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Easy Grilled Chicken Marinade

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This easy Grilled Chicken Marinade is so incredibly delicious. It’s filled with savory herbs, sweet with honey, and citrusy with lemon flavors. It’s a marinade you’re going to love for the grilling season. Bonus… the marinade helps keep the chicken moist and juicy. Just as we love it!

Top view of grilled marinated chicken on a black cutting board

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And the best news is that it works equally well whether you’re grilling chicken indoors, on the stovetop… or even baking it in the oven.

Grilled chicken is a quintessential favorite dish. Its succulent and juicy texture and smoky flavors infused during grilling help give it a favorite status.

This marinade adds depth of flavor and tenderizes the chicken, which, of course, makes it even more irresistible! This simple chicken marinade does all that… and more!

Side view of grilled chicken with fresh parsley and grilled lemons

What is a Marinade?

Marinades are a combination of flavorful ingredients that work their magic by penetrating the surface of the chicken and infusing it with taste.

This process not only imparts delicious flavors but also helps to tenderize the meat. The marinade acid helps break down the proteins, resulting in a more tender and flavorful chicken.

3 Common Ingredients for a Chicken Marinade

A marinade commonly includes these three ingredients: an acid (like vinegar or citrus, an oil (like olive oil), and flavoring like fresh herbs and spices.

And that is where the magic begins. There are endless possibilities for creating your own unique blend, a secret signature marinade born from experimenting with different flavors of each.

How to Balance Marinade Flavors

Creating a balanced marinade ensures that no single flavor overpowers the others.

Experiment with various ingredients to strike the right balance that suits your taste. Consider using citrus juices like lemon or lime for a tangy twist, while vinegar adds a slightly acidic note.

Incorporate aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme, or cilantro to add depth and complexity. Depending on your preference, spices such as paprika, cumin, or chili powder can lend a smoky or spicy kick.

Side view of chicken thighs grilling on a BBQ grate.

Chicken Marinade Tips

1. Allow enough time: Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, but not longer than 24 hours for optimal flavor infusion. I prefer marinating chicken for 3 to 4 hours. Excessive marinating, longer than 24 hours, can make the meat mushy.

2. Refrigeration is key: Always marinate your chicken in a sealed container or a ziplock bag and keep it refrigerated. This prevents the growth of bacteria and maintains food safety.

3. Flip and massage: While marinating, flip the chicken occasionally and massage the marinade into the meat. This ensures even distribution of flavors.

4. Pat dry before grilling: Before grilling the chicken, remove it from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Excess moisture can hinder the formation of a beautiful char and grill marks.

Top view of Grilled Chicken Marinade on a black serving board with violas, grilled lemons and fresh parsley

Easy Grilled Chicken Marinade

Grilled chicken becomes a delicious feast when treated with a flavorful. The key lies in striking the perfect balance of ingredients to enhance the natural flavors of the chicken. You can take your grilled chicken from ordinary to extraordinary with the right combination of acids, oils, herbs, and spices.

Here is what’s in my favorite chicken marinade that I’ll be using all season! (Ingredient measurements are in the recipe card below).

  • Olive oil extra virgin
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Worchester Sauce
  • Minced garlic
  • Seasonings: Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper

How to Make Grilled Chicken Marinade

Step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card below, along with details on how to perfectly grill chicken thighs.

Top view of boneless skinless chicken thighs in a resealable bag with marinade on a black cutting board

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Remove and reserve about half for basting the chicken later.

Top view of marinating chicken in a resealable bag ready for chilling

Pour marinade over the chicken in a large resealable bag and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

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Side view of grilled chicken thighs with sliced meat, fresh herbs on a parchment lined cutting board
Top view of grilled marinated chicken on a black cutting board

Easy Grilled Chicken Marinade

An easy grilled chicken marinade, bursting with sweet herb citrus flavor, is utterly delicious. And, it keeps chicken tender and juicy!
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

Chicken Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Worchester Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste

Grilled Chicken

  • 6 chicken thighs boneless skinless
  • lemon slices slightly grilled, for serving

Instructions

  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Remove half of the marinade and set aside for basting the chicken while it grills.
    Top view of boneless skinless chicken thighs in a resealable bag with marinade on a black cutting board
  • Place the chicken in a large resealable bag and pour the marinade over the top. Seal the bag securely and massage the marinade into the chicken.
  • Chill the chicken in the refrigerator and at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. For the most flavor, 2 to 4 hours is optimum.

To Grill

  • Preheat the grill to medium high heat (about 400 degrees) and lightly oil the grates.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the remaining marinade.
  • Place chicken over direct heat and grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160°F, move the thighs to a low heat zone of the grill. As the chicken grills, baste with reserved marinade.
  • When cooked, remove chicken from the grill, tent with foil, and let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 379mg | Potassium: 262mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken marinade, grilled chicken marinade

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