Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs recipe with lemon chicken marinade is gluten-free, paleo, keto and whole30 from I Heart Umami.
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5 from 21 votes

Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)

Crispy Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs are super delicious yet simple with an easy lemon chicken marinade for the best easy chicken recipe for dinner with 3-ingredients!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon chicken marinade, Lemon chicken thighs, lemon thyme chicken, lemon thyme chicken thighs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Marinade time: 15 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 644.3kcal
Author ChihYu


  • 1.75 lbs about 4 pieces chicken thighs, boneless and skin-on preferred, see notes
  • Coarse sea salt sprinkle
  • Ground black pepper sprinkle
  • One whole lemon see notes
  • 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil or more
  • 1/4 cup Chicken stock if use oven or airfryer method


Lemon Thyme Chicken Prep:

  • Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. If making this dish right away, marinate the chicken, skin side up, with half of one whole lemon juice and 2-3 sprigs of thyme for 15 minutes. See notes for meal prep method.

Pan-fry, Roast, or Ari-fry:

  • If using stovetop: In a large well-heated skillet, add 1 tbsp oil. Lightly drip off the marinade, be careful the splatter. Place the chicken skin side down. Pan fry over medium-high heat for about 5-6 minutes. Use a splatter guard.
  • Cook the flip side (now skin side up) for about 4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. If using skinless chicken thighs, reduce the cook time by 1 minute less per side.
  • If using oven: Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place a baking rack on top. Lightly spray or brush oil over the rack. Place the chicken skin side up on the rack and bake for 20 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the meat is cooked through. Then, set the oven to high broil and broil for 3 minutes to give a nice golden color. If using skinless chicken thighs, broil on high broil for only 1 to 2 minutes.
  • If using air-fryer: Spray or brush oil over the basket rack, place the chicken skin side down. Air fry at 400F for 10 minutes then flip to air fry the second side (now skin side up) for 10 additional minutes at the same temperature. The chicken should be cooked through.

Lemon Thyme Chicken Juice:

  • For stovetop: With chicken in the skillet and while the skillet is still hot, add 4 slices of lemon and the rest of thyme to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and cover with a lid to steam for 30 seconds. The lemon should be slightly charred and there should be a few tablespoons of pan juices that’s just enough to drizzle over the chicken. Serve them over a large serving tray with charred lemon and drizzle the pan juices over. Serve hot.
  • For oven and air fryer: Once the chicken thighs are out of the oven/fryer, set the chicken aside over a large serving tray, cover to keep warm. Collect as much juice and oil as you can from the bottom of the baking tray/basket. Add it to a skillet and warm it over medium heat with 4 lemon slices and the rest of the thyme. You may need to add a bit more chicken stock or olive oil if not enough chicken juice. The lemon should be slightly charred and there should be a few tablespoons of pan juices that’s just enough to drizzle over the chicken. Serve hot.


  • If in a hurry, use skinless and boneless chicken thighs. If use skin-on chicken thighs with leg bone, please scroll up to the post to see step-by-step photos and instructions on how to remove the bone.
  • If marinating the chicken for meal prep, use a little more than a quarter of one whole lemon juice and store them in a large freezer friendly bag with thyme, squeeze out the air and store it flat in the freezer. Defrost a night before with a tray underneath.
  • I do not recommend marinating the chicken over 24 hours in the fridge because the lemon flavor will turn too sour.
  • The nutritional label is calculated with skin-on and boneless chicken thighs for 2 pieces quantity. 


Serving: 2pieces | Calories: 644.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.54g | Protein: 50.32g | Fat: 47.68g | Saturated Fat: 12.61g | Cholesterol: 202.41mg | Sodium: 189.25mg | Potassium: 510.09mg | Fiber: 0.28g | Sugar: 0.01g | Vitamin A: 472.87IU | Vitamin C: 7.52mg | Calcium: 37.79mg | Iron: 2.78mg