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Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken Recipe

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Juicy grilled lemon chicken is on the menu and you’re going to love it! This lemon garlic grilled chicken is made with a simple, 4-ingredient marinade and then grilled until perfectly cooked. I like to serve it with a fresh chimichurri sauce, grilled vegetables, and some grilled bread. This all-purpose recipe for grilled lemon chicken is part of a cook once, eat twice meal so save the leftovers for the chicken quinoa bowls.

Bowl of grilled lemon chicken recipe

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Why You’ll Love Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

  • Flavorful, juicy, and perfectly cooked
  • Fast
  • Simple ingredients
  • So many ways to use it
Lemon garlic grilled chicken with grilled vegetables and chimichurri sauce

Grilled Lemon Chicken Ingredients

You’ll need just 4 ingredients, plus salt and pepper:

  • Chicken breast – If you can buy them thin sliced, it’s less work! 🙂
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon zest – I use a microplane zester to get ALL of the zest.
  • Garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper

How to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken Recipe

This recipe for grilled lemon chicken comes together in about 5 minutes prep:

  • Flatten chicken. Pound chicken breasts thin or slice in half lengthwise so they cook evenly.
  • Mix marinade. In a ziploc bag, stasher bag, or bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, sea salt, and black pepper.
Chicken with lemon marinade in a bowl
  • Grill chicken. Preheat grill and cook chicken for about 2-3 minutes per side (only flipping after 2-3 minutes, not constantly!) until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Recipe FAQs

Is it ok to marinate chicken in lemon juice?

No, it’s actually not recommended to marinate chicken in lemon juice. And if you do, make sure that you don’t let it marinate for longer than an hour or two.

Marinating chicken in lemon juice means that the acid will start to “cook” the chicken, not what we are going for. Think about ceviche – it’s fish that is “cooked” in citrus juice, no heat needed.

How do you grill chicken breast without drying it out?

Don’t overcook the chicken breast! This is the easiest way to dry out your chicken and the easiest way to NOT dry out your chicken is to use an instant read meat thermometer to ensure that your chicken is cooked perfectly.

What happens if you marinate chicken too long?

Marinating chicken for longer than 12 hours is not recommended as the meat will start to break down and get mushy. The ideal marinating time is 1-12 hours.

How many calories in lemon chicken?

Each serving of this grilled lemon chicken breast has about 287 calories, including about 6 oz. of chicken + the marinade. Full nutrition stats can be found below the recipe card.

Lemon garlic grilled chicken in a bowl with chimichurri sauce

How to Store Leftover Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

Store leftover lemon grilled chicken in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Reheat in the microwave gently, or slice into thin strips and pan fry just until heated through for best results. This chicken is also delicious served at room temperature or even chilled.

What To Serve with Lemon Chicken

I created this recipe for grilled lemon chicken as a cook once, eat twice meal and served it two different ways:

You can also do your own thing, part of the beauty of this grilled lemon garlic chicken is that it’s going to be delicious with just about anything.

Some other good sides for grilled lemon chicken would be my recipe for haricots verts, lemon arugula salad, Greek chickpea salad, or my everyday side salad.

Plate with grilled lemon chicken and grilled veggies

More Easy Chicken Recipes

If you like this recipe for grilled lemon chicken breast, you might also like

Helpful Tools to Make This Recipe for Grilled Lemon Chicken

  • Microplane Zester – A zester can be used for both the lemon and the garlic in this quick lemon chicken marinade.
  • Instant Read Meat Thermometer – Make sure you’re not overcooking your grilled lemon chicken breast, by using a meat thermometer.


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Bowl of grilled lemon chicken recipe

Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken Recipe

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Make this EASY grilled lemon chicken recipe in just 5 min. Plus what NOT to add to lemon garlic grilled chicken! 


  • 3 lbs. chicken breast 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 lemon (zested) 
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed 
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper


  1. Pound chicken breasts thin or slice in half lengthwise if they are super thick. 
  2. Mix up marinade in a ziploc bag or bowl and add chicken to bag. Place bag in a bowl (or cover bowl) and store in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight. 
  3. Pre-heat grill to medium high heat. (Make sure it’s clean and oiled!) Grill chicken for 2-3 minute per side, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Let rest for 5 minutes. (Note: if it’s thicker, it will take 4-6 minutes per side)


  • Save half of the chicken for chicken hummus quinoa bowls. 
  • Nutrition facts are for about 6 oz. chicken + marinade.

Keywords: grilled lemon chicken, grilled lemon chicken recipe, lemon garlic grilled chicken, recipe for grilled lemon chicken

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