Easy lemon pepper chicken marinade you can make before making grilled chicken, baked, or in your Instant Pot! Simple fresh ingredients you will love.
Ready to drag out that barbecue or smoker and make some killer chicken breasts, thighs or legs tonight? Whip up this lemon pepper chicken marinade first to make each piece over the top delicious!
Best chicken marinade recipe
Of course you can make moist chicken all day long, but I love a great sauce. With this you won’t need anything on top, it will soak it up before cooking. Oh yes.
- With fresh lemons and herbs, it’s light and refreshing that’s perfect for the summertime for sure.
- Okay so we make it year round but who’s counting really.
Make it with breasts, thighs, or our air fryer lemon pepper wings.
This is a great chicken kabob recipe too!
What are the parts of a chicken you should marinate?
- Of course you can go ahead and just cook a whole chicken. Most people prefer to cut it into pieces, but the best ways to cook it whole are:
Instant Pot frozen whole chicken turns out great but wouldn’t be able to be marinated because it’s rock solid.
- or if it’s defrosted follow our pressure cooker chicken recipe, it’s amazing
- White meat Chicken breast is the most popular parts on the bird. You can cook it with with or without the ribs attached.
- Breast fillet would be what it’s called if it’s skinless and boneless.
Bone-in with the skin is going to be the cheapest but will take more time to cook.
Chicken legs are probably kid’s favorite part because they’re easy to eat. Some people call them drumsticks.
- The Chicken thighs are probably my pick when it comes to recipe creation. They’re so moist, cheap, and dark meat.
- Chicken wings are amazing with a dry rub or you can use this easy chicken marinade. Don’t leave them in long though, there isn’t much meat.
The neck and back are typically discarded unless you’re making homemade chicken broth.
Herb chicken marinade ingredients
Remember that fresh is always best when it comes to lemons and herbs. If you cannot find one or several of them though, just use jarred/bottled y’all!
It is harder to find some of these in the Winter time, at least where we live, so I like to have dry herbs at all times.
Lemon pepper marinade
How long do you marinate chicken?
It depends on what pieces you are cooking really. Wings and legs could marinate for 30 minutes and soak up enough garlic and lemon flavors in that time.
A whole chicken or thick breasts would take longer. 2 to 8 hours is typical, overnight isn’t recommended with a lemon based mixture like this.
Is it better to marinate chicken in the fridge?
- Yes…always!! Do not leave poultry at room temperature ever or it will increase the growth of bacteria.
Put into a freezer bag with your ingredients, or in a baking dish covered with plastic wrap.
How long does chicken take to cook?
Cooking times vary widely depending on how thick your meat is. The mode of cooking makes a big difference too. That is why you MUST have a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
You can find handy guides on line like this one for how long to cook chicken.
Tips for cooking moist chicken
- A preheated grill always makes it cook quicker and more evenly.
- same goes for making chicken in an air fryer
- You’ll want to make grilled chicken over indirect heat so it doesn’t get too brown on the outside, and still raw inside.
- For baked chicken, use the middle rack in your oven.
- If cooking on your stovetop, do so over medium high heat with a lid on to maintain the moisture.
- Once it’s done, allow meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Looking for more easy chicken recipes you can use with this easy chicken breast marinade? You can try our air fryer chicken tenders no breading recipe.
- Baked chicken legs are easy for sure.
- Sheet pan chicken thighs are great with vegetables on the pan too.
- Try it with chicken wings too.
How to make chicken marinade
Printable instructions and nutritional information provided below. Omit or add what you wish but this is what comes out great every time for us.
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If you buy a few more pieces of fruit, you can make this copycat Starbucks lemon loaf for dessert too.
Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade
- 1/4 c lemon juice fresh is always best
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp oregano dried, or 2 tbsp minced fresh oregano
- 4 tsp parsley dried, or 1/4 c diced fresh parsley
- 4 tsp basil dried, or 1/4 c diced fresh basil
- 4 chicken breasts or legs, wings, thighs, can add more of these so long as the marinade is able to coat all pieces generously
- Dice all fresh herbs if you have fresh. Whisk together all liquid ingredients, then add herbs and stir together.
- Put chicken into a bowl (or freezer bag) and pour marinade over it. Use hands to massage in so each pieces is coated.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours.
- Remove and grill, bake, air fry or cook as desired.