Lebanese Lemon Garlic Chicken/ Bone hater

This recipe derives from wanting all the things I love about Lebanese food all in one dish. I used chicken but I would say its a safe bet that this sauce would go with any protein.

Bear with me now, this is a simple recipe to make but can be altered many ways to suit your taste. These simple ingredients when combined make this a dish that when you bite into it, it bites back. The lemon garlic paste is very intense. If you are sensitive to the strong flavor of garlic or lemon, cut the amount you add to the yogurt in half. I bake mine in the oven with the marinade just because it's easier. You can also pull the chicken out of the marinade and grill it.

I am a master of many things but grilling is not one of them. The idea of standing in front of a grill drinking a beer, tinkering with the fire or coals send chills down my "overachieving, I have to do six things at once" spine. Grilling is a time for cooking and visiting. When someone tries to visit me while I am cooking all I can think is "Why are you here?" " Remove yourself, Intruder, you are interrupting my mania."

I also double the marinade for those lovers of garlic and lemon. It's common for my Sunday supperers to ladle more sauce over the chicken and side potatoes. It also makes a great dip for veggies or french fries, depending on how good you want to be that day. On to the chicken.

I choose leg quarter because they are cheap and tasty. I have a friend who won't eat things with bones - we worry about him. You will see this friend's hands make a guest appearance in the pictures every once in an awhile. I am unfortunately blessed with hands and feet that resemble Fred Flinstones. He loves to torture me with man hand jokes so I cook a lot of things with bones in it. Have fun eating the sides Drake. So if you are a fellow hater of bones, boneless skinless breasts work well, the marinade helps keep them from drying out. Speaking of skin (wow, never realized how creepy those three words together sounds) I almost always keep the skin on. The bones and skin are where all the flavors are at. If you leave the skin on, because it's cooked in a sauce it won't get very crispy. I leave the skin decision up to my guests  (now realizing skin in almost any sentence sounds creepy). I have considered throwing the chicken in the broiler and see if that would make it extra crispy if you do this let me know how it goes.

You will see some potatoes on the plate. Super simple I just toss some Yukon Golds in a little bit of sauce and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. I hope you enjoy the lemon garlicky chicken. Just remember to brush your teeth if you think you might get lucky that night or don't if your into that kind of thing.

Ingredients and Prep

There are only seven ingredients in this recipe. Lemon, garlic, oil, yogurt, spices, dill and chicken. That being said there is a lot of lemons and garlic - a whole lot. If you don't want to make your own spice mix a decent mix can usually be found in your grocery store. It won't taste the exactly same as mine but if you haven't had mine you won't know the difference. The lemons will need to be cut in half and juiced. Be careful to remove any seeds that smuggle in. The longest prep is the garlic.

Since you are doing such a large amount smashing the garlic will make eat much easier to peel and chop. Finely mince your garlic.

I take a small knife and pierce my chicken so that marinade can get all up in there. Rub the chicken with oil and gently dust with Lebanese spice mix.


Put the garlic and lemon juice in a food processor. As you process the garlic and lemon slowly add the oil till the mixture forms a thin paste.

Put the yogurt in a medium bowl and add the paste, spices, and dill. Combine the mixture until thoroughly combined. A warning, this mixture is very strong so you may want to add the paste in increments and taste as you go. Add extra salt and pepper if needed. 

Place your chicken in a large casserole dish or plastic bag. I use a casserole dish so it can go straight from the fridge to the oven. Pour your yogurt mix on top and marinade for at least four hours to overnight.

When it's ready to place in preheated 350-degree oven, uncovered. Bake for 45 minutes or more till the top is browned and cooked through. Check occasionally after 35 minutes to see how fast it's browning.If you change from leg quarters to another cut remember to adjust your cooking time. Boneless breasts and thighs will cook faster. This lemon garlic paste can be used on its own but I prefer to have the sauce to serve with the chicken. If you want a side some sliced Yukon Gold potatoes tossed and baked for about 25 minutes are a great partner to the chicken.



  • 4lbs of leg quarters (if you change to a different cut please adjust cooking times)

  • 20 cloves of garlic

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a bag of lemons)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1-2 cups of greek yogurt (this varies greatly depending on how strong you want the taste)

  • 2 teaspoons Lebanese spice (adjust to taste) additional spice to dust chicken

  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced.

  • salt and pepper if needed

  1. Use a small knife and pierce the chicken in a couple places

  2. Rub the chicken with some olive oil and gently dust with some Lebanese spice. Place chicken in large casserole dish and set aside.

  3. Place the garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a food processor. As you process the garlic and lemon slowly drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of oil till the mixture forms a thin paste.

  4. Place yogurt in a medium bowl. Add in garlic lemon paste, spices and dill. Combine thoroughly.

  5. Pour yogurt mixture over the chicken and marinate for at least four hours to overnight.

  6. Once the chicken has marinated preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  7. Place chicken in the oven for 45 minutes or more till it has browned and cooked through. after 35 minutes check frequently to see at what rate the chicken is browning.

  8. Remove from oven and serve.

  • The sauce will be very stong on it's own but mellows out with the chicken.


Print Friendly and PDF