Skip to Content

Pan-Fried Chicken with Charred Lemon and Caramelized Onions

Sharing is caring!

Pan-Fried Chicken with Charred Lemon and Caramelized Onions

Pan-Fried Chicken with Charred Lemon and Caramelized Onions

Jessica Braider
Know what is so tantalizing? Blackened slices of lemon. When you combine them with the Mediterranean flavors in olives and thyme, it’s a salty, citrusy flavor sensation. “Fabulous! Very pretty, and I would serve this meal to guests!” according to Scramble recipe tester Samantha McKenzie.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs with skin,
  • 1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper or more to taste
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 yellow onion halved and thinly sliced (use up to 2 onions if you love caramelized onions)
  • 1 lemon halved and thinly sliced
  • 20 pitted kalamata olives about 1/2 cup


  • Heat 2 large heavy skillets (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat. When they are hot, add the oil, splitting it between both pans (if you don’t have 2 large heavy skillets, you can make this in 2 batches). When the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down. Season the sides facing up with half the salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook the chicken without moving it for 6 – 8 minutes until the skin is browned and crispy.
  • Flip the chicken, season the skin side with the rest of the salt, pepper, and thyme and cook it for 2 more minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and put the onions, lemon slices, and olives in the pans, scraping up any brown bits as you stir them around.
  • Cook them for about 5 minutes until they are starting to brown, reducing the heat a bit if they are getting too browned too fast.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan on top of the onions, lemons, and olives, and cook it for 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and flipping the thighs, until the chicken is cooked through and the lemon slices are well browned. Serve it immediately, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. (Note: You can eat the lemon rinds and all.)

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Place the onions in the slow cooker and drizzle with the oil. Place the olives on top of the onions. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and thyme, and place it on top of the onions, topping it with the lemon slices. Cook it on low for 7 - 8 hours or on high for 4 - 5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. (The chicken can be placed under the broiler for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time for a crispy skin.) Note: For even more caramelization, the onions and oil can be placed in the slow cooker up to 16 hours before serving, with the chicken added later. The longer the onions cook, the more caramelized they will become. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Do Ahead or Delegate: Combine the spices, halve and slice the onion and the lemon, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the dish.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Zest the lemons before slicing them and serve the chicken topped with the zest, add 2 Tbsp. raisins or currants to the pan with the olives and lemon slices or top the chicken with them at the end.
Tip: Go ahead and eat it! Lemon peel contains higher levels of several minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C and dietary fiber than the flesh of the fruit. If possible, buy organic lemons for this recipe to avoid exposure to pesticides.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 399, Total Fat: 30g, 46%; Saturated Fat: 7g, 35%; Cholesterol: 127mg, 42.5%; Sodium: 424mg, 17.5%; Total Carbohydrate: 7g, 2.5%; Dietary Fiber: 2g, 5%; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 27g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Keyword 30 Minutes (or less) Meals, All, Company/Entertaining, Dairy-Free, Dinner, Fall, Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Kosher, Low Fat, Low Sodium, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, No Added Sugar, Nut-Free, Slow Cooker, Spring, Summer, Winter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop