Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken

Fire up the grill and make this delicious Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken! Chicken breast is seasoned in a zesty lemon pepper marinade and grilled to perfection. This easy recipe is perfect for a summer BBQ or for meal prep to use in many different dishes.

A white plate topped with grilled lemon pepper chicken and garnished with lemon slices and fresh parsley.

Lemon and pepper make a great flavor combination because they are both so versatile. The acidity of the lemon helps to cut through the richness of the chicken while the pepper adds a nice amount of heat.

The marinade is made with simple ingredients and still packs a punch! Once the chicken is fully marinated, all you’ll need to do is throw it on the grill for 6 to 8 minutes on each side and you’ll have a protein that is flavorful and can be used in many different ways!

This lemon pepper bbq chicken is perfect on its own, with veggies, in a salad, or even sliced up and served over some pasta. The possibilities are endless.

So the next time you’re looking for a new way to cook chicken, give this grilled lemon pepper chicken recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • A great way to change up the flavor of boring plain chicken breast.
  • The charred citrus flavor is perfect for summer BBQs.
  • Lemon pepper is a versatile flavor that can be used in many different dishes.
  • You can easily prep the lemon chicken in advance to save time at dinner. It’s also great for meal prep!

Ingredients You Need

You will need a few basic ingredients for the lemon pepper marinade in addition to the chicken breasts. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. The ingredients make this chicken naturally gluten free and low carb.

All of the ingredients for grilled lemon pepper chicken on a white countertop.
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – This high-protein meat is best marinated as it keeps the chicken from drying out. If you substitute for boneless chicken thighs or another cut of chicken, you may need to adjust cook time.
  • Salt & Pepper – Simply enhances the flavor of the chicken breast.
  • Lemon Juice & Zest – Use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest for the best lemon flavor.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Used to coat the chicken and hold all of the seasonings so they distribute evenly in the marinade. You can substitute with avocado oil, if desired.
  • Garlic Powder – Adds a bold garlic flavor to the chicken that compliments lemon and pepper well. You can substitute with two cloves of freshly minced garlic, if desired.
  • Dried Thyme – Adds a citrusy herb flavor to the chicken that rounds out the flavor. You can substitute with fresh thyme, if desired.
Mixing together ingredients for the lemon pepper marinade in a bag with chicken breasts.

How to Make Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast

  1. Prepare the chicken breast: After removing it from the package, pat the chicken completely dry with a paper towel. Store in a large plastic bag while you mix up the marinade.
  2. Assemble the lemon pepper marinade for the chicken: Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and seasonings to a small bowl and whisk to fully combine.
  3. Marinate the chicken: Pour the mixture into the bag with the chicken and massage to fully coat. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  4. Prepare the grill: Preheat your grill to 450 Fahrenheit and lightly oil the grill if necessary.
  5. Grill the chicken: Shake off any excess marinade, then place the chicken on the hot grill with tongs. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until the chicken is fully cooked in the thickest part to a temperature of 165 degrees F, using an instant read thermometer. Let the chicken rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve the grilled chicken plated with fresh lemon slices on the side. You can also garnish with fresh parsley or sprinkle on top for additional color.

A plate layered with grilled lemon pepper chicken breasts.

Expert Tips

  • Pat the chicken completely dry before adding the marinade. This will help the marinade to stick better and also prevents it from slipping off when you put it on the grill.
  • If you don’t have a grill, no worries! You can cook this chicken in a grilled pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Just be sure to use a little bit of oil to coat the pan so your chicken doesn’t stick.
  • Save time and prep ahead! If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, prepare the chicken through step two and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to eat, just grill according to the instructions.
  • Use a kitchen thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken to make sure it is cooked all the way through. Chicken is cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F in the thickest part.
  • Marinate overnight for the best flavor. The chicken will taste the most flavorful when it has been marinated overnight as this allows the flavors to penetrate longer and allows the chicken to tenderize.

Serving Suggestions

Sliced pieces of grilled lemon pepper chicken on a plate with broccoli.

How to Store and Reheat Grilled Chicken

Storing: Once the chicken is cooked and cooled, you can store leftovers by tightly wrapping in plastic wrap or placing in an airtight container. Store leftover chicken breast in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Freezing: Freeze grilled chicken by tightly wrapping it in plastic wrap and then placing it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. Chicken can be frozen for up to four months.

Reheating: Chicken can be reheated in the microwave, grill pan, or oven. If using the microwave, heat grilled chicken on 50% power in 30-second intervals until warmed through. If reheating in a grilled pan or oven, preheat to 350F and cook until warmed through.

Other Grilled Recipes

Did you try this Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken recipe? Leave a recipe rating and review below!

A plate layered with grilled lemon pepper chicken breasts.

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Marinate time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Marinate chicken breasts in an easy lemon pepper marinade to create a flavorful chicken to serve with your favorite side dishes!
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients 

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 – 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, plus more to season
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, (from the lemons used for juicing above)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions

  • Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a large plastic zipper bag and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon black pepper, garlic powder, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk well, then add the mixture to the bag with the chicken, massaging to coat.
  • Refrigerate the chicken for at last 1 hour, up to overnight.
  • When ready to cook, preheat a grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, greasing the grill grate if necessary.
  • Grill the chicken breasts for 6 to 8 minute per side, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the juices run clear. Allow the chicken to rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minuets prior to serving. Serve with your favorite sides.

Notes

Storing: Store leftovers by tightly wrapping in plastic wrap or placing in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan, oven or microwave until warmed through.
Freezing: Freeze grilled chicken by tightly wrapping it in plastic wrap and then placing it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. Freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw completely before reheating.

Nutrition

Calories: 245kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 424mg, Potassium: 527mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 60IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Ashley C.
If you try this recipe, don’t forget to leave a review below or share a photo and tag @spoonfulofflavor on Instagram.

3 comments on “Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken”

  1. I love citrus notes in chicken recipes, and this one is not an exception. Made it for lunch: turned out perfectly!

  2. Oh wow, this looks so delicious. My family is going to devour it!

  3. We use our grill all the time and I am always looking for tasty and easy chicken recipes to change it up. This was really delicious and I will be making it often. The leftovers were great as part of a salad the next day!

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