Lemon Pepper Chicken

Juicy, crispy lemon pepper chicken can be baked in the oven or made on the grill for the perfect easy family dinner!

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Lemon pepper chicken is the perfect dinner: it’s acidity, saltiness, and lemony flavors make for an incredibly satisfying meal that is SO easy to make!

It’s up there in popularity with other reader favorites, like my Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings, Lemon Pepper Wings and simple Chicken Leg Quarters.

Lemon pepper chicken

Lemon Pepper Chicken

While maybe most famous as a topping for chicken wings, lemon pepper seasoning can also be used to make some really good roast chicken. By liberally coating either chicken breasts or chicken thighs with plenty of lemon pepper seasoning and roasting, you end up with a slightly sweet, tangy, and citrusy chicken that tastes like you put way more effort into it than you actually did.

 lemon pepper chicken ingredients

Lemon Pepper Chicken Ingredients

Don’t forget to carefully examine the recipe card at the very bottom for all of the ingredients needed.

• Chicken thighs or breasts (thighs are definitely better here)

• Lemon Pepper seasoning

• Garlic powder

• Salt

How To Make Lemon Pepper Chicken

• Pat, the chicken, completely dry using paper towels

• Place the chicken on a baking sheet

• In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon pepper, garlic, and salt

• Sprinkle the seasoning evenly all over the chicken

• Bake at 400 Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, or until the chicken has reached 165 Fahrenheit for chicken breasts, or 185 Fahrenheit for thighs

cooked lemon pepper chicken thigh cut in half

How To Make Your Own Lemon Pepper Seasoning

While lemon pepper seasoning is a pretty popular topping in North America, not every supermarket keeps lemon pepper seasoning readily available. So, if you live somewhere not yet blessed by the deliciousness of lemon pepper, you can always make your own.

All you really need is some lemons, a zester, coarse sea salt, and plenty of black pepper.

  1. Zest a bunch of lemons so that you get just the yellow exteriors of the lemons, with as little of the white pith as possible.
  2. Combine that with a roughly equal amount of coarse black pepper by volume. There isn’t really a science to this, so just eyeball it until it looks right.
  3. Once that’s done, stick the pepper and lemon zest onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake at the lowest setting your oven will go. It will take about an hour, after which your lemon zest should be dehydrated and sort of break apart if you try and bend it.
  4. If it is drying unevenly, try giving the pan a shake and tossing everything together during the cooking time.
  5. Once dried and smelling amazing, add it to a spice grinder, food processor, or, if you feel like going old school, a mortar and pestle. Blitz until a fine powder, and then combine with an equal amount of salt, and you have some really delicious, homemade lemon pepper seasoning all on your own.
plate full of cooked lemon pepper chicken

Chicken Breasts or Thighs?

The big question when it comes to making any sort of chicken recipe is what kind of chicken pieces you should be using.

While you can certainly use either chicken breasts or chicken thighs depending on preference, the best texture is definitely going to come from regular chicken thighs in this recipe.

Make sure you are altering the final temperature of your chicken depending on which pieces you choose, though.

If you use chicken breasts, you want to stop once you hit 165 Fahrenheit to preserve juiciness. In fact, you can actually stop at 160 Fahrenheit and let carry-over cooking taking it the rest of the way, but it is usually better to be safe than sorry with chicken.

If you are using chicken thighs, however, keep cooking it a little bit longer until the meatiest part of the thigh registers 185 Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the thigh’s collagen will break down, turning it extra juicy and delicious, and will be way more tender and tasty than if you stopped at 165 Fahrenheit.

Looking for more delicious Chicken recipes? Try these out:

Chicken Korma Pasta

Smoked Paprika Baked Chicken Thighs

Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs




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Lemon Pepper Chicken

Juicy, crispy lemon pepper chicken can be baked in the oven or made on the grill for the perfect easy family dinner!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
35 minutes
Main Course
Karlynn Johnston


  • 6-8 chicken thighs skin on, bone-in
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat your oven to 400 °F and get out a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • Pat the chicken skin dry with paper towels and place on the baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon pepper, garlic and salt.
  • Sprinkle the spices evenly over the chicken.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F for chicken breast, and 185 °F for dark meat.
  • Remove from the oven and serve. You can slice fresh lemons and serve with the slices for presentation if desired!

Recipe Notes

  • You can also grill these on a 400 °F grill until they are done as well! Perfect summertime food!
  • Chicken breasts can be used but thighs are the best in this recipe.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 377kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 166mg, Sodium: 422mg, Potassium: 376mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 140IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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