Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewers are bursting with fresh lemon flavor, have tons of juicy, tender chicken, are perfectly peppered (try saying that 5 times in a row), and slide right off the skewer. They are a perfect weeknight meal, make ahead lunch, or appetizer. Serve over a bed of rice, with some cooked veggies, or a salad and you have a delicious and healthy meal!
The recipe can be found here.
Start by soaking the wooden skewer for at least 30 minutes. This helps to prevent the meat from sticking to the skewer while cooking and it prevents the wood from burning. I like to use 6-inch or 8-inch skewers (that’s what fits inside my air fryer).
Cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces and place in a Ziploc bag. Add salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil. Seal and toss to coat the chicken. I like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can substitute with chicken thighs if you prefer.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate the chicken. You can do this one day ahead and refrigerate overnight if you prefer.
Thread the chicken onto the skewers. Leave no space between the meat and try to get an even amount on each skewer. Set aside until ready to air fry. I like to use 2 plates – one for the uncooked skewers with a pair of tongs and one for the cooked meat with a separate (non-contaminated) pair of tongs.
Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add salt, pepper, paprika, lemon juice, and lemon zest and whisk to combine.
Divide the sauce in ½. I like to use 2 separate bowls for this. One will be for basting the chicken while it cooks, and one will be used to topping the chicken before serving. If you keep the sauce separate you will prevent cross-contamination.
Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Add 3 skewers (or however many will fit in your air fryer while also leaving space between each skewer). Air fry at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes then open the air fryer, flip the skewers, baste the skewers, and air fry at 400 degrees F again for 2 minutes. You will now flip the skewers again, baste, and air fry at 400 degrees F for another 5 minutes. I like to temp the chicken at this point. If the internal temperature is 165 degrees F it’s done. If not, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken to a clean plate and cover with aluminum foil.
Let’s talk about cross contamination a bit. While cooking, turning, basting, etc. it’s good to use 2 separate tongs and 2 separate basting brushes. I used one set of tongs to place the chicken in the air fryer and turn the skewers. I use a separate set of tongs to remove the cooked chicken to a clean plate. One pair has been touching raw meat, so the other pair is “clean” and OK to touch the cooked chicken. Same with basting. Use one brush to baste while the chicken cooks. Once the chicken is cooked, use a clean brush to finish the chicken before serving.
Repeat this step with the other skewers. I was able to assemble 6 skewers total and it took 2 rounds of cooking to finish.
Once finished, drizzle (or brush) the remaining sauce over the top. Serve immediately and enjoy!
The recipe can be found here.
These are so fresh and citrusy, and easy to make. If you have any leftovers (we sure didn’t), make sure to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge. If you don’t own an air fryer or don’t care to cook chicken this way, you can bake or grill the skewers. Personally, I think the air fryer version is an easy technique but understand it’s not for everyone. These skewers won’t disappoint!