Fire up your BBQ and make delicious, grilled lemon chicken breasts! A flavorful lemon marinade coats the chicken, then it’s grilled until done. EASY!
Summer is officially here in Oregon, and the temperatures have been slowly climbing upward. I don’t know about you, but we grill a lot of our dinners outside during the summer, to avoid heating up our kitchen. This recipe for grilled lemon chicken breasts is a fantastic, light and easy main dish, and I know you will love it like we do!
The recipe itself is super easy. I found it on a pellet grill/smoker blog, but decided instead of cooking it on our Traeger, to grill them on our trusty old charcoal-grill Weber. The good news? You only need to make a simple lemon marinade and let the chicken soak in it, before grilling. The bad news? YOU NEED TO PLAN AHEAD! The chicken breasts will need to marinate for 3-4 hours to soak up all that yummy flavor!
Since the marinade only takes a few minutes to make, it is easy to mix it up early in the day, and then toss chicken breasts in for a long swim, until you’re ready to grill them! See how easy it is? Here’s the “How-To’s”:
Make The Lemon Marinade
Making the lemon marinade is EASY. Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, salt, pepper, fresh thyme leaves, and coarsely chopped fresh garlic in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously as you add it in, until completely incorporated into the other ingredients.
Marinade The Chicken
Place the chicken breasts in a LARGE zip-loc bag OR place in a single layer in a large container with a lid. Give the marinade a good stir, and then pour it over the chicken. If using a bag, gently massage the bag until chicken breasts are fully covered with marinade. If using a container (as I did), turn to fully coat the chicken with the marinade.
Place the sealed bag or container in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, turning the bag (or the chicken) over occasionally to keep the chicken coated. Letting the chicken fully marinade helps enfuse the meat with the delicious flavors of lemon, honey, garlic, and spices.
Time To Make Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts!
After the chicken is done marinating, it’s time to cook them. Prepare your bbq per manufacturer instructions. Once the coals or heat source is at a medium-high level, remove the chicken from the marinade (letting excess drip back into container). Place on hot grill and let them cook, flipping them to the other side half way through cooking time. If desired, baste the chicken while it cooks with some of the remaining marinade to keep it moist. Discard the rest.
The chicken (approx. 6 ounce pieces) will typically take between 20-30 minutes to fully cook through to a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Larger or smaller pieces of chicken will obviously require more OR less cooking time, because the weight of chicken breasts will vary. The temperatures on different types of bbq’s can vary widely as well.
Check the chicken for done-ness towards the end of the cooking time. A couple of our chicken breasts were much larger and thicker than the others (11 ounces), and took 35 minutes to reach 165°F.
Serve The Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts
If you would like to garnish the finished chicken with grilled lemon wedges (it looks good!), you can. Simply cut a whole lemon into 4 wedges, and place on the grill, cut side down, for the last 5 minutes of cooking time for the chicken, to quickly char it on all cut sides. (See photo below).
Serve the grilled lemon chicken breasts with the charred lemon quarters and a sprig or two of fresh thyme or rosemary, as a beautiful presentation. You can squeeze more lemon juice from the charred wedges over the chicken, if desired.
We enjoyed this delicious chicken along with some home-canned green beans from our garden, and some scrumptious candied sweet potatoes (recipe coming soon). It was a delicious dinner (and I will use our leftover chicken with pasta, or on top of a mixed green salad).
I really hope you enjoy this recipe for grilled lemon chicken breasts. We LOVE it (especially the EASY part!), and hope you have the opportunity to make it for those you love. A complete, printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post, for your convenience.
Thank you for using some of your valuable time to stop by for a visit. Hope you will come back again. Take care, and have a GREAT day.
Looking For More CHICKEN Recipes?
You can find all of my chicken recipes in the Recipe Index, which is located at the top of the page. I have LOTS of them to explore, including:
- Chicken Cutlets with Pecan Sauce
- Creamy Lemon Tarragon Chicken
- Garlic Ginger Sesame Marinated Chicken
- Asian Chicken Thigh Skillet
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Original recipe source: https://www.traegergrills.com/recipes/lemon-chicken-breast
Fire up your BBQ and make delicious, grilled lemon chicken breasts! A flavorful lemon marinade coats the chicken, then it's grilled until done. EASY!
- 1 large lemon (juice + zest)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 clove garlic large clove, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves , strip leaves from stems
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil , can substitute vegetable oil
- 6 medium chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) approx. 6 ounces per chicken breast
- 1 large lemon , cut in 4 wedges, grilled for garnish (optional)
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
Combine lemon juice, zest, honey, salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and chopped fresh garlic in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking continuously as you add it, until incorporated into other ingredients.
Place chicken in a LARGE zip-loc bag OR in a single layer in a large container with a lid. Pour marinade over chicken. If using sealed bag, gently massage bag until chicken is fully covered with marinade. If using a container, turn to fully coat chicken with marinade. Place bag or covered container in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.
Prepare BBQ grill per manufacturer instructions. Once coals or heat source is at a medium-high temperature, remove chicken from marinade. Place chicken directly on hot grill grate and cook without moving them. Half way through cooking time, turn chicken to the other side. If desired, baste chicken with remaining marinade while grilling. Discard leftover marinade. Chicken (approx. 6 ounces per piece) will typically take between 20-30 minutes to fully cook through to a safe internal temperature of 165°F. This time can vary, due to sizes/weight/thickness of chicken pieces, bbq temperature, etc. Be sure to check internal temperature of chicken towards end of cooking time. When done (165°F), remove from grill; let chicken rest for 3-4 minutes before serving, to allow internal juices to redistribute throughout meat.
If you want grilled lemon wedges for serving with the grilled chicken, simply cut a whole lemon into 4 wedges, and place on the grill, cut side down, for the last 5 minutes of the chicken's grilling time, to quickly char it on all cut sides. Serve chicken breasts with charred lemon quarters on top and 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary, for a beautiful presentation. Enjoy!
Note: Caloric calculation was made using HALF the amount of marinade required for the recipe. This is because MOST of the marinade will be discarded AFTER marinating the chicken, and will not be consumed.
Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!