marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

7 BEST Chicken Marinades (+ Printable Recipe Cheat Sheet)

By Rachel Tiemeyer
August 31, 2020

These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into several tasty and healthy meals! Learn how to prep and freeze for later OR how to make them for dinner tonight. Plus, snag our FREE one-page cheat sheet of all the recipes.

7 chicken marinades

Affiliate links included.

Why We Love Marinating Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are the go-to cut of poultry in our houses. They are lean, easy to find, and versatile. But, without some serious culinary help, this cut can be flat-out boring and lackluster.

chicken marinade in freezer bags

That’s where our 7 marinades for chicken breasts come in! Marinating chicken helps to infuse flavor throughout and adds moisture to a cut of chicken that can be notoriously dry. We’ve developed 7 delicious combos of marinade ingredients so you never get bored again!

marinades in small mason jars

In this article, you’ll find:

  • Video Tutorial: How to Make 7 Chicken Marinades
  • FREE Printable Cheat Sheet
  • 7 Amazing Chicken Marinades
  • FAQ: Can you freeze chicken marinades?
  • FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?
  • FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?
  • FAQ: Where do you buy your chicken from?

1 Minute Video: How to Make All 7 Marinades for Chicken Breasts

Check out just how quickly these marinades come together using mostly pantry staples…

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

7 Chicken Marinade Recipes

There is a marinade for everyone in our collection! Each recipe works for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts. Which flavor profile looks tastiest to you?

chicken breasts in marinades in freezer bags

1. Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade

With just a few key Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create some seriously tasty marinated chicken. Serve it in wraps, on salads, or over rice. A perfect side dish is our Asian Slaw…yum!

marinade in a small mason jar and two chicken breasts in a freezer bag with marinade

2. Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

You had me at 5 ingredients! That’s right. This recipe only requires 5 pantry staple ingredients for a perfect sweet and tangy result. Delicious on top of salad with our Honey Dijon Dressing or serve on a bun with your favorite chicken sandwich toppings.

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

3. Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and flavorful marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken. Pairs perfectly with our Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Strawberry Fields Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

lemon garlic marinade in mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

4. Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade

Fresh herbs and pantry staples combine to create this complex marinade. Grill or bake the chicken, then enjoy on its own or atop a salad. Side dish ideas include our Simple Boiled Baby Potatoes or No Boil Corn on the Cob.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade and marinade in a mason jar

5. Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Cilantro, lime, garlic and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy marinade. Serve on tacos, in quesadillas, or shredded on top of nachos, like these Instant Pot Chicken Nachos.

marinade in a mason jar and marinade and chicken in freezer bag

6. The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade

This marinade packs a flavor punch! In fact, I think it’s the BEST savory one you’ll find. With just a few pantry staple ingredients, boring chicken is taken to a whole new flavor level! Enjoy a la carte, on top of our Favorite Cobb Salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap.

savory chicken marinade in a mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

7. Southwest Chicken Marinade

Of all the marinades in the world, THIS Southwest Chicken Marinade is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. And it can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos or quesadillas, in Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls, or in our Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps.

chicken marinade in a small mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

FAQ: Can you freeze these chicken marinades?

Absolutely! As freezer cookbook authors, we especially love how easy it is to prep these chicken breast marinades ahead of time and freeze them to have on hand for another night. Every recipe includes freezing instructions, so you can double and freeze a batch anytime.

frozen chicken in marinades in freezer bags

To Freeze: Simply add all the marinade ingredients to a BPA-free gallon-sized freezer bag or one of our favorite freezer meal dishes, toss or whisk to combine, and add in 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts per marinade batch. Then, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months for best results.

To Thaw: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods and then cook the chicken according to our recipe instructions. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

We encourage you to stock up on all the ingredients for these marinades and prep them in bulk for an hour or so over the weekend. You’ll love having them on hand in the freezer!

FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?

In our tests, we found that it’s best to marinate your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Less than 1 hour didn’t seem to infuse enough flavor into the chicken breasts and more than 24 hours can cause them to become a bit mealy and mushy, especially if the marinade has a high acid content.

marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

If you’re freezing your chicken in the marinade, skip the time in the refrigerator and throw it immediately into the freezer. It will not over marinate in the freezer, but the chicken will begin to absorb some of the flavor during its stay. Then, while it thaws using one of these safe methods, it will marinate even more.

FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?

Absolutely! All cuts of chicken can benefit from a dip in a marinade. So, these marinades work just as well for chicken thighs and bone-in chicken. Cooking time will vary from our recipes, however, since we direct you how to cook chicken breasts.

chicken marinades in freezer bags

FAQ: Where do you get your chicken breasts from?

We are HUGE fans of Butcherbox and have been getting our chicken (and beef, seafood, and pork) from them for years now. We love that their chicken is 100% organic and all their meat is healthy and sourced responsibly. It’s so convenient to have it delivered to our doorsteps whenever we choose!

You should definitely check it out and see if Butcherbox would be a good fit for your family. Our readers and we just love it!

We hope you find these recipes helpful in your home and helpful for stocking your freezer with healthy and delicious meals!

Don’t forget your Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

7 BEST Marinades for Chicken Breasts

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Diet: Gluten Free


These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into an amazing meal! Prep and freeze for later OR make them for dinner tonight.

All of these marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts but feel free to double or triple the recipe.


Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade:

  • ⅓ cup oil (recommended: peanut or avocado)
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar (make sure it’s not “seasoned” rice vinegar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free option: coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (sub: ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ¼ tsp ground thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (sub: 2 tsp dried parsley, crushed in hand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup oil (recommended: avocado or olive oil) 
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Southwest Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Make It Now:

  1. Add the marinade ingredients to a gallon-sized freezer bag or a freezer container with lid, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken breasts however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!


How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.


These marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts, but feel free to double for triple the batch for a larger portion.

You can use other cuts of chicken with this marinade, but our cooking directions are specifically for chicken breasts.

The nutrition info below is for the Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade, but they are all fairly similar. Check each recipe in the post above for specific nutritional information. 

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12 replies
  1. Holly McPherson says:

    I’ve made the savory and southwest after freezing them. Absolutely wonderful meals! I’d like to try the Asian next. Tell me, would stir frying be an option?

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Thanks for the review, Holly! Stir-frying the Asian Sesame Chicken is SUCH a great idea. I would cut it up in bite-sized pieces or thin strips before adding the chicken to the marinade. Then, you could totally stir-fry over medium-high to high heat in a pan on the stove. Add in some stir-fry veggies (i.e. thinly sliced carrots, water chestnuts, snow peas, broccoli), too. Yum!

  2. Theresa G says:

    I haven’t eaten any of the marinated chicken, but major props to you ladies for this resource! I had almost all of these ingredients already, and was able to prep all but the Asian sesame and freeze today! That feels like a major accomplishment and will make dinner time easier in the coming weeks. All of the flavor combos looked like crowd pleasers, and I appreciated the easily accessible ingredients. Thanks for the freebie!!

  3. Brianna says:

    Made the Balsamic Herb and the Savory marinades so far. They are so good!! I haven’t had the chance to freeze the chicken in the marinades yet so I just let them marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Still very flavorful – everyone in the family loved both!! Thank you!

  4. Marsha says:

    I made 2 of these marinades so far. Oh my goodness they were delicious. Can’t wait to try the rest. Southwest and Cilantro lime were great.