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Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade

4.99 from 223 votes
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This recipe may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade is an easy recipe to add tangy lemon and spicy flavors to chicken breast or chicken tenderloins. Plus, this chicken marinade is also gluten-free and dairy-free.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade
Table of contents

What’s A Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade?

Chicken is always better marinated.

A marinade not only adds flavor to the meat but also tenderizes the meat, making your chicken juicy and melt in your mouth.

This Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade combines the tanginess of lemon with the flavors of pepper for perfect juicy meat.

It’s similar to my Greek Chicken Marinade or my Chicken Marinade, with a zestier touch.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This marinade recipe is amazing for its simplicity and taste, but it’s also:

  • Gluten-Free
  • Low-Carb
  • Keto-Friendly
  • Ready In 10 Minutes

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How To Make Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade

It’s very easy to make a garlic lemon chicken marinade in less than 10 minutes.

Key Ingredients

Let’s see what you need.

  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice tastes better, but you can also buy ready-made juice. Follow my tips to squeeze a lemon without a juicer.
  • Olive Oil or avocado oil. Prefer an unrefined oil to keep as much flavor.
  • Fresh Chopped Herbs – Italian parsley or cilantro taste amazing with chicken, but you can also use rosemary or dill.
  • Cumin – it’s optional, but it makes all the difference.
  • Lemon Zest from one fresh untreated lemon.


Combine all the lemon pepper chicken marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl or glass mason jar.

Stir the jar well to combine. It takes about one minute to get the ingredients to blend.

Then add the meat to a shallow bowl or zip-lock bag and cover with the chicken marinade.

Rub the meat to evenly coat it with the chicken marinade, then zip the bag or film the bowl with sealed plastic wrap and place the dish in the refrigerator.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade

Marinade Timing

Over marinating meat makes the meat tough, especially when a marinade contains lemon juice.

So for the best flavor, don’t exceed 12 hours but leave it for at least 3 hours in the fridge.

Oil Choice

A marinade should use healthy high-smoke point oil to add good healthy fat to your meal.

Also, high-smoke point oils handle high temperatures better, so whether you bake, fry, or air fry the chicken, the oil won’t be bad for you and won’t create harmful smoke.

The Best Oils Are

  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Almond Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil


You can use the same recipe to create a range of lemon chicken marinade flavors.

  • Use rosemary as herb to make lemon rosemary chicken marinade.
  • Add 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt to make a Greek chicken marinade.
Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade

Cooking Time

After marinating the chicken, you have many options for cooking the meat.

To make an easy chicken dinner, you can bake or air fry the meat – the fastest options. Otherwise, you can grill on a barbecue or skillet.

  • Baked Chicken – line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slightly spray oil on the paper and place the chicken on the sheet. Bake for 25 minutes in an oven preheated to 350°F (180°C), flipping the meat halfway.
  • Air Fried Chicken – Air-fry the chicken directly onto the grease air fryer basket for 12-16 minutes, flipping halfway.
  • Grilling Chicken – preheat a cast-iron skillet or barbecue, then add the marinated meat with kitchen tongs. Grill until the meat is brown and white in the center. The time depends on the thickness of the meat. Chicken breasts are thicker and take longer than tenderloins to cook through.


Chicken marinated in this Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade tastes fantastic as a topping to a salad like my spinach strawberry salad or on top of a cobb salad.

It’s also a great side to grilled vegetables like smoked cauliflower or a creamy casserole like a cauliflower casserole or green bean casserole.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below I listed the answer to your most common questions about this lemon chicken marinade recipe.

Should I Marinate Chicken?

It’s optional to marinate chicken, but it helps tenderize the meat.

This lemon chicken marinade makes your chicken juicier and chewier and improves its flavors.

You can use this lemon marinade for any chicken pieces, like chicken tenders, skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or chicken drumsticks.

It’s a great marinade for

  • Grilling
  • Baking
  • Air frying
  • Roasting

Can I Freeze Marinade?

Yes, you can freeze the marinade itself in zip-lock bags or add the marinated chicken in the bags or container and freeze them together.

The freezing process stops the action of the lemon juice on the meat, so the meat will be perfect when you thaw it in the fridge the day before using it.

You can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Can I Marinade Vegetables With This Recipe?

Yes, absolutely this lemon pepper marinade goes well with summer vegetables like zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, or cauliflower.

Can I Use Another Meat?

Yes, you can use this marinade with shrimp instead of chicken. You can also use it with beef, but make sure to cook your steak to the right level.

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Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade

Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade

2.1gNet Carbs
This Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade is a simple and delicious marinade for chicken tenderloins or chicken breast.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 serving
4.99 from 223 votes


  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Onion Powder or 3 freshly
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin optional
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest grated
This recipe may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


  • In a mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until well combined.
  • Add 8 oz chicken breast or chicken tenders. Rub in the marinade, cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight – for a maximum of 12 hours.
  • Remove from marinade and grill the chicken on a skillet or air fry.
  • Use the chicken on top of a salad or as a side to grilled vegetables.

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Nutrition1 serving
Yield: 4 servings


Serving: 1 servingCalories: 101.8 kcal (5%)Carbohydrates: 2.4 g (1%)Fiber: 0.3 g (1%)Net Carbs: 2.1 gProtein: 0.3 g (1%)Fat: 10.6 g (16%)Saturated Fat: 1.5 g (9%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 7.7 gSodium: 146.5 mg (6%)Potassium: 34.1 mg (1%)Sugar: 0.5 g (1%)Vitamin A: 4.8 IUVitamin C: 8.6 mg (10%)Calcium: 9.9 mg (1%)Iron: 0.2 mg (1%)Magnesium: 2.7 mg (1%)Zinc: 0.1 mg (1%)
Carine Claudepierre

About The Author

Carine Claudepierre

Hi, I'm Carine, the food blogger, author, recipe developer, published author of a cookbook and many ebooks, and founder of Sweet As Honey.

I have an Accredited Certificate in Nutrition and Wellness obtained in 2014 from Well College Global (formerly Cadence Health). I'm passionate about sharing all my easy and tasty recipes that are both delicious and healthy. My expertise in the field comes from my background in chemistry and years of following a keto low-carb diet. But I'm also well versed in vegetarian and vegan cooking since my husband is vegan.

I now eat a more balanced diet where I alternate between keto and a Mediterranean Diet

Cooking and Baking is my true passion. In fact, I only share a small portion of my recipes on Sweet As Honey. Most of them are eaten by my husband and my two kids before I have time to take any pictures!

All my recipes are at least triple tested to make sure they work and I take pride in keeping them as accurate as possible.

Browse all my recipes with my Recipe Index.

I hope that you too find the recipes you love on Sweet As Honey!

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    1 Thought On Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade


The recipes, instructions, and articles on this website should not be taken or used as medical advice. You must consult with your doctor before starting on a keto or low-carb diet. The nutritional data provided on Sweetashoney is to be used as indicative only.

The nutrition data is calculated using WP Recipe Maker. Net Carbs is calculated by removing the fiber and some sweeteners from the total Carbohydrates. As an example, a recipe with 10 grams of Carbs per 100 grams that contains 3 grams of erythritol and 5 grams of fiber will have a net carbs content of 2 grams. Some sweeteners are excluded because they are not metabolized.

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