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 breasts?
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 lemon 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 breasts.
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 definitely other great ways to cook chicken.
But today, I’m using skin-on, boneless breasts.
That’s because sometimes my offspring make annoying whining sounds whenever they find those dark, mysterious bits close to the bone. Sigh. I’ll bet you can relate.
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 on the sheet pan — they get all caramelized and sweet, and when you squeeze them over the chicken you get a delicious natural pan sauce.
More quick, delicious chicken recipes:
- 4 skin-on boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 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 fine. Scatter the rosemary 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 425 degrees.
- Roast chicken 12 minutes, then baste with some of the pan juices. Crank up the oven temperature to 475 degrees and roast and additional 15 minutes, or 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 roasted 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.
It can be tricky to find boneless chicken with the skin on. Either buy bone-in, skin-on breasts and de-bone them yourself, or ask (nicely) your meat counter expert to remove the bones.
Serve the chicken on a platter over arugula or other baby greens.
If you don't have kosher salt, reduce the amount by half, to 3/4 teaspoon fine salt.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 36mg Sodium: 576mg Carbohydrates: 4g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 14g