Thyme Lemon Chicken Recipe

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes (depending on method)



  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or bone-in thighs for a richer flavor)


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Optional for a Creamy Variation:

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • Large bowl or resealable bag
  • Baking dish or skillet (oven-safe)

Instructions: Versatile Techniques


  • Whisk together all marinade/sauce ingredients (except cream and butter, if using).
  • Place chicken in a bowl or resealable bag. Pour marinade over the chicken, ensuring it’s fully coated.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or ideally several hours or overnight for maximum flavor.

Choose Your Cooking Method:


  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Place marinated chicken breasts in a lightly greased baking dish.
  • Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (internal temperature reaches 165°F/74°C).


  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add marinated chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Optionally, reduce heat to low and simmer briefly in the remaining marinade for extra sauce.

Optional: Creamy Sauce:

  • If desired, after cooking chicken (using either method), remove it from the pan or dish and set aside.
  • Add the heavy cream and butter to the remaining pan juices/marinade. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, if needed.


  • Drizzle the creamy sauce (if made) over the cooked chicken.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon slices and additional fresh thyme sprigs, if desired.
  • Serve immediately with your favorite side dishes like roasted vegetables, rice, potatoes, or a fresh salad.

Helpful Tips:

  • Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness before marinating to ensure even cooking.
  • For extra browning, sear chicken briefly in a pan before baking to finish.
  • Don’t overcook your chicken! It becomes dry easily. Use a meat thermometer to ensure a perfect internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing to keep it juicy.


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