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Home Recipes Grilled Lemon Chicken Wrapped in Pancetta

This is the best summer chicken recipe I’ve ever created. It’s bursting with fresh citrus flavor and is super juicy thanks to the thin pancetta.

grilled lemon chicken kababs.

What is pancetta

For this easy recipe, each chicken nugget is wrapped in pancetta – an Italian bacon. It has that bacon-like smokiness we all love and just the right pork belly mix of fat and meat.

Because pancetta is sliced much thinner, it cooks up fast and crispy on the grill. The crispy smokiness punched with the citrus and a hint of rosemary just screams summer.


Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • Lemon: Use the lemon zest and juice.
  • Oil: I use olive oil, but you can also use vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil or coconut oil.
  • Seasonings: Garlic, kosher salt, coarse-ground black pepper, dried rosemary.
  • Pancetta: You can find this in the deli at your grocery store.

Substitutions: You could also use thin-sliced bacon or prosciutto in place of the pancetta. And you can use chicken tenders instead of breasts. However, the tenders won’t be as thick and juicy.

How to grill lemon chicken

You can use any type of indoor or outdoor grill for this recipe. Heat your grill to medium heat (350F degrees) with a direct heat zone. Make sure your grill grates are nice and clean.

You can also cook these on a grill pan on the stove over medium heat.

  1. STEP ONE: Cut the chicken into 2-inch cubes and place it in a large bowl. Make the grilled lemon chicken marinade by combining the zest and juice of a lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. Mix it with the chicken and toss to coat.
bowl of chicken marinating.

PRO TIP: You don’t want to let the chicken marinate for more than 30 minutes because the acidity in lemon juice will begin to cook the chicken. Just toss it in the lemon marinade and begin wrapping.

  1. STEP TWO: As you remove the marinated chicken from the bowl, tear each pancetta slice in half and wrap the piece around a cube of chicken.
chicken on skewers wrapped in pancetta.
  1. STEP THREE: Slide the wrapped chicken onto a kabob stick. If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 20 minutes, so they don’t burn on the grill. At this point, you could refrigerate the skewers and grill them a little later.
chicken on skewers wrapped in pancetta.
  1. STEP FOUR: Grill chicken in a single layer over medium heat for about 14 minutes, turning half way through the cook. The pancetta should be crispy and start to get grill marks. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees when measured with a digital meat thermometer.

PRO TIP: The key to cooking juicy chicken breasts is to remove them from the grill once they reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees. If you cook them longer, they will start to dry out.


How to serve grilled lemon chicken

This is one of those simple chicken recipes that is quickly going to become a family favorite. It’s so good, you’re going to want to eat the kabobs right off of the grill, which makes these great for parties or an easy weeknight dinner.

For a quick, easy side dish, make a little extra marinade for eggplant, zucchini or asparagus. Toss the marinated veggies on the grill while you prepare the chicken. Super summery and delicious.

grilled lemon chicken and grilled eggplant.

Storage

Leftover grilled lemon chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for 2-3 months.

For best results, reheat the chicken in an air fryer for just a couple of minutes to crisp up the pancetta. Leftovers can also be enjoyed cold.

grilled lemon chicken kababs.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Don’t marinate the chicken for more than 30 minutes or it could get rubbery
  • Soak your wooden sticks so they don’t burn
  • Use thin cured pork like pancetta for the perfect crisp
  • Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165F degrees

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to grill lemon chicken?

This easy grilled lemon chicken recipe only takes 15 minutes to grill. You start by marinating chicken cubes in fresh lemon juice and spices. Then, for added moisture and texture, wrap those cubes in pancetta.

What are some great side dishes for a lemon chicken dinner?

These grilled lemon chicken skewers go great with grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini or grilled asparagus. You can also serve them with garlicy Grilled Mini Hasselback Potatoes

Can I use bottled lemon juice for this recipe?

You can use bottled lemon juice, but it won’t be nearly as good. Fresh lemon juice is the best option for grilled lemon chicken, because it’s more pungent and flavorful.


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5 from 4 votes

Grilled Lemon Chicken Wrapped in Pancetta

This grilled lemon chicken wrapped in pancetta is bursting with fresh citrus flavor and is super juicy. Ready in 30 minutes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp course ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 ozs sliced pancetta

Instructions 

  • Heat Grill: Heat your grill to medium heat (350F degrees) with a direct heat zone.
  • Prep: Cut the chicken into about 2-inch cubes. Place in a bowl.
  • Marinate: Zest and juice the lemon. Add the zest and juice to the chicken with the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss to coat.
  • Wrap: Tear each pancetta slice in half and wrap around a chicken cube. Skewer the wrapped chicken onto kabob sticks.
  • Grill: Grill on medium heat for 14 minutes (7 minutes per side). Serve.

Notes

If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20-30 minutes, so they don’t burn.
You can use the same marinade to add fresh lemon flavor to grilled vegetables.

Nutrition

Calories: 229kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 15gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 385mgPotassium: 276mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 29IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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