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Looking for a quick and flavorful dinner with little hands-on cooking? This Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken recipe is perfect for any night of the week, and can even double as meal-prep for lunches. Plus, we’re sharing our best tips for cooking chicken breasts in the oven, too!
Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast
These Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts are your answer to a quick and delicious weeknight dinner. The chicken is pounded out to an even thickness and topped with a bright lemon pepper marinade and then baked to perfection. And keep scrolling to read all our tips to make sure you get the juiciest chicken possible!
Plus, this lemon pepper chicken is awesome to add to a lunchtime salad or even pasta, so make a big batch for dinner tonight and lunch later in the week!
Lemon Pepper Chicken Ingredients
- Boneless + Skinless Chicken Breast
- Fresh Lemon Juice + Zest
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Cloves + Garlic Powder
- Salt + Pepper
Chicken: Feel free to use this on chicken thighs, though the cooking time will change.
Honey: It’s totally fine to omit the honey and to make this without any sweetener. The tiny bit of honey we suggest adding in is just to make the lemon flavor a bit smoother
Butter: This creates a luxurious tasting sauce, but it’s such a small amount, it too can be omitted if needed.
How to Make Perfect Juicy Lemon Baked Chicken
The secret to getting juicy chicken that doesn’t taste dry is to not overcook it. That is the single most important step of cooking chicken breasts, which are lower in fat than their dark meat counterparts and are prone to drying out quickly.
Pounding out the meat to an even thickness with a meat mallet (or a rolling pin) is one step you can take to ensure the chicken is evenly cooked throughout, instead of having some parts of the chicken overcooked because they are thinner.
In addition, if you have the extra time on your hands you could prepare the chicken breasts with the lemon pepper marinade ahead of time. This isn’t essential, but it does bump up the flavor a bit. You could do as little time as 30 minutes or even overnight. The recipe calls for a quick marinade of 15 minutes, but if you don’t have that time, you could ultimately skip it.
However, the most important step is to take the chicken from the oven right before it has officially reached the correct temperature of 165ºF. As all meat does, the chicken will continue to cook after it has been removed from the oven. We always suggest using an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of meat, and baked chicken breast should be removed from the oven at about 160º. Once the chicken has been pulled out, cover the pan with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rests. This lets the chicken finish cooking to 165º and lets the chicken rest so all the juices stay within the chicken breast.
Using this Chicken for Meal Prep
This baked lemon chicken is awesome for lunch meal prep, especially on a salad. Serving it over a big leafy green salad with a ton of veggies is maybe my favorite way to eat this chicken. So bake up a big batch on Sunday and slice and save for meal prep for the week. This chicken will last about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
It also works well when added into pasta!
Watch the video here:
Serve this chipotle chicken up with your favorite sides. Here are some of ours:
- Air Fryer Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan
- Oven Roasted Vegetables
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Easy Homemade Caesar Salad
- Classic Mashed Potatoes (Paleo + Vegan)
- Avocado and Corn Salsa
If you like this chicken breast recipe, check out these others:
- French Onion Chicken Bake
- Chili Garlic Chicken Satay Skewers
- Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken
- Chopped Antipasto Salad with Chicken
Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon honey optional
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons butter diced into small pieces (optional)
- Parsley for serving
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Place chicken breasts on a steady surface between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound each to an even thickness.
- Place chicken inside a 9x13”, or similar sized baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, oil, garlic cloves, garlic powder, and honey and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with half the salt and ground black pepper, turn over and sprinkle with the remaining half. Pierce the chicken lightly with a fork all over. Let the chicken marinate for 15-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Place diced butter on top of chicken and bake on the middle rack until the chicken is nearly finished cooking through, to about 160ºF, about 30-35 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a plate and loosely cover it with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes while the temperature of the chicken continues to cook from residual heat. It will rise to above 165ºF during this time.
- Slice and serve with the pan drippings, lemon slices and your favorite sides.