Roast Chicken with Caramelized Lemons
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Roast Chicken with Caramelized Lemons, Cherry Tomatoes and Olives



Thank goodness for family favorites. You know, the dishes you can count on to delight your crew even if you wind up making it several times in a week. Today's recipe has quickly become one of my most trusted, tried and true dinner entrees for a bunch of reasons.

For starters, whenever I make it, my whole family fights tooth and nail for every last little cherry tomato and olive, whose flavors get insanely rich from all the caramelizing in the sauté pan. Who "got more tomatoes and olives" has become such an issue in my house that I've started adding an extra handful of each beyond what the recipe calls for -- which is actually great because I've found that the more you add the better this dish gets.

Second, if you think this recipe is tasty right out of the oven, just wait until you try it on day two. You will start hoping there's enough for leftovers every time you make it, as the flavors come together even more and the chicken stays moist and juicy under the skin. Mentioning the skin, I had no idea how much my kids adored crispy skin until I made this dish for the first time. I usually try to avoid eating skin and remove it because it's not the healthiest, but let's be honest, it's pretty much the best part.

Third, the taste of caramelized lemons….are you kidding me??!!

If those aren't reasons enough to convince you to make this Roast Chicken with Caramelized Lemons, Cherry Tomatoes and Olives than just the blessing of only having to clean up one pan after dinner, instead an entire sinkful of them, should make you think twice. It will only add to the post-meal smile that will be on your face.

I beg you to make this one. It's seriously worth the un-effort!

This recipe is part of Food Network's Sensational Sides article. Click the links below for more inspiration!

Jeanette's Healthy LivingRoasted Cauliflower, Carrots and Chickpeas With Halloumi Cheese
Dishin & DishesRoasted Asparagus and Avocado Toast
Cooking With EliseRoasted Strawberries and a Mixed Green Salad
The Cultural DishRoasted Sweet Potatoes: Two Variations
WeeliciousRoast Chicken With Caramelized Lemons, Cherry Tomatoes and Olives
Napa Farmhouse 1885Roasted Leeks With Polenta and Pork Tenderloin 
Red or Green?Spicy Roasted Radishes and Asparagus With Balsamic Vinegar
Virtually HomemadeGrilled Rosemary Garlic Potatoes
The Sensitive EpicureRoasted Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus With Rosemary
Feed Me PhoebeArtichokes With White Wine and Thyme
DevourOven Roasted Vegetable Recipes
FN DishAn Ode to the Oven, Roasted Side Dish Recipes

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Lemons, Cherry Tomatoes and Olives  (4)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins,
  • Cook Time: 30 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
Thank goodness for family favorites. You know, the dishes you can count on to delight your crew even if you wind up making it several times in a week. Today's recipe has quickly become one of my most trusted, tried and true dinner entrees for a bunch of...


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • handful of thyme (about 8-10 stems)


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. 2. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. 3. Pat the chicken breasts dry, make sure they are very dry, and sprinkle the top with the salt.
  4. 4. Place the chicken breasts, skin side down, in the heated oil and sear for 5 minutes, or until skin is crisp and golden brown.
  5. 5. Flip the chicken over. Add the lemon, olives, tomatoes and thyme to the skillet and transfer to the oven.
  6. 6. Roast for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  7. *The chicken breasts I used were 3/4 pound each.
Roast Chicken with Caramelized Lemons, Cherry Tomatoes and Olives

Nutrition Information

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  1. dawnsheridan

    November 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    This was so good and very easy! Perfect for a novice cook like myself! Thanks Catherine…

  2. dori

    February 7, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    roast chiken w csrmelized .lemons cherry tomatoes

  3. MT

    November 3, 2014 at 10:45 am

    A good last minute recipe to make and soooooo delicious!

  4. Elaina

    August 9, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Hi this roast chicken with carmelized lemons looked amazing. How many lemons and are they sliced, diced, whole? The recipe does not state. From the photo it looks like 1 lemon sliced in half. Thanks!

    • Catherine McCord

      August 11, 2014 at 8:56 am

      1 lemon cut in half! It is the 4th ingredient in the recipe list. :)

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  13. Katie

    October 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I made this last week and it was so good!

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  15. zel105

    October 23, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Does the chicken need to be covered once it’s in the oven?

    • catherine

      October 24, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Nope! :)

  16. megan

    September 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    can u use boneless breasts?

    • catherine

      September 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      You can, but you’ll need to cook them for way less time. So keep an eye on them!

  17. megan

    September 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    could i use boneless chicken breasts?

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  19. Office catering london

    September 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

    That looks such tasty ! Wonderful !

  20. Jocelyn Oei

    May 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing one of your tried-and-true recipes! Adding tomatoes, olives and lemon dressed up the weekly roast chicken (I use chicken quarters). I seasoned the chicken with lemon pepper and salt, then followed the recipe as stated. The tomatoes, lemon and olives made such a rich gravy. Even my picky eater son ate every last bite! Love, love, love!!

  21. Elise Johnson

    April 4, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Can’t wait to make this, Catherine! I love roasting chicken and cherry tomatoes. I just used the olives I had in my pantry and so I will substitute capers this time. thanks for the great recipe!

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  23. Angela

    March 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Is it ok if I use bone in skinless chicken?

    • catherine

      April 1, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Yes, it will just take a bit longer to cook through!

  24. kristy

    March 18, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I thought this dish was out of this world- and no chopping! I will make this again and again.

  25. Susan

    January 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Oh. My. Goodness. This is fabulous!

  26. cheryl

    December 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    what would you do different if using a whole chicken?

  27. Jennifer

    December 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    This is absolutely delicious. Even my very picky 2 year old ate it. Thank you!

  28. Kris - Caterer

    November 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    it’s always good when i find a blog that teachs and inpires me so much! Thank you!

  29. cindy

    November 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    How do you make carmelized lemons?

    • catherine

      November 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      The lemons caramelize while they’re roasting in the oven with everything else!

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  31. Sue

    November 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    How big is the pan you used? I am not sure I can fit all four breasts in my stainless steel pan.

    • catherine

      November 12, 2012 at 11:58 am

      I used a 9-inch skillet!

  32. Dana

    November 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Ok, you had me at caramelized lemons! I can’t wait to make this for my family.

  33. michele

    November 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Would dried thyme work well? If so, how much would you suggest?

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    • catherine

      November 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      I would use 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of dried thyme since it is much more potent! Maybe sprinkle it over everything just before putting it in the oven.

  34. Julia

    November 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Great recipe–the colors in this dish are just beautiful.

  35. Catherine

    November 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Great recipe!!! I have organic chicken legs on my grocery list. They are $1.99/lb @ Trader Joes so I think this would be nice for this dish.

  36. Shannon

    November 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

    2nd question: Do you cover the pan in the over at all? Do you have any problem with oil spitting/sputtering out?

    • catherine

      November 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

      Nope! I leave it uncovered and don’t have a problem with splattering. Make sure to dry the chickens really well before placing them in the hot oil!

  37. Shannon

    November 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Ohhhhh num yummy. I have been looking for a great, easy, go-to chicken recipe and am pretty sure this is it!
    Have you tried it with other olives, like kalamata?

    • catherine

      November 9, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Kalamata olives would be wonderful!

  38. Irina

    November 9, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Yum! This brings back memories! I loved a similar dish as a kid!
    Grandma used to add some onions in there as well. I am definitely trying this soon (though last time I made it, my Kiddo disliked the lemon in it).

  39. sylvia

    November 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

    ok- I am drooling a little . This sounds easy and delicious. I will most certainly try it next week. Thanks for a one-pan wonder!

  40. Melissa

    November 9, 2012 at 9:47 am

    And what about using thighs? We are a dark meat family. Thanks!

    • catherine

      November 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      Follow the same recipe, but check the chicken for doneness and add a few minutes onto the cooking time as dark meat can take longer to cook!

  41. Julie

    November 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

    This feels like a silly question but how do I know if my skillet is oven-proof??

    • catherine

      November 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      If it is all stainless steel, cast iron, or enameled cast iron it is most likely oven proof. If there is anything plastic on it (or even those silicon handles sometimes) it is probably not. What brand of skillet do you have? The manufacturer’s website will probably tell whether or not it is oven-proof!

      • Susie

        November 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

        Is there an oven proof skillet that you recommend? This is the second recipe that I’ve wanted to try (from Weelicious!) that requires an oven proof skillet!

        • catherine

          November 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

          I use an enameled cast iron skillet from a company that unfortunately no longer exists, but any enameled cast iron skillet or an all stainless steel skillet will work!

    • Ana

      November 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Yes, Alyson is right, is there is anything plastic on your skillet, then it could melt in the oven.

    • Alyson

      November 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Julie – I think that whether a skillet is oven-proof or not usually has to do with what material was used for the handle. If you’re using a pan that is all stainless-steel or all cast iron or enameled cast iron (e.g., Le Creuset), then you should be fine. Many recipes also say you can wrap a handle with foil to make it oven-safe, although I have not tried it. Also note that the handles of the lids for some pans (even Le Creuset) can be an issue, but that’s not a factor for this recipe. In any event, the easiest thing to do is Google the type of pan you have!

  42. Alyson

    November 9, 2012 at 9:10 am

    This looks delicious, and I who doesn’t love a one-pan meal?! Have you ever tried adding fingerling potatoes to the pan? I’m just wondering how the timing would work. I could always cook them in a separate pan, but it would be great to put it all in one!

    Thanks so much!

    • catherine

      November 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      I haven’t done that with this recipe, because it only cooks for 25 minutes and potatoes usually take longer than that to cook. Also, my pan wouldn’t hold the chicken breasts and potatoes, it is too small! If you cut them small enough the potatoes would cook in 25 minutes, but I would probably put them on a sheet tray drizzled with oil and salt and just put it in the oven at the same time!

    • Ana

      November 9, 2012 at 10:27 am

      You could could pre-cook the potatoes and then add them to the chicken to finish roasting. When I roast a turkey I usually slice the potatoes and line the bottom of the roasting pan with them. they get cooked with all the juices of the turkey and they are delicious!! but a turkey cooks for longer time than this chicken so I think pre-cooking partially may work.

      • Alyson

        November 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

        Good point. The cooking time is pretty quick. Ellie Krieger’s Parmesan Oven Fries (so yummy!) take about 25-30 minutes at 450, and they don’t have to share a pan. I’ll experiment with par-cooking in the same skillet before browning the chicken – to preserve the one-pot nature of the dish.

    • Brandi

      November 9, 2012 at 9:29 am

      I was wondering the same about adding potatoes. :-). Weelicious, please do answer this question!