Baked lemon pepper chicken thighs are a simple and satisfying main dish that’s bursting with savory, succulent flavor.

Tender, juicy thighs with a crisp and savory skin are the perfect pairing for all your favorite sides. Whether grilled or baked, this dish is always easy and appropriate for dinner, lunch, or barbecues.

a serving of Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs with rice on a plate

Best Marinated Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken thighs, sold in the big family packs, are easy on the wallet and help stretch your food dollar.
  • Great for feeding a crowd. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled!
  • Make ahead for offsite picnics or tailgating. You can marinate the thighs in a zip bag and just pop them in the cooler for grilling later.
  • Grill or bake. Chicken thighs hold up to the intense heat without drying out, and you can fit many more on a grill than chicken breasts.
  • Freeze for later. Either freeze in the marinade, or cook and freeze. They’ll keep for months and can be reheated thawed or from frozen.
  • Leftovers are easy to repurpose. Shred the meat off the bone and tuck it into chicken tacos, add to a chicken broccoli casserole or spicy tortilla soup.

Chicken thighs go great with simple veggies and starch sides, making it easy to plan a menu. Enjoy them with oven roasted carrots or sauteed broccolini. Try them paired with parmesan orzo, or quick cooking Instant Pot quinoa or rice. And don’t forget a bread side, like this fluffy, homemade garlic herb bread.

ingredients to make Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs labeled: chicken thighs, lemon pepper, oregano, parsley, lemon, garlic, and olive oil

Ingredients & Variations

Chicken – Choose bone-in thighs with skin for the best and juiciest flavor. Skinless can be used if cutting calories is desired, but be aware they will cook faster. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F. The marinade in this recipe will work for all cuts of chicken as well.

Marinade – Lemon pepper seasoning is the foundation ingredient in this bright marinade with just a hint of heat from black pepper, and tangy brightness from the granulated lemon zest. Use your favorite brand from the store, or make you own by combining fresh lemon zest with cracked black pepper. Oregano, and garlic fill out the flavor profile. Substitute or add herbs of your liking. Try other poultry herbs such as thyme, rosemary, parley, or sage.

Variations – You can alter the flavor profile using different seasonings in the marinade. Amplify the herbal notes with an Italian mix, or give thighs a smoky, spicy edge with this DIY Cajun blend or spicy taco seasoning. Try DIY jerk seasoned chicken thighs with its exotic blend of allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, and brown sugar.

chicken thighs in a zippered bag being marinated

How to Bake Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

This easy recipe is perfect for casual dining on busy weeknights.

  1. Prepare the marinade by combining olive oil with garlic, oregano, and lemon pepper as described in the recipe below.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry and place in a zip bag with the marinade.
  3. Refrigerate for 60 – 90 minutes.
  4. Place the thighs on a rack over a baking dish and roast. For a crispier skin, finish under the broiler for a few minutes
marinated lemon pepper chicken thighs on a wire rack

Tips for Juicy Chicken Thighs

The juiciest and most flavorful chicken thighs will be those with skin on, because the fat will melt into the meat, rendering it juicy and succulent.

Roast the chicken thighs skin side up, then pop under the broiler to crisp the skin. Don’t overcook. Remove when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

If using boneless, skinless thighs, reduce the cooking temperature to 400°F.

Prepare ahead and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Freeze the chicken in the marinade inside zip bags but skip the refrigeration step. Just pop the bags of chicken straight into the freezer, the marinade will later infuse the meat as it thaws in the refrigerator.

Leftovers can be stored in zip bags for 3-4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. Reheat in a foil packet to retain moisture. You can reheat from frozen, or thaw in the refrigerator.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs on a cutting board

More Chicken Recipes!

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a serving of Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs with rice on a plate
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Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Make lemon pepper chicken thighs for the best boneless, or bone in, thighs that are so juicy with a delish crisp skin.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Refrigerate 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Author Candace


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lemon juiced and zested, plus extra for serving if desired
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • pounds bone-in chicken thighs with skin, about 5-6 ounces each (4-6 thighs)


  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with foil, add a wire rack, and set aside.
  • To a large zip top bag or medium sized bowl, add oil, garlic, lemon juice, zest, oregano, and lemon pepper. Mix to combine. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30-90 minutes.
  • Place chicken thighs on the rack. Roast for 25-35 minutes, or until chicken reaches 165°F. For extra crunch, brown by broiling the breast for 2-3 minutes.
  • Rest for 5 minutes and serve.


  • Do not add extra marinade over the thighs or to the pan as it may burn.
  • For extra pepper, sprinkle thighs with additional lemon pepper before placing in the oven.
  • Roast boneless chicken breasts (6 ounces each) at 400°F for 24-27 minutes.
  • Can be baked without a rack, but the chicken may not be as crispy
5 from 2 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 391 | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 353mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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