Juicy Yogurt Lemon Chicken
on May 14, 2022, Updated Aug 26, 2023
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This is the best juicy yogurt lemon chicken ever. Thank you for the 14+ million views on my other Bulgarian yogurt chicken recipe; I am blown away by the response. Truth is, yogurt is not really a secret for us in Bulgaria. Countries like India and many other parts of the world have long been using yogurt as a way to tenderize and marinate meats and other dishes. Although many cultures use yogurt, sour cream, mayo, and/or buttermilk to tenderize meat, there are still so many people that have yet to discover the magic of marinating with these ingredients.
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In Bulgaria we are known for cooking and baking with yogurt. Plain yogurt makes for the perfect marinade and it’s what makes many of our baked goods so incredibly delicious, fluffy, and moist. In Bulgaria, yogurt is everywhere. You’ll find it on falafel wraps, slathered on moussaka, and lined up in supermarket refrigerators. It is in traditional Bulgarian dishes such as tarator, a cold soup made of yogurt, water, cucumber, and dill; and snezhanka, a salad consisting of yoghurt, cucumbers, garlic, and dill. We sip yogurt drinks in the streets and we dip fried zucchini slices into yogurt dips too. We love yogurt with sweet bread, in soups and stews and so many other recipes as well. If you haven’t marinated chicken with yogurt yet, this might be your new favorite recipe.
Juicy Yogurt Lemon Chicken
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, (or any cut of chicken)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup plain yogurt , (I use Balkan-Style but any works)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
- juice of 2 lemons (reserve the squeezed lemons)
- 6 unpeeled cloves garlic
- Add the chicken to a baking dish with the olive oil and yogurt. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Add the juice of 2 lemons and add the squeezed lemon pieces to the dish as well. Add the garlic. With clean hands, massage the mixture well to evenly distribute the spices. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (If you don't let it marinate for 1 hour it will still be delicious but not as tender.)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the thighs. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a piece of chicken registers 165F.
- If you want to crisp up the skin you can put it under the broiler for the last few minutes of cooking, but keep a close eye on it as it can burn quickly.
- Enjoy the chicken on salad, mashed potatoes, in wraps, with rice, or with any side you like.