Chicken is a staple of Greek cooking, served with rice, on gyros, and with roasted potatoes. It’s something you’ll find people eating at restaurants and cooking at home.
The most common seasonings used in Greek chicken dishes are oregano, lemon juice, and garlic. This Greek chicken breast recipe uses those three ingredients, along with a little thyme and olive oil to create a delicious roast chicken dish that will make you feel like you’re eating dinner under the Acropolis.
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Tips for Cooking Chicken Breasts in the Oven
One of the things about cooking chicken breasts is how finicky they can be. Who hasn’t eaten a dried up chewy one at a wedding or a fundraiser.
It’s one thing to eat a tough piece of chicken for a good cause; it’s another thing to have to do it at home. That’s why we’re including a few tips with this recipe for cooking plump, juicy, flavorful chicken breasts in the oven.
This chicken breast recipe can be made with bone-in chicken breasts with the skin still on or boneless skinless chicken breasts.
There are lots of advantages to using whole chicken breasts. For starters, they look like something you want to eat rather than something you have too. Whole chicken breasts will almost always be juicer and have more flavor than naked chicken breasts. We also think it’s a good thing to understand that you’re eating something that used to be alive.
The three most important things to do when your roasting chicken breasts are to use both a fat and an acid, season liberally, and don’t overcook the chicken.
This recipe uses the classic combination of olive oil and lemon juice for its fat and acid. Using them together helps the other seasonings penetrate deep into the chicken while it’s cooking adding their own flavors and helping keep things nice and juicy.
The reason it’s so important to season liberally is that chicken breasts tend to be a bit of a blank canvas especially if they’ve already been taken off the bone and had their skin removed. When you’re adding the seasoning make sure to spread it under the skin and into all of the chicken’s little nooks and crannies.
The easiest way to make sure the chicken is cooked to the right temperature is to use a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast. The chicken is done when it’s internal temperature hits 165ºF. Our preferred thermometer is Thermopro’s dual probe digital thermometer for its ease of use and wireless range.
Once the chicken reaches 165ºF take it out of the oven, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Resting the chicken before serving lets the chicken reabsorb its juices.
It’s all Greek to the Chicken
This Greek chicken breast recipe is inspired by traditional Greek cooking that is focused on simple preparations using high-quality ingredients at the peak of freshness.
To bring out the flavors in the herbs use fresh oregano and thyme when available. Dried herbs will work fine in this recipe, but they won’t pop the same way fresh herbs do. It’s also why we recommend using whole lemons and garlic cloves over bottled and powder. Using fresh, whole ingredients is one of the simplest ways to improve your cooking and the taste of your food.
One of the best things about oven baked chicken breast recipes, like this one, is that they’re so simple to make that it’s easy to change up their flavor profiles whenever you’re in the mood for something different. For a more herb-forward chicken try our Rosemary and Thyme Chicken Breast recipe.
Depending on the size of the chicken breasts and what we’re serving with them we’ll often serve them whole or take them off the bone and slice them crosswise to make it easier for people to choose how much chicken they want.
This is a recipe we like to make as a quick weeknight dinner or as the centerpiece to something a little fancier. A few of the dishes we like to serve with this chicken are Grilled Asparagus and Risotto with Rosemary and Thyme. In the summer when tomatoes are at their peak, there’s nothing as good as some nice roasted chicken and a Greek Farmers Salad for dinner.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp oregano, minced
- 1/2 tsp thyme, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Mince the oregano, thyme, and garlic, then mix them with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Rub the chicken with the herb mixture, making sure to get some under the skin and into all of its nooks and crannies.
- Place the chicken on a roasting pan and roast it in a 350ºF oven for 35 minutes. The chicken is done when the temperature reaches 165ºF in the thickest part of the breast.
- Take the chicken out of the oven, tent it with foil, and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.