Lemon BBQ Chicken

A delicious out-of-this-world lemon marinade for chicken that’s easy to make and packed with flavor. This 4 ingredient chicken marinade recipe comes together quickly and is sure to please a crowd.

This lemon marinade for chicken is made by combining lemon juice and the halves in a salt brine and letting the chicken marinate for up to 8 hours. It is a very simple recipe that requires a bit of prep time but the results are so worth it!

The result is juicy chicken full of lemony flavor grilled to perfection!

Lemon BBQ chicken served on a plate with a wedge of lemon, side of Japanese yuzu kosho and topped with fresh chopped parsley being picked up with a silver fork.

What is Lemon BBQ Chicken?

This simple 4 ingredient lemon chicken recipe uses real lemons and a salt brine to flavor the chicken. Then it is finished off on the grill for a lemony smokey chicken that’s absolutely irresistible.

This lemon chicken on grill recipe pairs perfectly with yuzu kosho, a Japanese paste made from chili peppers, yuzu peel, and salt. It can be found in most Japanese supermarkets.

What ingredients do I need and how do you make a lemon marinade for chicken?

  • Chicken Thigh – skinless and boneless (about 3-4 chicken thighs) If preferred, chicken breasts will work for this recipe as well.
  • Water – used for the salt brine.
  • Salt – use table salt or kosher salt.
  • Large Lemons – organic lemons are best since you will be placing the lemon halves into the brine.
  • Yuzu Kosho (optional) – a Japanese citrus chili paste found in Japanese supermarkets.

Marinate chicken in water, fresh lemon juice, and salt for up to 8 hours.

Pat chicken dry with a paper towel and grill the chicken thoroughly or until internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Transfer to serving plate and serve with Yuzu Kosho (optional). Enjoy with a side salad

How long do you marinate the chicken?

It’s best to marinate chicken for up to 8 hours. It’s best to use a glass or plastic bowl, or a large ziplock freezer bag.

Chicken thigh being marinated inside a lemon brine for BBQ grilling.

What happens if you marinate chicken in lemon juice too long?

If you marinate the chicken in the lemon brine too long, the acidity will start to cook the chicken and it will start to fall apart.

How long do you grill the chicken?

Grill at 350F with the lid covered for about 7-8 minutes per side or until internal temp reaches 165F. You can rub the grill with some olive oil to prevent sticking. Do not overcook for tender and juicy chicken.

Chicken thigh prepared on a wooden cutting board for marinating.

Can I bake or pan-fry this lemon chicken recipe?

  • Bake – in the oven at 350 F for 10- 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F.
  • Pan Fry – saute chicken over medium high heat until chicken is tender and golden brown. About 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

What is the nutrition information for this lemon chicken recipe?

  • 177 Calories
  • 1g Carbohydrates
  • 0g Fiber
  • 15g Protein
  • 12g Fat
  • 61mg Cholesterol
  • 75mg Sodium
  • 162mg Potassium
  • 21mg Calcium
  • 1mg Iron
  • 115ui Vitamin A
  • 4mg Vitamin C

Lemon BBQ chicken served on a plate with a wedge of lemon, side of Japanese yuzu kosho and topped with fresh chopped parsley, top down shot.

Looking for other chicken on the grill recipes?

Now, let’s BBQ this lemon chicken recipe!

  • Prepping Time 5M
  • Marination Time 8H
  • Cook Time 10M
  • Total Time 8H15M
  • Net Carb/Serv ~5g
  • Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 12 oz Chicken Thigh Skinless and Boneless (about 3-4 chicken thighs)
  • 3 Cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 4 Large Lemons
  • 1 tsp Yuzu Kosho (optional)

Directions

1) Gather all the ingredients.

Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (3)

2) In a glass mixing bowl, add water, salt, chicken, lemon juice and lemon shell.  Marinate for 8 hours.  Note – it’s recommended not to use metal bowls due to the interaction with lemon’s acidity.

Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (7)

3) After marination, pat chicken dry with a paper towel and cut into 1″ x 1″ cubes.  Note – you can BBQ the chicken whole and cut it into pieces afterwards if preferred.

Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (22)

4) Preheat grill to 350F.

Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (1)

5) Once the grill is up to temp, reduce heat to medium and place chicken pieces on the grill.  Close lid and cook for 7-10 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165F while occasionally rotating the chicken.

Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (23)

6) Transfer chicken to a serving plate and serve with optional Yuzu Kosho.

Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (2)

Hope you enjoy your Lemon BBQ Chicken!

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Lemon BBQ chicken served on a plate with a wedge of lemon, side of Japanese yuzu kosho and topped with fresh chopped parsley being picked up with a silver fork.

Lemon BBQ Chicken

A delicious out-of-this-world lemon marinade for chicken that's easy to make and packed with flavor. This 4 ingredient chicken marinade recipe comes together quickly and is sure to please a crowd.
4.63 from 8 votes
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Worldwide
Keyword: 4 ingredient chicken marinade, lemon chicken on grill, lemon chicken recipe, lemon marinade for chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marination Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 177kcal

Ingredients

  • 12 oz Chicken Thigh Skinless and Boneless, about 3-4 chicken thighs
  • 3 Cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 4 Large Lemons
  • 1 tsp Yuzu Kosho  optional

Instructions

  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (20)
  • In a glass mixing bowl, add water, salt, chicken, lemon juice and lemon shell. Marinate for 8 hours. Note - it's recommended not to use metal bowls due to the interaction with lemon's acidity.
    Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (7)
  • After marination, pat chicken dry with a paper towel and cut into 1" x 1" cubes.  Note - you can BBQ the chicken whole and cut it into pieces afterwards if preferred.
    Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (22)
  • Preheat grill to 350F.
    Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (1)
  • Once the grill is up to temp, reduce heat to medium and place chicken pieces on the grill. Close lid and cook for 7-14 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165F while occasionally rotating the chicken.
    Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (23)
  • Transfer chicken to a serving plate and serve with optional Yuzu
    Lemon Chicken BBQ Recipe (2)

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 177kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 162mg | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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