Roasted Lemon Chicken Thighs


Nine roast lemon chicken thighs in a round Dutch oven with lemon slices tucked between them.

These roasted lemon chicken thighs are made by pan-searing bone-in thighs until golden, then roasting them in a fresh and preserved lemon sauce with soy, garlic, and thyme.

Nine roast lemon chicken thighs in a round Dutch oven with lemon slices tucked between them.Nine roast lemon chicken thighs in a round Dutch oven with lemon slices tucked between them.

Adapted from Gordon Ramsay | Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious | Grand Central Publishing, 2020

Once, twice, three times a lady…oops, sorry, that was The Commodores, not Gordon Ramsey. But we gotta say, we’re humming a tune over his lemon roasted chicken thighs recipe that draws on twice the lemon as usual along with a little soy sauce and honey. Sorta impressive how simple ingredients conjure complex taste.–David Leite

Why our testers loved this

Our testers were unanimous in their love for the combination of fresh and preserved lemon used in this recipe, describing the balance of flavors as “complex,” “well-balanced,” and “rich and layered.”

Joanna Burnett joined in with her comment, “The combination of the fresh lemon and preserved lemon gave a really nice bitter lemon flavor balanced by the honey and soy sauce. This is a definite make-again recipe.“

Notes on ingredients

  • Bone-in chicken thighs–You can substitute boneless chicken thighs here, but be aware that the cooking time will be less.
  • Preserved lemon–These salty citrusy fruits deliver plenty of flavor. Be sure to rinse your lemon before chopping so that you don’t have an overly salty dish. Extra preserved lemons are excellent in this couscous and chicken salad or in this creamy yogurt sauce.
  • Dark soy sauce–This is darker, a little thicker, and slightly sweeter than regular soy sauce. Don’t be tempted to substitute black soy sauce, as it is significantly sweeter. You can substitute tamari if you would like your dish to be gluten-free.

How to make this recipe

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken, garlic, and thyme in the skillet. Sear on both sides until golden brown. Pour in the vinegar and let it reduce, then drizzle in the soy sauce and honey.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the water, fresh and preserved lemons, and bring to a simmer. Transfer the skillet to the oven.
  4. Roast the chicken. When the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165°F and the sauce is thickened and reduced, remove it from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and top with the sauce and fresh parsley.

Recipe FAQs

What is dark soy sauce?

Soy sauce comes in many variations, including light, dark, and sweet versions. For this recipe, dark soy is used for its rich flavor and slightly thicker consistency.

Many brands of dark soy also contain a small amount of molasses, which adds the slightest hint of sweetness. (Black soy sauce, which has a more marked sweetness, is not recommended for this recipe.)

What should I serve with this?

Our testers enjoyed this served with a grain, such as rice, and roasted or steamed vegetables. If you are looking for a light, healthy meal, try it with a side of cauliflower rice. If you want even more lemon, pair it with lemon mashed potatoes.

How can I tell if my chicken is done?

The most accurate way to tell if your chicken is cooked through is to use an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, but without touching bone. When it registers 165°F (74°C), the chicken is safe to eat.

Helpful tips

  • For a darker appearance and slightly crispier chicken thighs, you can broil the chicken for the final minute or two of cooking.
  • Leftover chicken thighs can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  • This recipe is suitable for a dairy-free diet. To make it gluten-free, use tamari instead of dark soy sauce.

More great roast chicken thigh recipes

A metal roasting pan filled with roasted chicken thighs, olives, lemon, tomatoes, feta, and herbs.A metal roasting pan filled with roasted chicken thighs, olives, lemon, tomatoes, feta, and herbs.Harissa Roast Chicken A metal sheet pan covered with 8 golden and crisp chicken thighs.A metal sheet pan covered with 8 golden and crisp chicken thighs.Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

Roasted Lemon Chicken Thighs

Nine roast lemon chicken thighs in a round Dutch oven with lemon slices tucked between them.Nine roast lemon chicken thighs in a round Dutch oven with lemon slices tucked between them.

These roasted lemon chicken thighs are made by pan-searing bone-in thighs until golden, then roasting them in a fresh and preserved lemon sauce with soy, garlic, and thyme.

Prep 25 mins

Cook 20 mins

Total 45 mins

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

  • In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet with the garlic and thyme. Cook until golden brown all over, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

  • Pour the vinegar into the skillet and simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and honey, shaking the skillet to mix the sauce.

  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the water, fresh lemon, and preserved lemons, and bring to a simmer.

  • Place the skillet in the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through, registers an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), and the sauce has reduced to a thick syrup, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken thighs.
  • Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley. Spoon the sauce from the skillet over the chicken. Serve immediately.

  1. Crispy skin–For a darker appearance and slightly crispier chicken thighs, you can broil the chicken for the final minute or two of cooking.
  2. Storage and reheating–Leftover chicken thighs can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Rewarm in a 350°F oven until heated through.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for a dairy-free diet. To make it gluten-free, use tamari instead of dark soy sauce.

Serving: 1portionCalories: 768kcal (38%)Carbohydrates: 19g (6%)Protein: 48g (96%)Fat: 55g (85%)Saturated Fat: 14g (88%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 11gMonounsaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 283mg (94%)Sodium: 729mg (32%)Potassium: 674mg (19%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 16g (18%)Vitamin A: 433IU (9%)Vitamin C: 13mg (16%)Calcium: 43mg (4%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Recipe © 2020 Gordon Ramsey. Photo © 2020 Louise Hagger. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.

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