This dish is all about fresh lemon flavor. Instead of using a store-bought seasoning, we blend freshly grated lemon zest, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
The lemon zest gives this otherwise simple blend of seasonings a fresh citrus flavor that combines with the fresh lemon juice in the sauce just perfectly.
Tips for making lemon pepper chicken tenders
This easy dish goes from kitchen to table in less than half an hour. Here’s how it’s made:
- Trim the chicken tenderloins and lightly dredge them in seasoned flour.
- Zest and juice two fresh lemons.
- Make the lemon pepper seasoning by combining the lemon zest with freshly ground black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Sauté the chicken tenders in a combination of olive oil and butter until they’re lightly golden on the outside.
- Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice along with some chicken broth and sprinkle with the homemade lemon pepper seasoning.
- Simmer for two minutes, then add some chopped scallions.
- Turn the chicken tenders and cook for another minute or two until the sauce thickens.
Steamed white or brown rice is probably the most common choice to serve with lemon pepper chicken, but pasta makes a tasty alternative.
Just about any green veggie will work too, but our favorite is snap peas (fresh or frozen) sautéed in butter. Green beans and steamed broccoli are good options as well.
You can easily turn this dish into Chinese-style lemon chicken or a healthy all-in-one bowl with quinoa and broccoli. Just follow the directions below.
Chinese Lemon Chicken
- Dredge the chicken in cornstarch instead of flour.
- For the lemon pepper seasoning, omit the garlic and onion powder and add 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger instead.
- Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of sherry along with the lemon juice and chicken broth for the sauce.
- Serve with steamed broccoli and white or brown rice.
Lemon Chicken & Quinoa Bowl
- Cook 4 servings each of our basic quinoa recipe and steamed broccoli.
- Prepare the chicken as directed in this recipe.
- To serve, divide the quinoa between four serving bowls and arrange a portion of chicken over half of the bowl, add the broccoli to the other side, and spoon extra sauce over each portion.
More quick and easy chicken tenderloin recipes:
- Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple
- One-Pan Smothered Chicken and Mushrooms
- Chicken Tenders with Fresh Orange Pan Sauce
- Baked Honey BBQ Chicken Fingers (from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Lemon Pepper Chicken Tenders
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, about 12 pieces
- 1/2 cup flour
- Kosher salt
- Zest of 2 lemons, about 4 teaspoons
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 to 5 scallions, chopped
- Trim the white tendons from the ends of the chicken tenderloins. Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt in a zip-top plastic bag, add the tenderloins, shake until coated and set aside.
- Make the lemon pepper seasoning by thoroughly combining 1/2 teaspoon of salt with the lemon zest, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Shake the excess flour from each tenderloin as you add them to the pan in a single layer. Sauté until golden, 1-1/2 minutes per side.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the lemon juice and chicken broth to the pan and sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning mix.
- Using tongs, turn the tenderloins in the sauce several times to coat.
- Simmer for a total 3 to 4 minutes to thicken the sauce, adding the scallions and turning the tenderloins after about 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately, spooning some sauce over the chicken and passing the remainder at the table.