Some of the best Dutch oven camping recipes create an entire meal in one pot. This Dutch Oven Lemon Chicken combines flavorful chicken thighs with potatoes, fresh herbs and aromatics to create a simple, healthy meal.
I love easy camping meals that require minimal prep at the campsite. For this recipe you’ll need to slice the petite potatoes, peel garlic and slice a bit of onion and lemon before you begin cooking. It is also a good idea to rinse the chicken thighs, but not an absolute necessity.
Cooking Methods & Equipment
This is one of our awesome easy campfire recipes, so, get coals ready for about 1 hour of total cooking time.
Step 1. Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed.
This meal is perfect to include on a menu of winter camping recipes that are cooked using campfire coals. You’ll start with bottom heat to sear the chicken then move some coals to the top of the lid for roasting at a temperature of 400 degrees F. Prepare 29 coals.
Camp Cooking Tip: To finish the cooking process you may need a second set of coals so be prepared to start the second batch when the first set is about halfway burned out.
Step 2. Season the chicken. Liberally season all sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Step 3. Heat the pot. Place all of the coals below the Dutch oven to brown the chicken. You’ll need a medium-high heat to get a nice golden brown color.
Step 4. Add oil and sear. Pour the olive oil into the pan, let it get hot then add the chicken, skin side down. Let the chicken develop a crispy texture before flipping to brown the other sides. In about 10 minutes, all sides should be browned, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside.
Step 5. Add veggies. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bottom of the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Then, add the onions, potatoes and garlic, stir gently to combine all of the ingredients.
Step 6. Add remaining ingredients. Place the rosemary sprigs and lemon slices evenly over the potatoes, then, place chicken, skin side up, on top of everything. Be careful not to cover the chicken skin with any ingredients so it maintains its crispy texture.
Step 7. Bake at 400 F degrees. Place the lid on the oven and transfer coals for baking. Leave 10 coals below the oven and move 19 on top of the lid. Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F degrees on a meat thermometer, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Camp Cooking Tip: If the potatoes are not tender but the liquid is all absorbed, add a little water (or chicken broth if you have some on hand) and finish cooking until the potatoes are soft and the meatiest part of the thigh is 165 degrees F.
Step 8. Serve hot. Place vegetables on serving plates, top with chicken and spoon sauce over everything for serving.
Chicken thighs: You can substitute chicken breasts or a whole chicken cut into similar size parts. Camp Cooking Tip: If the pieces are not about the same size, some pieces will be done while the others are undercooked so be sure to use uniform sizes if you substitute here.
Olive oil: You can substitute a couple tablespoons butter for the olive oil but be careful not to burn the butter. Butter has a much lower smoke point than oil so it will burn easily if you are not on your toes. So, melt butter and be ready to add the chicken parts soon afterwards.
Garlic cloves: Some people don’t like dealing with fresh garlic (even if they just have to peel it). You can substitute granulated garlic powder, you’ll need about two teaspoons of it.
Water: You only need to add water to this recipe if the liquid is absorbed before the potatoes are tender. You can substitute homemade chicken stock or white wine if you want to get really fancy. But, you probably won’t need it.
Fresh rosemary: We grow rosemary in our backyard because we use so much of it in our recipes. If you can’t find it or want a substitute for fresh rosemary you can use 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary. If you to change the flavor a bit, use fresh thyme sprigs instead of rosemary.
Lemon halves: I don’t recommend any substitutions for fresh lemons in this recipe. If you are in a real pinch, you can use a teaspoon or so of lemon pepper.
What To Serve With This Recipe
One pot camping meals don’t need additional “recipe” sides but if you want to serve something green, make a simple salad or steam fresh veggies, like green beans or broccoli.
This meal is a great GF option. See all of our gluten free camping food ideas.
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Dutch Oven Lemon Chicken: Easy one-pot healthy dinner recipe
- Camp Chef Dutch Oven Dome If making over a camp stove.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs rinse, then pat chicken dry with paper towel
- 12 petite potatoes sliced in half
- 8 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary torn into smaller pieces
- 1 lemon divided using 1/2 thinly sliced, 1/2 juiced (If you want a really robust lemon flavor, use two lemons)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Water or chicken broth if necessary (see note below)
- Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed.
- Preheat 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven to roast chicken at 400 degrees F using 29 campfire coals or charcoal briquettes. NOTE: You may need two sets of coals to finish the cooking process so be prepared to start the second batch of coals when the first set is about halfway burned out.
- Season all sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place all coals below the Dutch oven to create a medium-high heat for browning the chicken.
- Pour olive oil in the bottom of the pre-heated pot.
- Sear chicken with skin side down and flip it to brown all sides. It will take about 10 minutes to get the chicken a nice golden brown color, then, remove and set aside.
- Add lemon juice and scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add onions, potatoes and garlic to the Dutch oven, stir to combine.
- Place rosemary sprigs and lemon slices inside the dish over the potatoes, then top with chicken placing it in the pot with the skin side up. (You want to maintain a crispy skin.)
- Cover with lid and bake at 400 F degrees (leaving 10 coals below the oven and moving 19 to the top of the lid) until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Turn oven and lid 1/4 turns in opposite directions every 15 minutes or so to ensure even baking. NOTE: If the potatoes are not tender but the liquid is all absorbed, add a little water (or chicken broth if you have some on hand) and finish cooking until the potatoes are soft. A meat thermometer should read 165 F degrees at the meatiest part of the thigh.
- Place vegetables on plate, top with chicken and spoon sauce over everything. Serve hot.
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