Lemon ginger chicken has that spicy-tangy flavor that we love. Wilted greens and roasted shallots finish off the dish with a tasty boost. Make sure to spoon a little extra sauce over your rice, it might be the best part.
One of my favorite midweek meals takes minutes to prepare; sometimes, things just have to be that simple. You can also use chicken wings or pork ribs, but the cooking times will vary.–Uyen Luu
☞ Table of Contents
Lemon Ginger Chicken
For the lemon ginger chicken
- 1 tablespoon chile (hot pepper) flakes (optional)
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce tamari, or coconut aminos
- 2 pounds 4 ounces skin-on chicken thighs* and drumsticks
- 2 (12 oz) red onions peeled and quartered
- 1 lemon zested then sliced into rings, preferably organic
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz / 14 g) butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
For the wilted greens
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz / 14 g) butter
- 1/2 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
- 1 shallot sliced
- 3 garlic cloves sliced
- Selection of greens like kale, broccoli, and fine green beans, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Dried chile flakes or chile oil for servings
- Steamed rice for serving
Make the lemon ginger chicken
- In a small bowl, mix together the dried chiles, if using, the ginger, and the soy sauce.
- Place the chicken pieces in a re-sealable bag or container, pour in the marinade, and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Dump the chicken pieces and marinade into a large roasting pan and arrange in a single layer with 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of space between each piece of chicken. Add the onion quarters, then arrange the lemon slices in between the pieces of chicken.
- Roast, basting halfway through, until the chicken starts to brown and become tender, about 35 minutes.
- Spoon any juices from the roasting pan into a small saucepan, then return the chicken to the oven.
- Set the saucepan over medium-low heat and add the butter, honey, and lemon zest. Bring to a gentle boil and let bubble until the sauce has reduced by a third, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and pour the honey sauce evenly over the chicken. Return to the oven and cook until the chicken is cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), and the skin is caramelized, 5 to 10 minutes. It’s ok if the internal temperature is significantly higher at this point. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Prepare the wilted greens
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm the butter and oil. Toss in the shallot and cook until just beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring to keep it from burning. Toss in the sliced vegetables and a splash of water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the vegetables, stirring constantly, until just tender, about 5 minutes.
- Serve the chicken with an option of more dried chiles or chile oil, steamed rice, and vegetables.
*Do chicken thighs take longer to cook?In a recipe like this, if you decided to sub in chicken breasts (which we don’t suggest because it’s all about that juicy dark meat and crispy skin here) you’d have to shorten your cooking time, even though breasts are bigger—sometimes a lot bigger. Chicken thighs and drumsticks have a higher fat content (which is why some people prefer the breast) and are denser so they cook more slowly than breasts. However, breasts are prone to drying out because of the lack of fat. Bone-in thighs take a little longer but you’ll be rewarded with more flavor and juiciness.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I’m not sure which I liked more…the lemon ginger chicken or the veggies for serving that are part of the recipe, but it probably doesn’t matter because together they make a delicious meal.
I used slightly less chicken than called for to serve 2 people so a 9x13 inch pan was enough to allow for space in between pieces, but a larger pan might have been necessary to comfortably fit the full amount.
My veggie combo for serving consisted of kale and green beans and those combined with the shallot and garlic were memorably delicious.
The shallots added sweet notes to contrast with the kale and beans and made for an incredibly comforting component of the meal alongside the rice and chicken. Make sure to include a serving spoon with the chicken to scoop up the sauce to boost the flavor of the chicken and the rice.
This lemon ginger chicken will definitely be on repeat in the house. The combination of chile, lemon, ginger, and honey is perfection, hitting every tastebud. The skin is crispy, onions are soft and sweet, and the lemons are perfectly charred. Also, super-easy, making it a great choice for weekdays or company.
Originally published July 05, 2021