May 19

Grilled Lemon & Rosemary Chicken Recipe


Grilled Lemon & Rosemary Chicken Recipe

In the past, lemon chicken has never really turned my crank. Perhaps it is because each time I tried it, the chicken was dry and the tart lemon juice just seemed to add insult to injury, causing me to pucker my lips like an old man who lost his dentures. However, with six cups of fresh Meyer lemon juice to play with, it seemed prudent to set to work on shattering my preconceptions of lemon chicken. After all, there are only so many Lemon Sugar Puff Pastry Twists and margaritas that one gal can consume – without gaining fifty pounds and engaging in inappropriate table dances, that is.

When considering ways to get around the dryness issue, chicken thighs came to mind as a likely solution. Of course, you can still use boneless, skinless breasts in this recipe if you are someone that is adept at judging when chicken breasts are cooked through, but not leeched of moisture. If this is not your forte, then I suggest boneless, skinless chicken thighs which are a considerably more forgiving part of the bird.

The lemon vinaigrette in this recipe is infused with fresh rosemary and garlic, and mixed with a touch of honey. While this chicken is best served hot, it can also be enjoyed at room temperature, which makes it the ideal meal for a busy weeknight. When the chicken comes off the grill, toss it in the vinaigrette and allow the meat to absorb some of the fresh flavors. If you plan to eat it later, cover and refrigerate the chicken. Bring the chicken and vinaigrette to room temperature and stir before serving over rice, quinoa or orzo.

The recipe:

In a large bowl, whisk together fresh lemon juice, rosemary, honey, garlic, salt and pepper.


While whisking, slowly pour in olive oil until combined.


Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Toss chicken thighs in canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer chicken to bowl with lemon vinaigrette and toss until chicken is coated.


Serve, drizzling extra vinaigrette over chicken, to taste.


Other grilled chicken recipes:

Cookin’ Canuck’s Chicken Kebabs with Pomegranate-Spice Marinade
Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Chicken Thighs with Tamarind & Orange Glaze
Simply Recipes’ Red Chile Marinated Grilled Chicken
Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Grilled Chicken with Sage, Rosemary & Garlic Dried Herb Rub
Prudence Pennywise’s Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

Grilled Lemon & Rosemary Chicken Recipe
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck.
Serves: Serves 4 to 6
The Vinaigrette:
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
The chicken:
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  1. The vinaigrette:
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together fresh lemon juice, rosemary, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. While whisking, slowly pour in olive oil until combined.
The chicken:
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Toss chicken thighs in canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer chicken to bowl with lemon vinaigrette and toss until chicken is coated. Serve, drizzling extra vinaigrette over chicken, to taste.

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katrina May 20, 2011 at 12:24 am

Very yummy recipe. Lemon makes everything wonderful.


2 Claire @ Claire K Creations May 20, 2011 at 3:47 am

Yum. Lemon chicken was one of my first recipes. Yours looks much better though!


3 Celeste Jenkins May 20, 2011 at 5:44 am

This looks so delicious! I love lemon and rosemary together! Thanks for sharing :)


4 Heather (Heather's Dish) May 20, 2011 at 5:58 am

what a flavorful way to grill chicken! lemon and rosemary are so fantastic together, this chicken is just rolling in flavor.


5 Pretend Chef May 20, 2011 at 6:25 am

This looks so delicious. That is a great flavor combo. I can’t wait to try this the next time we grill out. Yummy!


6 purabi naha May 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

This recipe looks delish!! You have a lovely collection of recipes. Please visit for a shower of AWARDS for you!


7 Barbara Bakes May 20, 2011 at 9:27 am

Love lemon and rosemary together. I’m sure it’s fabulous.


8 Tricia B May 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

I’m still searching for (and asking for) Meyer lemons! If I ever find them we will be eating lemon everything for a while. Lovely chicken – have a great weekend.


9 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

You can substitute regular lemons for the Meyer lemons in this recipe. Just add a touch more honey, to taste.


10 Sasha May 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

Delicious sounding recipe – I love lemon chicken, and meyer lemon sounds even better!


11 sippitysup May 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

Lemon, chicken and rosemary. A classic… welcome aboard! GREG


12 Carolyn May 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

I love thighs much more than breasts. Definitely the way to go when dryness is an issue. I find a lot of lemon chicken kind of bitter, but I bet using Meyer lemons makes a real difference!


13 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Thanks, Carolyn. We use chicken thighs a lot. They’re so much moister and cook so quickly.


14 The Café Sucré Farine May 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

Looks so yummy! Love your pics and all the great instruction!


15 The Food Hunter May 20, 2011 at 10:58 am

One of my favorite flavor combinations


16 Rachel May 20, 2011 at 11:04 am

Oh yum! I absolutely love rosemary… and chicken.. and lemons! Thanks for sharing!


17 Michelle May 20, 2011 at 11:47 am

Dara this looks so tasty and it’s going to the meal plan for next week.Thank you.Have to track down the meyer lemons..


18 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Michelle, you can substitute regular lemon for Meyer lemons. Just add a touch more honey to balance the extra tartness. Taste as you add.


19 Maria @ Scandifoodie May 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm

This is perfect! I have a big bag of lemons and a fat bunch of rosemary to use up!


20 Belinda @zomppa May 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I’m definitely a chicken thigh fan…beautiful recipe!


21 Barbara | Creative Culinary May 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Lemon, chicken and rosemary are so classic…so that twist with honey…perfect. I will use chicken breasts but have found for me, the secret to not overdoing them is to flatten them. Besides, that pounding is so therapeutic!


22 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Great idea, Barb. And you’re right – there’s nothing like a little hammering to relieve daily frustrations.


23 Maria May 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Lemon and rosemary are the perfect pair!


24 Lori @ RecipeGirl May 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Simply gorgeous chicken, my dear! Love a simple marinade that turns out a wonderfully moist end product!


25 Lisa {With Style and Grace} May 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

We do something similar to this & is our favorite! I look forward to trying this recipe – I already know my husband will love it! Have a wonderful weekend ~L


26 Ana Helena Campbell May 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I absolutely love lemon and rosemary! Thanks for sharing another great recipe. Enjoy your weekend. Ana


27 Soma May 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

light refreshing bursting with flavors!


28 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme May 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Lemon, rosemary and garlic is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. Love the bit of honey in there, too. I can just imagine how summery this recipe tastes! Add a salad and bread and I’m ready for dinner.


29 Katrina May 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Sounds good to me!


30 Wenderly May 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm

What a perfect springtime grilling recipe! Love that lemon rosemary vinaigrette!


31 claudia lamascolo May 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm

What a mouth watering photo~ I love this kind of chicken~


32 Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } May 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm

What a perfect Spring combination. Both fresh and inviting. A perfectly delish dish. :)


33 Lindsey@Lindselicious May 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm

This marinade looks so delicious, I love the lemon and rosemary combination.


34 Deborah May 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I am definitely a chicken thigh fan, and this sounds wonderful!


35 Katrina May 21, 2011 at 2:36 am

Mmm so tasty looking!


36 Angie May 21, 2011 at 6:00 am

Looks great, I love lemon anything, and this looks especially good.


37 marla May 21, 2011 at 6:47 am

Dara, this chicken certainly does look like it has the perfect texture! All that lemon juice is the best tenderizer that’s for sure :)


38 Drick May 21, 2011 at 6:53 am

do so like the idea of a vinaigrette served on the chicken, and it does look moist … white meat is the hardest to keep from drying out and grilling boneless dark sounds I know is more flavorful and juicy… glad you are grilling outside, we are closing down our American summer down here as we call it getting ready for the Gulf summer where humid nights take over and grilling becomes less pleasurable ….


39 Frank May 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

Lemon and rosemary make a natural combination. And I’m with you with using thighs: not just moister but a lot tastier than breast, too!


40 Yuri May 21, 2011 at 9:02 am

Love this vinaigrette, Dara :) Honey, lemon juice and rosemary… Heaven!


41 Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels May 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

Wow this chicken looks amazing. The vinaigrette sounds so flavorful and I love how there’s honey in it. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m always looking for new chicken recipes. :)


42 Lea Ann May 22, 2011 at 6:14 am

I’m loving this recipe. Another bookmarked. I’ve somewhat given up on boneless skinless chicken breast with a 90% dry result and have just relied on bone in/skin on cooking. Just tuck the seasonings under the skin. I’m a much happier cook this way. :-) But these chicken thighs are a different story. Thanks for the recipe.


43 Michele May 23, 2011 at 8:49 am

This recipe looks great! I’m going to make it for dinner tonight, and I was looking at the recipe to make sure I have everything. How much olive oil did you whisk into the lemon juice mixture? I didn’t see an amount listed. Thanks!


44 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

Ack! I’m sorry that I left that out. It should be 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. I hope you enjoy it!


45 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. May 23, 2011 at 9:09 am

fantastic! Bookmarked as well


46 Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) May 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Love this! I’ve got lemons and rosemary up to my ears so there’s no reason not to make this. :-)


47 Jeanette May 23, 2011 at 9:21 pm

What a wonderful recipe for the summer – light, flavorful and easy!


48 Michele May 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

It was absolutely delicious! A wonderfully refreshing taste. :)


49 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

I’m so glad, Michelle. Thanks for letting me know.


50 Tracy May 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I love the flavors in here! Time to fire up the grill. :-)


51 Dan May 25, 2011 at 11:23 am

Ah, so the trick for this one is to add the marinade after! I always assume the sauce goes on before cooking.


52 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

Dan, this is more of a vinaigrette rather than a marinade. The chicken absorbs the vinaigrette nicely when it is hot off the grill.


53 cucumber sprouts May 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Such pretty photos. How do you get them so crisp? Do you shoot them in daylight? I found your blog when I was searching for a grilled chicken recipe to serve with my new Nicoise salad ( I think the two would go really well together, don’t you think?


54 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) May 26, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Yes, I do shoot in natural light. As for the crispness – well, I suppose manual focus helps me in that department. Nicoise salad does indeed sound like a good pairing with the chicken.


55 Darla @ Bakingdom May 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm

We made this last week for dinner and it was excellent. Light, fresh and bright…perfect with sauteed gnocchi (we only had boneless, skinless breasts one hand, but after a nice brine, they were perfect). Thank you for the easy, tasty recipe! :)


56 Kevin (Closet Cooking) May 30, 2011 at 6:17 pm

The lemon and honey combo works really well on chicken!


57 Donna June 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Another fabulous creation, Dara. I like making roasted chicken with lemon slices slid under the skin. I’m going to they adding rosemary under the skin now too!


58 Selina June 4, 2011 at 12:03 am

By the squeeze of lemon, the whole recipe taste even better. I want to try this too. I’m looking forward to read more chicken recipes as tasteful as this.


59 Rachel - A Southern Fairytale June 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm

This is one of my favorite recipes 😉
The first dish I ever made for my (now) husband was a lemon chicken with pepper and rosemary.


60 Megan June 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

This sounds like a nice change from my usual recipe. I’ll be firing up the grill soon for this recipe!


61 Diane {Created by Diane} June 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

oh I LOVE these flavors, looks so delicious. Wonderful photos, I’m starving now!!!


62 ATasteOfMadness March 10, 2012 at 9:42 am

I’ve found a new love for chicken. It tastes great with everything. And this just looks great!


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