Honey Garlic Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
Tender lemon-pepper seasoned chicken thighs, crispy skin, and a delicious sauce with honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Talk about full of flavor! This dinner recipe is quick and easy, too, and a family favorite in my house.
🍗 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- It’s full of simple yet delicious flavors that make basic chicken thighs taste totally gourmet! There’s a perfect balance between the sweet honey, the savory garlic, the bright lemon, and the woody pepper. Plus you can’t forget about the crushed red pepper flakes! Don’t worry, though, if heat’s not your thing. This isn’t a “hot” dish by any means, and you’re always welcome to use as little of the pepper flakes as you like.
- Believe it or not, honey garlic lemon pepper chicken thighs are super easy to make. The whole process is pretty quick, too, even with the two cooking methods! Sure, you probably could eliminate a method if you absolutely had to, but the combination of the crispy pan-seared chicken skins and the juicy, oven-roasted chicken meat is simply unbeatable. I wouldn’t tell you to cook them this way if it wasn’t 10,000% worth it.
- Speaking of the process – even though we’re cooking on the stovetop AND in the oven, the entire recipe is made right in one oven-safe skillet. You know I love a good one-dish wonder, and this recipe definitely fits the bill.
👩🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Use a skillet that’s large enough to hold all 6 chicken thighs, but not so large that there’s a ton of extra space left over. If the pan’s too big, you risk the sauce spreading out into a super thin layer that can burn really easily. Trust me, you don’t want that.
- Don’t fight with the chicken thighs! Once you place them in the skillet, let them be until the 5-minute mark. After that, you can gently try to lift and flip them, but if the skin sticks at all, don’t push it. Just keep checking every 30-60 seconds until the skins release from the bottom of the skillet without a fight.
- If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can make your honey garlic lemon pepper chicken thighs using a regular skillet and a baking dish instead! You’ll just need to transfer everything to the baking dish for the oven portion, and then transfer it back to the skillet to finish the sauce.
- The food-safe internal temperature for chicken thighs is 170° Fahrenheit. The key to making sure your chicken thighs stay super tender and juicy, though? Stop cooking them when they reach 165° Fahrenheit. After you take them out of the oven, the residual heat continues to cook them while you’re finishing up the sauce. That means, if you take them out at 170°, they’ll actually overcook while they’re resting. Take them out a little early, though, and they’ll be the perfect temp when it’s time to eat.
🐔 More Flavor-Packed Chicken Recipes to Try
- Marry Me Chicken
- Very Favorite Stir Fry Noodles (with Tofu or Chicken)
- Lollipop Chicken Legs
- Jerk Chicken Alfredo
- Smoked Chicken Legs
- The Best Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe (Restaurant Style)
- Cajun Chicken Salad with Cajun Ranch Dressing
Honey Garlic Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
For the Honey Garlic Lemon Pepper Sauce
- ½ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice juice from approximately 1 medium lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes more or less to taste
For the Chicken Thighs
- 6 medium bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs approximately 3 pounds total
- salt to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil avocado oil, canola oil; see Notes
- 1 medium lemon thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
Serving Suggestions (All Optional)
- thin lemon slices
- cooked rice
- Medium bowl
- Cutting board
- Large oven-safe skillet
- Potholder or thick kitchen towel
- Large spoon
- internal meat thermometer
- Large plate
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Adjust racks as needed so skillet will sit in center of oven.
- Add ½ cup honey, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes to medium bowl. Whisk ingredients vigorously until mixture is smooth. Set sauce aside.
- Place 6 medium bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs on cutting board or plate. Pat chicken thighs completely dry on all sides with paper towels. Season chicken thighs generously on all sides with salt. Set aside.
- Heat large skillet on stovetop over medium-high heat. When pan is warm, add 1-2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil and swirl pan to distribute oil across surface. Continue heating pan until oil is hot and shimmery.
- When oil is hot, place seasoned chicken thighs skin-side down in skillet, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Cook chicken thighs 5 minutes, or until skin begins to crisp and turn golden, and skin releases easily from surface of skillet.
- Flip chicken thighs over and cook, skin-side up, 2 minutes more. After 2 minutes, carefully remove skillet from heat and drain all but 4 tablespoons liquid from skillet.
- Place skillet on cool stovetop burner. Use tongs to carefully arrange thin slices of 1 medium lemon around and between chicken thighs. Once all lemon slices have been placed, pour prepared honey sauce into skillet, covering chicken thighs evenly.
- Place skillet in preheated oven. Roast chicken thighs 9 minutes, then carefully remove skillet from oven and spoon sauce from skillet onto tops of chicken thighs, basting chicken thoroughly.
- Return skillet to oven and roast chicken thighs 9 minutes more or until internal temperature of chicken thighs reaches 165° Fahrenheit when checked with internal meat thermometer.
- Once chicken reaches target temperature, carefully remove skillet from oven. Transfer roasted chicken thighs to large plate and set aside.
- Return skillet to stovetop over medium heat. Bring sauce in skillet to gentle boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened enough to coat back of spoon.
- Remove skillet from heat and let sauce cool slightly. Add 1 tablespoon butter (at room temperature) and whisk until butter is fully incorporated into sauce.
- Return chicken thighs to skillet, skin-side up, and spoon sauce over tops of chicken thighs. Serve chicken thighs warm with thin lemon slices and additional sauce over a bed of cooked rice if desired.
- Skillet: Use a skillet that can hold all 6 chicken thighs at once but doesn’t leave a lot of empty space around them.
- Oven-Safe Skillet Alternative: If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, use a regular skillet for the stovetop portions and transfer everything to a baking dish for the oven steps.
- Neutral Oil: Make sure the oil you use has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point.
- Make it Paleo: Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and use ghee instead of butter. Serve over cauliflower rice instead of traditional rice.
- Make it Keto: Use a honey-flavored keto liquid sweetener instead of honey.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use a gluten-free soy sauce.
- Make it Dairy Free: Use a plant-based, dairy-free butter.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.
Leave a Comment