Lemon Baked Chicken

I don’t like bland food.  And chicken is one of those meats that needs to be seasoned generously. At least this is my experience here in the U.S.  The chickens are lacking in flavors.  And this may explains why it is common to see chickens sold in the supermarkets having labels that say:  “injected with chicken broth to enhance flavors.”  Huh.  Why?

I usually avoid this type of chicken.  Because I don’t know what flavors have been injected into the chicken.  And I much rather know.  So I buy the plain ole chickens with no flavor enhancements.  And seasoned them myself.

When I was a young girl, we had several chickens running around in our yard.  And on special occasion, we would feast on one of these chickens.  We would have to catch the chicken, the night before, while the chicken is asleep.  Usually, up on a tree branch.

I remember the chicken tasting so good…

The chicken we ate was organic and fresh that it didn’t need plenty of seasoning.  In fact, we only had salt and lemon grass.  It’s either that the chicken tasted so good.  Or, that we did not eat much poultry or other meats.  So that when eat meat, our senses are awakened.  We inhaled the sweet aroma.  We savored every bite.  And we licked the bones clean!

And we were hungry for more.

During those days, I especially loved chicken livers.  Each time we’d kill a chicken, I’d asked dad if I could have the livers.  “Please, please, Tatay… Can I have the livers? Nobody should get them but me! I demanded.”  I didn’t care for the other parts.  I only liked the livers!

Later I found out.  The chicken livers I thought I was getting, weren’t livers.  They were chicken blood!  Chicken blood!  I was shocked.  I felt cheated!

But for several years, until I was in my teens.  I thought I was eating livers.  Then one day, I ask my dad: “Tatay… why there are plenty of livers on our chicken…?”  “Oh.  They’re not livers.  They’re blood.  Chicken blood.  They just looked like livers once they’re cooked.” Tatay replied.

Chicken blood dropped into the boiling soup, in the pot.  Once it’s cooked, the large droplets of blood clumped into a liver like specimen.

We only had the luxury to feast on a single, mature chicken.  And I always wonder why there seems to be a number of livers floating in the pot.

But I liked the livers.  I mean the blood.  No. The livers! They tasted so good.  I didn’t know they were blood.  I thought they were chicken livers.  Tasty chicken livers!

But then I had another revelation…

Back in 1996, 15 years ago, when we went home to the Philippines .  Willie and I were on a protein diet.  So we ate mostly meats:  pork and chicken.  I noted a great difference in taste on the chicken and pork meats.

Our maid was cooking the chicken and pork simply.  Pan fried, with minimal seasonings – salt and black pepper.  Yet, it tasted so good.  It was shockingly good.  Tastier and more flavorful compared to the ones we were consuming back in Okinawa, Japan.  The ones we buy at the USAF Commissary.  The Tyson Chickens from Arkansas.

What’s the difference? A lot.  I’m sure.  Farming methods.  Feeds.  Etc.  And I could probably write another blog on these issues.  But I’m not going to do that, so I’ll just stop here.

But here’s one fact:  I often wish the chickens and pork here in America would taste as good… and flavorful as the chickens and pork I have eaten in the Philippines.   I kept wishing…


Lemon Baked Chicken.  This is a fairly simple chicken recipe that’s full of goodness.  It is lemony.  And good.  Real good!

Leg quarters.  Washed.  Pat dried with paper towels.

Lined up in a heavy duty baking sheet lined with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Or you can use a large glass baking pan.

Freshly squeezed lemon juice drizzled all over the chicken.  And generously seasoned with herbs and spices.

Baked in a preheated oven at 350°F for one and a half (1½ ) hours.

Serve them with the juices over the chicken.

The Recipe…

Lemon Baked Chicken :

6 pieces Chicken leg quarters

Juices of 2 large lemons (about ½ – ¾ cup)

1 whole lemon – thinly sliced

1 TBSP. kosher salt

1 TBSP. Spanish paprika

2 tsps. Garlic granules

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

4 TBSPs. olive or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wash chicken and pat them dry.  Place in a large glass or ceramic baking pan.

Drizzle half of the lemon juice over the chicken leg quarters on one side.

In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, garlic granules, black pepper, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper.  Sprinkle half of this seasoning over the chicken.

Turn the chicken over to the other side and drizzle the remaining half of the lemon juices.  Sprinkle the remaining half of the seasoning.

Scatter the thinly sliced lemon over the chicken pieces, and drizzle olive or vegetable oil.

Bake chicken in a preheated oven at 350°F for one and a half (1½ ) hours.

Serve warm with sauce drizzled over the chicken.

Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:

#1 – Allow the chicken to marinate in lemon juice and spices for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator, before baking. This process allows the chicken to absorb lots of flavor from the lemons and spices.  Which makes a great difference in enhancing the flavors of the chicken.

#2 – Freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Please.  Do not use the bottled, artificial lemon juice.

#3 – The herbs and spices.  All the herbs and spices give the chicken plenty of flavors.


Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Tess Harris

5 thoughts on “Lemon Baked Chicken

  1. Being someone who isn’t really into the birds I would normally just pass on this recipe but it looks to tasty. You are so right when you say chicken can be bland & that is probably why I don’t like it much unless it’s KFC. There was this Portuguese chicken that my friend Shell’s mom use to make that was really good cause it was full of flavor ~ kinda on the spicy side but when she was making it for me so would cut back on that & it was yummy cause it wasn’t bland at all. That is why this catch my eye cause it looks the same……though I know the taste will be different. I like all the spices you are using & the lemon so come on this chicken can’t be bland so I’m gunna give it a try.

    Just wanted to mention something cause your story about the chicken livers (blood) was priceless. Whenever I use to eat something as a kid that I luved & would ask what it is ~ mom would always say “never mind just eat it” now I know why……LOL.

    Thnx for the recipe Tess & I hope your having an awesome weekend……hugggeroos 🙂

    • Hi Mario!


      It would be nice if you could find out how Shell’s mom made those Portuguese chicken dish. I’m sure she’d be willing to share the recipe with you. Or better yet, watch her from beginning to end, while making the dish… So you don’t miss a thing! 🙂

      As for this Lemon Baked Chicken. I hope you like it. It certainly was flavorful when I made it. Oh, there’s one thing that I just remember… which I should add on my kitchen secrets, is allowing the chicken to marinate in lemon juice and spices for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator, before baking. This process allow the chicken to absorb lots of flavor from the lemons and spices, which definitely enhances the flavors of the chicken.

      … I can’t believe I forgot to note this in my original recipe. You see, I have made several versions of this dish. And the best ones were the ones I allowed the chicken to marinate for at least one hour before baking.

      As for the spiciness of the chicken… you could reduce the amount of cayenne pepper, from 1 tsp. down to 1/4 tsp… But keep the amount of paprika the same. Paprika are usually not spicy. And I use it for flavors. Not to make the dish spicy.

      … you’re mom is smart. If she told you what you were eating, you probably would not have eaten it… 🙂

      My weekend is good. Thanks! You too, have a great week…


  2. Too funny Tess about you & chicken livers. 🙂 When my dad would roast the chickens for Sunday dinner, I demanded the gizzard. Never knew back then what I was eating, like you. I just knew it tasted good, and I was the one to get that piece. Lets just say that I’ve not had a gizzard in quite awhile, lol but it does add nice flavor to the gravy.

    I like your recipe. First off, I prefer the dark meat because it’s moist, and more favorable. The white meat dries out much too quickly, and can taste rubbery. Will have to give this one a try soon. Love the crispy top chicken skin. Yummy! Must be some nutritional value in that, right? 🙂

    • Hi, Tess!


      LOL! Glad to know I wasn’t the only one, requesting specific parts… 🙂

      Yup. It sure does. The gizzards are great in gravy. Just time consuming to finely chop them.

      Haha. Absolutely! Crispy chicken skins. Mmmm… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s