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Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This grilled chicken recipe is moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. It can be turned into a freezer meal and is a great recipe for groups of people.

grilled chicken, rice, zucchini, and peaches on a gray plate with fork

Grilling season isn’t quite over yet in mid-Missouri thankfully. We’ve had 70 and 80 degree sunny days for what feels like months and our family is loving it! You’re going to love this grilled chicken recipe, especially the marinade.

Chicken on a grill

Ingredients in Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. The simple Balsamic Herb marinade in this recipe requires only a few pantry staples to turn that lackluster cut into something super tasty!

ingredients for grilled balsamic herb chicken
  • Olive or avocado oil – To keep things moist.
  • Balsamic vinegar – Acid is a must in all marinades, yet this one brings a little sweetness along with it.
  • Honey – A bit more sweetness to balance out the acid.
  • Dijon mustard – Brings a complex tanginess.
  • Garlic cloves – Delicious pungent flavor.
  • Dried parsley, basil, and oregano – All the herbs add color and an herbaceous undertone.
  • Salt and Pepper – Basics that balance every marinade.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – Widely available and lean. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs will work, too.

1 Minute Video: How to Make Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

Check out just how quickly this marinade and recipe comes together using only pantry staples…

How to Make This Into a Freezer Meal

Freezer cooking is our jam! We’ve co-authored two popular freezer meal cookbooks and been blogging about it for 9 years now. It’s a way of life that makes getting dinner on the table SO much easier each night.

Here’s how to make this grilled chicken recipe into a freezer meal to have on hand when you need it…

1) First, you’ll pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even grilling.

2) Then, to a large freezer bag, add the marinade ingredients. Seal and shake to combine.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade

3) Add in the chicken, seal, and freeze. Be sure to label your bag with the recipe name, cooking instructions, and the date. You might find our Freezer Meal Labels helpful for that.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade

4) When you’re ready to eat your freezer meal, defrost it using one of these safe thawing methods. Grill the chicken according to Step 3 in the recipe. Note: Be sure to cook the thawed chicken as soon as possible so it doesn’t get mushy or tough from over-marinating.

grilled balsamic herb chicken on the grill with zucchini and peaches

What to Serve with Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

This recipe can be served up a variety of ways. You could go simple, like I usually roll for our family dinners. I served my grilled chicken with some cooked quinoa, steamed green beans, and grapes for what ended in a filling, tasty, and quite healthy dinner.

Or, you could serve it alongside your favorite grilled produce, like:

grilled chicken, rice, zucchini, and peaches on a gray plate with fork

Another idea is to offer a colorful salad on the side like our Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette, which mirrors the flavors in the marinade well.

Try All Our Chicken Marinades

I have to say, this is definitely one of my go-to marinades from our 7 Best Chicken Marinades. Oh, did I mention we have 7 delicious chicken marinades for you?? Try some of our other favorites to mix things up:

If you want to have all 7 of our simple marinade recipes on hand anytime, download our free 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.

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grilled chicken, rice, zucchini, and peaches on a gray plate with fork

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken recipe is made with all pantry staples and turns out moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. 


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, crushed in hand
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/22 lbs)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even grilling.
  2. To a large zip-top bag, add the balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and oregano. Seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken and seal. (Freezing instructions begin here.) Refrigerate for about 2 hours and up to 24 hours to allow chicken to marinate. 
  3. 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. Chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally or has no more pink inside.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Seal the bag tightly and freeze. 

Prepare From Frozen: Defrost the freezer meal using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook the chicken according to Step 3. Note: Be sure to cook the thawed chicken as soon as possible so it doesn’t get mushy or tough from over-marinating.

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

Here are a few more grilled chicken recipes you might like. All of these can be turned into freezer meals, too!

Southwest Grilled Chicken Tenders

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

Create the ultimate chicken sandwiches for any weeknight by prepping and freezing all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads.

Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

7 BEST Chicken Marinades (+ Printable Recipe Cheat Sheet)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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 Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

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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

Description

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.


Ingredients

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

Instructions

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!

COOKING NOTES:

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.

Notes

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. 

More Freezer Meal Round-Ups You Might Like

Top 10 Ground Beef Recipes

70+ Healthy Freezer Meals (Listed by Category!)

Southwest Chicken Marinade

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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, on top of a burrito bowl or salad.

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

*Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox and have included links in this post.

Ingredients in Southwest Chicken Marinade

Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. This complex marinade requires mostly pantry staples to turn that lackluster cut into something that makes your tastebuds sing.

ingredients for southwest chicken marinade on a counter

Let’s meet the key ingredients…

  • Avocado or olive oil – Use a fairly neutral oil keeps things moist without an overpowering flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Cider vinegar adds a delicious twist on the acid component but white vinegar will work.
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (or parsley) – Adds a pop of green and fresh flavor. Leave out if you don’t have it on hand, though.
  • Chili powder – Smoky, subtle heat from ground chilis. Flavor can vary between brands.
  • Garlic powder – This pantry staple adds big (and convenient) garlic flavor that rounds out the whole marinade.
  • Ground cumin – Love this smoky yet not spicy addition.
  • Dried oregano – Crush in your hand before adding to release the oils in this dried herb.
  • Salt – A must in any chicken marinade.
  • Ground black pepper – Gives a little bite. Add more if you’d like.

How to Make and Store the Marinade

marinade in a small mason jar

You can mix up this marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a jar to use when ready. Or, you can freeze it in a mason jar, too, but allow at least 1 inch of headspace at the top for expansion.

marinating chicken breasts in a freezer bag

When ready to use the marinade, pour it over chicken in a zip-top bag or container with a lid. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to infuse flavor. If you plan to freeze the chicken in the marinade, do not let it marinate first.

chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

Then, grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake your marinated Southwest Chicken. You choose your method! We’ve included instructions for how to cook boneless chicken breasts any of these ways in the recipe below.

Ideas for Serving Southwest Chicken

Idea #1: Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Kids love this fun way of eating chicken! You can also thread your favorite veggies, like onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini, on separate skewers and grill at the same time. I keep the chicken on separate skewers from the veggies because they usually cook at different rates.

Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Idea #2: Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls

I love this make ahead meal option. Cook your chicken ahead of time. Then provide cooked rice or quinoa, the chicken, black beans, and all your favorite Mexican toppings so everyone can personalize their bowls.

Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls - A healthy and filling dinner idea for everyone!

Idea #3: Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps

Inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in town, I created this build-your-own wrap recipe using marinated chicken and a super simple sauce. Plus…BACON! You’ll love it!

More Ideas:

MORE CHICKEN MARINADES YOU MUST TRY

Try some of other other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:

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.

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 Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

Print
southwest chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

Southwest Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Cuisine: Southwest
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

The perfect combo of smoky southwest ingredients without being too spicy, this chicken marinade makes kids and adults alike happy! Use the chicken for taco and burrito filling, salads, kabobs, quesadillas, and more.


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the oil, vinegar, cilantro/parsley, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, salt and pepper to a gallon-sized freezer bag, 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 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken 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!

COOKING NOTES:

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.

Notes

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. 

ingredients for chicken marinade on a counter

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and flavorful marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken.

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

Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox and have included links in this post.

Ingredients in Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. This light and citrusy marinade only requires a few ingredients and yet turns that lackluster cut into something that makes your tastebuds sing.

The star ingredients of Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade are fresh lemon juice and zest, good olive oil, fresh minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. So simple!

lemon garlic marinade in small mason jar

How to Make and Store the Marinade

You can mix up this marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a jar to use when ready. Or, you can freeze it in a mason jar, too, but allow at least 1 inch of headspace at the top for expansion.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with lemon garlic marinade

When ready to use the marinade, pour it over chicken in a zip-top bag or container with a lid. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to infuse flavor.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with lemon garlic marinade

Then, grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake your marinated Lemon Garlic Chicken–whatever floats your boat! We’ve included instructions for how to cook chicken any of these ways in the recipe below.

MORE CHICKEN MARINADES YOU MUST TRY

Try some of other other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:

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.

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 Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

Print
chicken breasts in freezer bag with lemon garlic marinade

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: No cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and citrusy marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken. This amount of marinade works for 1.5 – 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, thighs, or tenders. 


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to a gallon-sized freezer bag, 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 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken 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!

 

COOKING NOTES:

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.

Notes

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. 

Fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, salt, and olive oil in small bowls