Grilled Lemon Chicken is a delicious main dish entree using 6 ingredients to make dinner come together in an hours time which includes the marinading time. Fresh lemon juice and zest blended with olive oil, garlic, pepper, and fresh rosemary make for a delicious chicken marinade.
I love to have a few good marinade recipes in my back pocket to use at any given time. What better way to zest up plain chicken then use a robust marinade. Even better when only 6 ingredients are involved. This recipe for Grilled Lemon Chicken fits the bill for quick and delicious! I’ve been making this recipe for over ten years now and it never gets old. I pair the chicken with either my Greek Pasta Salad, Baked Potatoes, or even just grilled foil packet asparagus. Whether its for a quick family dinner or entertaining family and friends. This chicken marinade recipe is a hit.
Why this Recipe Works
Flavor: The flavor of grilled lemon chicken is unbeatable. The smokiness from the grill, combined with the tartness of the lemon, and the savory taste of the chicken, creates a delicious and well-balanced dish that will leave you wanting more. Even better you don’t need a lot of salt since lemon is naturally “salty” in flavor.
Versatility: Grilled chicken is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. You can serve it as a main course with your favorite side dishes, chop it up and toss it in a salad, or even use it to make sandwiches or wraps.
Ease of preparation: Despite its impressive flavor, grilled lemon chicken is actually a really easy recipe to make. All you need is some chicken, lemons, olive oil, and a grill. You don’t need any fancy equipment or special skills to make this dish, making it a great option for beginner cooks.
Health benefits: Chicken is a great source of lean protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. Grilled lemon chicken is also a healthy option because it is low in fat and calories, and the lemon adds an extra boost of vitamin C, which is great for boosting your immune system.
Here are just a few of the ingredients needed for this recipe. I’ve added in my notes to specifics or tips and tricks I’ve found that work!
- Chicken Breast – I’m a fan of chicken breast so that’s what you will typically find me making my family. If you like chicken thighs you can use them in this recipe, too! Or even chicken drums would work well!
- Lemon – You will need a few lemons for this recipe for the marinade. The lemon needs to be zested and then juiced. A bottle of lemon juice concentrate can be replaced for the juice if you don’t feel like juicing lemons. I’ve used both and never could tell a difference.
- Rosemary – I like to use fresh rosemary, but if you don’t have it on hand you can use dried rosemary.
- Garlic – I like to press my garlic through a garlic press. You can finely chop or even use pre-chopped garlic in water.
How to Make Lemon Chicken Marinade
Using a whisk, blend until combined.
Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side.
Then place the chicken in the marinade.
Place plastic wrap on the dish. Refrigerate for at least 30 minute, but no more then 2 hours or the lemon juice will start to cook the chicken resulting in an overly tangy and tough chicken breast.
How to Grill Chicken
Preheat grill when ready to grill to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce the heat on the grill to low. Spray with grill cooking spray.
Place the chicken breast on the grill.
Cook for 10 minutes on each side until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the grill.
Let rest for 5 minutes then slice and divide among plates and serve with an additional lemon wedge if desired.
The answer is no! Typically you don’t want chicken to sit in lemon juice for no more then 2 hours. After that it will break down your chicken changing the texture for the worse.
The answer is no. Seems odd, I know. I grew up learning to always wash chicken before cooking, but it actually spreads bacteria. When you wash chicken the water will inevitably splash spreading the bacteria filled water on to work surfaces, cooking equipment, and clothing.
Depending on the size of your chicken breast you will grill the chicken fro 20 minutes. Flipping half way through. Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to ensure the chicken has been cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tips & Tricks
I’ve been making this recipe for years. Because of that I have quite a few tips and tricks I’m excited to share with you.
- Rosemary – fresh vs dried. To be honest it does not matter for this recipe. You can use whatever you have on hand. If you don’t like rosemary, well… you might want to find another recipe! The flavors will change drastically using other fresh herbs.
- Marinade – If you are pressed for time you can make the marinade the night before and store in a glass mason jar in your refrigerator. Once you arrive home from work, immediately remove the glass jar from the refrigerator and give it a whisk. Place the chicken in a shallow glass baking dish and pour the marinade over top. Place plastic wrap on the dish and place back in the refrigerator. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes while you unpack from your day, and start to prep dinner! This is exactly what I would do during my corporate days when I worked outside the house.
- Chicken – You will notice for this recipe I used only 2 chicken breast and my serving size says it feeds 4. This is because I cut the chicken breast in half after cooking to stretch my chicken for my family of four. Technically, a true serving size of protein should be about the size of the palm of your hand. A half chicken breast suffices that requirement just fine! If you prefer to eat a larger serving of chicken feel free to add more chicken breast to the marinade. If you add more then 4 you will need to double the marinade recipe.
Side Dish Recipes
Here are a few of my favorite side dishes I like to serve with lemon chicken.
If you make this grilled lemon chicken recipe, I would be honored and love for you to take the time to leave a ⭐ star rating and comment! I spend hours developing and testing these recipes, and always love to hear feedback and user experience!
Grilled Lemon Chicken
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ⅓ cup Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoon Lemon zested
- ⅓ cup Lemon juice
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Rosemary minced
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Lemon halved
- Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Set to the side.
- Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and black pepper in a shallow pie plate. Whisk well.
- Then place the chicken in the marinade.
- Place plastic wrap on the dish. Refrigerate for at least 30 minute, but no more then 2 hours.
- Preheat grill when ready to grill to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce the heat on the grill to low. Spray with grill cooking spray.
- Place the chicken breast on the grill. Cook for 10 minutes on each side until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the grill.
- Let rest for 5 minutes then slice and divide among plates and serve with an additional lemon wedge if desired.
- Marinade – Make marinade in the morning. Place chicken in the refrigerated marinade as soon as you get home from work. While you work on prepping dinner let the chicken marinade. Then grill for an easy weeknight dinner.
- Rosemary – You can use dried rosemary in place of fresh.