fresher flavor using fresh thyme and rosemary and fresh squeezed lemon juice, but it really tastes quite good as is.  It all depends on what’s available and affordable to you.  If you have fresh herbs in your windowsill or garden, that’s going to be the most affordable option.  If you don’t, make sure to get your dried herbs somewhere that offers herbs and spices in bulk.  Bulk doesn’t mean you have to buy a lot at a time.  I often just get 1/4 cup at a time which usually costs 25-50 cents depending on the seasoning.

For lemon juice I buy the double bottles of lemon juice at Sam’s Club.  Again if you have a fresh lemon at home, use the juice of that lemon, you can even add some of the zest as well.  Healthy, affordable cooking happens best when you work with what you have.  I always say that recipes are guidelines, not rules!

I always make four chicken thighs at a time.  Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave, but I prefer to reheat them in the oven to retain the lovely crispy skin.  If you’re looking to cut back on calories you can use skinless thighs, but I’d personally skip dessert in favor of crispy flavorful chicken skin!

If you got a great deal on chicken thighs and are looking for some more ideas to cook them, I love these Korean style honey chicken thighs and this Chinese recipe for chicken thighs in an oyster sauce.  I’d also love to hear your favorite chicken thigh recipes!

Garlic Lemon Chicken Thighs

serves 4

Ingredients

1/3 cup of lemon juice
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TBS melted butter
4 bone-in chicken thighs with skin

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Mix together lemon juice, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and melted butter in a baking dish.  Add the chicken thighs and swish them around to coat them in your sauce.

Roast for 50-60 minutes in the oven.  After 25 minutes, use a spoon to pour juices from the dish over the chicken.  Chicken is done when the skin is crisp and golden and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees.

Approximate cost/serving: It only cost me about $1.30 to make this, I know, cheap!  That means just 33 cents per serving.

Gluten Free: No adjustments necessary to make this gluten free.


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3 Responses to “Garlic Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe”

  1. Kelly
    January 5, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Yum. I haven’t noticed if my meat consumption goes up in the winter. If anything, and I feel sheepish saying this, I think my veggies just get replaced with carbs as I love, love, love casseroles.

  2. Tran Huynh
    June 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Hi Diana!
    This recipe looks really, really good! I’m planning to make it, but I got a few questions… I’m on a diet, and I don’t eat chicken thighs because they tend to have more calories then chicken breast. So can I use chicken breast instead? Or… Would that make the whole recipe taste off? Also, instead of buying lemon juice, can I squeeze 1/3 of lemons that my grandfather grew? Or does that not taste the same as lemon juice you buy at the store? Sorry, I’m still a beginner at cooking and my questions might be a bit silly. :] Thank you for a good recipe though!

    • diana
      June 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      Hi Tran, not silly at all! Are you using chicken breasts with or without skin? I’ve made this same recipe with both. The only thing you really need to adjust is cooking time. If you’re using boneless skinless chicken breasts you’ll need a much shorter cooking time. Go by internal temperature which should be 165 degrees. You also won’t get the crispy flavorful skin, but the meat will have good flavor.

      Fresh squeezed lemons are actually better than the bottled stuff! Most people don’t have free access to them (lucky!) so buying the big bottles is cheaper. Using real lemons will give you a fresher taste.

      I’m excited for you as a beginner cook, it’s a great journey that you’ll keep getting better and better at! Looking forward to hearing how it turns out for you.

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