Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

This is a wonderful dish for entertaining, as the chicken can be grilled up to an hour ahead. Plate on a platter with a deep well and let the chicken soak up the delicious olive oil and lemon marinade.


  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup pitted Castelvetrano olives, roughly torn


Step 1

Prepare a grill for 2-zone heat—aka indirect grilling. For a gas grill, set one burner to medium-high and one or two burners to low; for a charcoal grill, bank most of the coals on one side. Lightly oil the grill grate with vegetable oil. Pat the chicken breasts dry; season generously all over with salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Step 2

Thinly slice 1 lemon crosswise into rounds; remove any seeds. Place half of the lemon slices in a small bowl. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Set the remaining lemon slices aside for serving. Slice the remaining lemon in half and squeeze the juice into another small bowl (you should have about 1/4 cup). Set aside.

Step 3

Pat the chicken dry again (the salt will have drawn out more moisture) and rub with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Grill oiled lemon slices over hot side of grill, turning once, until charred in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Grill the chicken on the cooler side of the grill, skin side down, until the skin is browned and starting to crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, cover the grill, and continue to grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breasts registers 165°F, 8 to 10 minutes longer. If desired, uncover the grill, move the chicken over to the hotter side, and lightly char a minute or two. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Step 4

Pull the chicken meat from bones and slice 1/2 inch thick. Place on a rimmed platter, shingling the slices attractively. Scatter the thyme sprigs, olives, grilled lemon slices, and reserved fresh lemon slices over the chicken and platter. Season with more salt and pepper; drizzle with the reserved lemon juice and the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Let the chicken sit at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from