Lemon Chicken, 2 Ways

By Ann Fulton

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A reader shared her recipes for two lemony marinades, which are simple to prepare and complement a wide range of seasonal side dishes. We both ran side-by-side taste tests with our families to determine a favorite. Which would you choose?


When a reader takes the time to send me a favorite recipe, I am always grateful. I don’t always get to it right away; in the case of last month’s barbecued bean salad, it took me a whole year. But I made it…and loved it.

It’s fun when the newspaper (for which I write a weekly food column) extends a request for reader participation. I view each shared recipe as a small gift and relish any details or side stories that are included.

Where grilling is concerned, I tend to revisit my arsenal of favorites. So, a grill-themed collaboration with readers was just what I needed to break out of my metaphorical box.

The following contribution came from Christine Mohn. When she emailed two different versions of her Lemon Chicken, I asked if her family preferred one to the other. Gamely, she made both marinades that night for a side-by-side taste test and replied that her family thought the herb version might have a slightly wider appeal.

Since my family enjoys a good taste test, too, I conducted the same experiment a few nights later. Go figure! My family preferred the flavor of the butter lemon version by a small margin.

Faced with two different families choosing different favorites, I thought it might be fun to offer readers the chance to conduct their own comparison by presenting both of Christine’s offerings. Ultimately, both marinades are simple to prepare and will complement a wide range of seasonal side dishes.

Butter Lemon Chicken and Lemon Herb Chicken
Green or grain-based salads topped with a Greek vinaigrette pair well with the lemon flavor in both of these marinades. The hint of soy in the butter lemon recipe makes it a good match for Asian-inspired salads and sides as well.

Yields 3 pounds of chicken yields approximately 6-8 servings.
  • Each marinade recipe is enough to coat 3 pounds of boneless chicken breasts
For the Butter Lemon Chicken
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the Lemon Herb Chicken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice,
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. If making the *Butter Lemon Chicken,* combine all of those ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Pour over the chicken and marinate all day or overnight for best flavor. (I like to use a zipper-top bag, but a covered bowl may be used instead.)
  2. If making the *Lemon Herb Chicken,* combine those ingredients in a zip-top bag or large bowl. Add the chicken and marinate all day or overnight for best flavor.
  3. When ready to eat, prepare the grill. Allow the chicken to sit at room temperature until the grill is ready.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the remaining marinade, and grill over medium heat for 7-8 minutes per side, depending on thickness, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before eating.
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Thank you, Christine!


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  3. Evelyn

    Just finished washing the dishes and wanted to tell you that we ate the butter/soy version for dinner with neighbors tonight and everyone raved. Will definitely make again soon!