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These 7 well-tested, easy chicken marinades will transform boneless chicken breasts into several tasty, healthy meals. We’ll show you 4 different methods for cooking your marinated chicken, plus how to make them into freezer meals for later.
5 Reasons to Love These Marinade Recipes
- Marinating chicken helps to infuse flavor throughout and adds moisture to a cut of chicken that can be notoriously bland and dry.
- We’ve developed and meticulously tested 7 delicious combos of marinade ingredients so you never get bored again! I seriously love every single one of these.
- We’ll show you how to cook your marinated chicken 4 different ways–grilled, baked, slow cooked, or pressure cooked. You have options!
- You can prep these in bulk and freeze them. So dinner is always ready to go!
- Bonus: We’ll show you how to repurpose your marinade into a safe-to-eat, flavorful sauce to drizzle over your cooked chicken. It can be done!
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7 Chicken Marinade Recipes
There is a marinade for everyone in our collection!
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. Perfect side dishes are Asian Slaw and Brown Rice (or Cilantro Lime Rice)…yum!
You had me at 5 ingredients! That’s right. This recipe only requires 5 pantry staple ingredients for a perfect sweet and tangy result. This chicken is delicious on top of salad with our Honey Dijon Dressing or serve it like we do in our Honey Dijon Chicken Sandwiches.
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, Grilled Asparagus, and Strawberry Fields Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.
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 Simple Boiled Baby Potatoes or No Boil Corn on the Cob. The one pictured below is served over cous cous with a simple Caprese Salad (cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and fresh basil with balsamic glaze).
Cilantro, lime, garlic, and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy marinade. Serve the cooked chicken a la cart over Cilantro Lime Rice, on tacos, in quesadillas, or shredded on top of nachos, like these Instant Pot Chicken Nachos.
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 with Instant Pot Mashed potatoes, on top of our Favorite Cobb Salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap.
Of all the marinades in the world, THIS is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. It can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos, quesadillas, Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls, Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps or Southwest Chicken Salad.
Chicken Marinade Cheat Sheet
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FAQs about Chicken Marinades
The ideal marinating time for chicken is anywhere between 2-24 hours. The specific time can depend on the type and cut of chicken, as well as the acidity level of the marinade.
Yes, over-marinating chicken can actually have a negative effect on the texture and taste of the meat. Acidic marinades, in particular, can break down the proteins in the chicken too much and leave it with a mushy texture.
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.
You shouldn’t reuse marinade but you can boil it to use safely as a sauce over your finished dish using these directions. I actually do this all the time.
To kill all the raw chicken germs, be sure to bring the marinade to a rolling boil in a pot on the stove for at least 1 minute, according to the CDC‘s directions for making water safe to drink.
The World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source notes that bacteria are rapidly killed at temperatures above 149°F (65°C), which is below that of boiling water or even a simmer. So rest assured you’ll be safe if you boil it well for 1 minute. We’d suggest straining it after boiling to remove any chicken pieces.
In our tests, we found that it’s best to marinate your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours 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 (unless the chicken was frozen for part of that time) can cause them to become a bit mealy and mushy, especially if the marinade has a high acid content.
Yes, you can marinate frozen chicken. Go ahead and throw frozen boneless chicken breasts or thighs in a freezer bag with the marinade and stick the bag in the freezer until you’re ready. Or, place the bag of chicken and marinade in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, until thawed completely.
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.
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!
Bottom Line: I hope you feel sufficiently motivated and resourced to make some darn delicious (and healthy) chicken now! Be sure to look for boneless, skinless chicken breasts to go on sale and then stock up. Spend an hour on the weekend prepping several of these marinades, toss your chicken in the bags, and freeze so you can have dinner ready to cook any night!