Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs are so incredibly juicy, tender and healthy they will quickly become a family favorite!
This recipe has robust flavors and gives you a tender piece of meat perfect for all occasions. Plus, it’s easy enough for someone who is just starting out in the kitchen…or the grill!
🍽️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Versatile | This is an incredibly versatile recipe and can be customized depending on preferences.
Fast | You can prep and cook the chicken in just 35 minutes.
Easy to Double/Triple the Recipe | It makes four servings, and you can easily make a larger batch.
Healthy | Each serving is around 140 calories, so if you are watching what you eat, this is for you!
I don’t think you’ll find an easier and more delicious recipe! Let’s take a look at what you will need to make it.
Whole Peppercorns | They are flavorful and will add that extra pizzazz we all love to the chicken.
Salt | Make sure to use kosher salt because it keeps the chicken nice and tender.
Lemon Peel | For best results, use a dried lemon peel. It’s going to give you the most flavor.
There are two distinct phases to this recipe: making the seasoning and then grilling the chicken.
🍋 Lemon Pepper Seasoning
To make the seasoning, you will need dried lemons peels. You can buy them at your local grocery store in the spice section or you can easily make your own in no time!
Step One: Wash lemons. I like to scrub them to make sure all excess chemical residue is off and tend to try to get organic for this reason, if available.
Step Two: Use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife and peel away the skin onto a sheet pan that is lined with parchment paper. Spread out the lemon peels evenly so they aren’t bunched up in areas or they will be hard to dry.
Step Three: Using the oven is the fastest method and you can dry these at 200 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. You know they are done when they SNAP easily. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator that is turned on to 95 degrees for 8-10 hours. Again, make sure they SNAP when you try to break them.
Store in an airtight container.
Step Four: Grind whole peppercorns and the dried lemon peels in a Mini Food Processor.
Step Five: Combine dried lemon peel, ground peppercorns and kosher salt into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Note: This recipe makes about ½ a cup of seasoning.
🔥 Grilling the Chicken
Step One: Rub bone in/skin on chicken thighs with olive oil. Sprinkle the lemon pepper dry rub on the thighs. I ended up using almost two tablespoons.
Step Two: Grill the chicken at 350 degrees for eight minutes on each side. I kept grilling until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees.
Step Three: Remove and serve!
You can use this seasoning on:
- Chicken breasts
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Whole Turkey
- Cornish Hen
- Turkey Legs
- Turkey Breast
- Brussels Sprouts
- Grilled Carrots
🍽️ Stovetop Instructions
If you don’t feel like heating up the grill, you can cook these indoors on a cast iron skillet with no problem.
Step One: Heat up the cast iron skillet to medium to medium high heat. Allow it to heat up for 5-6 minutes before placing the chicken on the hot skillet. You want that initial sear to lock in the juices.
Step Two: Cook the chicken in the skillet for about eight minutes per side side. Once you turn it over, turn the skillet down to low to allow it to finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. This is critical for cooking the bone in chicken as it takes more time to cook.
🧑🍳 Baking Instructions
You can cook these in the oven as well with great results!
Step One: Heat oven up to 400 degrees and place chicken thighs on a cast iron skillet.
Step Two: Place in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
💡 Recipe Tips
Meal prepping these is simple! Make the seasoning ahead of time. That’s it. This is the only thing that takes any amount of time for this recipe. The rest is sprinkle, sprinkle and you’re putting them on the grill.
If you make the seasoning ahead of time, you will have enough for 3-4 batches of chicken thighs so you won’t have to make this every time.
I was asked why I would make lemon pepper seasoning when I could just run to the store to buy my own. True. I get that but look at the ingredients on the back of the jars. I was not happy to see that many included ingredients that I didn’t want to serve my family.
One of the popular store-bought varieties includes Calcium Stearate, Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Silicate, and FD&C Yellow 5 Lake. So, I had never heard of some of these additives and looked them up. It turns out that Yellow 5 is made from coal tar! Yeah, that is not being served in this house.
My homemade lemon pepper seasoning has three easy ingredients. It smells incredibly fresh, and once you get a taste of it, it’s hard to go back to prepackaged varieties. Once you taste this, it will blow your socks off!
Now, if you only have the option to buy a jarred lemon pepper seasoning – by all means, buy it and make this chicken. Just at some point, try making your own and taste the difference!
If stored in the refrigerator in an a sealed container, it will last up to four days.
There are a couple of options for reheating the chicken. The fastest way is going to be the microwave. Cover it with a damp paper towel and heat for a minute or so until it’s hot.
But, you can also warm it in the oven as well. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly brush the chicken with olive oil. Warm it for 15-20 minutes or until it’s hot.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
Lemon Pepper Dry Rub
- ½ cup Whole Peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- ½ cup Lemon Peel dried
Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
- 4 each Chicken Thighs bone in / skin on
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
Lemon Pepper Dry Rub
- Grind the whole peppercorns and dried lemon peels in a food processor
- Combine salt, pepper and lemon peel in a bowl and mix well
Prepare the Lemon Pepper Chicken
- Trim the excess fat and skin from the chicken thighs.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
- Rub the thighs with olive oil. This will help the skins get crispy on the grill, and will help the dry rub stick to the thighs.
- Sprinkle the thighs with the Lemon Pepper Dry Rub.
- Set up your grill for direct heat at 350 degrees.
- After the grill is at temperature, put the chicken thighs on the grating, skin side up and grill for eight minutes.
- Turn the thighs over and grill for an additional eight minutes.
- Check that the chicken reaches 165 degrees. Continue to grill until they are completely cooked.
- Remove from the grill and serve!
Jason’s been firing up the grill for over 30 years after graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy. His love of finely-grilled steak and chicken led him to buy his first Weber grill to put on his apartment patio in 1992. Each military move led to a new grill (a mixture of gas and charcoal) until he fell in love with the Big Green Egg in 2008. Since then, he has added another 4 grills to the collection. Yes, he has a problem. Jason loves smoking in the ceramic BGE with exotic woods including olive wood from Egypt and hard to find varieties such as sassafras and orange wood. Jason takes the term “foodie” to a whole new level, jumping at the chance to take food tours and cooking classes during foreign travels. These have provided inspiration to incorporate new ideas into recipes when he gets back home. He has been featured in Fox News, Parade, Yahoo News, Kansas City Living and more. After retiring from the military and moving to southwest Florida, he has focused grilling and smoking locally sourced meats and fish (read: he likes to catch his own fish!)