We love an easy chicken recipe and these juicy chicken thighs in a lemon and herb sauce, served over giant couscous is a favourite in our house. Zesty and fresh, Lemon and Herb Chicken can be prepared in advance and there are so many different ways to serve it too.
Lemon and fresh herbs is a classic combination when it comes to a chicken dish, and this couldn't be easier. Marinade the chicken, fry it to get crispy and then finish in the oven. A simple but comforting meal that can be enjoyed all year round.
Why you will love it
- A delicious way to cook with chicken
- Fresh and light
- Can be prepared in advance
- Lots of different ways to serve it
- Chicken - We used bone in, skin on chicken thighs. We have found that this is the best to use, because they are really juicy and the skin gets nice and juicy. You could lighten this dish up by using chicken breasts, however it would change the cooking time and they might be a little dry.
- Giant (Israeli) couscous - Also known as pearl couscous, this is a large version of couscous. It has so much texture and really soaks up the juices of the chicken.
- Lemons - We used lemon juice and zest for a really intense lemon flavour.
- Shallots - These add a bit of texture to the dish and some sweetness. You could finely dice a small onion, but it wouldn't have the same sweetness.
- Garlic - The more garlic the better we say, and it compliments the lemon and herb beautifully.
- Dijon mustard - Lemon and mustard are a great combination. We used Dijon, but you could swap it for wholegrain instead.
- Herbs - the herbs really are the star of the show here. We used oregano, parsley and rosemary, however thyme and marjoram work well too.
- Stock - We used chicken stock. Homemade is always best, however if you don't have time to make your own then use the best quality you can afford, as you really will be able to taste the difference.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Put the chicken in a bowl and add the olive oil, half the lemon juice and zest, the garlic, rosemary, oregano, mustard and salt and pepper. Use your hands and mix well.
Two: Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add the chicken, skin side down and cook for 4 minutes, until the skin starts to get crispy.
Three: Turn the chicken over and add the chicken stock and the rest of the lemon juice and zest. Put in a preheated oven at gas mark 7 for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Four: Cook the couscous according to the package instructions. Drain and then stir through the fresh parsley. Serve the couscous with the chicken on top.
What is couscous?
You might think that couscous is a grain, but it actually isn't. It is small, steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina. However, unlike regular couscous, Israeli couscous (that we have used here) is toasted, rather than dried, after the granules are formed.
It is therefore nuttier in flavour and has a chewier texture. It is originally from North West Africa, but it is now a staple dish across northern Africa and in Israel.
If you didn't want to use couscous could put the chicken and veg mixture on top of pasta or even a baked potato. If you still wanted to use a grain for this dish, you can serve it with rice, bulgur wheat, orzo or quinoa.
What to serve it with
This is a great main meal, and there are so many options when it comes to how to serve it. We served it on a giant (Israeli) cous cous for a light and fresh meal. However, here are some other suggestions:
- Potatoes - you could serve it on classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes, No Mayo Potato Salad, Air Fryer Fries, The BEST Greek Potatoes or Italian Parmesan Roasted Potatoes.
- Greens - we love any dish that is an opportunity to eat lots of greens, and this one is just that. You could serve it with a side of sautéed garlic spinach or kale or try our Broccoli Salad, Roasted Lemon Asparagus, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, or Broccoli Slaw.
- Salad - this is such a lovely light chicken dish, that it would go perfectly with a salad and we have some incredible salad recipe for you. Why not try our Cucumber Salad, No Mayo Coleslaw, Cucumber Tomato Salad or Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad?
- Vegetables - chicken and vegetables is a classic combination and we have a lot of vegetable side dishes that would go perfectly with lemon and herb chicken. Why not try our Roasted Garlic and Herb Mushrooms, Baked Carrot Fries, Sweetcorn Salsa or Grilled Corn with Herb Butter.
- Rice - if you wanted something carby, but didn't want to go the couscous or potato route, then try one of our rice dishes. We have Cilantro Lime Rice, Turmeric Rice, or Spanish Rice.
Can you freeze it?
This dish can be frozen, but the couscous and the chicken should be frozen separately. To freeze the topping, let it cool completely then place it in an air-tight container and put in the freezer, where it will be good for up to 3 months. Defrost fully and then reheat in the microwave or on the hob (stove top).
To freeze the couscous, let it cool completely, then spread it out in a single thin layer over a large baking sheet and put it in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to an air-tight freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Place the bag in the freezer for up to 4 months.
To reheat the couscous, in a pan heat 1 teaspoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of water over a medium heat. Add the couscous to the pan and stir continuously until all the water has absorbed. Remove from the heat and fluff up with a fork.
We recommend marinating the chicken for at least 30 minutes. However, you can leave it for up to 24 hours, making this a great dish to prepare in advance.
As well as adding lots of fresh flavour to a chicken dish, it also tenderises it.
We used oregano and thyme, however other herbs that go well with the lemon and chicken are rosemary and marjoram.
We fried these a little first, so they get nice and crispy, however they are finished in the oven. Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs will take around 35 minutes to bake in the oven. It's always best to check that chicken is cooked with a meat thermometer though. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 75°C/165°F.
If you have leftovers of this lemon herb chicken, then shred it up and store it in an air tight container in the fridge and it will keep for 2 days. We serve it in sandwiches and salads or mixed in to pasta dishes.
• Make these a little lighter by trimming the visible fat from the chicken thighs.
• Leftovers of this are great in salads or sandwiches or stirred through a pasta dish.
More chicken recipes
Lemon Herb Chicken
- 8 chicken thighs - bone in and skin on
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 2 Lemons - juice and zest
- 5 Garlic clove - crushed
- 7 g Fresh rosemary - chopped
- 2 tablespoon Dried oregano
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 4 Shallots - finely chopped
- 200 ml Vegetable stock
- 140 g Giant (Israeli) couscous
- 6 g Fresh parsley - finely chopped
- Put the chicken in a bowl and add the olive oil, half the lemon juice and zest, the garlic, rosemary, oregano, mustard and salt and pepper. Use your hands and mix well.
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes until softened.
- Add the chicken, skin side down and cook for 4 minutes, until the skin starts to get crispy.
- Turn the chicken over and add the chicken stock and the rest of the lemon juice and zest. Put in a preheated oven at gas mark 7 for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Cook the couscous according to the package instructions. Drain and then stir through the fresh parsley.
- Serve with chicken on top.
- Make these a little lighter by trimming the visible fat from the chicken thighs.
- Leftovers of this are great in salads or sandwiches or stirred through a pasta dish.