7 ratings

Lemon Basil Chicken Recipe


Lemon Basil Chicken

This easy-to-prepare, easy-to-cook lemon chicken recipe uses a marinade that works overnight, so you don’t have to.  Don’t be afraid to play around with the marinade before you put it on the chicken, and add spices to your preferred taste.


  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander 
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 chicken thighs, rinsed and dried
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 5-10 fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)


In a small sauté pan, heat the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, and salt for 1 minute on low heat to bring out the flavors. Take the dry spices from the pan and combine with the scallions, basil, garlic, oil, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Pulse the ingredients for 1-2 minutes, to create a smooth and spreadable paste.

Place the chicken thighs into a large, plastic re-sealable bag, and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and shake it a few times to ensure each piece of chicken has been amply coated. Put the bag in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours (the longer the better), turning it over halfway to redistribute the marinade.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the oven is almost ready, heat a cast-iron or oven-proof skillet for 10 minutes over medium heat. 

Remove the chicken from the bag and lay the pieces out on a plate. Flatten out the skin so that it covers the meat.  Lightly oil the hot skillet and add the chicken, skin side down. After about 30 seconds, use tongs to turn the chicken 90 degrees. After another 30 seconds, flip the chicken back over (skin side up) and add the slices of lemon. Take the skillet straight from the stove into the preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes.

Garnish the chicken with the cooked lemon slices and fresh basil. Drizzle some of the herb-infused oil from the pan over the plated chicken.