Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

These Boneless Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs are so tender, juicy and flavorful you’ll wonder how a recipe so delicious can be so easy! Adults love them, kids love them. This just may be the perfect family recipe!

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Why You Will Love These Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

There are a lot of reasons to love these boneless, skinless chicken thighs baked to perfection in the oven!

First off these chicken thighs are:

  • Moist
  • Juicy
  • Flavorful
  • Infused with a bright, lemon citrus flavor
  • Super-easy to make
  • Require very little preparation time
  • Don’t require many ingredients
  • Kids love them

Look, I don’t want to make this recipe post a never-ending list of all the things that are great about these lemon pepper chicken thighs.

But I could!

Also, this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve shared on SeasonalCookbook.com.

Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs on Plate
Chicken Thighs with Lemon Slice on Plate

And it’s a recipe my wife and I love, as well.

I hope you do, too!

Are These Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs The Perfect Summer Recipe?

When I think of the type of foods I like to eat in the summer, I always come back to the recipes and cuisine that is light and bright.

I love lemon-infused dishes in the summertime, such as my Oven Baked Rockfish With Lemon Butter – it hits all the right seasonal notes!

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And, while I do prefer lighter fare during the warmer months, I don’t want to make fish every night!

So, when considering the simple seasonal recipes I share with you, I like to think of a variety of dishes.

It’s summer, so I am looking for something that includes lemon, or citrus, in some fashion.

Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs in Casserole Dish with Lemon Slices

And I haven’t shared a ton of chicken dishes.

So, I wanted to come up with a seasonal recipe that is perfect for summer.

A recipe that has all of the summertime elements I like, such as a lemon, citrus, focus and full depth of flavor.

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One that included chicken as the star of the dish.

And something that is super-easy to make.

Because who wants to cook something stressful during the summer, right?

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These Boneless Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs checked all the right boxes!

Why Chicken Thighs?

Look, I love a nice, lean chicken breast.

It was the perfect cut of chicken to highlight this Texas Roadhouse Herb Crusted Chicken recipe.

And, to be honest, lean chicken breast has fewer calories and less fat – it’s a little bit healthier.

But the juicy, flavor-packed dark meat of chicken thighs is just so good.

Now That’s A Food Closeup!

And with the juicy lemon-marinade I discuss below, these thighs are tough to ‘cook wrong’.

I like to share recipes that are, frankly, hard to mess up.

Why?

Because they make me look better when you make them – LOL!

Boneless vs Bone-In

Ah, the eternal question!

Do I go with the bone-in chicken thighs or go boneless?

There are pros and cons to each type of chicken thighs, let’s discuss!

Bone-In Chicken Thighs

Bone-in chicken thighs work great in this recipe – that’s not why I ultimately went boneless.

There are many good things about bone-in thighs

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Bone-in thighs retain their moisture better.

You can cook them longer with less chance of them drying out.

Some people prefer the flavor of meat-on-the-bone – whether it is chicken or steak.

I get it.

Boneless Chicken Thighs

But Boneless thighs also work great in this recipe.

Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs in Casserole Dish
These Photos Are Making Me Hungry

The downside?

There is a very small chance of them drying out if cooked too long – but you really have to overdo it.

Boneless thighs are just easier to eat.

Especially if you are making awesome lemon pepper chicken thigh sandwiches with the leftovers!

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Why I Decided To Use Boneless Chicken Thighs In This Recipe

Ultimately, it came down to just a few things.

The boneless thighs are:

  • Slightly quicker to cook
  • Easier to eat
  • Make for better leftover lemon pepper chicken thigh sandwiches

Really, that’s what it came down to.

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If you prefer bone-in chicken thighs, you can certainly use them in place of the boneless, skinless ones I used here.

I will go over how to tweak this recipe for bone-in chicken thighs down below in the Recipe Modifications Section if you decide to use them instead of boneless.

Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs – The Ingredients

You Don’t Need Many Ingredients to Make These Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs!

The only ingredients you need are:

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (5 – 6 thighs are enough for 4 servings)
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Fresh Lemons (4)
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

That’s it.

This recipe is so simple and will be such a hit, you’ll want to make it over and over again!

Recipe Equipment Needed

There’s Also Not Much Cooking Equipment Needed

All you need is the following:

  • Casserole dish large enough to hold 5-6 chicken thighs
  • Professional Chef’s Knife
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Plate (although I am never sure if plates count as recipe equipment!)

A small bowl like the one below can also come in handy during this recipe, but it is NOT a necessity.

I Love The Aztec Design of my Favorite Small Mixing Bowl!

A small mixing bowl is good for mixing the olive oil and lemon juice together.

You can also just use a Pyrex measuring cup and mix the freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil together right in the measuring cup.

It’s up to you!

Preparing The Simple Marinade For The Chicken Thighs

This recipe is so easy, I hesitate to even use the word ‘marinade’ to describe the liquid I pour over these chicken thighs before baking.

However, I can’t think of anything else to call it, so we’ll go with marinade.

The marinade is a simple combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.

Here’s that Same Mixing Bowl with the Olive Oil/Lemon Juice Marinade

You’ll want to toss the chicken thighs in it or – even easier – just mix it together in a bowl (see photo above) and pour it over the chicken thighs.

You can do this – SHOULD do this – while the thighs are in the casserole dish before baking in the oven.

This super-simple marinade keeps these thighs extra-moist.

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It also allows the lemon pepper seasoning to better stick to the thighs.

What Temperature Is Best For Baking Boneless Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs?

375 degrees Fahrenheit is my preferred temperature at which to bake boneless chicken thighs.

Anything higher than this can cause even the juiciest dark meat of these thighs to dry out a bit.

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Tips & Substitutions

Here are a few tips, tricks and substitutions you may want to consider when making this recipe yourself.

Cook Lower For Longer

I like to use a maximum oven temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

And to bake these lemon pepper chicken thighs at 375 F for 50 minutes.

Too Much Lemon Pepper?

There’s always a chance I may get a little overzealous when adding the lemon pepper.

I love that strong, pucker-your-lips-together feeling I get after eating something very sour.

Who Needs A side? Lemon Slices and a Nice IPA Did the Trick!

But I know not everybody does.

The first thing to do if you don’t want this dish overpowered by lemon, is to sprinkle the lemon pepper on the chicken thighs, sparingly, in the first place.

But, if you’ve ‘accidentally’ added too much lemon pepper you can do the following:

  • Add a sweet element to cut the acidity of the citrus, such as honey (1 tablespoon should do the trick)
  • Drizzle on a little bit of maple syrup

Anyway, these are a few remedies you can try if you go a little overboard with the lemon juice, lemon pepper additions.

Parsley Flakes Make A Fine Substitution If You Don’t Have Fresh Parsley

I was fortunate to be able to find fresh parsley for this recipe.

Fresh, chopped, parsley leaves are so fragrant and delicious.

Fresh Lemons and Parsley on Plate
I Love the Contrasting Colors!

Their bright green color added to the vibrancy of the food photos and contrasted nicely with the bright yellow lemon slices.

But if you only have parsley flakes in your spice rack, it is totally fine to use them instead of fresh parsley.

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Parsley just makes everything taste better!

Why I Don’t Use Salt In This Recipe

This may come as a surprise, but Lemon Pepper Seasoning contains salt!

Say what?

Yep, according to this in-depth overview on lemon pepper seasoning, lemon pepper …”is a blend of ground black pepper, and dried lemon zest granules mixed with salt

Another way to know this is to simply read the ingredients on your lemon pepper seasoning – duh.

You will find salt among those ingredients!

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I am somewhat sensitive to salt and use it very sparingly in my cooking – if at all.

So, I am always a bit shocked when reading other lemon pepper chicken thighs recipes and they all recommend salt.

Obviously, if you love salt and like things very salty, you can use it in this recipe.

It’s just not something I would recommend.

Now, onto the recipe!

Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Recipe by Bill
5.0 from 3 votes
Course: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

50

minutes
Calories

326

kcal

These oven baked, boneless lemon pepper chicken thighs check all the right boxes of what a perfect summertime recipe should be! They are bright, zesty, and a bit tart from the citrus in the lemon juice paired with the dried lemon granules and black pepper in the lemon pepper seasoning. What’s even better is that these lemon pepper chicken thighs are so easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 5-6 boneless Chicken Thighs

  • 4 whole Lemons

  • 4 tbsp Lemon Pepper Seasoning

  • 1/4 ounce Fresh Parsley

  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Line a medium-sized casserole dish with aluminum foil.
  • Place the boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the casserole dish so that they are next to one another but not overlapping (NOTE: If you can only fit 4 thighs, instead of 5 or 6, you may need a bigger casserole dish!)
  • In a small mixing bowl, squeeze the juice from two fresh lemons but slicing them in half and squeezing the juice out.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Mix the simple lemon juice and olive oil marinade together in the small mixing bowl.
  • Lightly pour this lemon-mixture over the chicken thighs in the casserole dish so that each thigh is coated with juice.
  • Sprinkle some Lemon Pepper Seasoning onto each thigh (NOTE: Don’t go overboard with the lemon pepper seasoning here unless you want very tart, highly citrus-flavored chicken thighs! ideally, you do NOT want to completely coat each thigh with seasoning. You can always add more after they are done cooking.)
  • Bake in the over for 50 minutes at 375 degrees F.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon slices, parsley leaves and enjoy!

Notes

  • Boneless chicken thighs should be cooked at a slightly lower over temperature of 375 F vs 400 F for Bone-In thighs.
  • If you don’t have fresh parsley, parsley flakes are a fine alternative.
  • I would avoid adding any salt to this recipe – lemon pepper seasoning already contains enough salt.
  • Line the bottom of your casserole dish with aluminum foil before adding in the chicken thighs. If you’re worried about them sticking to the foil, you can spray it with a small amount on non-stick cooking spray.
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Recipe Modifications If You Decide To Use Bone-In Chicken Thighs

Here are a few things to modify if you are going to use bone-in chicken thighs:

  • Increase cooking temperature to 400 degrees
  • Increase cooking time to 1 hour

It’s a bit harder to dry out chicken thighs that contain the bone, so you can be a bit more aggressive with the temperature and cooking time.

Two of the Key Ingredients: Lemons and Fresh Parsley on Plate

What To Serve With Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Since these chicken thighs have such a zesty, peppery, lemon flavor I like to serve them with anything that counterbalances these dominant flavors.

Some great sides are:

  • White or Jasmin Rice
  • Boiled Potatoes
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Vegetable, such as broccoli or string beans
  • Dinner roll with butter

The flavor of these baked lemon pepper chicken thighs is pretty dominant – they need to be the star of the dish.

Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs
Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs with Lemons and Parsley

That being said, I prefer to serve these chicken thighs with a side that is very mild – even bland.

White rice is great – you can serve these thighs right on top of the rice, which will absorb some of the juice.

A potato side, mild vegetable or even just a simple dinner roll with butter are all ideal.

How To Store Leftover Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Leftovers?

Seriously?

Just kidding – sometimes even I have a few of these delicious chicken thighs leftover – but NOT often!

If you are planning on finishing them in the next day or two, just leave them right in the casserole/baking dish.

Cover with plastic wrap or even aluminum foil and just place the entire casserole/baking dish in the refrigerator.

How To Serve Leftover Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Don’t laugh, but one of my favorite way to serve leftover, boneless chicken thighs is as cold sandwiches on hamburger buns.

I love cold, chicken thigh sandwiches – it was one of the main reasons I decided to use boneless chicken thighs in this recipe.

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Bone-in chicken thighs just don’t make for the best cold chicken thigh sandwiches, as you can imagine!

Alternatively, you can just remove the plastic wrap, place the entire casserole dish back in the oven and re-heat at 375 F for 20 minutes.

These bad-boys are pretty versatile!

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I don’t spam my subscribers and you’ll only hear from me when I have a new post or recipe, like this one, to share

What Do You Think About This Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs Recipe?

I would love to know what you think!

Do you prefer boneless or bone-in chicken thighs?

Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs on Plate with a Nice IPA on the Side! Love Summer!

Are you a lemon-junkie like me or do you prefer less citrus flavor?

Did you try making this recipe?

Please share your thoughts by posting a comment in the COMMENTS SECTION below.

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I want to hear from you and I respond to all comments.

Until next time…

Happy Cooking!

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