Lemon Pepper Marinade

Chicken in a bowl in a lemon pepper marinade

The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 4 serving
Yield: 3/4 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
126 Calories
14g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 534mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 3mg 16%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 29mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sure, you can buy all kinds of premade, packaged marinades, but making one yourself is not at all difficult, and the flavors are often brighter and more vibrant as a result. You can also tweak ingredients to your liking, adding a little more pepper, or other kinds of pepper, if you like, or using the zest of the lemon, too, for example.

This light and easy marinade recipe uses the acidic power of lemon juice to help tenderize and flavor meats. It's particularly good on poultry such as a roasted or rotisserie chicken, along with chicken and turkey breasts. You might try it on scallops or shrimp, too. This lemon pepper marinade will taste great for any type of cooking, but especially for baking, roasting, or grilling.

Feel free to make the marinade a day ahead of time and then use it as you like with any of those meats. Lemon pepper chicken, for example, is really good with green beans or a fresh green salad.


  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh dill

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Lemon pepper marinade ingredients

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  2. In a medium bowl, add the lemon juice and slowly whisk in the vegetable oil until well combined.

    In a medium bowl, add the lemon juice and slowly whisk in the vegetable oil

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to whisk for a few seconds.

    Lemon pepper marinade ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

  4. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes before using it to marinate poultry. Enjoy.

    Lemon pepper marinade in a bowl

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

What Does Lemon Juice Do in a Marinade?

Lemon juice will add a lot of flavor, brightness, and balance to a marinade. It works especially well with the flavors in this recipe. The acid in the lemon juice does not, however, tenderize meat.


  • Marinate chicken breasts or thighs for 2 hours. You can also use this on turkey breast and whole chickens. Marinate those cuts for 4 to 6 hours. 
  • If you're making the marinade ahead of time, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The longer it sits within that time frame, the better it will taste.
  • You can use this recipe as a sauce on whatever you cook it with and use a dry rub instead to layer the flavors.
  • Double the recipe if you're planning on using it on more than one whole chicken or turkey breast.


This marinade recipe can be customized according to your likes, and whatever else you are serving alongside the chicken.

  • Feel free to swap the dill for fresh rosemary, parsley, or thyme.
  • You can use other types of citrus instead of lemon. Any form of orange would be great with fresh parsley or thyme, or try lime with cliantro and pepper with a Mexican meal.
  • Feel free to use olive oil instead of the vegetable oil the recipe calls for if that's what you prefer.