Marinated chicken thighs are succulent, juicy and tender. Quick and easy to make they will get lunch or dinner sorted with lightning speed. Follow my tips and tricks to master the recipe from the 1st time you make it. These easy baked marinated chicken thighs will tick all of your boxes 😉👍.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Simple ingredients: you will be able to get everything you need to make these lemon pepper chicken thighs from the local grocery store. We use a simple marinade which comes together effortlessly.
- Family friendly: this is a chicken recipe that the whole family can enjoy together. It also makes for an easy weeknight dinner. There is no flavors that are too strong and there is no heat or spice in the recipe.
- Budget friendly: this is a reasonably cost effective chicken thighs recipe that won't break the bank.
- Taste and texture: there is the succulent, juicy chicken thighs and the fragrant lemon aroma and taste. Grilling the chicken allows for crispy brown bits which add a little texture to the plate.
- Versatile: if you want to use the chicken for lunch you can and it also works perfectly for an easy dinner idea. You have a lot of options to choose from.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the chicken thigh marinade recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Salt and pepper: we use salt and a little bit of black pepper in the marinade mix.
- Lemons: we zest 2 lemons and use this zest in the marinade. It adds so much flavor as well as texture to the recipe.
- Dried oregano: an excellent pantry staple to whip out as needed.
- Dried parsley: as above, another great dried herb that is versatile and works with almost anything!
- Dried chives: handy if you don't have fresh herbs growing but you want to use a herb from the onion family.
- Garlic powder: saves peeling the skin from garlic or dicing it into small pieces.
- Onion powder: also great to have in the pantry as needed. This can dry out if open but not used for a while, so check your bottle before heading to the shops.
- Lemon juice: we use the zest from 2 fresh lemons, but store bought bottled lemon juice for the marinade. This is due to the volume needed. It works out cheaper and the taste is still excellent.
- Olive oil: a wonderful ingredient to use in marinades. Plus it is pairs exceptionally well with the lemon juice.
- Chicken thighs: we use boneless skinless chicken thighs for the recipe. You will be able to get them either from the deli section at your local grocery store or the meat section.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making my recipes. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by zesting the lemons.
- Zest the lemons (Photo 1)
- Gather marinade ingredients (Photo 2)
- Add to bowl (Photo 3)
- Whisk to combine (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Marinated Chicken Thighs
Start by grabbing a chopping board and microplane zester to zest the lemons. Once this is done gather the remaining ingredients for the marinade.
Have a large bowl ready and add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, chives, oregano, parsely, salt and pepper. Use a mini whisk to stir and combine.
- Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade (Photo 5)
- Add the chicken thighs to the bowl (Photo 6)
- Transfer to baking dish (Photo 7)
- Bake for 30 minutes (Photo 8)
Once you have combined the marinade, reserve ¼ cup of it which we will use later in the recipe when we will grill the marinated chicken.
Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and use kitchen tongs to toss and combine. Then refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes up to 24 hours.
Next remove the marinated chicken thighs from the fridge and discard the cling wrap. Spray a baking dish with olive oil and place chicken thighs and marinade into the dish. Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil and then place it into a preheated oven on the middle shelf for 30 minutes.
- Baste with reserved marinade and grill for 10 minutes (Photo 9)
🍋 Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
Once the chicken has been in the oven for 30 minutes, we want to use oven mits to remove it and change the setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6.
Place the baking dish on a heatproof surface and remove the foil.
Then use kitchen tongs to transfer the baked chicken thighs to a silicon mat on top of a wire baking rack and tray.
Use a pastry brush to brush the extra marinade (you reserved earlier) onto each baked chicken thigh. You can see this process in the photo above and below.
Once all of the chicken thighs are basted, you can place the baking tray into the oven and let the thighs grill for 10 minutes.
- Repeat baste and grill (Photo 10)
Next you want to remove the chicken after the 1st 10 minutes of grill time, rebaste them with the marinade and grill them again for a final 10 minutes.
This means that the chicken will be oven baked for 30 minutes and grilled for 20 minutes. The total cooking time is 50 minutes. It is the perfect combination for sensational chicken thighs.
Once baked and grilled, let the chicken rest then get ready to serve it.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
The sauce that you see in the photos throughout the post is the Horseradish Yogurt Sauce. I add a small amount of parsley to the food processor when I am making this sauce as it adds a little texture.
Or you can explore all of the homemade sauce recipes if you are looking for more options.
These chicken thighs will work well on a plate with side dishes such as rice and spinach. Throw some lemon wedges and fresh parsley on there too for good measure.
If you want to use quinoa that is another easy option that works. Store bought rice and quinoa that have been cooked already only need to be reheated in the microwave making an effortless dinner that won't set you back hours and hours.
For wine pairings a super chilled glass of pinot grigio is a great go too. Nothing expensive needed. You can get a decent bottle of this for around the $10 mark.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Next day leftovers taste just as good if not better than same day you cooked them!
Store leftovers in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge. They can be kept for 2-3 days and need to be reheated before being consumed.
How to Freeze
You have a couple of freezer options for this recipe. The first is for convenience, you can purchase raw chicken thighs and freeze them. Then defrost and allow to thaw when you want to make the recipe.
Or you can make the marinade, add it and the raw chicken thighs to a ziplock plastic bag, push the air out, seal and lay flat in the freezer for 3 months. These are then best thawed before being cooked as per the recipe instructions. (An easy prep idea for night's that you know you will be super busy without time to start from scratch!)
For leftover marinated chicken thighs you can either freeze these in a sealed, airtight container or you can chop them up and repurpose them in a salad, sandwich, wrap or pizza topping.
How to Reheat
The microwave is the quickest and easiest method to reheat leftovers.
Simply pop them on a plate or container with cling wrap or lid and reheat on high for 2-3 minutes until warmed through.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can use fresh herbs in place of the dried oregano, parsley and chives if you wish to.
- If you would like to use this marinade for skin on chicken thighs, it will work.
- You can use fresh garlic cloves if you want to. 2-3 finely chopped will be perfect.
- If you want to add brown sugar to the marinade, you can. 1 teaspoon will keep the ratios consistent.
- You can use this marinade for chicken breast if you wish to.
- If you want to add a teaspoon of sweet soy sauce to the marinade ingredients you can.
- If you are after more of a poached chicken type taste then you don't have to grill the chicken thighs after you have baked them. They won't have any crispy golden brown bits, but they will still be cooked through.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- The lemon zest brings not only flavor but texture to the recipe so this step is so worth it.
- As there is such a large volume of lemon juice used for the marinade, I use store bought lemon juice for that (would cost a lot for that many lemons!), but I do zest 2 actual lemons for the recipe.
- The actual marinade time for the recipe is up to you. It can be as little as 15 minutes to over night.
- Use kitchen tongs when handling the chicken to allow you to be 'hands off'.
- The leftover marinade in the baking dish can be discarded. I find the easiest way to do this is to use paper towel and a sieve and pour it into that propped up in a glass and then this can be discarded. It is an easy way to save tipping it down the sink!
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to marinate chicken thighs?
Once you have combined the marinade and the chicken thighs, you can cover them and place them in the refrigerator. Let them marinade from as little as 15 minutes up to 24 hours (over night).
Can I marinate chicken thighs for 2 days?
No. 2 days is really too long to marinade chicken thighs. The longest time I would recommend is 24 hours. After that time you are best to cook the marinated chicken.
Should you poke holes in chicken to marinate?
Some recipes may indicate that you need to poke holes in the chicken in order to marinade it. However, this is not an essential step nor is it something that I recommend you do.
Do you marinate chicken in the fridge?
Yes. The fridge is the best place to put the chicken whilst it is marinating.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
If you have ideas and plenty of options then you never have to worry about 'What's for Dinner?' again. I am here to give you those ideas and options 😉👍.
The recipes I am sharing below offer a variety of cook times, proteins, methods and flavors.
- Crispy Fried Mushrooms
- Beef Back Ribs
- Bacon And Corn Fritters
- Meatballs With Alfredo Sauce
- Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb
- Zucchini And Carrot Fritters
- Wagyu Burgers
- Honey Mustard Sausages
- Panko Pork Chops
- Crumbed Lamb Cutlets
Its time to get our marinade on my friend. You can also find all of my chicken recipes in the one spot.
Marinated Chicken Thighs (Baked Then Grilled)
- ½ cup lemon zest Note 1
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs Note 2
- 1 cup/250 ml olive oil
- 1 cup/250 ml lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried chives
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- lemon wedges
- flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat the oven: preheat the oven to 180°C / 350-375°F / Gas Mark 4-5. (Note: this step needs to be done about 10 minutes before you want to place the chicken into the oven).
- Lemon zest: use a chopping board and microplane zester to zest the 2 lemons and add this to a small bowl.
- Marinade: add the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper to a large bowl and use a whisk to combine.
- Chicken thighs: remove the chicken thighs from the packaging and add them to the bowl with the marinade. Use kitchen tongs to toss and combine. Then cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it into the refrigerator for a minimum of 15 minutes up to 24 hours.
- Oven bake: remove the marinated chicken thighs from the fridge and discard the cling wrap. Then spray a baking dish with olive oil. Pour the chicken thighs and marinade into the baking dish and then cover it with aluminium foil. Place the baking dish onto the middle shelf of a preheated oven and bake the chicken for 30 minutes.
- Grill/broil: use oven mits to remove the baking dish from the oven and place it onto a heatproof surface. Change the oven setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6. Use kitchen tongs to transfer each chicken thigh to a silicon baking mat on an oven rack and tray. Use the pastry brush to coat each thigh with the reserved marinade. Then place the tray into the oven on the top shelf. Grill the chicken thighs for 10 mins. Then remove, repeat the basting process followed by a further 10 mins grill time (Grill time total: 20 minutes).
- Serve: use oven mits to remove the baking tray from the oven and place it onto a heat proof surface. Let the chicken thighs rest for 2 to 3 minutes before using tongs to transfer them to a serving plate. Garnish with flat leaf parsley, lemon wedges and provide Horseradish Yogurt Sauce (optional).
- Note 1 - Lemon zest: this is 2 large lemons zested using a micro plane zester.
- Note 2 - Chicken thighs: the type of chicken thighs that you see throughout the photos in the post are boneless skinless chicken thighs. You will be able to get these either from your local deli or grocery store.