Roasted chicken is one of my favorite recipes to make at home.
Many people assume a weeknight chicken dinner means reaching for the boneless, skinless breasts in the meat and poultry section of the grocery store. However, if you want flavors that jump off the plate, you need to start using chicken that still has the bone and skin attached.
Why is this important?
Boneless, skinless breasts are completely exposed to the heat of cooking, and with a lower fat content as well, they tend to dry out easily.
By keeping the bone in and the skin on, the meat has some added protection from intense heat. Not to mention that skin is oh-so-tasty…
All you have to know is how to cook it the right way.
This, my friends, is the right way to cook a perfect bone-in chicken breast.
When I was a freshman in college, I got my first “real” job as a hostess at a local Mediterranean restaurant. The best parts of working that job were the 20% discount on food provided to employees, and their lemon roasted chicken.
It was the most succulent poultry I’d ever tasted, served with a pan sauce that made my heart melt.
At the end of every shift, if one of the more friendly chefs was working, I’d get my hands on a plateful of that chicken and shovel it into my mouth, seated in one of the cozy corner booths with the other hostess who was working that night.
Learning to make roasted chicken breast with a delightful pan sauce at home is one of those kitchen triumphs that every home cook should attempt to master.
It’s such an easy dish to prepare, and it can really brighten up an otherwise boring weeknight.
The combination of lemon, sage, and garlic is where the money is, in terms of flavor.
The brightness of the lemon seeps into the poultry as it cooks, and infuses the pan sauce with added acidity.
Rich and herbaceous sage gives some savory, deep notes to the meat that pair wonderfully with the other flavors. And there’s a hefty amount of garlic that gives the skin a boost of flavor to complement the lemon and sage notes.
Finally, there’s the crispy skin that adds a textural element that’ll have you drooling.
When you pull it all together with a simple pan sauce, you will not be able to stop yourself from gobbling up every single bite.
I have to admit, I definitely shoveled a breast and a half into my face when I made this the other night.
Wish I could say that I am ashamed about that, but I am definitely not at all. It was that tasty, and even the leftovers are making me drool as I sit here thinking about them sitting in the fridge…
If you do happen to have leftovers (for a family of four, you definitely won’t), I highly recommend saving the sauce in its own separate container. I like to throw in a few slices of lemon and a couple leaves of sage to infuse the sauce further while it chills.
That way, you can still spoon that flavorful sauce over the leftovers when you’re ready to serve them up again the next day.
I recommend reheating in the oven to crisp up the skin. You can even heat up the chicken and then stick it under the broiler for a few minutes to make sure it perks up again without drying out the meat, and heat the sauce separately.Print
If you don’t know what to cook tonight, reach for this lemon sage garlic chicken recipe. It has a bright herb flavor that’ll astound you.
- 2 medium lemons
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 4 bone-in chicken breast halves with skin (approx. 4 ½–5 lbs total weight)
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus more for basting
- 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Cut lemons into 12 thin slices, and discard the ends. Remove any seeds.
- Peel and mince the garlic. Set aside.
- Slide fingertips under chicken skin to loosen. Arrange 3 lemon slices and 3 sage leaves under skin on each breast; smooth skin over to enclose.
- Grease a large Dutch oven with ½ tsp olive oil. Arrange the chicken skin side up.
- Brush chicken with remaining olive oil. Drizzle lemon juice evenly over the top and sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Pour 3/4 cup chicken broth into the bottom of the pan, being careful not to dislodge the garlic and spices on top.
- Roast chicken until brown and cooked through, basting once or twice with pan juices and extra squirts of lemon, about 30-35 minutes in total.
- Transfer chicken to a serving platter.
- Place Dutch oven over high heat and pour in the remaining broth. Bring to a boil and cook until the broth reduces to a glaze, scraping up the fond or browned bits on the bottom as it cooks, about 4 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed. Spoon pan sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2002.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: chicken, chicken dinner, roast chicken, bone-in chicken
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Preheat Oven, Prep Produce, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Preheat oven to 425˚F.
Thinly slice two lemons into rounds, making sure you have 12 slices in total. Discard the ends, and remove any seeds.
Juice another lemon, and remove any seeds.
Remove the stems from several sprigs of sage, so you have 12 large leaves that will fit under the chicken skin.
Peel both cloves of garlic and mince, or use your trusty garlic press. Set aside.
Step 2 – Prep Poultry
Use your fingertips to loosen the skin on each chicken breast. Add 3 lemon slices and 3 sage leaves under the skin of each breast.
Smooth the skin over to make sure the fruit and herbs are enclosed.
Grease a large Dutch oven with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Arrange the meat in the pan skin side up. If the pieces are touching, don’t worry because the meat will shrink as it cooks.
Brush the tops with olive oil.
Drizzle about two tablespoons of lemon juice evenly over the meat.
Sprinkle each breast with even amounts of garlic, salt, and flavorful freshly ground black pepper.
Step 3 – Roast
Pour 3/4 cup of homemade chicken broth, or low-sodium store bought stock, into the bottom of the pan. Don’t pour it over the breasts as this will remove the garlic and spices you just put on top.
Roast until the skin is brown on top and the meat is cooked through. A meat thermometer should register 160-162˚F when inserted into the thickest part of each breast, without touching the bone. The chicken will continue to cook once you remove it from the oven, reaching about 165˚F for full doneness.
Transfer the meat to a serving platter and set aside to rest, tented loosely with foil.
Step 4 – Make Sauce
Place the Dutch oven over high heat and stir in the remaining broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the broth reduces to a glaze.
While the sauce cooks, be sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. It should take about 4 minutes to cook the sauce down.
Taste for seasoning, and add additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Spoon the pan sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.
What Should I Serve with This Recipe?
If you are looking to keep things light at dinner tonight, serve this dish alongside a simple arugula salad dressed with olive oil, your choice of vinegar, salt, and pepper.
The peppery notes in the fresh salad greens are a delightful complement to this dish, plus it’s the easiest side in the world to make.
If you’re craving carbs, you can also serve this chicken over a simple lemony pasta, or alongside a baked potato. The options are endless in terms of tasty pairings for this flavorful and versatile protein main.
Want even more delicious poultry dishes to add to your recipe box? Check out some of our favorites:
- Slow Cooker Barbecue Cola Chicken
- Easy Weeknight Chicken Marsala
- Instant Pot Coq au Vin Blanc
- Greek Stuffed Chicken
- Skillet Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Lemon
- Sage-Rubbed Spatchcocked Smoked Turkey
- Crispy Baked Chicken Fingers
- Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes
What side dish will you serve with this flavorful roasted chicken? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on October 8, 2009. Last updated: January 30, 2021 at 17:02 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.