Crispy Lemon Chicken Thighs

I was born in Los Angeles, and we used to go back to visit our family there about once a year. Among other chain restaurants (including In&Out Burger and Jack In The Box), we always had to stop at El Pollo Loco, a popular fast-food chain that specializes in “flame broiled chicken.” Looking back, I’m not sure why this was on the top of our vacation to-do list every time, considering how big of a local food scene Southern California has…

I think I love this recipe because it reminds me a bit of the El Pollo Loco chicken we would get so excited over as kids. It’s super simple — just a few ingredients, and you can do a million other things while you’re cooking because it doesn’t require constant attention. Plus, I accidentally bought more lemons than I needed, and used the leftovers to make cupcakes 😉

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Rice

Servings: 3
Cost per serving: $3-4


  • 6 medium boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 bag raw brussels sprouts, chopped
  • 1 bag cauliflower rice (or 1 head cauliflower, riced*)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic (3 tsp minced)
  • Spice blend: salt, pepper, parsley


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a bowl, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp garlic, and spices over the chicken thighs. Squeeze half the lemon juice over the bowl. Arrange chicken in a single layer in the skillet and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through.
  2. When chicken is fully cooked (white on the inside), turn the heat up to medium-high and cover. Cook for 5+ more minutes — you want to sear the chicken so it browns slightly on both sides.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, heat 2 tsp oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tsp garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Sprinkle brussels sprouts with salt and pepper and add to pan, tossing to coat in the olive oil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp on the outside and tender (squishy) on the inside. I like to get a little char on the brussels sprouts. Remove from the pan.
  4. Using the same skillet you used for the brussels sprouts, pour in cauliflower rice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let cook 3-5 minutes, or until cauliflower is warm to the touch.
  5. Plate your cauliflower rice, brussels sprouts, and 2 chicken thighs per serving, and squeeze 1/2 lemon overtop.

*To make the cauliflower rice: break up a head of cauliflower and pulse 1-2 times in a food processor until finely chopped.

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