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Indulge in a dish that’s both comforting and bursting with zest: the Lemon Chicken Rice Bake. Marrying the tenderness of chicken with the aromatic brilliance of lemon and herbs, this one-pan wonder promises a culinary journey reminiscent of a sunlit Mediterranean feast.
Lemon Chicken Rice Bake
At my house, the Lemon Chicken Rice Bake isn’t just another dish; it’s a treasured tradition that never fails to bring us together around the dinner table. The rich aromas of oregano and garlic, combined with the zesty punch of lemon, envelop the home, signaling a comforting meal ahead.
After a chaotic day, there’s nothing more reassuring than diving into this one-pan wonder, where tender chicken melds seamlessly with flavorful rice. It’s not only a testament to simplicity and flavor but also a hearty reminder of why home-cooked meals reign supreme.
For the juiciest chicken, ensure you marinate it for at least 20 minutes, but overnight will unlock maximum flavor and tenderness. And always use fresh lemon juice—it’s the secret to that vibrant, tangy kick!
- Olive oil: Adds richness and helps in sautéing; can swap with butter or any vegetable oil.
- White wine (Sauvignon blanc): Infuses the chicken with depth and acidity; substitute with chicken broth or apple cider vinegar for a non-alcoholic option.
- Lemon juice: Offers a fresh citrus tang; bottled lemon juice will work, but fresh gives a brighter flavor.
- Salt & black pepper: Essential seasonings to enhance flavors; adjust based on preference.
- Oregano: Adds a Mediterranean herby note; dried basil or thyme can be alternatives.
- Garlic: Gives a pungent kick; garlic powder can be used in a pinch.
- Chicken thighs: The star of the dish, juicy and flavorful; chicken breasts or drumsticks are also suitable.
- Onion: Adds sweetness and depth to the rice; shallots can be a milder replacement.
- Rice (long grain): Serves as the filling base; you can try jasmine or basmati as variants.
- Chicken broth: Cooks the rice and adds flavor; vegetable broth or water with a bouillon cube can work too.
- Lemon zest & slices: Enhances the citrus undertone; if out of lemons, consider a splash of additional lemon juice.
- Fresh parsley: Brings a fresh garnish and color; cilantro or chives could offer a different touch.
You won’t believe how simple yet rewarding this dish is! Trust me, after a long day, this is my go-to.
Alright, first things first. Grab a ziploc bag and throw in your wine, olive oil, lemon juice, all those lovely seasonings, and of course, the chicken thighs. Give it a good shake and let those flavors mingle for a bit. Overnight is great, but if you’re pressed for time, 20 minutes will do.
Time to get cooking! Preheat your oven to 350℉ (177℃). Meanwhile, in a large oven-safe skillet, warm up some olive oil. Then get those chicken thighs sizzling until their skin turns a tempting golden brown. Oh, and keep that marinade; we’ll use it later.
Using the same skillet (less washing, yay!), toss in the onions. Wait till they’re soft and translucent, then add in the garlic. That aroma? Divine!
Mix in the rice and give it a quick stir so it soaks up all those flavors. Pour in the chicken broth, your saved marinade, and a bit of lemon zest. Once it starts bubbling, you’re on the right track.
Place your chicken back on top of the rice, tuck in some lemon slices, and get everything cozy under a lid. Into the oven it goes! Start with a 20-minute cover, then lose the lid for another 10 minutes. Trust me, the wait is worth it!
Almost there! Once it’s all baked and smelling heavenly, sprinkle some fresh parsley on top. There you go, a comforting meal ready to devour.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?
Absolutely! Chicken breasts can be a great substitute, but keep in mind they might cook a bit faster than thighs. You’ll want to make sure they don’t dry out, so adjust your cooking time accordingly.
I’m not a fan of white wine; can I skip it or replace it?
Of course! You can replace the white wine with chicken broth for added flavor. If you do enjoy the taste of wine but just want another type, a dry rosé can also work well.
What if I don’t have long grain rice on hand?
No worries! You can use other types of rice like Basmati or Jasmine. However, cooking times may vary slightly, so keep an eye on it to ensure it’s cooked perfectly.
Can this dish be made ahead and reheated?
Yes, it can. Store the lemon chicken rice bake in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to reheat, pop it in the oven at a lower temperature (around 325 F) until heated through.
I’m a vegetarian; any suggestions to make this dish meat-free?
Certainly! You can skip the chicken and use vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. Substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth. The rich flavors from the marinade and the fresh lemon zest will still make the rice incredibly tasty.
- Perfect Marinade: Give your chicken the time it deserves to marinate. While 20 minutes is the minimum, letting it sit overnight will allow the flavors to penetrate deeper into the meat, ensuring a more flavorful bite every time.
- Rice Ratio: When adding your chicken broth, ensure you’re using the correct liquid-to-rice ratio. Too much liquid can make your rice mushy, while too little might result in undercooked rice.
- Brown to Perfection: Take the extra minutes to brown the chicken thighs well. This not only seals in the juices but also gives the dish an appealing golden finish and a rich flavor base.
- Oven-Proof Skillet: Using an oven-proof skillet makes this a one-pot wonder. If you don’t have one, transfer everything to a baking dish before popping it in the oven. Remember, it’s all about convenience with this dish!
Storing this Lemon Chicken Rice Bake is a breeze. Simply place any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. If you’re looking to keep it for a longer duration, you can also freeze it. Just ensure it’s cooled completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container. When ready to enjoy, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat until warmed through. This dish is just as delightful the next day, making it perfect for meal prepping or those unexpected busy nights!
Discover More Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Rice Pilaf
- Lemon Chicken Piccata
- Lemon Rice and Chicken Soup
- Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole
- Mexican Chicken and Rice Salad
- One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Harissa Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
- Coconut Basil Chicken Curry
- Chicken Fricassee
- In a ziploc bag combine with wine, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic and chicken thighs. Shake the bag well and marinate for at least 20 minutes up to overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 350℉ (177℃).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet that's oven safe. Add the chicken thighs and cook on both sides until skin is golden brown and crispy. Make sure to reserve marinade. Chicken doesn't have to be cooked through since it will continue cooking in the oven. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- In the same skillet add the onion and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes just until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds just until it becomes aromatic.
- Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, reserved marinade and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Add the lemon zest, stir and bring to a boil.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet on top of the rice, arrange lemon slices around the chicken and cover the skillet with a lid.
- Bake covered for 20 minutes then remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley and serve warm.
- Chicken Selection: While chicken thighs are recommended for their juicy nature, you can also use chicken breasts. Adjust cooking time accordingly.
- Wine Choice: If you don’t have Sauvignon Blanc on hand, any dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay will do.
- Rice Type: Using long-grain rice ensures a fluffy texture. If substituting with short-grain or brown rice, adjust liquid and cooking time as needed.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Bottled lemon juice can be more acidic than fresh. For the best flavor, stick to freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.