Roast Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika

by Dorothy Reinhold on December 18, 2019

Print This Post Print This Post Roast Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika: Meaty chicken thighs boast a deep orange color, roasting atop a succulent bed of red onion and sliced Meyer lemon.

Meaty chicken thighs boast a deep orange color, roasting atop a succulent bed of red onion and sliced Meyer lemon.

Put down that rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Instead, grab some thighs from the meat counter, a Meyer lemon from the produce bin, and a jar of smoked paprika from your cupboard (yes, you should keep this item stocked!), and get ready for some smells that will bring all the boys to the kitchen. And the girls. And the pets.

This is a winner winner chicken dinner, extraordinaire!

It highlights Meyer lemons, one of the crown jewels of California’s citrus harvest (a cross between a lemon and a mandarin oranges), along with aromatic pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika) from Spain. You’ll serve the pan juices from the chicken, and eat the lemon and onion slices with it as well (or not; your choice).  From just a few simple ingredients, a memorable dinner is born.

Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika recipe

This is best seasoned and left to sit in the refrigerator overnight, before roasting. Start it tonight, and you’ll have a head start on tomorrow’s dinner!

And pour one of California’s magnificent wines to go with. Suggestions are in the recipe card!

Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours

Yield: 4 servings

Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika

Roast Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika: Meaty chicken thighs boast a deep orange color, roasting atop a succulent bed of red onion and sliced Meyer lemon.


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds (750 g) total
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Spice Rub:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pimentón de la Vera (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • 1 Meyer lemon (or navel orange), ends removed, then thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced from stem to root
  • 24 green olives (optional)


  1. Coat the chicken thighs all over with the olive oil. In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients, mixing well. Sprinkle on both sides of the chicken. Set the seasoned thighs on a rack over a plate or tray and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.
  2. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Choose a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold the thighs in a single layer without touching. Put the lemon and onion slices in the baking dish and toss them together. Remake them into a flat bed and set the thighs directly on top.
  3. Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then baste with the pan juices. Continue roasting until the chicken skin is well browned and crisp and the onions and lemons are just beginning to caramelize, about 20 minutes longer. Add the green olives, if using, about 10 minutes before the chicken is done.
  4. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving to allow the juices to settle.
  5. Serves 4.


Recipe source: "Wine Country Table: With Recipes that Celebrate California's Sustainable Harvest," by Janet Fletcher (Rizzoli, 2019). Recipe and photo used with permission from the publisher.

WINE SUGGESTION: California Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir (generous fruit aromas, lively acidity and plenty of depth).

SUBSTITUTION FOR MEYER LEMON: Use half regular lemon and half orange or tangerine or mandarin. It won't be exact, but you'll get close.

About the cookbook

Wine Country Table book coverThis recipe comes from a new cookbook, “Wine Country Table: With Recipes that Celebrate California’s Sustainable Harvest,” by Janet Fletcher. More than simply a cookbook, this 50-recipe book takes readers on a wine country road trip of California, which of course is the leading wine and food destination in the U.S. It also provides suggested sustainable wine pairings to bring out the best in each harvest dish—so it’s sure to engage everyone from beginners to advanced wine lovers. It is written by award-winning Napa Valley author Janet Fletcher, who showcases the diversity of our state’s wines and regions, as well as its agricultural bounty. These are produce-driven recipes that define our wine regions — California cuisine, indeed! It would make a wonderful gift for a wine lover or enthusiast in your life.

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Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika easy recipeThe publisher sent a copy of the cookbook for review.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra MacCoubrey January 26, 2024 at 9:56 am

Love this recipe, we make it whenever we can get Meyer lemons. The spice mixture for the chicken thighs is really flavourful and the thighs crisp so nicely in the oven. A family favorite


Beth December 26, 2019 at 2:12 pm

We are always looking for something easy to make for dinner! Love the sound of this roasted chicken!


Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert December 21, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Looks delicious and so easy to make!


Dorothy Reinhold January 4, 2020 at 10:55 am

Yes! These days, it has to be easy or it ain’t happenin’.


Tisha December 20, 2019 at 3:48 pm

This looks like a perfect meal for a weekend night. Something the whole family would love!!


Catalina December 20, 2019 at 10:43 am

I am in heaven! This chicken dish is so inviting!


Chrissie Baker December 20, 2019 at 12:18 am

Yes, yes, and more yes. This looks so yummy and I love that it’s another one-pan wonder! Keep it up with the savory recipes, Dorothy! They all look SO good


Sara Welch December 19, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Made this for dinner tonight and it has easily become a new family favorite recipe! Restaurant worthy, indeed!


Dorothy Reinhold December 19, 2019 at 8:09 pm

I am so glad to hear that! YAY!


Demeter December 19, 2019 at 1:56 pm

This is such a gorgeous dish! It sounds so flavorful. I need to pick up some Meyer lemons.


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