Southern Oven-Fried Lemony Pepper Chicken is the best of both worlds, juicy boneless chicken thighs marinated in freshly squeezed lemon juice, buttermilk, seasoned to perfection with a delicious homemade lemon pepper seasoning, coated with one of the best Southern chicken batters, then smothered in a Lemon and Cream based Gravy made from the perfect roux.
Have you ever really had a serious craving for something? Now let’s get a bit more intense, have you ever craved two different things at once? The day that I came up with my recipe for my Southern Pepper Chicken I was craving Fried Boneless Chicken thighs with gravy, but I was also craving Lemon and Pepper Chicken. I almost drove my entire house crazy trying to decide which I wanted more, my husband finally got a bit annoyed and told me, “Just make both of them already, I’m tired of hearing this!”
I don’t know about y’all but I really don’t want to make two different recipes in one night because I can’t make up my mind which craving is worse, so there has to be a happy medium for this dual craving of mine, then it hit me I could satisfy both cravings with a few adaptions to my recipe for Oven-fried Chicken with white gravy.
The idea behind the Southern Oven-Fried Lemony Pepper Chicken recipe was fairly simple, marinate the chicken in freshly squeezed lemons that are in season here in Florida and buttermilk for about 8 hours, drain the marinade, then season the boneless chicken thighs with homemade Lemon Pepper seasoning , batter the boneless chicken thighs with my favorite Southern Fried Chicken batter and oven-fried to perfection the idea behind the gravy was
The White Lemony Gravy was seemingly easy to figure out as well, I wanted that yummy white gravy we all enjoy so well with our fried chicken but I was thinking, we need a lemon flavor to enhance the gravy; freshly squeezed lemon juice would be my saving grace for a second time today.
I have to ask you, have you ever been nervous about making something that seems so simple yet you know has the potential to go downhill fast? I was thinking this recipe for Southern Fried Lemony Pepper Chicken absolutely has to turn out right for 3 reasons:
- I will never hear the end of it if my recipe for Southern Fried Lemony Pepper Chicken doesn’t turn out right. I am sure you know that feeling of defeat at the dinner table with sour lemon faces looking at you as they’re forcing down dinner.
- I seriously have to say, I dislike having to force down foods that taste awful myself, don’t you?
- Wasting food is a BIG no go in my house as I am sure it is in yours as well; can you imagine if there are leftovers? Sweet baby Jesus, have you ever eaten something you hate for the second time as a leftover?
I bet you had your fingers and toes crossed in anticipation reading this the entire time; worrying didn’t you? The good news Y’all is this didn’t just turn out good, it turned out to be a Super-Star Fabulous recipe that I decided was just too darn good to keep under my hat for another second. So without further wait, you can find this delicious recipe for Southern Fried Lemony Pepper Chicken below.
- 10-12 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
- 3 cups of buttermilk
- Juice of 3 lemons
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour for dredging
- 3 large fresh eggs lightly beaten
- 3 cups all-purpose flour for the batter
- 1 teaspoon of Lemon Pepper seasoning + 1 tablespoon of the batter
- Kosher salt to own taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to own taste
- cooking spray
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter to brush chicken optional
- 2 lemons sliced optional
- fresh herbs for garnish
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 and 3/4 cups whole milk
- 1/4 of a cup half and half cream
- Juice of 1 lemon
- kosher salt to own taste
- fresh ground black pepper to own taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Wash the packaged chicken thighs in cold water to remove any nasty impurities and then pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel.
In a large plastic container with tight-fitting lid or glass baking dish big enough to fit 10-12 boneless and skinless chicken thighs, add 3 cups of buttermilk and the juice of 3 lemons; stir around a bit to mix the buttermilk and lemon juice.
Place all the boneless skinless chicken thighs in the mixture turn a few times before placing in the refrigerator and marinating for 8 hours or overnight if desired. I usually turn mine about 3-4 times in the marinade.
Once the chicken thighs have marinated 8 hours drain off the marinade and promptly dispose of the marinade down the drain.
Place marinated chicken thighs on a platter and season well with the lemon pepper seasoning on both sides about 1 teaspoon total.
In a shallow bowl place 1 cup of all-purpose flour in it to dredge the chicken thighs
Crack 3 large fresh eggs in a medium glass bowl and lightly beat them
In another bowl add 3 cups of all-purpose flour,1 tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper to own taste; stir to mix seasoning and flour.
Dredge the chicken thighs in flour to coat both sides.
Using a utensil, dip chicken in egg thoroughly coating, let excess drip off.
Place the chicken thighs one at a time in flour and seasoning mixture, turning to coat each side.
Insert a wire baker’s rack into a metal baking sheet, place the breaded chicken thighs on the metal baking rack, lightly brush with melted butter; careful not to remove the chicken batter.
Place in a 350 F preheated the oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes, turning chicken at 30 minutes baking time.
Remove from oven let cool till the gravy is done.
In a large metal skillet, on medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, then add 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and stir constantly for about 2 minutes to cook off raw flour taste, very slowly add 1 and 3/4 cup of whole milk, 1/4 of a cup half and half cream, juice of 1 lemon, and kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to stir till the gravy completely tightens up and becomes a thick creamy consistency. If needed add a bit more milk to thin.
Plate the Lemony Oven-fried chicken thighs in a large clean serving dish. spoon a small amount of the lemony gravy over the chicken and garnish with a lemon slice and fresh herbs if desired. Place extra gravy in a gravy boat to serve with the chicken.