Low-Carb Lemon Pepper Chicken

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This Low-Carb Lemon Pepper Chicken is seasoned with lemon juice and fresh ground black pepper to create an enticing mix of savory and tart flavors that really elevate a simple chicken breast. 

» You may also like this Decadent Keto Tuscan Chicken.

Lemon pepper chicken with green beans, low-carb lemon pepper chicken

Recipes with chicken breast get a bad reputation as being bland and boring, but this low-carb lemon pepper chicken recipe will change your mind. The chicken breast is juicy with a bright citrus and subtle spiciness that really livens up that simple chicken breast.

Not only is each bite of this lemon pepper chicken delicious, it’s a quick and healthy recipe. It takes less than 30 minutes to cook, so you can make it even on the busiest of days. The dish is filled with protein, vitamin C, and fits easily within a low-carb diet. Definitely give this low-carb lemon pepper chicken recipe a try! 

Ingredients You Need

Ingredients for lemon pepper chicken
  • Chicken Breasts: boneless and skinless chicken breasts work the best in this recipe. You can also use chicken thighs.
  • Lemon Juice – a lot of the flavor comes from the lemons, so use fresh and high-quality lemons. 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – It’s also important to use a high-quality olive oil, because it adds a beautiful herbal flavor. I wouldn’t suggest changing it out for another oil, unless you must.
  • Black Pepper & Salt: season the chicken to taste with these seasonings. Try using a pepper grinder, freshly ground pepper really adds flavor.
  • Garlic – While the spiciness of this dish comes mostly from the black pepper, the garlic will add some spiciness too. Feel free to adjust the amount of garlic to fit your tastes. We always use fresh garlic for the best flavor.
  • Garnish – Lemon wedges and parsley on the side is a great way to dress up the dish and give it that final last touch.

How to Make Lemon Pepper Chicken

Start by preheating the oven to 400° F. Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. This will keep the clean up easy.

In a small container with a lid, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and pepper. Shake well to emulsify it.

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and place it in an oven-safe baking dish. Pour half the marinade over the chicken. I like to use an 8×8″ dish to keep the marinade concentrated around each piece of chicken.

Marinating lemon pepper chicken

Cover the dish and allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. It’s best not to marinate the chicken for longer than an hour, as it can become soggy. If you don’t have time to marinate the chicken, you can skip right to cooking, just keep in mind that this will likely result in a less flavorful dish. Marinades are an easy way to impart flavor without adding too many carbs.

Transfer the chicken from the marinade to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 °F. Be careful not to overdo the chicken. Chicken tends to dry out and become rubbery. The best way to monitor it is to measure the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.

raw chicken on a pan

When the chicken has reached 165°F, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 3-5 minutes. Transfer it to your dinner places and garnish with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

cooked lemon pepper chicken in a pan

Substitutions & Variations

Protein: Use a different cut of chicken, such as boneless chicken thighs or drumsticks. Adjust the cooking time if you are using a different cut of chicken. 

Olive oil: Olive oil adds a nice herbal flavor to the dish, but you can use what oil you have on hand. 

Spicy: Give the chicken a bit of heat by adding in the following spices: cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder. If you only want a subtle kick, sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top of chicken. 

It’s best to use the highest quality ingredients as you can. Use fresh lemons and garlic. And the highest quality olive oil you can. It’s also best to grind the pepper fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Recipe

Can I substitute the fresh lemons?

Lemon pepper chicken relies heavily on the lemon flavors, so using fresh lemon is best in this recipe. You can use lemon pepper seasoning instead, or use bottled lemon juice, but it won’t taste the same. 

Can I make this recipe on the stove?

Yes! This recipe bakes the chicken in the oven, but you can cook it on the stove. Instead of baking, cook the chicken in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until the bottom looks golden, then turn the chicken over. Cook until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. Garnish and enjoy! 

Lemon pepper chicken with green beans

Tips and Notes

  • Add some extra layers of flavor to the chicken by using more seasonings. Italian seasoning or garlic powder could be a great addition to the low-carb lemon pepper chicken.
  • Butterfly and flatten the chicken breasts, so that there is a better chance of it cooking evenly. 
  • Make sure to properly clean the lemon before zesting it. Many lemons come with some wax on them to make them look shiny at the grocery store. This wax is safe to eat according to the Food and Drug Administration. Make sure to rinse your lemons under cool water before use.

What to Serve With This Dish?

These side dishes go well with this main dish and you can make them alongside, so they’re done at the same time.

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Lemon pepper chicken with green beans

Low-Carb Lemon Pepper Chicken

This Low-Carb Lemon Pepper Chicken is seasoned with lemon juice and fresh ground black pepper to create an enticing mix of savory and tart flavors that really elevate a simple chicken breast.
5 from 39 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken, Lemon
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 22 mins
Total Time: 27 mins
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 386kcal
Author: Angela

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 chicken breasts boneless and skinless, around 6 oz each
  • Lemon wedges and chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  • In a small container with a lid, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and pepper. Shake well to emulsify.
  • Season the chicken with salt and place it in a baking dish. Pour over 1/2 of the marinade. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through (165 °F internal temperature).
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

Notes

  • Be careful not to overdo the chicken. It will become dry and rubbery.
  • It’s best to use the highest quality ingredients as you can. Use fresh lemons and garlic. And the highest quality olive oil you can. It’s also best to grind the pepper fresh.
  • You can use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if you prefer. You could also use chicken drumsticks.
  • It’s best not to marinate the chicken for longer than an hour, as they can become soggy.

Nutrition

Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 844mg | Potassium: 877mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 75IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Lemon pepper chicken with green beans
Low-Carb Lemon Pepper Chicken

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