This lemon pepper chicken served with cous cous is the answer to all your dinner questions.

After a long day, there’s nothing I want more than to order in. But then I think: I need to do the adulting thing and the next best thing I can think of is a really easy to make dinner. Something fast, and delicious that requires minimal prep and maximal chill time. Let’s face it, chicken and carbs is always the answer.

What is lemon pepper chicken?

The name is pretty self explanatory: lemon and pepper and chicken. The name comes from the seasoning, creatively named “lemon pepper.” Most lemon pepper chicken is simply chicken sprinkled with store bought lemon pepper. Store bought lemon pepper is made with granulated lemon zest and cracked black peppercorns. The store bought version sometimes contains things like salt, sugar, granulated garlic, and citric acid. It’s a pretty easy flavor profile to mimic. As easy as it would be to shake on some seasoning, making this lemon pepper chicken is just as easy and a thousand times more delicious.

Think: fresh juicy lemon slices, with the help of the oven heat, turning jammy and extra sweet while mixing with savory chicken juices to create the most delicious sauce. The sauce is pure gold and perfect for scooping over cous cous (or rice!). Those fluffy little kernels just soak it up turning into tiny little bits of pure flavor.

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe Step 5

How to make lemon pepper chicken

  1. Prep. Pull bone-in skin on chicken thighs from the fridge and place them in an oven proof-dish. Season them with salt and pepper and let them hang out and temper on the counter while you finish off your prep.
  2. Heat. Turn on the oven – we want it hot, 450°F hot so the chicken gets nice and brown on the tops and the lemons caramelize and release all their juice.
  3. Chop and mix. While the oven is heating and the chicken is tempering, peel 2 shallots and halve them. Wash some dill, roughly chop, and set aside. Wash and zest a lemon, setting the zest aside for later. Cut the lemon in half. Thinly slice half of the lemon and nestle the slices into the baking dish with the chicken. Juice the remaining half of the lemon into a small bowl. Mix in olive oil, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the lemon juice.
  4. Bake. By now your oven should be hot. Pour the lemon pepper sauce into the baking dish and place on the middle rack of the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes, depending on size, or until cooked through.
  5. Boil. When the chicken is almost done cooking, it’s time to make the cous cous. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. When it’s bubbling, remove the pot from the stove, stir in your cous cous, cover, and let it steam.
  6. Fluff. When the cous cous is done, remove the lid, fluff, season with salt and pepper. Toss with olive oil and your prepped dill and lemon zest.
  7. Serve. When the chicken is done, serve, spooning up those delicious lemon-y, pepper-y, chicken-y juices onto the cous cous. Enjoy!

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe |

Lemon pepper chicken ingredients

  • chicken – bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs please! Not only are they generally the cheapest cut of chicken, they happen to be the most flavorful and most forgiving. The skin and bone both prevents the chicken from over cooking. If you must, you can definitely use boneless skinless thighs or even chicken breast, but make sure you keep an eye on the time, they’ll cook a lot faster.
  • olive oil – use the good stuff, but not the stuff that you don’t heat. Ie, use a high heat olive oil, not a finishing olive oil. As always, an extra virgin olive oil with a light and mild, unassertive flavor that will disappear into the background going to taste best.
  • oregano – oregano adds a warm, earthy, lemon-y, slightly peppery flavor to this dish.
  • shallots – I love shallots because they’re delicate and sweet with a less onion-y flavor. Plus their pretty purple color adds a vibe.
  • lemon – a fresh lemon is going to give us zest (along with all those amazing lemon oils) and juice.
  • pepper – freshly cracked black pepper is what you want here. Freshly cracked pepper has that amazing floral, earthy, spicy, pepper flavor we’re looking for. I don’t specify how much pepper in this recipe because really, it’s up to you! I know some people find black pepper spicy and some people find it incredibly mild. Add pepper to your desired taste. That being said, Mike and I are black pepper fiends and recently got some extra bold Tellicherry peppercorns, the best of the best in peppercorns. They’re punchy, bold, and incredibly peppery.
  • cous cous – tiny little balls of pasta that are filling and fun to eat, more on cous cous below!
  • dill – some chopped dill adds a herb-y brightness to your cous cous, making it irresistible.

What to serve with lemon pepper chicken

Personally I think cous cous is the perfect accompaniment to lemon pepper chicken. It’s filling, fast to make, and fun to eat. Of course you can’t go wrong with rice or roasted potatoes either!

What is cous cous?

Contrary to popular belief, cous cous isn’t a grain, it’s a pasta! If you’re not too familiar with cous cous, you’re in for a treat. Cous cous are tiny steamed balls of crushed semolina. It’s usually served with stew or in salad. They are light and fluffy and are kind of like tiny tiny little roughly-shaped balls of pasta.

Most of the cous cous that’s sold in stores in North American is pre-steamed and dried which makes it basically instant. All it takes is a quick five minute steam, making it way faster than rice, pasta, or other grains. You can find cous cous in the rice and grains aisle or online.

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe Step 4

How to cook cous cous

Measure out how much cous cous you want to make, then add the exact same amount of water to a pot or saucepan with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and when it’s boiling, stir in the cous cous, cover the pot, then remove from the heat. Let the cous cous steam for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff. Your cous cous is done!

Cous cous to water ratio

The ratio for water to cous cous is 1:1 which makes it incredibly easy to remember.

That’s its! Who knew I could write so much about lemon, chicken, and cous cous!??!

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe |

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous

Oven baked lemon pepper chicken thighs served with lemon dill cous cous
Serves 2
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Lemon Pepper Chicken

  • 4 bone in skin on chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 shallots peeled and halved
  • 1 lemon

Dill Cous Cous

  • 1/2 cup cous cous
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or to taste
  • lemon zest


  • Heat the oven to 450°F. Place the chicken thighs and shallots in an oven proof dish, and season with salt and pepper. Leave the chicken on the counter to temper while you prep the rest of the dish.
    Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe Step 1
  • Zest the lemon and thinly slice half the lemon. Juice the other half of the lemon in a small bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup olive oil into the lemon juice and stir in the oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
    Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe Step 2
  • Top the chicken with the lemon slices and pour on the sauce. Roast for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs, or until the meat is cooked through.
    Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe Step 3
  • While the chicken is cooking, make the cous cous: Bring 1/2 cup salted water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup cous cous, stir and cover. Remove from the heat and let stand for five minutes. Fluff and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the olive oil, dill and lemon zest.
    Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe Step 4
  • Serve the chicken (spoon the juices up as well) on top of the lemon cous cous, finishing with the lemon zest and extra fresh dill. Enjoy immediately.
    Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous Recipe Step 5

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon and Dill Cous Cous
Amount Per Serving
Calories 562 Calories from Fat 330
% Daily Value*
Fat 36.7g56%
Saturated Fat 6.6g41%
Cholesterol 106mg35%
Sodium 168mg7%
Potassium 452mg13%
Carbohydrates 24.6g8%
Fiber 2.3g10%
Sugar 0.6g1%
Protein 32.9g66%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  1. Kathryn says:

    Wow! We made this for dinner tonight and the flavors were spectacular. The bonus is that it is a simple, quick cook dinner. We have been trying different dinners during our quarantine and this is one we will definitely make again. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kathryn,
      so glad that you had a chance to try it :)

  2. this looks amazing, and I love the photos! (we actually had cous cous with schnitzel for lunch!) I wanted to know where your pan is from. it looks perfect for stove-to-table dinner!! thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi estelle,
      it’s a staub pan! i got it directly from staub online :)

  3. Linh says:

    I just made this for dinner tonight. Very delicious! I dialed back on dill and doubled the cous cous. Thanks for this recipe. Love your blog!

    1. Stephanie says:

      thanks so much for making this linh! i’m happy you liked it :)

  4. Yumi Zaic says:

    Wow! This recipe was so easy with ingredients we had in our house, and came out like something we would have at a fancy restaurant!! I added eggplants to the roast, and served them over garlic butter rice instead of couscous. Absolutely delicious! Thank you!!

  5. Denise says:

    This recipe was amazing! Super easy and soooo delicious. I have shared with a bunch of my friends. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Stephanie says:

      so happy you enjoyed it denise!

  6. Sophia says:

    I made this last night for dinner and we are already looking forward to making it again! I didn’t have shallots so used a red onion and I also tossed in some garlic cloves. I used pre-cut chicken breast cubes as that’s what we had, so the cooking time was on the lower side, closer to 20-23 minutes. The flavor from the lemon and the onion was so delicious! The whole dish came together very simply and the taste was wonderful. Thank you for a great recipe!

  7. Becca says:

    This looks amazing! I couldn’t find nutrition facts. Do you have any?

    1. Stephanie says:

      5 stars
      hi becca,
      the nutritional info has been added :) hope you give this a try soon!

  8. Katie says:

    5 stars
    So yummy and so easy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Did you make this recipe?

Share it on instagram and tag it #iamafoodblog. If you'd like to leave a rating without leaving a comment, you can do so by clicking the stars underneath the recipe name.

Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike