Create the most juicy and flavorful chicken with this easy TESTED and PERFECTED Chicken Marinade recipe! With 7 simple ingredients, say good bye to dry, boring chicken breasts forever! I recommend grilling the chicken after marinating it, but you can also pan fry it, or bake it in the oven.

sliced grilled chicken on plate with lemon wedges

When I met my husband, he ate a lot of grilled chicken, and therefore when we started dating, I ate a lot of grilled chicken. Luckily, he had gotten a marinade recipe from a friend at work years ago that made his grilled chicken so delicious!

After trying several different chicken marinade recipes over the years, this is still our go-to recipe. Today, I’m super excited to share the recipe on the blog!

The thing I really like about this recipe is that it’s super simple! You probably already have most of the marinade ingredients in your pantry or fridge right now. These 7 simple ingredients combine to make the best chicken marinade recipe ever!

  1. Acid from lemon juice tenderizes the chicken.
  2. Salt from soy sauce flavors the chicken.
  3. Worcestershire sauce adds a wonderful layer of umami flavor.
  4. Dijon mustard adds a delicious tang.
  5. Olive oil helps achieve a nice crust on the outside of the chicken.
  6. These all combine for a perfect balance of flavors and texture!

I use this marinade on chicken breasts, but you could use it to marinate another cut of chicken, like thighs, wings or drumsticks, for air frying, grilling or roasting in the oven. It makes enough marinade for two pounds of meat, but the recipe can easily be doubled for more!

ingredients for chicken marinade on white wood board

Ingredients

Combine these 7 simple ingredients to make THE BEST chicken marinade! Visit the recipe card at the bottom of this post for all of the specific measurements.

  • Chicken breasts – I recommend slicing boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half lengthwise through the middle before adding them to the marinade. This will result in more juicy and tender chicken after it’s cooked, as you don’t have to overcook the outside to get a super thick chicken breast cooked through in the middle. You can also use this marinade for bone-in chicken breasts, chicken thighs, chicken tenders, chicken wings or drumsticks.
  • Soy sauce – this ingredient adds salty and umami flavors to the marinade.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – another type of vegetable oil can also be used, like avocado oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil.
  • Lemon juice – the acidity from the citrus helps tenderize the chicken and adds a wonderful zesty flavor to the marinade. I recommend fresh-squeezed for the best flavor. If you’re in a pinch and only have lime juice available, you can use that instead.
  • Worcestershire sauce – a delicious addition to the marinade that adds a wonderful layer of umami flavors.
  • Dijon mustard – this is the secret ingredient that adds flavor to the marinade and helps the other marinade ingredients stick to the chicken for maximum flavor absorption!
  • Garlic powder + black pepper – spices to season the marinade.

Adding 1 tablespoon of honey or brown sugar to the marinade is optional to add a level of sweetness. But one of the things I love about this recipe is that it’s so good without sugar, making it a great, healthy option!

chicken breasts in plastic zipper bag with marinade

Instructions

  1. Combine lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, garlic powder and black pepper in a gallon size zipper bag or large bowl.
  2. Add chicken breasts and marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

That’s it, two simple steps and your chicken is soaking in the best marinade ever!

Once the chicken is marinated, you can grill it, bake it in the oven, or cook it in a skillet on the stove. Once it’s cooked, feel free to garnish the chicken with chopped fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro, before serving.

grilled chicken breasts on plate with lemon wedges

Grill the chicken

  1. Preheat a grill to medium heat, around 350°F. Once the grill is hot, use tongs to remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken breasts on the grill. Discard the remaining marinade in the bag.
  2. Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Check this temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken breast.
  3. Remove the chicken from the grill once it reaches the appropriate internal temperature, and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. This gives the chicken juices time to redistribute throughout the meat, a key to achieving JUICY chicken breasts every time!

Bake the chicken

  1. Preheat an oven to 450°F. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken breasts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Discard the remaining marinade in the bag.
  2. Cook the chicken in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Check this temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken breast.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven once it reaches the appropriate internal temperature. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Cook the chicken in a skillet

  1. Heat a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. This will help it achieve a wonderful crust on the outside. Too much liquid in the skillet will steam the chicken breasts instead of pan searing them. When grilling the chicken breasts, extra liquid will fall through the grill grates, but in a skillet, the liquid has no where to go.
  3. Add the chicken to the skillet and allow it to cook on one side for 5 minutes without moving the chicken breast. Not moving the chicken during this cooking time will give it a nice sear. Flip the chicken breast and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. Check this temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken breast.
  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet once it reaches the appropriate internal temperature. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
sliced grilled chicken on plate with lemon wedges

Frequently asked questions

  • What can I substitute for soy sauce? If you have a soy allergy, gluten allergy or just don’t like the taste of soy sauce, I recommend using coconut aminos instead. This soy sauce alternative is soy-free, gluten-free and contains much less sodium. For this reason, I do recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to the marinade if you replace the soy sauce with coconut aminos.
  • How much chicken can I marinate with this recipe? This recipe can be used to marinate up to 2 pounds of chicken. You can cut the recipe in half for 1 pound of meat, or double it for 4 pounds of meat.
  • Can you make the marinade ahead of time? Sure thing! Simply whisk all of the marinade ingredients together and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just avoid marinating the meat for more than 24 hours.
  • Can you marinate frozen chicken? Yes, but you will need to marinate the chicken for the full 24 hours in the fridge. This will allow the chicken to thaw completely, while it’s in the marinade. Alternatively, you can thaw the chicken breasts first, then add them to the marinade for a shorter marinade time.
  • Do you rinse the marinade off chicken before cooking? No, you do not want to rinse the marinade off of the chicken breasts. If you’re grilling the chicken, they can go straight from the marinade onto the grill. If you’re cooking the chicken in a skillet, I do recommend patting it dry before adding it to the skillet. When placing chicken on the grill, any excess marinade will drip through the grill grates. When cooking the chicken in a skillet, the marinade has no where to go. It will stay in the skillet and you won’t get that beautiful sear on the outside of the chicken.

How to make chicken kabobs

This marinade is perfect for making chicken kabobs, or skewers, for the grill!

I recommend cubing the chicken breasts first before adding them to the marinade. This way, more surface area of the chicken gets to soak up the delicious marinade.

After marinating cubes of chicken for at least 1 hour, skewer the chicken by itself or with veggies, like bell peppers and onions. Grill the chicken kabobs over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, flip and continue grilling for an additional 5 minutes.

What to serve with the chicken

Whether you’re grilling the marinated chicken at a summer BBQ, or roasting it in the oven for a warm winter dinner, try paring this chicken recipe with any of these side dishes for a winning meal!

This chicken also makes a great protein addition to this Spinach Strawberry Salad, Beet Salad or Blue Cheese Salad!

sliced grilled chicken on plate

More chicken recipes

Winner, winner chicken dinner! Add each of these popular chicken recipes to your menu this week.

And if you love this chicken marinade, be sure to check out my steak marinade and pork chop marinade recipes, to add flavor to all of your favorite proteins!

sliced grilled chicken on plate with lemon wedges
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Chicken Marinade

Create the most juicy and flavorful chicken with this easy TESTED and PERFECTED Chicken Marinade recipe! With 7 simple ingredients, say good bye to dry, boring chicken breasts forever! I recommend grilling the chicken after marinating it, but you can also pan fry it, or bake it in the oven.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, or plastic zipper bag, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  • Slice the chicken breasts in half through the middle, so each piece of chicken is less than 1 inch thick. Add the chicken to the marinade and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat a grill to medium heat, around 350°F. Once the grill is hot, use tongs to remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken breasts on the grill. Discard the remaining marinade in the bag.
  • Grill the chicken for 5-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Check this temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken breast.
  • Remove the chicken from the grill once it reaches the appropriate internal temperature, and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  • See the notes section below for instructions on how to bake the chicken in the oven, or cook it in a skillet on the stove.

Notes

  • To bake the chicken, instead of grilling:
    • Preheat an oven to 450°F. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken breasts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Discard the remaining marinade in the bag.
    • Cook the chicken in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
    • Remove the chicken from the oven once it reaches the appropriate internal temperature, and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  • To cook the chicken in a skillet on the stove: 
    • Heat a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.
    • Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. 
    • Add the chicken to the skillet and allow it to cook on one side for 5 minutes without moving the chicken breast. Flip the chicken breast and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
    • Remove the chicken from the skillet once it reaches the appropriate internal temperature, and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free and soy-free, use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
  • To add sweetness to the marinade, add 1 tablespoon of honey or brown sugar.
  • This recipe can be used to marinate up to 2 pounds of chicken. You can cut the recipe in half for 1 pound of meat, or double it for 4 pounds of meat.
  • If using frozen chicken breasts, you will need to marinate the chicken for 24 hours in the fridge. This will allow the chicken to thaw completely, while it’s in the marinade.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 395kcal (20%)Carbohydrates 3g (1%)Protein 50g (100%)Fat 20g (31%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 145mg (48%)Sodium 1114mg (46%)Potassium 921mg (26%)Fiber 0.4g (2%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 75mg (2%)Vitamin C 6mg (7%)Calcium 22mg (2%)Iron 2mg (11%)
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