Grilled Lemon Chicken Breast

5 from 3 votes

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If you want to prepare the juiciest, most tender chicken, you have to try my Grilled Lemon Chicken Breast recipe. Here I use thinly sliced chicken breasts, which are then flattened and tenderized with a meat mallet (or ask your butcher to do this for you), to yield the thinnest cuts of chicken, which cook up in under 5 minutes.

This style of chicken happens to be a Bulgarian staple and it’s on every restaurant menu in the summer. If there’s one thing you should order in Bulgaria, it’s “pileshki parjoli” which translates to “chicken steaks.” They are not actually “steaks,” but the thin cut resembles a small steak. Pileshki parjoli are grilled and typically served with a fresh lemon wedge. This is hands down my go-to chicken recipe that I make 3 to 4 times per week. I usually pair it with our Bulgarian Shopska Salad salad and Crispy Lemon Potatoes on the Barbecue. Feel free to enjoy this chicken recipe with any side dish or salad of choice.

To elevate this chicken and make it even more tender, you can definitely put it in a brine overnight, if you have time (see recipe notes below). This recipe uses just 5 basic ingredients, which you probably already have on hand, and comes together in 5 to 10 minutes. Feel free to season the chicken anyway you like but less is MORE in a recipe like this one.


Grilled Lemon Chicken Breast

If you want to prepare the juiciest, most tender chicken breast, you have to try my Grilled Lemon Chicken Breast recipe. This style of chicken happens to be a Bulgarian staple and it’s on every restaurant menu in the summer. If there’s one thing you should order in Bulgaria, it’s “pileshki parjoli” which translates to “chicken steaks.”
5 from 3 votes
Servings: 2
Author: The Modern Nonna


grill pan, regular pan, or barbecue


  • 2 chicken breasts or thinly sliced chicken filets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • avocado oil
  • lemon for serving
  • parsley for garnish (optional)


  • Take the chicken out of the fridge and leave it at room temp for at least 30 minutes before preparing the dish
  • Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, or you can ask the butcher at any meat department to do that for you. Alternatively, you can purchase thinly sliced chicken filets as well.
  • Once you cut the chicken breasts in half, take each half and place it in between two pieces of plastic wrap. You can also place it into a Ziplock bag as well.
  • Take the flat side of a meat mallet and gently pound each piece until thin, about 1/4-inch thick. This will tenderize the meat as well as help it to cook much faster and evenly in the pan.
  • Season each side with salt and pepper. When seasoning, hold the seasoning high above the chicken, and then sprinkle it all over; seasoning from high above helps for even distribution.
  • In a grill pan or regular pan add some avocado oil and heat it up on medium-high heat. The oil should shimmer when hot.
  • Place the filets into the pan, making sure they are not touching. If the pan is overcrowded the meat will STEAM and we do not want that.
  • Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden.
  • I poke a hole on the bottom of my lemon with a metal or bamboo straw and squeeze the lemon on top of my chicken both on and off the heat.
  • Let the chicken rest for 2 minutes before cutting. Garnish with parsley, if you like, and enjoy with any side you like!



You can use a regular pan, a grill pan, or barbecue as well. I alternate between all 3. 
Make sure to take the chicken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before it goes into a hot pan so it can come up to temperature. Cold meat directly from the fridge should never go into a hot pan. 
Use a meat mallet and gently tenderize the halved chicken breast pieces with the flat side of the mallet until super thin. 
You can use as much or as little lemon as you like. 
Let the oil really heat up: the chicken should sizzle.
If you want to brine the chicken breast you can brine it in a water and salt solution overnight. A simple brine like this one is amazing: 2 cups of cold water and 1.5 tablespoons table salt. If you brine your chicken you should NOT need extra salt before cooking as the chicken may be too salty but you can season with any other seasoning of choice. 
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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  1. 5 stars
    We had a “Modern Nonna Dinner” today: Pasta Limone and Grilled Lemon Chicken Breast served with a simple fresh green salad. The whole family enjoyed it so much, they didn’t know this very special lemon taste from our meals. Now they want more of this kind…LOL

  2. Just a question; what is the purpose of preparing the chicken the night before in a brine? Is it more tender?