This grilled lemon pepper chicken is marinated to juicy, flavorful perfection and then grilled in less than 20 minutes. It's the perfect summer grilling recipe and goes great with a selection of fresh summer sides.
Why We Love This Chicken Recipe
- It's super hands off: Throw the marinade together, let the chicken soak in all the goodness, then throw it on the grill.
- It's inexpensive and uses minimal ingredients: This recipe requires 4 main ingredients, plus olive oil and some spices you probably already have on hand.
- It's full of flavor and so versatile: Eat the chicken by itself, put it on a salad, or use it in a wrap. The flavors are so good with anything.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Chicken breast: You can substitute chicken thighs if that's what you prefer. We use pasture-raised chicken for its health and taste benefits.
Lemons: This recipe uses both lemon zest and lemon juice, so you'll need fresh lemons, not bottled lemon juice.
Garlic: Use fresh garlic, not pre-minced. The flavor is so much stronger and better.
Black pepper: Freshly ground works best!
See recipe card for full ingredient list and amounts.
Step 1: Add lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, red chili flakes, black pepper, garlic, and chicken to a gallon ziplock baggie and shake to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
Step 2: Once the chicken is done marinating, turn your grill to medium high heat, and allow the temperature to get to 475°F. Add the chicken directly to the grill grates and cook for 4-5 minutes. Then flip and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Use freshly ground pepper, fresh lemon juice, and fresh garlic for the best flavor.
- Buy quality chicken. It's really so much more tender and flavorful.
- Don't overcook the chicken. Once it reaches 165°F, take it off the grill. Additional cook time will lead to dry chicken.
- For best results, marinate your chicken for as long as possible. We like to throw it in the marinade first thing in the morning and then cook it at dinner time.
- Pour the leftover marinade on top of the chicken once it's on the grill.
Lemon pepper marinade has a super versatile flavor, so this chicken goes with pretty much anything. If you're stumped, here are some serving ideas:
- Make a rice bowl with this chicken and sautéed summer veggies (think squash, peppers, corn, asparagus, etc.). We love this garlic butter rice.
- Make a chicken wrap. This chicken is great in our air fryer chicken wraps (just sub the air fried chicken for this chicken). We often make wraps with the leftovers.
- Make a fresh garden salad with this chicken on top. It's great with crunchy leaf lettuce, a fresh vinaigrette, tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn.
- Serve it with traditional BBQ foods, like macaroni and cheese, french fries, baked beans, potato salad, and cole slaw.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Preheat your grill for 20 minutes at 450°F. Cook the chicken on one side for 15 minutes, then flip it and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Store leftover chicken in an air-tight container or baggie in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
We cut ours into 1-inch chunks, then cook them in a pan over medium heat until warm on the inside, about 5 minutes. We love to make chicken wraps with the leftovers.