This Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken will keep you coming back for more! With its zesty citrus and spicy pepper flavors, this chicken is perfect for any occasion. Whether hosting a cookout or looking for a quick and tasty dinner option, these grilled chicken breasts will do the trick!
We recently developed this recipe for grilled lemon pepper chicken breasts and couldn’t be happier. The chicken was juicy, tender, and flavorful with the right amount of lemon pepper. It was super easy, and everyone loved it! It’s a great option for weekly meal prep served with a side salad or grilled vegetables.
What is lemon pepper?
Lemon pepper is made by infusing cracked black pepper with fresh lemon zest and salt. This infusion allows the oils from the zest to penetrate the pepper, giving it a unique and zesty flavor. Lemon pepper is a popular ingredient used in various dishes and can be purchased in stores and online. Be aware that some commercial products may contain additional spices.
We recommend grilling the chicken on a charcoal grill, pellet grill, or gas grill for the best results. However, if you don’t have access to a grill, you can bake the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees F. until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Doing this will ensure the chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat.
- Chicken breasts: You’ll need 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts (sub with 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
- Lemon zest and juice: We recommend using fresh lemon juice over bottled.
- Lemon pepper seasoning
- Fresh garlic (sub with smoked garlic or garlic powder)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onion powder, salt, and paprika
- A reliable instant-read meat thermometer
Marinade for lemon pepper chicken
- For the perfect lemon pepper chicken marinade, start by zesting the lemons before squeezing the juice. Use a microplane zester to remove just the yellow zest, being careful not to grate the white rind as it has a bitter flavor. Once you’re finished zesting, juice the lemons.
- Combine juice and zest with olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon pepper, onion powder, paprika, and salt in a bowl. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Add red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of herbs like chopped basil, oregano, thyme, or parsley to the marinade.
- Once your marinade is ready, submerge the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Prepare your grill for medium heat (350-375 degrees F). Optional: Infuse a little smoke flavor with by adding apple or cherry wood to the fire.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and place them on the grill. Cook the chicken breasts for 10-12 minutes, turning them a few times during cooking.
- They have cooked through once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast. Check each chicken breast before removing them from the grill.
- Place the lemon pepper chicken on a clean platter or cutting board, and let them rest for 5-10 minutes while you prepare your side dishes. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
- Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
This grilled lemon pepper chicken is so versatile! Add to salads, wraps, soups, casseroles, nachos, or served whole. It’s also a great option for meal prep and make-ahead meals.
Like this recipe? Try these:
Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2-2 teaspoons lemon pepper
- 1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 4 medium chicken breasts skinless and boneless
- Zest lemon before squeezing juice. This step will just make your life easier. Use a citrus zester and make sure not to overdo it. You just want the yellow bits, not the bitter white part that lies right under the rind. After zesting, cut lemons in half and squeeze juice through a strainer into a bowl.
- Combine lemon juice, zest, garlic. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and stir through.
- Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts into a resealable plastic bag, and pour mixture over top. Coat well, release air from bag, seal, and place into the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. If using marinade on wings or drumsticks, marinate them for 2-4 hours.
- Preheat your grill for medium heat (375 degrees F).
- Remove chicken breasts from marinade and place them on the grill. Cook for 10-12 minutes, turning 1-2 times during the cooking process. Once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, at the thickest part of the breast, they are done.
- Let the chicken breast rest for a few minutes before slicing.
- For even cooking, flatten the chicken breasts before marinating. Place them between two pieces of plastic wrap, and gently hit them with the blunt side of a kitchen mallet. Aim for a 1/2" thick uniform shape.