This air fryer lemon pepper chicken recipe is perfect for weeknights, coming together in less than 20 minutes. Using simple ingredients, this chicken is juicy and tender and packed full of flavour thanks to the homemade lemon pepper seasoning.
Ever since I got an air fryer, I’ve been looking for easy, delicious recipes to make in it that aren’t, well you know, chips.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love chips and the air fryer does them exceptionally well, but there needs to be more ways that I incorporate this appliance into my everyday life to make it worthy of the counterspace it consumes in my small kitchen.
Enter this recipe for making the best oven baked lemon pepper chicken sans oven. The key to this is the way the air fryer cooks as it gives you perfectly tender, not at all dry chicken that keeps in all of the flavour.
And the flavour is 100% what we want when we’re talking about a homemade lemon pepper seasoning!
Lemon pepper is such a classic flavour combination, but it’s so often made using a store bought seasoning mix. And while I am all for store bought convenience, I’ve just never been that blown away by any of the lemon pepper seasonings that I’ve tried.
But it turns out that it really isn’t that more hands on to create your own, and I usually have most of the required ingredients already so all I really need to do is pick up some chicken and maybe a couple of lemons if I’ve run out and I’m set!
Plus, the flavour is absolutely next level. It’s super fresh and zesty and perfect for weeknight cooking. Pair it with some potatoes – either mashed or roasted would be great – and some greens like broccolini or asparagus and you have yourself a pretty healthy dinner that the whole family can enjoy.
This is such a simple recipe using just a handful of key ingredients to make the most flavourful chicken, perfect for dinner.
- Chicken tenders – tenders are perfect for this recipe but you could also slice chicken breast and use that instead, adjusting the cooking time as needed.
- Lemons – we’re using both the zest and the juice from a couple of fresh lemons for the best flavour here.
- Olive oil – use your favourite or whatever you have on hand.
- Black pepper – I like to use my mortar and pestle to crush whole black peppercorns for this recipe rather than using my pepper grinder as it’s much quicker and gives the pepper a coarser texture which is perfect. Adjust the amount of pepper used based on your tastes.
- Salt – enhances and balances the flavours.
- Garlic powder – garlic powder is easy plus it gives a more subtle flavour to the chicken that I think is perfect here, but you could 100% sub in some fresh crushed garlic.
To make these lemon pepper chicken tenders in the air fryer, you’ll of course need an air fryer! There are so many options and variations out there now across all price points, but the one I’m using is the Philips Airfryer Essential 4.1L capacity in white and rose gold because it looks pretty on my bench!
It’s on the smaller size, but it’s perfect for most of the cooking I want to do in it for just 2 people. For these chicken tenders, I do need to do two batches but the cooking time is much quicker than the oven so it’s not too much of a hassle. Plus the result is the most tender, juicy and flavourful chicken – a much better result than I’ve had from the oven.
But in saying that if you don’t yet have an airy fryer, you can still 100% enjoy these tenders by baking them in the oven. The recipe card at the end has all the details.
There is really very minimal prep required for this recipe which is exactly what I want from a weeknight meal. Start by trimming the chicken tenders if you prefer. I like to remove the tendon as this can be tough but you don’t have to.
Next, add all of the remaining ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Add in the chicken and toss to coat in the marinade.
Line the basket of your air fryer with baking paper and place the tenders in, being careful not to overcrowd the basket. You want to make sure there is space between the tenders so that they cook evenly.
Cook for 10-12 minutes in the air fryer that’s been preheated, or until the chicken is cooked. The easiest way to make sure your chicken is cooked perfectly is to use a thermometer to check the internal temperature as cooking times can vary depending on the size of the tenders themselves and your individual air fryer.
Yes! Simply bake the chicken instead in a conventional oven on a lined baking tray, evenly spaced apart for about 20 minutes or until cooked through (or until the internal temperature reaches 75°C (165F).
Personally I love to serve lemon pepper chicken with vegetables such as potatoes and broccoli or even baked sweet potato fries, but you could also serve it with a simple green salad, or even a creamy pasta.
More weeknight dinner ideas:
Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken
- 500 grams chicken tenders
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon zest approx 2 lemons
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- fresh parsley to serve
- Preheat the air fryer to 180°C and trim the chicken tenders, removing the tough tendon.
- In a mixing bowl add the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, salt and garlic powder and mix to combine. Add in the chicken tenders and toss to coat in the marinade.
- Place a piece of baking paper down in the basket of the air fryer and line the tenders in the basket, ensuring they don’t touch or overlap. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the tenders in 2 batches.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the tenders, or until the internal temperature reaches 75°C (165F).
- Set the tenders aside on a plate covered with aluminium foil to rest and keep warm while you cook the remaining chicken.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with your favourite sides.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.