How to make juicy Tuscan roasted lemon chicken breasts on a sheet pan, with roasted lemons and fresh rosemary.
Here’s the truth — plain chicken breasts are usually not my favorite part of the bird. I much prefer cooking the thighs, because they’re flavorful and juicy no matter how you cook ’em.
But when I do get the urge to cook chicken breasts for their family-pleasing convenience, this Tuscan roasted lemon chicken is the recipe and method I turn to again and again.
What’s the secret to juicy chicken?
It’s in the Top Five list of age-old questions. We all want the answer to that one, along with:
- What’s the secret to erasing wrinkles?
- What’s the secret to inner peace?
- What’s the secret to sweet-smelling doggie breath?
I know I’ve only listed four of the top five. I’ll let you imagine what the other one is.
I doubt I’ll be eligible for a Nobel prize, but I have good news — I know the answer to the very first question. Hurray!
The secret to juicy Tuscan chicken is:
(Insert long drumroll here):
Don’t overcook it.
That’s it! Well, almost. The other things are:
- Cook chicken with skin (and bones, preferably) attached
- Season it well with salt in advance of cooking.
I’m happy to share this four ingredient recipe for juicy chicken.
It’s such a simple method you might cook chicken like this forever until the end of time. But I hope you don’t, really, since there are probably other great ways to cook chicken.
I use skin-on, boneless breasts here (sometimes my offspring make annoying whining sounds whenever they find those dark, mysterious bits close to the bone). Fresh rosemary and lemon add that simple Tuscan-style touch that every eater in the house seems to love.
The chicken turns out juicy and delicious every time.
And don’t ignore the roasted lemons — they get all caramelized and sweet, and when you squeeze them over the chicken you get a delicious natural pan sauce.
Looking for other quick, delicious ways to cook chicken? How about:
tuscan roasted lemon chicken with rosemary
Yield 4 servings
Serve the chicken on a platter over arugula or other baby greens.
- 4 skin-on boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- A few sprigs rosemary
- Put the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet – I use a 13 x 9 inch quarter sheet pan - and drizzle with some olive oil. Turn the chicken over to coat on both sides with the oil.
- Season the chicken on both sides with the salt. Let the chicken sit at room temperature 15 minutes, skin-side up. Strip the rosemary leaves from their branches and chop finely; scatter over the top of the breasts and rub into the skin. Arrange the lemon halves flesh side down around the chicken.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Roast chicken 12 minutes; baste with some of the pan juices. Crank up the oven temperature to 475 degrees and roast and additional 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the pan juices are bubbling and dark brown. If your breasts are larger than 6 ounces they might need a few minutes more. Don’t overcook! (please).
- Let the chicken rest about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and squeeze the lemons over the chicken (one half per breast). Add a teaspoon of water to the baking sheet if necessary and scrape up the pan juices. Pour over the chicken and serve.
If you don't have kosher salt, reduce the amount by half, to 3/4 teaspoon fine salt.
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Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
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