Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs are so incredibly juicy, tender and healthy they will quickly become a family favorite! If you are a fan of lemon pepper, don’t miss making your own chicken thighs tossed in the seasoning.
How to Make Lemon Pepper Seasoning Chicken Thighs
Note: This recipe makes about ½ of a cup Lemon Pepper Seasoning depending on how finely you grind your lemon and pepper.
How to Make Homemade Lemon Pepper Dry Rub
Step One: Grind whole peppercorns in a Mini Food Processor.
Step Two: Combine dried lemon peel, ground peppercorns and kosher salt into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Tip: The recipe to make the lemon pepper seasoning makes about ½ cup total so it is enough to store in the cabinet for a couple of recipes
How to Dry Lemons for Lemon Pepper Seasoning
To make the lemon pepper 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.
How to Grill Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
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 teaspoons.
Step Two: Grill chicken at 350 degrees for eight minutes on each side. Test for doneness. If the internal temperature is not at 165 degrees, continue to cook.
Store Bought vs Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning
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, and 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!
You can use lemon pepper seasoning on:
- Chicken breasts
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Whole Turkey
- Cornish Hen
- Turkey Legs
- Turkey Breast
- Brussels Sprouts
- Grilled Carrots
Cast Iron Stovetop Option
You can cook these Lemon Pepper Seasoning Chicken Thighs 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.
Cooking Oven Option
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.
How to Meal Prep
Meal prepping these is simple! Make the lemon pepper seasoning ahead of time. That’s it. This is the only thing that takes time for this recipe. The rest is sprinkle, sprinkle and you’re putting them on the grill.
If you make the Lemon Pepper 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.
If you like making your own seasoning, make sure you try out these as well!
Java Rub This is such an easy and fun rub to use on just about any beef dish you have! It is so delicious and we no longer have to buy the ones from the specialty store to get the same taste.
Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
Lemon Pepper Dry Rub
- 1/2 cup Whole peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 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 in a food processor
Grind the 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 bone in 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 for doneness. The chicken should be 165 degrees. Continue to grill until they are completely cooked.
Remove from the grill and serve!