marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

7 BEST Marinades for Chicken Breasts

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 4-5 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.