Lemon-Herb Marinated Chicken

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This is the make-ahead summer corollary to the Rosemary Roast Chicken that my family makes for many of our fall and winter birthdays and other celebrations. It’s easy to make ahead of time, simple to cook, and tastes amazing.

I think we’ve made it in the cold months occasionally, but it’s extra nice in the summer to have a recipe that uses a quick handful of fresh herbs from the garden and doesn’t require heating up the kitchen at all.  Plus it’s just the cutting board and a zip-lock bag for prep mess, so not a lot of dishes to fiddle with either!

I’ve been meaning to post the recipe for a very long time – I get calls regularly from family members trying to remember where I’ve put the magazine we found it in or where we shared it in our email or copied it down. We put it in the family calendar for July and here I am posting it in August. Oh well. Here we go now!

Lemon-Herb Marinated Chicken

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy recipe to make ahead, very flavorful from the grill. If you manage to make enough to have leftovers, I’ve found it’s also really delicious mixed into a lettuce salad with fresh corn and other garden veggies.


  • 4 medium lemons, cut into long wedges
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.)
  • 4 tsp. minced fresh basil
  • 4 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne chili powder
  • 3-4 lbs. chicken leg quarters, separated (skinned, if you prefer)


  1. Gently squeeze about half the lemons into a large resealable plastic bag and drop the squeezed wedges into the bag.
  2. Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and seal the back and shake to mix well.
  3. Add the chicken and remaining lemon wedges, squeezing the lemons as you go to coat the chicken pieces.
  4. Seal the bag again and turn carefully to mix the marinade over the chicken pieces.
  5. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning several times to soak the chicken evenly.
  6. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat, turning ever 15 minutes for 1 hour or until juices run clear.


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