Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken

by Dorothy Reinhold on May 23, 2021

Print This Post Print This Post Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken is a delicious sweet-sour, tangy, herby chicken dinner. It will be on repeat at your house.

Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken is a delicious sweet-sour, tangy, herby chicken dinner. It will be on repeat at your house.

Roasted chicken or turkey skin is my guilty pleasure. I have always loved sneaking into the kitchen to pick off the crispiest, brownest pieces of skin before anyone else gets at them, or – horrors! – before some well-meaning cook discards the fatty skin.

I know the food police think we should eat skinless chicken in these vigilant nutritional times, but I don’t care. Chicken cooked with the bone in and the skin on tastes so much better as to be an entirely different experience than the underdressed variety.

This slightly sweet, lemony, herbaceous recipe tastes fabulous — meat, skin and all. And it’s a slight change of pace for chicken without being so weird you only want to eat it once. I’ve been known to make it twice in one week.

How to make Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken

First, assemble your ingredients. That way you know if you have everything on hand.

Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree in a half whiskey barrel with lemons hanging from the branchesI start by going to the back yard and picking a lemon. This is a dwarf Meyer lemon tree I planted in a half-whiskey barrel some years ago. It’s scrawny, but each year it gives me 20 or so lemons, and I am thrilled! (If you don’t have a lemon tree in your yard, get your lemons at the store. No stress.)

Ingredients for Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken on a white plate on a white marble counterThen grab everything you need from the cabinet and refrigerator. For this recipe, we need only a few ingredients:

  • chicken thighs with bone in and skin on
  • fresh lemon juice
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • oregano
  • kosher salt

8 chicken thighs in a baking dish with marinade pouring over, set on a white marble counterPut chicken in a 13×9-inch baking dish. Mix everything else in a measuring cup, and then pour it over the chicken.

8 chicken thighs in a glass baking dish set on a white marble counterAll the marinade/sauce is over the chicken and it’s ready for the oven.

8 chicken thighs deeply brown from roasting, in a yellow sauce, with the pan set on a white marble counterWhen roasted, the chicken gets deeply burnished. I might have left the pan in a few minutes too long (or maybe not if you don’t mind a little char). I went to check my email (never do that, fellow home cooks…just don’t!). Anyway, I like it this way!

6 chicken thighs in a glass baking dish

Fear no food! Eat the skin!

Note: I submitted this recipe to the national food magazine “Taste of Home” and they renamed it Oregano-Lemon Chicken and published it in Country Extra in Nov. 2004.

Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Serves 6.

Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken Recipe

Sticky Lemon-Oregano Chicken is a delicious sweet-sour, tangy, herby chicken dinner. It will be on repeat at your house.


  • 6-8 meaty chicken thighs (bone-in, skin left on), about 2-3 pounds
  • .
  • Marinade
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, grated or finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • .
  • Pinch of kosher salt


  1. Heat oven to 375F degrees. Mist a roasting pan or 13- by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Prepare the chicken: Using a poultry/food shears or knife, snip off and discard any big fat globs, leaving skin intact. Place chicken in pan.
  3. Make the marinade: In a small bowl or 1 cup measuring cup, stir all marinade ingredients together (lemon, honey, olive oil, garlic, oregano) and pour over chicken. Use all the marinade, don't hold any back. Sprinkle chicken with a pinch of kosher salt. Place pan in oven and roast chicken, uncovered, for a total of 45 minutes, basting with the accumulated juices once, at the halfway point. (If you don't have a baster, you can use a soup spoon by removing the hot pan from the oven, tilting it slightly, and collecting some accumulated juice to spoon over the chicken; return hot pan to the oven to finish the rest of the roasting time.)
  4. Remove chicken from oven, let rest for a couple of minutes and serve, spooning the pan juices over top of each thigh. See directions below if you'd like to turn the pan juices into a thicker "lemony gravy."
  5. Serves 6.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious

Make quick gravy: If you like thicker juices or you want to create a sort of quickie gravy, pour the pan juices into a small saucepan (you’ll have about 1 cup-ish, depending on how much chicken you used and how much fat rendered out from it). In a small bowl, put 2 tablespoons of the chicken pan juices, and stir in 1 tablespoon cornstarch, until well blended into a slurry. Stir this slurry back into the pan juices in the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; it will thicken as it reaches the boiling point. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and spoon newly thickened sauce over chicken and serve.

pin this please!Pin the image below for Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken to your Pinterest board to save this recipe

Recipe title superimposed over 8 pieces of browned chicken in a yellow sauce, in a glass baking dish

Reader photo of Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken

Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken in a glass baking dish
My former newspaper colleague Lori Valesko makes this recipe all the time, and snapped this photo of it ⇑. I want to dig right in! She says, “I doubled the lemon juice and used some arrowroot to make the gravy and it was a HIT with the fam! Paired it with mashed potatoes, (more surface area for the gravy), and green beans for the win. Thanks for saving my butt again.” You’re welcome, Lori. I just wrote “chicken thighs” on my shopping list.

Want another great lemony chicken thigh recipe?

4 Roast Chicken thighs in a dark baking pan with lemon and onion slicesRoast Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika

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This recipe for Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken was originally published June 9, 2010 and has been refreshed and republished today.Closeup of Sticky Lemon Oregano Chicken

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Kerhin May 29, 2020 at 8:40 am

Totally drooling over this chicken


Ashley Marie Lecker May 29, 2020 at 6:45 am

I love the description of sweet-sour, tangy, herby chicken! This is something that my family and I will love!


Amy (Savory Moments) May 28, 2020 at 5:25 pm

I always dry tons of oregano from my garden, so this is a perfect recipe to have on hand to use it!


Cathy May 28, 2020 at 1:10 pm

The lemon + oregano combo is amazing!


Dorothy Reinhold May 28, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Thanks! I totally agree, and I think we should use it in something else, too, like pasta!


Hezzi-D May 28, 2020 at 12:24 pm

The honey paired with the lemon juice sounds fabulous!


Dorothy Reinhold May 28, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Yeah, the sweet-sour of it all is very appealing!


Toni May 28, 2020 at 11:29 am

A new favorite dinner at my house!! This is so good!


Catalina May 28, 2020 at 1:43 am

I love how crispy and flavorful this chicken is!


Anna May 27, 2020 at 9:00 pm

Delicious idea for chicken thighs! I need to make it soon!


Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert May 27, 2020 at 8:34 pm

I know for sure this Lemon Oregano Chicken would be a huge hit in my house!


Amanda May 27, 2020 at 7:58 pm

My family and I could not get enough of this meal!


Beth Pierce May 27, 2020 at 1:32 pm

This is so yummy! I love this recipe! My family loves it too!


Dorothy Reinhold May 27, 2020 at 1:39 pm

I am so glad to hear that! Thanks for letting me know.


doodles April 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

This sounds just wonderful. Not liking thighs I will use breasts and cut them in half. Does that sound like it will work OK


Dorothy April 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Sure, that should be fine. Watch your cooking time though, because breasts cook faster than thighs, and can dry out.


Jennifer September 10, 2010 at 9:40 am

Made this recipe last night and loved it! Only my skin didn’t get quite as crispy as yours looked – wondering where I might have gone wrong? Do you think my oven needed to be higher than 375 or should I have left it in a bit longer than the 45 minutes?


Dorothy September 12, 2010 at 6:20 am

Hi Jennifer,
Hmmm…I can think of two things.
1. In some ovens, the temperature can vary by 25 degrees in either direction. Apparently that is the accepted tolerance from oven manufacturers! That’s why I always keep a separate thermometer in my oven, so I can verify that it is the temp it should be. So perhaps your oven runs on the -25 degree side naturally?
2. I usually keep my top oven rack in the top third of the oven, so perhaps that places my chicken nearer the heating element (electric oven, so a coil at the top). Just musing about that.
If you need a crispier skin (oh yesssss!), why don’t you pop the pan under the broiler for a minute or three at the end of the cooking time, and see if that solves your problem? Stand there and watch it, though. Don’t walk away while it is broiling, or you might burn it. Let me know if that works!


Debbie August 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Has a last minute crowd for dinner tonight and tried this recipe. So easy and SO FABULOUS!!! Thank you, thank you!!


Patti at Worth The Whisk July 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

This recipe is right up my alley. Few ingredients, citrus flavor, simple but looks like a lot of flavor. Skin, ya gotta love it.


Surfer Girl June 25, 2010 at 7:41 am

Well, you had me at ‘skin’. I made this for dinner last night and we LOVED it! The recipe is now in my ‘keeper’ file and your blog is in my RSS feed – thanks! Lori 🙂


Tracy B June 23, 2010 at 7:57 am

Ok, LOVE your new website Dorothy!!!

You know how I’ve always loved to cook and now I can benefit from some tried, true, delicious recipes from my cousin who is handing me recipes I already know are great (don’t need to “see how it will come out”).

Friday night, I made the lemon-oregano chicken for 8. Kids and adults alike LOVED it.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart – I am now checking daily so I no longer have to think about what to make, which for me is a blessing!

Love from the Virginia fans!


Kim at Rustic Garden Bistro June 9, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Dorothy! I LOVE that you’re not afraid of the skin; neither am I. This recipe actually reminds me of my tequila-lime recipe, which in addition to using skin – incorporates a layer of garlic and shallot goodness under the skin. Mr. RGBistro approves, anyway. 😉 [K]


Dorothy June 10, 2010 at 5:01 am

Kim, your chicken sounds fabulous!


Jodie June 9, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I’m salivating …


Dorothy June 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm

OH yeah, Jodie. This one is a MUST! Falling-off-a-log easy.


sippitysup June 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm

You had me at sticky chicken! But then you admitted your love of skin and I knew this was going to be bookmarked. How do you feel about Arctic Char skin? GREG


Dorothy June 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I just looked up Arctic Char, to make sure I knew what it was. Since I love salmon and trout, I would LOVE Arctic Char skin. It is described as “leathery,” which suits me just fine. Something to chew on. When I have the chance, I will ALWAYS order the salmon skin salad at the sushi bar.


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