A wonder pan recipe with incredible flavour, this lemon chicken tray bake is truly sensational!
It's one that will please the whole family and can be whipped up for a hearty midweek meal or even take centre stage for a Sunday afternoon lunch. Plus, it's perfectly versatile, meaning you can adapt the ingredients to suit your tastes.
Why you'll love this recipe
- If you like garlic, is the recipe for you... this lemon and garlic chicken tray bake uses a whole bulb of garlic, for an intense garlic flavour and fragrance
- It's a one tray wonder with everything cooked in just one pan – easy prep, easy cooking, easy washing up!
- The combination of juicy chicken legs, fresh fragrant thyme, new potatoes, lemon and honey is absolutely wonderful!
Equipment you'll need
There are a few key items you'll need for this lemon chicken tray bake recipe:
How to make lemon chicken traybake
Toss the onion, garlic, lemon and potatoes in olive oil and season. Arrange in a single layer with the chicken legs and bake.
Remove from the oven and drizzle over the marinade.
Twenty minutes before end of cooking add the asparagus on top.
When the chicken is cooked and golden, and the potatoes soft, remove from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Cooking times may vary depending on your oven. Your best bet is to use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is properly cooked.
Variations to this recipe
- If you fancy a little more of a tomatoey taste, chop up some fresh tomatoes and add them to the dish.
- You could also play with different herbs and spices. Something like thyme, oregano or rosemary would work really well with this recipe.
- Add some heat to this recipe and use a hot paprika. You could also add some ground mustard seeds for earthy heat, or add some chilli flakes or chopped fresh chilli for a tongue tingling sizzle.
- If you fancy extra lemony chicken, you can add lemon slices straight to the pan
- You can use skin-on chicken thighs in place of chicken legs. If you prefer white meat to dark meat, you can substitute the chicken legs with chicken breasts.
- Feel free to swap out the honey for syrup if you prefer
- You can use lime juice in place of lemon juice.
What's the best chicken to use for this recipe?
For me, cooking chicken breasts in a tray bake can lead to them drying out. So, go for dark meat. I've specified chicken legs, although you could also go for juicy chicken thighs.
Should I use skin-on chicken legs or remove the skin?
I recommend leaving the skin on, as you'll be able to get a deliciously crispy outer texture to your chicken legs.
How long does chicken take to bake?
It takes about 45 minutes to bake it in the oven at 210°C / fan 190°C / 355°F / gas mark 7. These temperatures and timings produce the best tasting chicken for this recipe.
How do you prevent chicken from drying out in the oven?
That's where the sauce comes in!
Adding the lemon, honey and garlic sauce to the tray halfway through cooking ensures that your chicken legs (or thighs) stay tender and juicy.
How do you prevent rubbery chicken?
It's very much the same as stopping chicken from drying out. The sauce helps to keep moisture in the tray and prevents the chicken from taking on a rubbery texture, while the cooking temperature and time ensures that chicken isn't overcooked.
Keep in mind that all ovens vary in performance. So, once the tray is starting to take on a golden brown colour, it's worth checking the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it's cooked.
How do you know when chicken is cooked?
It’s recommended that it’s cooked until it reaches at least 74ºC / 165ºF. If in doubt, use a meat thermometer.
Can you make lemon tray bake ahead of time?
While it’s best to serve this immediately, you can definitely make it ahead of time, up to 2 days before serving it.
How do you reheat lemon and garlic chicken leftovers?
You can heat up garlic chicken tray bake in the oven at 180°C / fan 160°C / 355°F / gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes.
Is this recipe dairy free?
Yes! This recipe is 100% dairy free and gluten free.
More wonderful tray bake recipes
There's something so satisfying about the simplicity of a tray bake. When done right, the results are out of this world. Here are some of my favourites:
- Romesco chicken tray bake – a sizzling Spanish classic
- Sausage traybake with vegetables – this hearty British traybake works as a standalone meal, although you could add some leafy greens for good measure
- Oven-baked barbecue chicken – a smoky sensation that you can cook up easily, this barbecue chicken recipe gets amazing results every time
- Chicken and leek pasta bake – a super simple pasta bake that’s ideal as a healthy, quick midweek meal meal
- Baked seafood pasta – a succulent traybake that’s as comforting as it is simple to make
Simplify dinner with a Lemon Chicken Tray Bake. It is zesty, tender, and hassle-free - the perfect one-pan meal for busy nights!
- 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
- 1 whole garlic bulb, halved
- 1kg new potatoes
- 1 lemon, thinly slices
- 30ml olive oil
- 4 chicken legs
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 250g asparagus
Lemon, Honey and Garlic Sauce
- 30ml olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 250ml chicken stock
- 30ml honey
- Preheat your oven to 210°C/190°C fan/410°F/gas mark 7.
- Prepare the tray with the vegetables: Cut the red onion into wedges, halve the garlic bulb into individual cloves, and slice the lemon thinly. Divide them between two large baking trays along with the new potatoes.
- Drizzle 30ml of olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything together using your hands to ensure the vegetables are evenly coated.
- Pat dry the chicken legs with kitchen roll to remove excess moisture. Place the chicken legs in between the potatoes and vegetables on the tray. Sprinkle each chicken leg with salt and pepper. Add the thyme sprigs.
- Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
- While the tray bake is cooking, prepare the Lemon, Honey, and Garlic Sauce: In a bowl, mix 30ml of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, chicken stock, and honey until well combined.
- After the initial 20 minutes of baking, remove the tray from the oven, and carefully add the asparagus to the tray around the chicken and potatoes. Drizzle some of the Lemon, Honey, and Garlic Sauce over the chicken and vegetables.
- Return the tray to the oven and continue baking for another 25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked, and the top is crispy and browned.
- Once the tray bake is ready, remove it from the oven. If desired, garnish with fresh parsley for added flavor and presentation.
- Serve the Lemon Garlic Chicken Tray Bake hot, and you can accompany it with any additional side dishes of your choice. Enjoy your delicious and flavorful meal!
Cooking times may vary depending on your oven. The chicken should be fully cooked, and the top should turn brown and crispy during baking. Make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Roast
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: lemon chicken tray bake, lemon thyme chicken thighs, lemon oregano chicken thighs, lemon garlic chicken tray bake, chicken tray bake recipe, lemon and honey chicken tray bake, lemon and garlic chicken tray bake