I adapted this crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you love lemon, this is for you. It’s full of citrusy flavor from lemon juice, lemon pepper, and lemon zest. Even if you don’t love lots of lemon, don’t worry. The lemon is balanced by brown sugar for sweetness and a touch of paprika for a hint of bite.
It’s also quite versatile. Eat it hot right out of the oven, or make extra and have it cold for lunch the next day. It’s also good for picnics when the weather is good.
I cut the original recipe down to serve one (instead of six), but also made a few other small changes. The cookbook recipe called for lemon extract. It’s an ingredient I’m never going to use up (unless I make lots of lemon chicken). So, I increased the lemon juice a bit.
I then swapped the plain black pepper for lemon pepper. Lemon pepper is a bit exotic, but I do use it for other things (try it on string beans or broccoli). This way, I kept the lemony flavor without having to buy a special ingredient only to use a spoonful or two (which annoys me).
You end up with a crispy crust, almost like fried chicken, except there’s very little oil, and a lot less mess. You start it in a frying pan to get crispy and then finish by baking it in the toaster oven.
Incidentally, the recipe on the facing page of the cookbook is for Chicken Monterey, made with orange juice. I haven’t done it, but I bet orange juice and zest would work for this too. You might try a bit of orange juice concentrate, or upping the zest to substitute for lemon pepper/extract. I’d also reduce the brown sugar, since orange is sweeter than lemon.
For the best flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight (or all day) in the fridge. If you don’t have that much time, let it sit for at least half an hour.
If you can’t have flour (or gluten) substitute potato starch or rice flour instead. It might even be good with almond flour. That way it’s gluten-free (and Pesach-friendly).
Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One
Crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe with three kinds of lemon, plus brown sugar.
1 chicken thigh
1 hour, 20 minutes
I served this with a baked potato, so I put that in the oven first, while the chicken sat in the lemon juice. Also note that the prep time includes the marinating time. The actual work is about five minutes.
- 1 chicken thigh
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 heaping T flour
- generous pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
- 2 T neutral oil (such as canola or sunflower)
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp chicken stock
- one slice lemon
- Pour the lemon juice in a bowl and add the chicken. This is best if you let it sit in the fridge overnight (or do it in the morning). If not, let it sit for half an hour.
- Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees.
- Discard the lemon juice and dry off the chicken with a paper towel.
- Take a small plastic zippered bag and add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, paprika, and lemon pepper). Add the chicken to the bag, zip it shut, and shake thoroughly until the chicken is completely covered with the flour mixture.
- Heat the oil in a small skillet and fry the chicken (turning once with kitchen tongs) until it gets brown and crispy. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on the toaster oven tray. Sprinkle it with the lemon zest and the brown sugar.
- Pour the chicken stock around the chicken (not over it). Put the lemon slice on top.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
More Chicken Thigh Recipes
Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes for One
Chicken, olives, garlic, and a bit of ginger add up to a rich, flavorful meal. This is a North African dish from a Jewish cookbook (really!)
Peruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe
Juicy chicken, crispy skin and a tangy, spicy, garlicky sauce I just can’t stop eating.
Chicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger
Juicy peaches balanced with spicy/warm ginger and summery basil. Just toss it all together and bake.
One Pot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar Sauce
Tangy balsamic vinegar, mellowed cooked onions, and sweetness from an unlikely ingredient. All in one pot.