The best Chicken Marinade ever! This marinade produces so much flavor and keeps the chicken incredibly moist and outrageously delicious! This easy chicken marinade recipe is sure to become a staple in your kitchen. Great for grilling and baking!
Grilling tonight? Make sure to try my steak marinade and grilled potatoes too!
Best Chicken Marinade Recipe
For many years now I have been perfecting my chicken marinade recipe and it’s finally exactly what I want. I love this easy recipe because it quickly transforms an ordinary chicken breast (or any other cut of chicken) into something extraordinarily delicious – just in time for dinner.
It really is the BEST chicken marinade I’ve ever had and I’m confident you’re going to love it as much as we do.
Easy Chicken Breast Marinade
I keep chicken breasts on hand at all times because there is just SOO much you can do with a chicken breast…(Make sure to check out my book for ONE HUNDRED chicken recipes!)
Having a good grilled chicken breast marinade on hand is essential if you live in a hot area like I do. It’s a quick, no-brainer dinner option that we rely on several times each month.
Let me be clear, this is not to say that this marinade won’t work on other cuts of chicken. It most certainly does and is insanely delicious so use what you have on hand.
One of our other favorite ways is to use this as a chicken thigh marinade or even drumsticks. It really will work for any piece of chicken. (I’ve had lots of reader write in saying it’s also delicious with veggies, pork and beef!)
What To Serve With Grilled Chicken
Since we grill multiple times a week, I’ve become quite an expert at quickly whipping up one or two side dishes that pair perfectly with grilled chicken. Here are some of our favorites:
- Fruit Salad
- Grape Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- The Best Coleslaw Recipe
- Grilled Potatoes
- Easy Baked Sweet Potato (How To Bake Sweet Potatoes)
Grilled Chicken Marinade
This is really my very favorite grilled chicken marinade. I love to make up a big batch of grilled chicken and this recipe is great for that. It makes enough marinade for about 6 large chicken breasts or 3 to 4 pounds of chicken pieces.
Chicken Marinade Ingredients
While the list looks long, most if not all of these ingredients will likely be in your pantry. What we’re doing here is just building layers of flavor in this easy marinade. Let’s take a quick look at what you’ll need:
- extra virgin olive oil – this is the base of the marinade and keeps the chicken so juicy and moist.
- balsamic vinegar – a balsamic chicken marinade is my very favorite. It is definitely one of the key ingredients in this recipe and adds loads of flavor.
- soy sauce – I like to use low sodium.
- Worcestershire sauce – so many flavor in this ingredient, it’s a must for this marinade.
- lemon juice – fresh is best for flavor but you can use bottled if you need to.
- brown sugar – I have lots of readers that reduce or even eliminate the brown sugar but I personally love it in this recipe.
- dried rosemary – a little herbaceous flavor is always nice to round out a marinade.
- Dijon mustard – or Spicy Brown mustard or even plain yellow mustard will work in a pinch.
- salt and ground black pepper – for seasoning.
- garlic powder – I prefer garlic powder instead of fresh garlic because the fresh garlic will burn on the grill.
How To Make Chicken Marinade
This easy marinade comes together in just minutes!
- Prepare marinade. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Cheater method: put them straight into a large ziploc bag that will also be used for marinating the chicken.
- Reserve. Remove a half a cup of marinade and reserve for basting the chicken later.
- Marinate Chicken. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over the top. Close securely and gently massage marinade into breasts. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
Marinated chicken can be cooked on the grill, in the oven or on the stovetop. Here are my tips for cooking it best:
- Grilling: Preheat grill to medium high heat and lightly oil the grates. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Baste the chicken occasionally with the reserved marinade. Remove chicken from grill and tent with foil. Let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Baking: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place marinated chicken on a shallow baking sheet or baking pan and cook for 18 to 22 minutes (or 450F for 15 to 18 minutes if you’re in a hurry) or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Baste as often as you can for best flavor.
- Stovetop: Preheat a skillet over medium high and lightly grease. Cook chicken for 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Use a stovetop grill pan for those pretty sear marks!
Any kind of chicken you like. Breasts, thighs, drumsticks, tenders, skin on or off, bone in or out. Now, keep in mind that different cuts will take more or less time. Always check on the internal temperature to check doneness. Chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
A minimum of 30 minutes and as long as overnight. I find the chicken starts to get tough if I marinate it for more than 24 hours. If you have less time, consider poking holes in the chicken with a fork to allow the marinade to penetrate quickly.
Yes, absolutely. After adding the marinade to the chicken breast in a freezer safe resealable bag, freeze chicken for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
The chicken can be grilled, baked or cooked on the stovetop. See the previous section for more information or check out the recipe card below for instructions.
More Chicken Recipes
- Homemade Chicken Nuggets
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Chicken Piccata – Ready In 20 Minutes!
- The BEST Chicken Salad
- Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Air Fryer Teriyaki Chicken
- Greek Chicken – A Sheet Pan Dinner
How to Make the Best Chicken Marinade
The BEST Chicken Marinade
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar or other vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce I use low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- ⅛ cup lemon juice
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard or Spicy Brown mustard
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 6 chicken breasts or 3.5 lb chicken
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Remove a half a cup of marinade and reserve for basting the chicken later.
- Place chicken in a large resealable bag and pour marinade over the top. Gently massage chicken breasts and be sure to close bag securely. (If you have less time, consider poking holes in the chicken with a fork to allow the marinade to penetrate quickly.)
- Refrigerate chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. I find 4 to 6 hours to be perfect.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat and lightly oil the grates.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
- Baste the chicken occasionally with the reserved marinade.
- Once the chicken has reached 165°F, remove chicken from grill and tent with foil. Let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- If you bring the reserved marinade up to a boil, let simmer until slightly reduced, it makes a wonderful sauce to go on top of the chicken.
Mark Breon says
Hands Down the BEST marinade! Delicious!! Used chicken thighs, on the grill. Marinated for a good 24 hours!! Can’t wait to make this again for friends! Simply Amazing!!
Helen Yee says
can you use chicken thighs instead? Could you have the bone in instead of boneless?
The recipe sounds great, breast just isn’t my favorite part of the chicken.
Trish - Mom On Timeout says
Absolutely! Use your favorite cut of chicken, bone in or out. This marinade is super versatile.
Mark Breon says
Chicken Thighs, YES!!
Delish, well balanced marinade. I substituted paprika and onion powder for the rosemary. Otherwise followed recipe. It’s a thick marinade and I put the extra on the stove to make a sauce. Yum! 🙂
ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! Made it today for supper (3/1/23) and family absolutely loved it! Definitely will make again! Made it with twice baked potatoes and sadly had no left overs.
This is the best marinade for chicken I have tasted yet. I used it on a whole chicken and it was ok but lacked salt. I made the marinade again except this time with chicken breasts and added more salt with this stuff and it turned out amazing.
Agreed!!! I just used this marinade tonight for dinner using BSCB too. My family went crazy they loved it so much. Just got tired of always marinating chicken in Italian dressing and while that’s fine? I wanted something different and this didn’t disappoint! It truly is the best. I didn’t have Thyme, so I subbed Oregano-perfect!
This receives rave reviews from every member of my household. My 8 year-old says it’s the best chicken ever. So, there ya go.
Although others have made the claim, this really is the best chicken marinade ever! We have used it for every cut of chicken – skin-on, skinless/boneless and kabobs, both on the grill and in the oven. Everyone eats it up and asks for more! So thank you! BTW, we’ve also used it on pork with great results. I’m going to try it with lamb next.
My roommate and I made this for supper last week, and it made the menu for this week as well! This is the most delicious chicken marinade I’ve had 😋
Love this recipe. The chicken came out so tasty and juicy. Will make it many many more times!!