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Keto chicken thighs with lemon

Keto chicken thighs with charred lemon, tomatoes and herbs is a fast and easy weeknight dinner that is also delicious and easy on the wallet. It comes together in about 30 minutes, it’s a one pan meal and you can use bone in or boneless chicken thighs.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my chicken thigh recipe with chili and ginger and my bourbon jalapeño chicken thighs recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my chicken recipes in one place.

Keto chicken thighs with lemon in a cast iron pan.

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Why you should make this recipe

  • Quick & Easy – These keto chicken thighs are done in about 30 minutes and most of that time is hands off.
  • Great for gatherings – The recipe serves 2, but it is easily scaled up to serve a larger crowd.
  • Make ahead – You can bake the chicken ahead of time and reheat the next day.

Keto chicken thighs with lemon

These chicken thighs were so crispy and also, damn good. If you are looking for low carb chicken thigh recipes, look no further. This is packed with flavor. This keto chicken thigh recipe is very low effort as well, making it a great weeknight option.

Charred lemon in pan of crispy chicken thighs.

I made them with bone-in, skin on chicken thighs, but I’ve also made them with boneless, skinless chicken thighs and they are just as tasty. 

Also, boneless skinless chicken thighs are a bit easier to eat. Either way, this meal is tasty, easy and fast. The trifecta for weeknight dinner.


  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – You can substitute with boneless, skin-on thighs if you prefer.
  • Granulated garlic and granulated onion – Onion and garlic give the chicken great flavor.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper – Everything needs salt and pepper.
  • Dried thyme and dried rosemary – Herbs give the chicken flavor.
  • Neutral-flavored oil – I used avocado oil, but use whatever you have.
  • Lemon – Citrus brightens up the flavors of this dish.
  • Canned diced tomatoes – A pantry staple.
  • Unsalted butter – Choosing unsalted butter lets you control the amount of salt in your cooking. Butter also rounds out the sharpness of the tomatoes.
  • Basil – The bright, citrusy flavor of the basil pairs well with the tomatoes and lemon.
Crispy chicken thighs with charred lemon and tomatoes.

How to make

If you have a cast iron skillet, pull it out for this recipe. I’ve made it in other pans and it’s still great, but a heavy cast iron yields the best results.

Whether you follow a ketogenic diet or not, this chicken is super tasty. It’s easy, delicious and super crispy.

Crispy chicken thighs with lemon, tomato and basil.

First, heat the cast iron pan. Then, add the oil and swirl it around in the pan. Season the chicken, then place it skin side down in the pan.

Let the chicken cook without disturbing it. By letting the skin sit on the surface of a hot pan, it’s getting crispy and crackly, just like we want it to.

Next, flip the chicken over and cook with the tomato and butter. Then, add the lemon and let it char to a deep brown. Finally, top with fresh, torn basil leaves.

Keto chicken thighs FAQ’s

How long do I cook chicken thighs on the stovetop?

Chicken thighs take about 30 minutes in a pan on top of the stove.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes. You can make the chicken ahead of time, then re-heat in a warm oven the next day.

Are chicken thighs good for a Ketogenic diet?

Skin on chicken thighs are perfect when you’re on a keto diet. The meat is a little fattier than breast meat, and keeping the skin on increases the fat count.

Crispy chicken with tomatoes, lemon and basil in cast iron pan.

Variations and substitutions

You can substitute dried thyme and rosemary for any dried herbs that you like, as well as the fresh basil. If you have Italian parsley, or any other fresh herbs that you prefer, you can swap them out for whatever you like.

Serving suggestions

If you aren’t following a keto diet, may I suggest serving it with a bit of caponata?  It goes REALLY well together.

For a low-carb option, this curried cauliflower is easy and delicious.

Chicken thighs in cast iron pan.

Helpful tools and equipment

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Keto Chicken Thighs with Charred Lemon

Cheryl Bennett
Keto chicken thighs with charred lemon is a quick and easy dinner.
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Chicken and turkey recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 773 kcal


  • 4 chicken thighs I used bone-in, skin-on
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt I use Diamon Crystal, see note for other brands
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. oil I used avocado oil, but use whatever you have
  • 1 lemon sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes drained // 225g
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. basil leaves roughly chopped


  • Heat cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add oil.
  • Season both sides of chicken thighs with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, granulated garlic and granulated onion.
  • Place chicken thighs in pan, skin side down. Cook 10 minutes without disturbing. (You are building your crispy crust on that skin!)
  • Flip chicken thighs over and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium if chicken is getting too brown.
  • Add diced tomato and let it cook down until most of the liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to caramelize (about 6 minutes). Add butter.
  • Move everything to one side of the pan and place lemon slices in the pan in a single layer. Let them cook for a few minutes until they begin to get a nice char on them.
  • Remove from heat, sprinkle torn basil leaves over the chicken and serve.


Diamond Crystal salt is different than Morton's kosher salt. If you use Morton's cut the amount of salt by almost half.
I used bone in, skin on chicken thighs, but you can substitute skin on boneless chicken thighs, if you prefer.
Use any fresh herbs you like in place of the basil. Italian parsley would be great here.


Serving: 2thighsCalories: 773kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 63gFat: 56gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 348mgSodium: 1214mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. I can smell the flavors this recipe can give. It looks so appetizing. And the idea of serving it with charred lemon is so good. Lemon typically makes everything tastier. Love it! I will definitely make it. Thanks!

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