These zesty and tender Lemon Pepper Drumsticks are a great way to spice up your weeknight meal rotation. With fresh lemon, clean ingredients and so much flavor this is going to be your new favorite way to make chicken!
This healthy drumstick recipe is naturally paleo-friendly and gluten-free. We ditch the crappy lemon pepper seasoning (have you seen the ingredients on those things?!) and replace it with coarse pepper and LOTS of lemon zest for the perfect tender chicken legs that are loaded with flavor.
Here's Why You'll Love These Lemon Pepper Drumsticks
These Lemon Pepper Drumsticks are hard to beat. Here is why I think you will love them:
Ingredient Notes & Possible Substitutions
Drumsticks - Obviously, substituting this ingredient will change the recipe significantly; however, this marinade will work great with chicken breast, chicken tenderloins or chicken thighs! The cook time will change slightly but it will still be delicious!
Olive Oil - Any neutral flavored cooking oil will work in this recipe.
Fresh Lemon Juice & Zest - I don't recommend using any alternative to fresh juice and zest in this recipe. It will not be nearly as flavorful!
Kosher Salt - I almost always use kosher salt with meat because it really helps to bring out the flavors and seems to stick to the meat better. Other types of salt may be used if you don't have kosher salt on hand. If using sea salt, you may need to add a little more to make sure it is properly salted.
Coarse Black Pepper - Coarse ground and/or freshly ground black pepper is ideal for this recipe. The pepper is very important and should not be replaced with a lower quality alternative.
Garlic Powder - Garlic powder is great for ease, but minced garlic will absolutely work as a substitute. You will need about 1 tbsp. of freshly minced garlic to replace the garlic powder.
How to Make Lemon Pepper Drumsticks
Lemon pepper drumsticks are super easy to make an only require 6 ingredients: chicken legs, olive oil, lemons, pepper, garlic powder and kosher salt! Here how to do it:
- Pat the drumsticks dry and place them in a gallon size resealable bag.
- Zest and juice 2 large lemons into a bowl (this should result in about ¼ cup of both zest and juice).
- Add olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder to the bowl and stir. This is your marinade.
- Pour the marinade over the drumsticks in the resealable bag. Seal the bag and shake it to coat the drumsticks thoroughly. Place the sealed bag in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or up to overnight).
- After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 400 F and line a sheet pan with tin foil. Place a fitted wire baking rack on it.
- Place the drumsticks on the wire rack, alternating the direction they are facing and leaving at least 1 inch between each piece. Toss the chicken in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
- Each drumstick contains about 155 calories and 17 grams of protein!
- This recipe is low-carb and keto-friendly! Each drumstick contains only about 1 g of net carbs.
- All ingredients used are naturally gluten-free and paleo-friendly!
- Each drumstick contains over 20% of your daily needs for vitamin B2, B3, B6, B12, phosphorus, selenium and zinc! Each drumstick is also a good source of manganese, copper, vitamin C and B5.
How To Serve These Drumsticks
This recipe is so versatile it can complement simple or more complex sides. Serve these lemon pepper drumsticks with your favorite roasted veggies, a classic Caesar salad, parmesan and lemon pasta or this Greek chickpea salad!
Feel free to leave a comment and a rating below. Feedback is always appreciated! 😊
Lemon Pepper Drumsticks
- Cutting board
- Lemon juicer
- Ziploc bag
- Sheet pan with fitted baking rack
- Tin foil
- Remove the chicken legs from the package and pat dry with a paper towel. Place drumsticks in a gallon size Ziploc bag.
- Begin zesting both the lemons. You should end up with about ¼ cup of lemon zest. Place the zest in a bowl.
- Juice both of the lemons into into the bowl with the zest. This will result in about ¼ cup of juice. Add olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder to the bowl and stir.
- Pour the marinade over the drumsticks in the resealable bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat the drumsticks. Place the sealed bag in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or up to overnight).
- After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Line a sheet pan with tin foil and place a fitted wire baking rack on it. Place the drumsticks on the wire rack, alternating the direction they are facing and leaving at least 1 inch between each piece. You can bast the chicken with some of the leftover marinade if you see any dry spots.
- Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Serve these drumsticks hot with your favorite side!