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With just a few common Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create this easy Asian Chicken Marinade for your favorite cut of chicken. After cooking the chicken, serve it in wraps, on salads, or with rice.
“So good and so easy. The whole family loved the sesame flavor.”
– Anna ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This complex-tasting chicken marinade recipe requires mostly pantry staples to turn that lackluster cut into something that makes your tastebuds sing.
- Avocado or peanut oil – A fairly neutral oil keeps things moist without an overpowering flavor.
- Rice vinegar – This traditional Asian vinegar provides the acid component to the marinade. Make sure to buy the “unseasoned” kind, not “seasoned”.
- Soy sauce – Adds saltiness and that mouthwatering “umami” flavor.
- Honey – Just a hint of sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the soy sauce.
- Sesame oil – A touch of this oil adds a deep nuttiness. Don’t go overboard.
- Pepper – Gives a little bite. Add more if you’d like.
How to Make Asian Chicken Marinade
Place the marinade ingredients straight into a large Ziploc bag and give it a good shake. This saves you an extra dish. You could also mix the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and pour it over the chicken. Options galore!
Add the chicken to the ziplock bag with the marinade. Close securely and gently massage it into the meat. Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
4 Ways to Cook Marinated Chicken
Chicken breasts are by far the most popular cut to marinate and cook, so we’re giving you several cooking options below. You can grill, bake, slow cook, or pressure cook your boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs).
Here are four easy ways to cook marinated Asian Chicken:
Bake in the 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, depending on the thickness of the chicken, until done.
Slow Cook in the Crockpot
Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise, you’ll overcook and dry it out.
Here is a whole post about how long to cook chicken in the Crockpot if you’re interested!
Pressure Cook in the 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 the Chicken
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 (400-450°F) and clean the grates well. Grill for 4-6 minutes per side, closing the lid in between flipping. The cook time may take a little longer, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
How to Know When 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!
A great use of your time is prep a few freezer meals using this marinade. Like most of our chicken freezer meals, simply combine the ingredients (the marinade & the chicken) and freeze for later. No need to let the chicken marinate before freezing either. When you want to use it, let the chicken thaw one of these safe ways.
Ideas for Serving Asian Chicken
Once you cook your marinated Asian Chicken, try serving it in one of these ways.
Idea #1: A Simple Asian Chicken Dinner with Brown Rice
Just serve the cooked chicken with rice and slaw or stir-fried veggies. You can find a bag of stir-fry veggies in the freezer section to make it easy. Again, you can boil the marinade, strain it, and use it as a sauce over the veggies, rice, and chicken. So simple and healthy!
Idea #2: Asian Chicken Wrap
One unique way to serve this marinated chicken is in an Asian Chicken Wrap. To make it, grill the chicken, chop it, and serve it in a wrap with thinly shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, julienned water chestnuts, and a little brown rice. Boil the remaining marinade, strain out the solids, and use as a sauce.
Idea #3: Asian Slaw Salad with Chicken
Grill the chicken and chop it up. Boil the marinade, strain out the solids, and let it cool. Create a salad of shredded coleslaw, shredded carrots, frozen edamame (that’s been thawed), roasted sunflower seeds, roasted almonds, and dried cranberries. Feel free to add chopped apples or pears, too. Top it with the chicken and cooled sauce, which works as a dressing! It’s delicious.
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.
More Chicken Marinades
Try some of our other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:
- Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade
- Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade
- Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade
- Southwest Chicken Marinade
- The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade
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- 1/3 cup avocado or peanut oil
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar (make sure it’s “unseasoned” rice vinegar)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free option: coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs
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Make It Now:
- Mix Up Marinade: Add the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, pepper, and chicken to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade and everything is combined. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
- Marinate Chicken: Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Cook Chicken: Cook the chicken using one of these methods. The chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internally and/or is no longer pink inside.
- Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. (Tip: Spray the dish/sheet pan with cooking spray to prevent sticking.) Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done. May take longer depending on the thickness of the chicken.
- Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 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: Before marinating, pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. To do this, place one breast at a time inside a freezer bag and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (400-450°F) and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-6 minutes per side, closing the lid in between flipping, until done. The cook time may be longer depending on the thickness.
- Make Extra Sauce (optional): Instead of discarding the leftover marinade, place it in a small pot and bring it to a rolling boil on the stovetop for at least 1 minute. Watch closely so it doesn’t overflow. Strain it, if desired, and use as extra sauce over the cooked chicken.*
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!
Where We Get Our Chicken: We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves.
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! Another way to tell is if it has no more pink inside when you slice into the middle.
*How to Safely Turn the Marinade Into Sauce: 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. 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.
More Chicken Marinades to Try: Try some of our other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up: