Easy Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

5 from 2 votes

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The classic spice blend mixed with a bit of butter, brown sugar, garlic powder and cayenne makes a great seasoning for chicken breasts.

Lemon Pepper Chicken sliced on plate next to veggie sides.

Lemon pepper chicken breasts are one of the easiest ways to get a flavorful chicken dinner on the table fast. Only a few ingredients add great flavor to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and dinner can be ready in less than 30 minutes, which is a big old selling point.

I like to serve these lemon pepper chicken breasts sliced. They go beautifully with Roasted Carrots with Creamy Cilantro Sauce and a simple spinach salad (the Spinach Salad with Roasted Fennel would be great). For a starch, you could go for anything from simple quinoa to Bulgur Wheat with Caramelized Onions and Parsley.

Leftover lemon pepper chicken is great to use in wraps, sliced for sandwiches, or cubed and tossed into soups (perfect for Avgolemono Soup).

Sliced chicken breast on plate with spinach and veggie side.

Easy Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts: The classic lemon pepper spice blend mixed with handful of pantry ingredients makes a great quick weeknight chicken breast dinner.

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Ingredients

Just a handful of ingredients turn chicken breasts into the easiest dinner.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • Brown sugar – Adds a hint of sweetness to balance the spicy pepperiness. You can use light or dark brown sugar.
  • Lemon pepper seasoning – I prefer to use salt-free lemon pepper seasoning and add my own salt, so the level of salt is up to me!
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper – If you want more heat, add more than a pinch!
  • Unsalted butter – Melted butter allows you to make the spice blend into a little sauce which gets brushed onto the chicken before baking. It adds flavor and helps keep the chicken moist as it broils.
Raw chicken breast and spices for lemon pepper chicken.

What Is Lemon Pepper?

Lemon pepper is basically a combination of finely grated and minced lemon zest and ground pepper. The crushed peppercorns help release the natural oils in the lemon zest, creating a burst of flavor in this blend.

Fact is, though, many blends do contain additional ingredients. Many contain salt, so you’ll want to adjust any additional salt to your recipe with that in mind. Other ingredients that might be part of a blend are citric acid, lemon oil, garlic, sugar, and possibly some anti-clumping ingredients and coloring. If you are a spice purist, be sure to take a close look at the ingredients and find a brand that meets your comfort level with additives.

When I was a wee lass, we always had lemon pepper in the spice cabinet. It was one of the basics, but at the time, kind of a new hip classic, right next to the basil and the oregano, the cinnamon, and the ginger. A total staple, as were lemon pepper chicken breasts, the most common way to make use of this assertive spice blend. It was a real thing in the 80s, and it stands up today.

Sliced chicken on plate next to veggie sides.

Variations and Tips

  • This recipe is for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can definitely use it on skin-on, bone-in pieces of chicken. Roast bone-in chicken instead of broiling it to avoid burning it. Bone-in chicken breasts or thighs will take about 40 minutes in a 400-degree oven, depending on their size.
  • You can also cook these chicken breasts in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees and cook them for 10 to 12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. ou can follow the instructions for Lemon Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Breasts.
  • Line the pan with oil or parchment paper before adding the chicken for easy cleanup.

How to Make Easy Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts

  1. Preheat the broiler: Line a baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
  3. Prepare the chicken: Brush the chicken with the butter mixture.
Basting chicken breasts with lemon pepper butter using a brush.
  1. Cook the chicken: Broil for about 5 minutes until the top is starting to turn golden brown, then flip the chicken and broil the other side for 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Let sit for a couple of minutes and slice.
Broiled Lemon Pepper Chicken on red plate.

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Sliced Lemon Pepper Chicken on plate with vegetable sides.

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5 from 2 votes

Lemon Pepper Chicken

The classic spice blend mixed with a bit of butter, brown sugar, garlic powder and cayenne makes a great seasoning for chicken breasts.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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Ingredients 

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the broiler. Line a baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.
  • Brush the chicken with the butter mixture. Broil for about 5 minutes until the top is starting to turn golden brown, then flip the chicken and broil the other side for 5 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Let the chicken sit for a couple of minutes, then slice and serve.

Notes

  • This recipe is for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can definitely use it on skin-on, bone-in pieces of chicken. Roast bone-in chicken instead of broiling it to avoid burning it. Bone-in chicken breasts or thighs will take about 40 minutes in a 400-degree oven, depending on their size. 
  • You can also cook these chicken breasts in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees and cook them for 10 to 12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (165°F internal temperature). You can follow the instructions for Lemon Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Breasts.
  • Line the pan with oil or parchment paper before adding the chicken for easy cleanup.

Nutrition

Calories: 363kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 49g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 168mg, Sodium: 848mg, Potassium: 879mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 339IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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2 Comments

  1. Polina Ross says:

    Was I supposed to filet the breasts before I broiled them? I put the chicken breasts in the oven to broil without filleting and they came out very dry and it took much longer to cook.

    1. Katie Workman says:

      these days chicken breasts range SO much in size. each chicken breast should be no larger than 8 ounces for this recipe, and if they are larger or very thick (as some are!) then yes, filet them horizontally first.