Easy Chicken Yassa Recipe

Enjoy the bold and tangy flavors of Easy Chicken Yassa, a classic West African dish featuring marinated chicken in a zesty lemon-onion sauce. This vibrant and aromatic dish is simple to prepare and perfect for a flavorful weeknight dinner.

Preparation Time:

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Marinating Time: 2 hours (or overnight)
  • Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55-60 minutes (plus marinating)


  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus 2 tablespoons for cooking)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (white or apple cider)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)


Marinate the Chicken:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, vegetable oil, thyme, bay leaf, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken thighs to the marinade, ensuring they are well-coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.

Cook the Chicken:

  1. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, shaking off any excess, but reserve the marinade and onions.
  2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet, skin-side down, and brown for about 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

Prepare the Sauce:

  1. In the same skillet, add the sliced onions and cook over medium heat until they are softened and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour in the reserved marinade and stir to combine with the onions.
  3. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Combine and Simmer:

  1. Return the browned chicken thighs to the skillet, nestling them into the onion mixture.
  2. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.


  1. Remove the bay leaf from the skillet and discard.
  2. Transfer the Chicken Yassa to a serving platter, spooning the onion sauce over the top.
  3. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
  4. Serve hot with white rice, couscous, or a side of steamed vegetables.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Main Dish: Serve over a bed of fluffy white rice to soak up the flavorful sauce.
  • Side Dish: Pair with steamed vegetables or a fresh green salad.

Cooking Tips:

  • Marinating: For the best flavor, marinate the chicken overnight.
  • Onion Variety: Use sweet onions for a milder flavor, or yellow onions for a more robust taste.
  • Heat Level: Add a chopped chili pepper to the marinade for a spicy kick.

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Chicken: High in protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Onions: Rich in antioxidants and beneficial sulfur compounds.
  • Lemon Juice: Provides a good dose of vitamin C.

Dietary Information:

  • Gluten-Free: Naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
  • Low-Carb: A great option for those watching their carbohydrate intake.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

  • Flavorful and Aromatic: The combination of lemon, garlic, and mustard creates a tangy, savory sauce.
  • Simple and Quick: Easy to prepare with straightforward steps, perfect for a weeknight dinner.
  • Versatile: Pairs well with various sides, making it adaptable to different preferences.


Easy Chicken Yassa is a vibrant and flavorful dish that brings the taste of West Africa to your table. With its tangy lemon-onion sauce and tender marinated chicken, this recipe is sure to become a favorite. Serve it with rice or vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal. Enjoy the rich, bold flavors of Chicken Yassa and delight in its easy preparation.

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