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Balsamic chicken on top of quinoa topped with tomatoes and mozzarella

Balsamic Chicken Marinade

Fresh herbs and pantry staples combine to create this complex chicken marinade. Grill or bake the chicken, then enjoy on its own or atop a salad. Marinade works for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breast, tenders, or thighs.

Yield: 5 servings 1x
Prep: 5 minutesCook: 12 minutesTotal: 17 minutes (plus marinating time)


  • 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
  • 1 1/22 pounds chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs

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Make It Now:

  1. Make Marinade: Add the oil, vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and 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.)
  2. Marinate Chicken: Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!


© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Cuisine: American Method: Any cooking method