Lemon Pepper Chicken

May 19, 2021

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Lemon Pepper Chicken made with tender chicken breasts that are coated in a peppery spice blend. Chicken is pan seared, and it’s finished with rich butter and a refreshing pop of fresh lemon to coat it. Simple but absolutely delicious!

Four pieces of lemon pepper coated chicken aligned on a white oval platter with steamed broccoli to the side.

What Makes the Best Lemon Pepper Chicken?

When I first began testing this recipe I went through several brands of lemon pepper seasoning and never found one that I love. It just lacks that fresh lemon zip.

So I ditched the lemon pepper seasoning altogether and just went the fresh lemon route. It ended up being so much better, and far more fresh tasting! It’s the simple secret to the best lemon pepper chicken.

This recipe only needs a few basic ingredients and 20 minutes of your time! Everyone will love that rich buttery finish and peppery kick.

It’s the perfect dish to make when you need dinner in a flash. For a few healthy and hassle-free sides, pair it with baked red potatoes (serve with a splash of olive oil) and fresh steamed broccoli.

Photo of ingredients used to make lemon pepper chicken. Includes chicken breasts, butter, pepper, sugar, italian seasoning, garlic powder, flour, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken breasts: You can use 2 large breasts then butterfly and cut in half or use 4 medium (about 6 oz each) and pound to about 1/2-inch thickness.
  • Flour: I found only about 1 Tbsp of the flour sticks so instead of using an extra dish to dredge, it worked well to just season the flour mixture over.
  • Italian seasoning: Can substitute 1/2 tsp oregano and 1/2 tsp basil.
  • Coarse ground black pepper: Fresh ground pepper works too.
  • Salt: You can adjust this as desired, but I like about 3/4 tsp.
  • Garlic powder: This is used to keep the recipe simple. No chopping required.
  • Sugar: Just a hint of this encourages browning. If you’d rather not include it, you can omit.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter though salted would be fine.
  • Olive oil: This is used in addition to butter so it doesn’t burn up.
  • Lemon: You’ll only need about 1/2 of a lemon but don’t forget to zest before halving and juicing.
  • Parsley: You can use another herb here such as basil, thyme or rosemary (though with those last 2 use less).

Full recipe can be found below.

Can Chicken Thighs be Used?

  • Yes, boneless skinless chicken thighs will work here as well.
  • Just use smaller ones, no halving necessary.
  • Cook a little longer as needed to reach 165 degrees in center.

Collage of four photos showing steps to making lemon pepper chicken. Includes whisking seasoning in a bowl, coating chicken in seasoning, then searing chicken on both sides in the skillet.

How to Make Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken

  1. Mix seasonings and flour: In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, garlic powder, and sugar.
  2. Spread seasoning on chicken: Evenly sprinkle and press mixture over both sides of chicken.
  3. Heat fat in skillet: Melt 1 Tbsp butter with olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Tilt pan to evenly coat with butter mixture.
  4. Cook chicken till browned on first side: Add chicken, let cook until golden brown on bottom, about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn and cook through: Flip pieces then let chicken continue to cook until cooked through in center. It should reach 165 degrees, about 5 minutes longer. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in with chicken just near the end.
  6. Off heat, add lemon and coat chicken in pan sauce: Remove from heat and pour lemon juice into skillet along with lemon zest. Turn chicken pieces to coat in lemon butter mixture.
  7. Garnish: Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

Lemon pepper chicken breasts in a black skillet.

Helpful Tips

  • Ditch the store-bought dried lemon pepper seasoning and use fresh lemon and cracked pepper instead.
  • Preheat the skillet so you can get a nice sear.
  • If chicken is overly wet, dry slightly with paper towels so it browns better.
  • Cook chicken breasts right to 165 degrees (test in center with an instant read food thermometer). You need to get up to that temperature for food safety but don’t go past or chicken dries out quickly.
  • We use 1/4 cup of fat so wait to add half of the fat until the end for a little less splattering and a clean butter taste.

Close up photo of lemon pepper chicken shown from above on a white plate.

More Tasty Skillet Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

Four pieces of lemon pepper coated chicken aligned on a white oval platter with steamed broccoli to the side.
5 from 4 votes

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Made with tender chicken breasts that are coated in a peppery spice blend, then chicken is pan seared, and last it's finished rich butter and a refreshing pop of fresh lemon to coat it. Simple but absolutely delicious!
Servings: 4
Prep10 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 (11 - 12 oz each) chicken breasts, each sliced in half through the thickness to create two thinner portions
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, Italian seasoning, pepper, salt, garlic powder, and sugar. Evenly sprinkle and press mixture over both sides of chicken.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp butter with olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Tilt pan to evenly coat with butter mixture then add chicken.
  • Let chicken cook until golden brown on bottom, about 5 minutes.
  • Flip pieces then let chicken continue to cook until cooked through in center. It should reach 165 degrees in center, about 5 minutes longer. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter in with chicken just near the end of cooking.
  • Remove from heat pour lemon juice into skillet along with lemon zest. Turn chicken pieces to coat in lemon butter mixture.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Pepper Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 306 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 127mg42%
Sodium 629mg27%
Potassium 651mg19%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 634IU13%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.