This chicken marinade makes chicken so juicy and flavorful! You can use this chicken marinade recipe with skinless chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken tenders or any other cut of chicken.
This marinade for chicken has six-ingredients, so easy to toss together and makes the chicken incredibly juicy and flavorful! This marinade is sure to become a staple in your kitchen for grilled chicken.
Most of the ingredients for this chicken marinade are likely already in your pantry and refrigerator. A simple chicken marinade is the secret ingredient for grilling chicken. It infuses flavors and makes the chicken super juicy and tender!
We love making grilled chicken several times a week! This grilled chicken marinade will be your new favorite marinade recipe. It uses basic pantry ingredients, including corn oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and seasonings.
Grilled chicken is so versatile for all sorts of meals. This chicken marinade is easy to prep ahead of time. Just mix the ingredients in a zip-style bag, marinate and grill. Serve with your favorite sides.
Why this recipe works
- Made with simple ingredients – Most of the ingredients for this chicken marinade recipe are likely already in your pantry and fridge.
- Use any cut of chicken – This recipe for chicken marinade works with boneless chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken tenders or cutlets.
- A healthier chicken marinade – Since this chicken marinade has simple ingredients, corn oil and no added sugar, it’s great for making healthier meals.
- Flavorful – This grilled chicken marinade adds so much flavor to boneless chicken and makes it wonderfully juicy!
- Versatile – You’ll love this chicken breast marinade served with risotto, roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables. We save leftovers and use it for wraps, salads and sandwiches. It’s even delicious for chicken quesadillas.
What you’ll need
- Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to make them an even thickness, tenderloins or chicken thighs.
- Oil – Corn oil has a smoke point higher than most cooking oils at 450°F and performs well in a variety of cooking applications. We prefer corn oil in this chicken marinade recipe because it’s healthier too, but you can use whatever type of oil you prefer.
- Balsamic vinegar – Gives the marinade a sweet and tangy flavor.
- Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice is the best, but you can really use any type of citrus you prefer. We love this chicken marinade recipe with freshly squeezed orange juice. And you can use tangerines or tangelos too. (Those are delicious!!)
- Prepared Mustard – Dijon or stoneground mustard are our favorites. They give this chicken marinade wonderful flavor.
- Seasoning – Kinders Buttery Steakhouse seasoning is all you need. It’s the most flavorful blend of spices, including salt, black pepper, onion, garlic and butter flavor. (It’s a much better value in BJ’s if you can find it!)
How to make chicken marinade
- Prep the chicken – Place chicken breasts, one at a time in a gallon zip-style bag. Gently use a wooden rolling pin or a meat tenderizer to flatten the chicken slightly and make it even thickness. (about ½ to ¾-inch thick) This helps chicken breasts cook evenly and tenderizes the chicken.
- Mix ingredients – Place all of the chicken marinade ingredients into a large freezer zip-style bag and press the outside of the bag with your fingers to combine.
- Add chicken & refrigerate – Be sure all the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal. Refrigerate for a minimum of two hours and up to 24 hours. (Lay the chicken on a clean dry paper towel or kitchen cloth in case it accidently leaks in the fridge!)
Marinating your chicken overnight can help make it juicier and tender. Turn the chicken occasionally to make sure it all gets coated well with the marinade. This grilled chicken marinade tenderizes and flavors the chicken breasts. All you need to do is marinate overnight and throw on the grill!
We love this chicken marinade with either fresh lemons or oranges. You can also grill lemon or orange slices, then squeeze the juices over the grilled chicken.
Fresh herbs are a great addition, but this marinade is absolutely delicious without them too!
How to keep your outdoor grill clean
- Brush the grates – Use a grill brush to clean the grill grates.
- Wipe down the exterior – Use some cleaner and a wet kitchen towel to wipe down the exterior of the grill and side shelves. (Our favorite all-purpose cleaner is Advanage 20x. It’s not cheap, but comes in a concentrate, so it lasts a long time and is the best cleaner on the market!)
- Line bottom with aluminum foil – To keep our grill clean, we line the bottom with a layer of aluminum foil and change it out frequently. Use food safe gloves to keep your hands clean and remove the old aluminum foil, then replace with a new piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. This will help catch any fat, juices or pieces of meat and keep cleanup to a minimum.
- Burn off excess gunk – Turn the grill up to high for 10 minutes occasionally to burn off some of the excess gunk.
Maintaining your outdoor grill will help prevent fires and keep the grill lasting longer. Many grills have a tray that slides out the back. We line this with aluminum foil, helping with quick cleanup.
Grilled chicken is perfect for backyard barbecues, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and other family gatherings.
Should you poke holes in the chicken before marinating?
No! You do NOT want to poke holes in the chicken before marinating. This will enable juices to escape from the chicken while it grills and potentially make it dry out.
Chicken marinating and grilling tips
- Pound the chicken – Use a small rolling pin or meat tenderizer to pound the chicken and make it even thickness. Not only will this make it cook perfectly on the entire piece of chicken, it also tenderizes it.
- Use food safe containers – We generally use gallon freezer zip-style bags. These are great because they are thicker and less chance the marinade will leak. Sealable bags are also great for cleanup. You can also use food grade plastic, glass bowls or ceramic baking dishes.
- Never wash chicken – USDA recommends you do NOT wash or rinse chicken or poultry products. It’s just gonna spread lots of germs around your sink and kitchen!
- Marinade in the refrigerator – Always marinade chicken or any meats in the refrigerator and never at room temperature to avoid food-born illness. Flip occasionally to make sure marinade coats all the pieces of chicken. Remove from the fridge and place on a half sheet pan 15-20 minutes while your grill heats up.
- Never reuse marinade – Discard any unused marinade as it can create harmful bacteria.
- Marinade chicken for 2 hours – The longer you marinate chicken, the more flavorful it will become.
- Don’t over marinade chicken – Marinating chicken for any longer than 24 hours will breakdown protein fibers and make grilled chicken tough and chewy.
- Clean the grill – Clean grill grates will ensure the chicken doesn’t stick to it and create beautiful grill marks. Plus helps prevent fires.
- Use a hot grill – Turn the grill on high and let preheat for 10-15 minutes (gas grill) or 30 minutes for a charcoal grill. Don’t add the chicken until the grill reaches the proper temperature or you won’t get good grill marks and it won’t cook properly.
- Flip once – Add chicken breasts to the grill, close the lid to maintain heat and don’t touch for about 5 minutes. Use a good pair of tongs to flip the chicken once.
- Don’t overcook – Grill chicken until it reaches 165 degrees F. Remember it will continue to cook a little after you remove it from the grill. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Use a thermometer to check the temperature!
- Let chicken rest – Let grilled chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This will help chicken stay juicy. Otherwise, slicing too soon makes juices run right out of the chicken.
The chicken should marinade for at least 1-2 hours (up to 24 hours) for the flavors really to absorb well into the chicken.
The four main components of a marinade are oil, acid, salt or sweet and seasoning.
Place marinated chicken breasts on the preheated grill and close the lid. It’s important to keep the grill closed while chicken is cooking to maintain the heat. Cook chicken breasts on the grill for 5-7 minutes on each side or the internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
More grilling recipes
- Whiskey Steak Marinade
- Easy Steak Marinade
- Brown Sugar Chicken Marinade
- Sweet Chili Chicken
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Grilled Salmon
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- 2-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup corn oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Dijon or Stone ground mustard
- 2 tablespoons Kinders Buttery Steakhouse seasoning
- 2 large lemons or oranges (juices)
- 1 tablespoon fresh Thyme (chopped) optional
- 1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary (chopped) optional
- In a large zip-style bag add the marinade ingredients and push around on the outside of the bag with your fingers to combine.
- Lightly flatten the chicken by placing one piece at a time inside a plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap. Use a wooden rolling pin or a meat tenderizer to flatten the chicken slightly and make it even thickness. (about ½ to ¾-inch thick)
- Place each piece of flattened chicken into the marinade. Place in the refrigerator for minimum of 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat your gas grill to medium to high heat. If using a charcoal grill, pile charcoal bricks in the center of the bottom of the grill in a pile. Use lighter fluid to get them going. Wait until the flames are gone to spread the heated charcoal bricks out evenly in the grill.
- Add the marinated chicken to the preheated grill and close the lid to keep the heat in.
- Grill the chicken over medium to high heat for about 4-6 minutes on each side. Turn once with tongs. Pour the remaining marinade over the chicken while it cooks. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F.
- Remove from the grill with tongs, place on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
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