This quick and easy lemon pepper panko chicken breast is juicy and delicious on the inside and crispy and airy on the outside. It's full of savory lemon and pepper flavors with a little bit of heat from crushed red pepper flakes. Serve this breaded, golden-brown lemon pepper chicken with a salad for a delicious light meal.
What's in the seasoning mix?
You need just a few common ingredients and spices to make the seasoning mix for this chicken recipe. Lemon zest and ground black pepper are a classic flavor combination. I added salt, garlic powder and onion powder as supporting background flavors along with crushed red pepper flakes for a nice spice kick.
Recipe notes & tips:
- Make sure to get all dry seasonings well combined with the lemon zest. Having the dry seasonings moistened and stick to the lemon zest will prevent them from getting "lost" in the panko bread crumbs.
How to prepare the chicken:
Start by pounding the chicken breast into an even thickness to ensure that it cooks evenly. Set the chicken breast on a cutting board or cutting mat, then cover with plastic wrap and lightly pound the thick end either with a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
How to make the breading and coat the chicken:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1. Add all seasonings to a shallow bowl or a pie plate. Mix well using a fork.
Step 2. Mix panko into the seasonings.
Step 3. Dry the chicken breast with paper towels.
Step 4. Rub both sides of the chicken with olive oil.
Step 5. Press both sides into the panko mix.
Step 6. Fry on both sides until golden-brown, then transfer in the pan to the oven and bake until fully cooked.
How to serve the chicken:
- This chicken is fantastic on or with a salad. Dress the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or ranch dressing or any other dressing of your choice. If serving on salad, slice the chicken into strips, then set the strips onto the salad.
- Another great option is to serve the chicken with these roasted lemon basil potatoes and a green side salad.
Frequently asked questions:
No, you don't need egg for panko breading because you can use oil instead. Dry your meat with paper towels, then rub it with oil instead of dredging it through beaten egg. Press the oiled meat into the panko bread crumbs and they will stick nicely. (And if you’re breading ground chicken, like in these chicken nuggets, you already have enough texture for the panko to stick even without any oil.)
No, you don't need flour. You can simply rub your meat with oil and then press it into panko bread crumbs.
Panko will stick nicely to chicken if you dry the meat with paper towels and then rub it with oil before pressing it into panko.
More delicious seasonings:
See all dry rubs & seasonings →
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Full Printable Recipe
Crispy Lemon Pepper Panko Chicken
- shallow bowl or pie plate
- measuring spoons
- citrus zester
- cutting board or cutting mat
- plastic wrap
- meat mallet or rolling pin
- paper towels
- cast iron pan
- kitchen tongs
- digital meat thermometer (recommended)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (you need about ¼ of a large lemon for that)
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mild olive oil, divided
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
- fresh lemon juice, to taste
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add salt, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper and lemon zest to a shallow bowl or a pie plate.
- Mix with a fork until well combined and all dry seasonings are evenly moistened by the lemon zest.*
- Add the panko and mix in well, using a fork. Set aside.
- Set the chicken breast on a cutting board or a cutting mat. Cover with plastic wrap and pound into an even thickness using a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
- Dry the chicken well using paper towels, then rub with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil on both sides.
- Press the oiled chicken breast into the panko mix (both sides). Set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a cast iron pan until shimmering.
- Fry the chicken breast on both sides until the panko crust is golden-brown (about 4 minutes on each side).
- Transfer the pan with the chicken into the oven. Bake the chicken until it is fully cooked and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (About another 5 minutes, for a ¾-inch thick chicken breast.)
- Transfer the chicken onto a plate and let cool for 3 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice to taste.
Nutrition Information (Estimated):
Nutrition values provided on this website are generated from a nutrition database and are estimates only. The accuracy of the nutrition information for any recipe on this website is not guaranteed. Nutrition values can vary quite a lot depending on which brands are used.