Crispy Lemon Pepper Fried Chicken

Lemon Pepper is a classic combination.  That’s perhaps because you can almost pretend it’s spicy, while not scaring off your friends, neighbors or family who are scared of spicy.  Call it spicy, with a little s.   The thing is, black pepper can be aggressively spicy when it’s used raw, or in large quantities – and that’s a good thing.  It’s piquancy is different than chili peppers – it doesn’t leave your mouth burning in quite the same way.  In fact it’s almost a pleasant numbing feeling – one backed by a punch of peppery flavor.

Here, we are adding the classic flavor combination to both the breading and a sauce that coats crunchy crisp tender bites of fried chicken.  This dish could be a meal itself if served with rice, or even dare I say it – as part of a sub or po-boy – but it’s a great snack or appetizer just on it’s own.  The breading is simple and infused with lemon zest and pepper. The chicken is quickly marinated in lemon and egg to pick up some of that lemon flavor itself, and finally, a quick coating of lemon pepper butter sauce adds another final layer of flavor.


This dish is quick to throw together and cook, however you’ll get the best results if you add in a few resting periods – to allow the chicken to marinate, allow the breading to hydrate, and let the lemon juice and zest meld together to really maximize that sauce’s lemon punch.

Crispy Lemon Pepper Fried Chicken

Recipe by DrewCourse: Snacks, MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



Crispy bites of lemony chicken coated with a bright lemon pepper sauce.


  • Crispy Chicken
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

  • 1 cup AP flour

  • ½ cup corn starch

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

  • 1 lemon

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • Oil for frying

  • Lemon Pepper Sauce
  • 1 lemon

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

  • ½ tsp finely minced parsley


  • Crispy Chicken
  • Zest the lemon using a microplane or similar grater.
  • Combine the lemon zest, flour, corn starch, baking powder, salt, and black pepper; mixing well to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg well.
  • Juice the lemon and combine the juice with the beaten egg.
  • Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch pieces and add to the egg/lemon mixture. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
  • Working a couple pieces at a time, dip each piece of egg coated chicken into the flour mixture.
  • Arrange the breaded pieces on a rack and allow to hydrate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Set up a fryer, or thick bottomed pot with at least 2 inches of oil in the pan.
  • Fry the breaded chicken pieces at 350°F until browned and very crispy.
  • Toss with lemon pepper sauce and serve immediately.
  • Lemon Pepper Sauce
  • Zest the lemon into a non-reactive bowl using a microplane or similar grater.
  • Juice the lemon into the same bowl.
  • Allow the lemon juice and zest to rest for 10 minutes to maximize lemon flavor.
  • Add the juice, and cold butter to a pan over medium low heat.
  • Whisk together as the butter melts to create an emulsion of butter and lemon.
  • As soon as the butter is melted and the sauce is emulsified, add the black pepper and parsley.
  • Use to coat lemon pepper fried chicken pieces and serve immediately.

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