The BEST Greek Chicken Marinade combines zesty lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices for an incredibly flavorful recipe! The marinated chicken can be grilled, pan fried or roasted in the oven. It’s gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and easy to make!

Pair the chicken with an orzo salad, toss it in pita bread to create a delicious gyro or cube it up to make kebabs!

sliced grilled chicken on plater with fork and lemon slices

Grilling season is one of my favorite times of the year! There is nothing like preparing an amazing meal outdoors in the fresh air, sipping on a refreshing beverage and smelling the smoky deliciousness of the BBQ. 

Not only is the flavor of this Greek Chicken Marinade recipe amazing and different from the usual BBQ fare, it goes with a wide variety of dishes as well. Once you’ve seasoned the chicken with a handful of simple marinade ingredients, you can grill, pan fry, or roast it in the oven.

No matter which method you use, you will end up with perfectly tender and juicy meat!

It’s nothing fancy, just 7 simple ingredients whisked together and used to marinate chicken. Why it works:

  1. Acid from the lemon tenderizes the chicken.
  2. Salt, pepper, garlic and herbs flavor the chicken.
  3. Olive oil helps give the chicken a nice crust on the outside.
  4. These all combine for a perfect balance of flavors and texture!

Serve this flavorful chicken recipe as an entree, or use it to add to salads, pasta, sandwiches, pita wraps, and more!

ingredients for greek chicken marinade

Ingredients

Create the best Greek chicken marinade with a simple mix of easy to find ingredients! See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for all of the detailed measurements.

  • Chicken – Boneless skinless chicken breasts are what I use to make this recipe. However, you can also use skin-on bone-in chicken breasts, or chicken thighs if you prefer. Try to select pieces that are similar in size so they will cook at an even rate.
  • Olive oil – A good quality extra virgin olive oil is recommended for the best flavor.
  • Garlic cloves – I highly recommend using fresh garlic cloves for the best results. You can also use jarred minced garlic in a pinch.
  • Lemon – Make sure to use a fresh lemon. You will need the juice freshly squeezed, as well as the zest on the outside of the skin. The lemon is the acid in this marinade, which is the key to any good marinade. It helps break down the proteins and makes the meat tender and juicy!
  • Dried oregano – Make sure to select the flaky leaves as opposed to ground oregano.
  • Dried parsley – I like the convenience and flavor of the dried herb. If you want to use fresh parsley, you will need to increase the amount by double.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
collage of images showing how to make marinated grilled Greek chicken

Instructions

Follow these simple steps to marinate and grill the chicken. If you prefer to use the oven or stovetop method, scroll down for those instructions.

  1. Prepare the marinade by mixing olive oil, crushed garlic, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper together a large glass bowl or in a sealable bag.
  2. Place the chicken in the marinade and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can let it marinate for up to 2 hours, but it is not recommended to let it sit longer than that. The acidity of the lemon juice will break down the chicken too much and you will end up with a mushy, unappetizing texture.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on a grill that has been preheated to medium heat, around 350°F. This can be an indoor grill, like the Optigrill seen pictured above in image 2, or an outdoor grill, seen pictured above in image 3. Cook the chicken for 7 minutes on the first side.
  4. Use tongs or a spatula to carefully flip over the chicken, and continue cooking for another 7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. You can check this by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken breast. Once you’ve reached the appropriate internal temperature, remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest 5 minutes. You can then slice it and serve it with salad, pita bread or pasta (see even more ways to serve it below).

How to roast it in the oven

  1. Prior to marinating the chicken, use a meat tenderizer to pound each chicken breast down to 1 inch thickness. This way they can bake quickly and evenly.
    • Pro tip! If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, you can cover the chicken in plastic wrap, then use a rolling pin to pound the chicken down until it’s 1 inch thick.
  2. Marinate the chicken as instructed in the recipe.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F in the middle of the chicken breast.

How to cook it on the stove

  1. Prior to marinating the chicken, use a meat tenderizer, or rolling pin, to pound each chicken breast down to 1 inch thickness. This will help the chicken cook through in a skillet without burning the outside of the chicken breast.
  2. Marinate the chicken according to the recipe instructions.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  4. Use a grill pan, cast iron skillet, or the heaviest skillet you have available. Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Spray the skillet with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil.
  5. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 7-8 minutes.
  6. Flip the chicken breasts and cook for another 7-8 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
sliced grilled chicken breasts on plate with lemons

Frequently asked questions

  • How long can you marinate chicken? The marinating time will depend on the ingredients in the marinade. As a general rule of thumb you want to marinate for at least 30 minutes. This recipe can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 hours, but the acidity from the lemon juice will start to break down the meat too much after that.
  • Is this recipe keto-friendly? Yes it is! The ingredients in this recipe are all naturally low carb. One serving of this Greek grilled chicken contains 1 gram of carbohydrates, with 0 net carbs.
  • Is it gluten free? Yes, all of the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten free.
  • Can you freeze the chicken in the marinade? Yes, you can! Simply prepare the marinade in an airtight container that is freezer-safe, add the chicken, push out as much air as possible and seal well. Immediately place the sealed bag or container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Once the chicken defrosts be sure to cook it within 30 minutes so the lemon does not break it down too much.
  • Can you make the marinade ahead of time? Yes, feel free to mix the marinade ingredients together up to 3 days before you want to marinate the chicken. You can shake the ingredients together in a mason jar, then store the marinade in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to marinate the chicken, simply shake up the marinade in the jar, then pour it over the chicken in a freezer bag, or large bowl.

Tips and tricks

  • Leftover cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I recommend reheating it on the stove or in the oven. To reheat it in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken in an oven-safe dish and cook for 10 minutes, or until warmed through. To reheat it on the stove, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until warmed through.
  • This marinade can be used for other proteins. Use it to marinate pork chops, shrimp, lamb chops or salmon. Once again, I do only recommend a maximum 2 hour marinade, so that the lemon juice doesn’t break down the proteins too much.
  • This recipe provides enough marinade for up to 2 pounds of meat. If you’d like to marinate more than 2 pounds of chicken, feel free to double the amounts of the marinade ingredients.
  • You should not rinse the marinade off the chicken before cooking it on 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, so it will stay in the skillet and you won’t get that beautiful sear on the outside of the chicken.
grilled sliced chicken on plate with salad

Ways to serve it

This juicy grilled chicken is amazing enjoyed in so many ways! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

This Greek chicken will also pair wonderfully with any of the following side dishes.

grilled chicken on plate with grilled lemons

More marinade recipes

Having the right marinade ensures you create the juiciest and most flavorful meat ever! These easy recipes will have you covered no matter what’s in the fridge.

sliced grilled chicken on plate with lemons
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Greek Chicken Marinade

The BEST Greek Chicken Marinade combines zesty lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices for an incredibly flavorful recipe! The marinated chicken can be grilled, pan fried or roasted in the oven. It's gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and easy to make!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or chicken thighs

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, or plastic zipper bag, combine the olive oil, crushed garlic, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Add the chicken to the marinade and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  • Place the chicken on a grill that has been preheated to medium heat, around 350°F. 
  • Grill the chicken for 7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. You can check this by inserting a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken breast. 
  • Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Stovetop and oven cooking instructions: Refer to the blog post above for how to cook the chicken on the stovetop or in the oven.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten free, whole30 approved and low carb. It contains zero net carbs, making it perfect for those on the keto diet.
  • The marinade can be made up to 3 days before you want to marinate the chicken. You can shake the ingredients together in a mason jar, then store the marinade in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to marinate the chicken, simply shake up the marinade in the jar, then pour it over the chicken in a freezer bag, or large bowl.
  • Leftover cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I recommend reheating it on the stove or in the oven. To reheat it in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken in an oven-safe dish and cook for 10 minutes, or until warmed through. To reheat it on the stove, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until warmed through.
  • This marinade can be used for other proteins. Use it to marinate pork chops, shrimp, lamb chops or salmon. Once again, I do only recommend a maximum 2 hour marinade, so that the lemon juice doesn’t break down the proteins too much.
  • This recipe provides enough marinade for up to 2 pounds of meat. If you’d like to marinate more than 2 pounds of chicken, feel free to double the amounts of the marinade ingredients.
  • You should not rinse the marinade off the chicken before cooking it on 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, so it will stay in the skillet and you won’t get that beautiful sear on the outside of the chicken.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 259kcal (13%)Carbohydrates 1gProtein 32g (64%)Fat 13g (20%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 97mg (32%)Sodium 370mg (15%)Potassium 587mg (17%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 60mg (1%)Vitamin C 5mg (6%)Calcium 25mg (3%)Iron 1mg (6%)
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