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Baked Chicken Thighs in Salmoriglio Sauce

Baked chicken thighs are a must-have in your dinner rotation, and you should try our oven-cooked take on a grilled classic- chicken salmoriglio. It gets the name chicken salmoriglio because of the sauce it cooks containing simple ingredients like lemon, olive oil, and garlic. Salmoriglio sauce is so simple that I had been making it for years without knowing it had a name. Don’t let the simplicity fool you; this baked chicken recipe is a prime example of Sicilian cuisine. It is flavorful, fresh, and light. 

Baked chicken with salmoriglio sauce served alongside a house caesar salad.

WHAT IS CHICKEN SALMORIGLIO?

Often served with swordfish, salmoriglio (Salmor ELL ee yo) sauce pairs well with vegetables and other meat like salmoriglio baked chicken thighs in this case. The lemon-rich Sicilian sauce is frequently used as a marinade or dressing in Italian cuisine to take whatever it pairs with to the next level.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Salmoriglio Sauce: The traditional preparation of the sauce includes olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and garlic (measured with your heart); simple seasonings like oregano (fresh or dried), salt, and pepper compliment the other ingredient.
  • Lemon: Juice from cooked lemons add sweet acidity to the sauce.
  • Garlic: I suggest using five cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – go for it.
  • Chicken: I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, but it’s just as tasty with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

HOW TO MAKE BAKED CHICKEN THIGHS

Preheat the oven to 475° F | 246° C. Then, cut the ends off of a lemon, and cut it in half. Set it aside.

Grate 2 tablespoons of lemon zest into a small bowl and stir in the olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to finish the salmoriglio sauce; stir to combine.

Add a thin layer of salmoriglio sauce to the bottom of a baking dish, about ¼ of a cup. Make slits in the chicken thighs and arrange them over the sauce.

Nestle the halved lemons into the baking dish with the chicken.

Cover the chicken with another layer of salmoriglio sauce, and set it aside. Nestle the lemon halves into the baking dish, cut side up, and cook for 20 minutes.

Baked chicken thighs cook in the oven for one hour.

Set the broiler to high and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until the chicken has reached 165° F | 73° C and started to brown.

cooked lemons added to salmoriglio sauce

Squeeze juice from one of the cooked lemons into the leftover salmoriglio sauce. Stir and pour it over the chicken to serve. Garnish with parsley, and enjoy!

COOKING TIPS

  • Make slices in the chicken thighs to impart the flavor from the sauce.
  • We bake and broil in this recipe, resulting in about 30 minutes of cook time. If you choose to bake the chicken at a lower temperature, 350° F | 176° C to 400° F | 204° C, leave it in for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F | 73° C.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one of our other chicken-centered meals!  

Baked chicken with salmoriglio sauce served alongside a house caesar salad.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an air-tight container; they will keep for 3-4 days.
  • FREEZE – Allow the chicken to cool completely, then add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Baked chicken thighs will keep for 3-4 months. When you’re ready to eat it, let it defrost in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT – Set the oven to 350° F | 176° C. Line the chicken onto a rimmed baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • REPURPOSE –  Eat the leftover chicken as is or use it to top pasta or salad the next day.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long to bake chicken thighs?

We bake and broil in this recipe, resulting in about 30 minutes of cook time. If you choose to bake the chicken at a lower temperature, 350° F | 176° C to 400° F | 204° C, leave it in for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F | 73° C.

Can I grill the chicken thighs instead?

You sure can. In fact, this is the classic way to prepare chicken salmoriglio.

1. Preheat the grill by setting all burners to high heat for about 10 minutes. Then, cut the ends off of a lemon, and cut it in half. Set it aside.
2. Grate 2 tablespoons of lemon zest into a small bowl and stir in the olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to finish the salmoriglio sauce; stir to combine. Cut the ends of 2 lemons off, and cut them in half. Set lemons aside.
3. Make cuts in the chicken thighs, about 3, and arrange them onto the grill, along with the lemons. 4. Coat the chicken with a layer of salmoriglio sauce using a pastry brush. Cook for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Layer the other side of the thighs with more sauce.
5. Squeeze juice from one of the cooked lemons into the leftover salmoriglio sauce. Stir and pour it over the chicken to serve. Garnish with parsley, and enjoy!

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Baked chicken with salmoriglio sauce served alongside a house caesar salad.

Baked Chicken Thighs in Salmoriglio Sauce

Tressa Jamil
Baked chicken thighs are a must-have in your dinner rotation, and you should try our oven-cooked take on a grilled classic- chicken salmoriglio. 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Sicilian
Servings 4 people
Calories 623 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the Salmoriglio Sauce:

  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt,
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 2 lemons, 1 zested, and 1 cut in half

For the Baked Chicken Thighs:

  • 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 475° F | 246° C. Then, cut the ends off of a lemon, and cut it in half. Set it aside.
  • Grate 2 tablespoons of lemon zest into a small bowl and stir in the olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to finish the salmoriglio sauce; stir to combine.
  • Add a thin layer of salmoriglio sauce to the bottom of a baking dish, about ¼ of a cup. Make slits in the chicken thighs and arrange them over the sauce.
  • Cover the chicken with another layer of salmoriglio sauce, and set it aside. Nestle the two lemon halves into the baking dish, cut side up, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Set the broiler to high and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until the chicken has reached 165° F | 73° C and started to brown.
  • Squeeze juice from one of the cooked lemons into the leftover salmoriglio sauce. Stir and pour it over the chicken to serve. Garnish with parsley, and enjoy!

Notes

Cooking Tips: 
  • Make slices in the chicken thighs to impart the flavor from the sauce.
 
  • We bake and broil in this recipe, resulting in about 30 minutes of cook time. If you choose to bake the chicken at a lower temperature, 350° F | 176° C to 400° F | 204° C, leave it in for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F | 73° C.
 
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Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 2 ThighsCalories: 623kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 35gFat: 43gSodium: 631mgFiber: 5gSugar: 13g
Keyword baked chicken thighs, chicken salmoriglio, salmoriglio sauce
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