Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken

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Make this light and flavorful grilled lemon pepper chicken tonight! It’s the perfect summer recipe. The juicy chicken is coated in homemade lemon pepper seasoning that’s sure to satisfy your craving for grilled chicken.

A plate of grilled chicken next to a plate of corn on the cob.

I call this a summer recipe, but it’s really good all year long! It’s a great excuse to bring out the grill. Other grilled recipes we love are grilled flatbread pizza and grilled shrimp on the barbie.

Some of our other favorite chicken recipes are Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas and Instant Pot Hawaiian Chicken. We also really like this homemade rib rub. Make sure you also sign up for our newsletter so you can be the first to know about new recipes.

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❤️Why You’ll Love This Recipe

When I say it’s an easy grilling recipe, I mean it is REALY easy. I am not a griller – that’s my husband’s area. This recipe is so simple, I managed to cook it myself. (picture for proof, ha!)

A woman standing next to chicken on a grill.

This juicy chicken recipe is made with fresh lemon that takes the lemon pepper flavor to another level. It uses both lemon juice and lemon zest and grills up really nicely.

If you want even more lemon flavor, you can squeeze fresh juice on your chicken after it’s done grilling. Or, you can serve it with lemon wedges for garnish – just to make it look pretty.

This recipe only uses a handful of ingredients – most of which you probably already have on hand!


Ingredients for grilled chicken laid out on a white counter top.

Although I love store-bought lemon pepper seasoning, it tastes so much fresher when you make it homemade. That’s thanks to the fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. Here is what I include in my grilled lemon pepper chicken:

Lemon: Fresh lemon is the key to making lemon pepper seasoning. Both lemon juice and lemon zest are used.

Chicken Breast: Look for fresh thin-sliced chicken. If you can’t find thinly sliced chicken, butterfly your chicken before marinating.

Scroll to the bottom for the complete list of ingredient measurements and printable recipe card.

📖 Ingredient Swaps

Lemon Pepper Seasoning: If you really want to make this recipe but don’t want to make your own seasoning, store-bought lemon pepper seasoning may be used. Lemon juice and olive oil are still needed for the marinade.

🔪Step-by-Step Instructions

A white plate filled with thin sliced chicken breasts covered in lemon juice and seasoning.
Step 1: Mix together the seasoning and rub it all over the chicken. Brush lemon juice and olive oil over both sides of the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Four pieces of chicken cooking on a barbecue grill.
Step 2. Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Once hot, place the chicken over direct heat and cook (covered) for 10 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 8-10 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
A plate full of grilled chicken and lemon slices.
Step 3: Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with more lemon juice, if desired.

👩🏻‍🍳Expert Cooking Tips

Grilling times can vary depending on the thickness and cut of the chicken, as well as the heat of your grill. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the chicken while it’s cooking to prevent it from drying out or becoming overcooked.

Tips for making the perfect grilled chicken

Start with quality chicken: Choose fresh, high-quality chicken for the best results. Look for chicken breasts that are plump and free from any discoloration or unpleasant odors.

Look for thin sliced: This recipe uses thin-sliced chicken breast. If you can’t find that at the store, butterfly your chicken (slice it open like a book, so you have two equal pieces). Otherwise, the cooking time will have to be increased.

Preheat the grill: Make sure to preheat your grill to medium-high heat before placing the chicken on it. This ensures even cooking and helps to prevent sticking.

Oil the grill grates: Brushing the grill grates with oil helps to prevent the chicken from sticking. We like to roll up a paper towel and dip it in oil. Then we use a pair of tongs to rub it all over the grates.

Pat dry before grilling: Before placing the chicken on the grill, make sure to pat it dry with paper towels. This removes any excess moisture and helps to achieve the grill marks we all love.

Monitor internal temperature: To ensure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption according to

Let it rest: Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in juicier and more flavorful chicken.

💭Recipe FAQs

What is the secret to grilling chicken?

Alright, let me spill the secret to grilling chicken like a pro. It all comes down to two key elements: flavor and timing. First, amp up the flavor game by marinating the chicken before grilling. Let it soak in a delicious blend of herbs, spices, or sauces to enhance its taste and tenderness.

Second, master the timing. Pay close attention to the chicken while it’s on the grill, flipping it once halfway through cooking. To ensure it’s cooked to perfection without drying out, use a meat thermometer and aim for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). With these two secrets in your pocket, you’ll be grilling chicken that’s bursting with flavor and juiciness. Get ready to impress those taste buds!

How to grill chicken without overcooking?

Alright, here’s the deal on grilling chicken without overcooking it. First, control the grill heat. Find the sweet spot, not too hot or too cool—medium heat is the way to go. This gentle heat ensures even cooking without drying out the chicken.

Second, embrace the power of a meat thermometer. Stick it in the thickest part of the chicken, and when it reaches 165°F (74°C), it’s time to take it off the grill. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to settle, and voila! Tender, juicy chicken without the dreaded overcooked situation. Happy grilling!

Is it better to grill chicken covered or uncovered?

Ah, the great debate of grilling chicken—covered or uncovered? The answer lies in the type of chicken and the desired outcome.

When it comes to boneless, skinless chicken breasts or smaller cuts, grilling them uncovered is usually the way to go. This allows for direct heat exposure and helps create a nice sear on the outside while ensuring they cook through evenly. Plus, it gives you a chance to keep a close eye on those sizzling beauties.

On the other hand, for larger cuts or bone-in chicken pieces, grilling them covered can be beneficial. This technique creates a sort of “oven-like” environment, trapping the heat and allowing the chicken to cook more evenly and thoroughly. The cover helps retain moisture, resulting in juicier chicken. Just make sure to adjust the grill temperature and cooking time accordingly to ensure they reach the desired internal temperature.

Ultimately, the decision to grill chicken covered or uncovered depends on the specific cut and your desired outcome. Feel free to experiment and find the method that works best for your taste preferences and the type of chicken you’re grilling. Happy grilling!

Do you pat chicken dry before grilling?

Absolutely! It’s a good practice to pat the chicken dry before grilling. Moisture on the chicken’s surface can hinder the browning and searing process. By using a few paper towels, gently pat the chicken dry before it hits the grill.

This step helps remove any excess moisture, allowing the chicken to develop that beautiful golden crust and char that we all love. So, give it a quick pat-down, and you’ll be on your way to achieving that delicious grilled chicken perfection.

However, do keep in mind that this is applicable to most grilling scenarios. If you’re marinating the chicken or using a wet rub, it’s best to let the excess marinade or rub drip off before placing it on the grill, rather than patting it dry. The goal is to minimize excess liquid on the surface to ensure the chicken gets that lovely grill sear. Happy grilling!

🥗Side Dish Suggestions

We love serving grilled chicken with instant pot corn on the cob or crispy asparagus. Here are some other recipes to pair with your grilled chicken:

A picture showing the cover images for all three cookbooks written by Aileen Clark.

If you tried this Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken or any other recipe on my website, I would love it if you could leave me a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below. ❤️

Close up of four pieces of grilled chicken with grill marks.

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Recipe

Aileen Clark
Make this light and flavorful grilled lemon pepper chicken tonight! It's the perfect summer recipe. The juicy chicken is coated in homemade lemon pepper seasoning that's sure to satisfy your craving for grilled chicken.
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 8 minutes
Course Main Dish Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 198 kcal


  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice + additional for serving
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • Combine lemon zest, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Pat chicken dry. Rub lemon pepper seasoning on both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush the lemon juice over both sides of the chicken. Repeat with the olive oil. Cover chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a grill over medium heat.
  • Place prepared chicken on the grill and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
  • Flip chicken over and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and the juices run clear.
  • Remove chicken from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Squeeze additional lemon juice over the chicken. Serve and enjoy.


Make sure to oil the grill before cooking your chicken. You can roll up a piece of paper towel, dip it in oil, and use tongs to rub it along the grates. 
Patting dry the chicken before grilling will help it get the best grill marks. 
This recipe uses thin-sliced chicken breast. If you can’t find that at the store, butterfly your chicken (slice it open like a book, so you have two equal pieces). Otherwise, the cooking time will have to be increased.


Serving: 1chicken breastCalories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 24gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 713mgPotassium: 444mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 38IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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