Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives

Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives |

Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives is an easy meal bursting with the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean. These Greek style chicken thighs in a silky lemon sauce are on repeat all year long at our house.

Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives |

Imagine perfectly roasted chicken, thighs and breasts, nestled in a silky lemon sauce, dotted with blue-black olives and a shower of fresh picked thyme. If you lived in Greece or Tuscany or you could do this in your sleep, and I swear it’s so easy that by the end of this post you’ll be able to do it in your sleep, too. But stay awake — you don’t want to miss a single bite!

Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives is a quick and glorious Mediterranean inspired meal, just perfect for summer evenings. |

This quintessentially Greek lemon sauce has starred in several of my recipes before, and I highly recommend giving them all a try~

The sauce stands out because while it’s thick and ‘creamy’, the base is just chicken stock that’s been enriched and thickened with egg yolk and lemon juice — there’s no dairy or flour in it, and the texture is sublime. The lemon flavor is bright and vivid, and unlike a lot of sauces, this one is super simple to do.

Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives is a quick and easy meal bursting with the flavors of the mediterranean! |

I chose breasts and thighs for our meal, but any chicken parts will work, and you can choose bone-in or boneless. For this recipe I prefer the skin on and I bake it separately in the oven, first. When I present the dish I make sure not to immerse the chicken completely in the sauce so it stays nice and crispy.

Roasting chicken for Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives |

The lemon sauce is without question the highlight of this meal. I think you could leave out the chicken entirely and I wouldn’t complain πŸ˜‰

Egg yolks to make the lemon sauce for Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives |
4.28 from 36 votes

Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives

Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives is an easy meal bursting with the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean. These Greek style chicken thighs in a silky lemon sauce are on repeat all year long at our house.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Calories 487kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 4 chicken thighs skin on
  • 2 small chicken breasts skin on
  • olive oil for brushing
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice strained
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup black olives I used oil cured
  • fresh thyme leaves


  • Set oven to 400F
  • Arrange the chicken pieces in an oiled baking pan and brush liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and bake for about 35 minutes, or until done through. Baste several times during the cooking, and finish under the broiler if you need more color.
  • While the chicken is cooking, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Heat the chicken stock to boiling in a saucepan, and then add about 1/2 cup of the hot stock to the egg yolk mixture, adding it in a slow stream, while whisking. This will get the yolks’ temperature up without scrambling them. Then add that back into the pan with the rest of the chicken stock, and heat gently on medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture just begins to get silky and thicken. Don’t bring it to a boil, or even a simmer. Remove from heat.
  • Pour the sauce on the bottom of a casserole bit enough to hold all the chicken. Arrange the cooked chicken on top of the sauce. Scatter the olives and thyme over everything and serve right away.

Cook’s notes

  • This Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives isn’t exactly a 30-minute meal, but it’s darned close.Β  Get the oven preheating right away and you can have this on the table in 40 minutes.Β  We served it with quick cooking couscous and pan roasted asparagus.
  • If for any reason your sauce curdles slightly, just strain it.Β  But you shouldn’t have any trouble if you keep your heat moderate and stir or whisk constantly.


Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 380mg | Sodium: 575mg | Potassium: 771mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 452IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

don’t forget to pin!


used for Chicken in Lemon Sauce with Olives… (the photos are clickable)

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  • Reply
    Patricia Schaefer
    March 15, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Can this recipe be made with boneless, skinless thighs & breasts? We use them a lot, quicker to cook, but not crispy.
    Have LOVED your recipes. Haven’t blown one yet and hubby loves them!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 15, 2021 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Patricia, sure, use the boneless skinless if you prefer that, it will de delicious and even healthier. Glad my recipes are working for you πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Donna Oliphint
    September 15, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Not sure what happened, but didn’t care for this sauce at all. Something about that much lemon with the egg yolks tasted a bit off. So sad since it looked and sounded so good. And I love your other recipes I’ve tried. Oh well, that’s why there’s chocolate and vanilla, right?

    • Reply
      September 16, 2019 at 8:07 am

      Hey Donna, sorry this was a no-go for you. This recipe is Greek, and the sauce is definitely different to other US sauces, for sure. You might try the chicken with a classic creamy lemon sauce made with cream and thickened with flour and butter.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Looking for a sauce to serve with a roasted turkey breast for Easter dinner. I don’t want dinner to seem like Thanksgiving. Do you think this lemon sauce would work?

    • Reply
      March 27, 2018 at 7:50 pm

      I think it would be lovely, Jeanne. Since it works so nicely with chicken, turkey should work just as well. It seems very ‘Eastery’ to me πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    November 10, 2016 at 8:49 am

    I just found this and pinned it. I often cook just for myself. Does this sauce reheat well? Do you know? I’ll be making it soon! (I have to go grocery shopping first.) I love lemony dishes πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      November 10, 2016 at 9:32 am

      I find that I can reheat these lemon sauces, Harmony, but you really have to do it low and slow. I love the flavor and texture, good luck!

      • Reply
        November 10, 2016 at 4:42 pm

        Thank you!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I was excited when I read this sauce was without dairy. . . . until I read there is an egg yolk in the sauce. Is that not dairy? Any other way to thicken the sauce without dairy?

    • Reply
      August 7, 2016 at 9:20 pm

      As far as i understand it, Denise, eggs are not technically dairy products. Dairy refers to milk products. You could definitely make this without the egg yolk, maybe thickening the sauce with cornstarch?

  • Reply
    Lori Lynn
    August 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Sue – I am so glad that you left a comment on my site. I have been absolutely enjoying perusing your recipes. I especially like this one, going to save and pin (of course).

  • Reply
    Sue R
    July 9, 2016 at 3:40 am

    5 stars
    I pinned this recipe and will try it soon, loved the flavours from the Greek soup with lemon and egg etc when there on honeymoon very much. Good to hear you are going to visit family, so am I next week after a few years. Wondering what you did when you said you remade your homemade ricotta cheese. Can’t wait to hear about it, I make versions of it sometimes. Sometimes with goats milk, buffalo milk from a farm up the coast here in Queensland, Australia one time and then cows milk too.

  • Reply
    July 8, 2016 at 7:52 am

    5 stars
    that is soooo up my alley it’s not even funny… the photos are all amazing, but I must say I had a big smile with the egg yolks shot – genius!

    I was nodding my head non stop with your advice to keep the skin part above the sauce – these type of details can make or break a recipe, and I’m glad you mentioned… who wants soggy chicken skin, right? πŸ˜‰

    • Reply
      July 8, 2016 at 8:34 am

      I know, I’ve done it so many times at the LAST minute and ruined a perfectly crispy piece of chicken πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    July 8, 2016 at 12:21 am

    5 stars
    I love your Greek, lemony recipes, I have already made the avgolemono soup twice already and the meatballs once. Absolutely great both of them, so I cannot wait to try these chicken legs.

  • Reply
    July 7, 2016 at 11:30 am

    5 stars
    such an elegant looking dish, love your lemon sauce and the fact that this takes a little over 30 minutes to prepare. Pinned!

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