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Braised Lemon Chicken With Olives + Dates

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Flavor in a pot.

ingredients for lemon chicken with dates garlic bay leaves olives and wine

Braising may sound fancy. It’s not. It is, however, a fantastic way to cook chicken. Braising yields fall-off-the-bone tender meat infused with whatever flavors you add to the pan. This recipe for braised lemon chicken with olives and dates hits all the flavor notes: tangy, salty, sweet. The result is a new favorite chicken dinner recipe that practically cooks itself.

You’ll also like: Perfect Roast Chicken and Tropical Coconut Rice

braising pan with chicken legs olives and dates

I have been looking for a new chicken dinner recipe for a while. Is chicken overused? Probably. But chicken makes a great dinner. It’s a lean protein that is endlessly adaptable and easy to cook.

So I loved the idea of finding a new way to adapt this dinner workhorse in a way that was uncomplicated but full of flavor. Here, quickly brown chicken legs in a pan. Then, add white wine, lemon, dates, olives, and seasoning. This creates a flavorful braising liquid for the chicken, and simmers until the meat is cooked and tender, then served and smothered in pan sauce.

braising pan with chicken legs olives and dates

Recipe Notes: Braised Lemon Chicken With Olives + Dates

  • Embrace bone-in chicken legs: thighs and drumsticks. Technically, you could use boneless chicken thighs, but leaving the bone in will create the best possible flavor and texture. You could, however, use all bone-in chicken thighs if you do not like drumsticks.
  • If you do not have a braiser, use a wide, shallow skillet with a lid. The skillet should be wide enough to nestle the chicken in a single layer. The idea is to have the lid close to the meat, which creates a moist convection heat that circulates within the pot.

plate of braised lemon chicken with olives and dates on plate with rice and greens

Did you make this Braised Lemon Chicken With Olives + Dates recipe? How was it?

braising pan with chicken legs olives and dates

Braised Lemon Chicken With Olives + Dates

A tender, Mediterranean chicken dinner layered with flavor.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keywords:: braised, chicken, dinner, easy, healthy, lemon, mediterranean, olives
Servings: 4 people


  • 3 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks)
  • 2/3 cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 whole lemon)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2/3 cup pitted dates, halved lengthwise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed


  • Pat the chicken dry and generously sprinkle with one rounded teaspoon of kosher salt and some fresh pepper.
    PRO TIP: Dry the chicken well. This will prevent it from spattering when added to the hot oil.
  • Heat the braising pan or a wide skillet over medium heat with the vegetable oil until the oil shimmers. Add the first few chicken legs, dredged-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side for an additional two minutes.
  • Place the chicken on a paper towel-lined plate and repeat until all the chicken has been browned. Add additional oil if necessary.
  • Pour the oil from the pan, taking care to leave on any browned bits. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, vinegar, and lemon juice, scraping off the tasty stuck bits. Add the garlic, bay leaves, zest, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of kosher salt. Stir and let boil for one minute.
  • Turn heat to low. Add the chicken in a single layer and sprinkle with the dates and olives. The liquid should be less than halfway up the sides of the chicken.
  • Cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the meat pulls right off the bone. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or individual plates. Reduce the liquid a bit and taste for seasoning. You may need a bit more salt. Let the liquid reduce until you have a sauce. Spoon over the chicken and serve immediately.


  • Bethany Lempka

    5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe! It’s easy enough for a weeknight meal but feels like a labor of love.
    Thank you!

  • 5 stars
    This is a very good meal that I would serve to company right from the pan. It was not complicated to make and tasted very good. Thanks.

  • PenelopeMN

    5 stars
    lots of flavor and looked beautiful. glad to have this new recipe.

4.75 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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