Zesty rosemary and lemon marinade for chicken or lamb

Introducing a burst of flavour that will elevate your chicken or lamb to new heights with this zesty rosemary and lemon marinade for chicken or lamb recipe. Whether you are grilling, roasting or pan-searing, this marinade infuses your meat with lovely aromas and flavours leaving your guests craving for more.

Benefits of marinade:

  1. Infusing aromas and flavour to meat cuts:Fresh herbs, spices and aromatics like garlic infuse meat cuts with lovely aromas and enhances their flavours.
  2. Tenderising meat cuts: As the meat marinades even the toughest meat cuts turn into succulent, melt in your mouth delights.
  3. Elevating simple meals: Turn simple meals into extraordinary meals simply by marinading meat cuts. It may be time time-consuming, however, once you taste the juicy and flavoursome meat cuts you will want to make the dishes on repeat.
  4. Zesty sauce: Once the marinating is complete, combine the meat juices with cornflour and turn the marinade into a delicious sauce.

Marinated leg of lamb

Zesty rosemary and lemon marinade for chicken or lamb ingredients

  1. Fresh lemons: Lemons team up very well with rosemary, olive oil, and garlic to achieve the perfect acidic balance that will both tenderise meat and impart a bright, sunny flavour.
  2. Fresh rosemary sprigs
  3. Fresh thyme or lemon thyme sprigs
  4. Extra virgin olive oil: For a taste that’s true to the Mediterranean spirit of this marinade, good quality extra virgin olive oil is unparalleled. Not only does it bind the flavors of lemon, rosemary, garlic, and seasonings together, but it also ensures that the meat retains its moisture during the cooking process, warding off the risk of a dry outcome.
  5. Garlic cloves
  6. White wine or water 
  7. Freshly ground black pepper
  8. Salt
  9. Red chilli peppers (optional)

For those favouring lamb, extra virgin olive oil not only transports flavours into the meat but also helps to produce a supremely moist and tender result once cooked. Perfect additions can include fresh oregano and shallots.

For those flavouring chicken, red chilli peppers add a lovely spicy dimension to the dish. In addition, honey and Dijon mustard provide a touch of sweetness and tang, contrasting the robustness of rosemary and the vibrancy of lemon slices.

Making and applying the marinade

Creating a marinade is a simple yet transformative process that can infuse meat cuts with incredible flavours.

Mixing the marinade

To begin with, gather all the aromatic herbs, spices and olive oil. In a mixing bowl add white wine or water (depending on preference) and add the rosemary and thyme sprigs, extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and ground black pepper.Blend these ingredients together until fully combined. The resulting mixture should be aromatic and homogenous.

Marinating the meat

When it comes to marinating the meat cuts, food safety is of paramount importance. It’s crucial to avoid marinating at room temperature to prevent bacterial growth. Instead, place the meat into a shallow dish and coat evenly with the marinade. Seal or cover, and refrigerate for around 2 hours.

Marinating chicken:When marinating chicken, slice the garlic cloves and incorporate them into the marinade.Slice the lemons and place them directly into the dish.

Marinating lamb:Make small enough cuts onto the the lamb to insert the garlic cloves.Slice the lemons and place them directly into the dish.

Marinated chicken

Cooking the meat

When cooking marinated chicken, cook the chicken with the lemon slices and a few tablespoons worth of the marinade alone.Beware also of cross contamination and thus cook the meat and marinade properly(internal temperature of 74C or 165F). In addition, chicken, compared to lamb, cooks rather quickly.

Lamb cuts take a rather long time to cook and thus all the marinade can be utilised in cooking imparting great flavours.

Tip for succulent meat

Letting the chicken or lamb rest before serving

The final, crucial step to ensuring a juicy and satisfying bite of lemon rosemary chicken or lamb is to let it rest. After cooking, transfer the meat to a warm plate and let it relax for at least two minutes. This pause allows the internal juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a mouthwateringly moist and tender meal. Skipping this step can lead to a less fulfilling experience, with juices escaping upon cutting and the chicken tasting dry.

Serving Suggestions and Tips

For a complete and diverse meal, consider serving the lemon rosemary chicken or lamb atop a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes or mixed in with vibrant steamed vegetables. A side of rice proves to be a subtle backdrop that allows the flavors of your marinade to shine, and it works wonderfully with leftovers for a rejuvenating meal the following day.

Moreover, complement any chicken or lamb dish with a leafy green salad or a pasta salad.

Other recipes you will love:

Marinated chicken

Zesty rosemary and lemon marinade for chicken or lamb

Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )
Serves: 4-5 Prep Time: Cooking Time:



  • 2-3 fresh lemons, sliced
  • 5-6 rosemary sprigs
  • 4-5 them or lemon thyme sprigs
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 300mls (1 1/2 cups) white wine or water
  • 65mls (4 1/2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 red chilli peppers (optional)
  • salt and ground black pepper to season


  • 1.5Kg chicken (boneless, thighs or breast) or lamb (leg or shoulder)


  1. To prepare this zesty rosemary and lemon marinade for chicken or lamb start by gathering all the ingredients.
  2. Slice the lemons and cloves of garlic and set them aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, pour 300mls of either white wine or water and add rosemary, thyme, extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and ground black pepper.
  4. Mix to combine.
  5. To marinate lamb, make small cuts onto the meat surface and insert a piece of garlic in each cut.
  6. To marinade chicken, add the sliced cloves of garlic into the marinade mixture.
  7. Place the meat into a shallow baking dish and pour the marinade.
  8. Place the lemon slices on top of the meat.
  9. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  10. To cook lamb, simply place the baking dish in the oven.
  11. To cook chicken, place the chicken into a baking dish with the lemon slices and a few tablespoons the marinade.
  12. Cook the meat and check with an instant-read thermometer the internal meat temperature.
  13. Once lamb is cooked, gather the juices and combine them with cornflour turning the juices to a delicious sauce.

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