Chicken Marinade | 5 Easy & Delicious Chicken Marinade Recipes


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These Easy Chicken Marinade Recipes made 6 different ways are a delicious way to mix it up if you are tired of making the same old chicken dinner! Now, you can make perfect chicken breasts full of Lemon Garlic, Teriyaki, Cilantro Lime, Shawarma, Fajita or Balsamic flavor! All of these marinade recipes are gluten-free, keto, low carb, paleo and Whole30 compliant!

6 Easy Chicken Marinade Recipes

Marinating your chicken breasts and thighs not only provides them with delicious flavor, but it also makes them juicy and tender as can be. These recipes will show you how to make the best chicken marinade in every flavor! And you can cook the chicken any way you’d like.

To make things even better, these marinade recipes are paleo, keto, low-carb, grain-free, gluten-free and Whole30. I recommend marinating your chicken for a minimum of 2 hours, but the longer the better. Overnight is ideal, as it’ll give you the most intense flavor. But with these recipes, even 2 hours will produce a juicy and flavorful chicken dinner. Score!

Why Marinating Chicken is a Great Idea

If you’ve ever cooked up a chicken breast or thigh that was dry and lacking in the flavor department, then you know how important it is to marinate your chicken before cooking it. If you want to make juicy and flavorful grilled, baked or pan-fried chicken, it’s always a good idea to marinate it first. And it’s so easy, too! All you have to do is throw the meat in a bag along with some seasonings and let it sit.

Recipe Ingredients

The ingredients for this recipe depend on the marinade you’re using. They all come together with a tried and true collection of ingredients to give you the best flavor possible!

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: You’ll need 1 pound of chicken breasts or 1.5 pounds of chicken thighs.

For the Lemon Garlic Marinade

  • Avocado Oil: Or olive oil.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: About 1 lemon’s worth.
  • Lemon Zest: You’ll need roughly half a lemon’s worth of zest.
  • Coconut Aminos: We use Noble Made by The New Primal. If you’re not Whole30, you can use tamari or low sodium soy sauce instead.
  • Garlic Cloves: Minced.
  • Italian Seasoning: This simple blend of herbs adds some great flavor to the marinade.
  • Coarse Sea Salt: Or kosher salt.
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper: To taste.

For the Teriyaki Marinade

  • Coconut Aminos
  • Toasted Sesame Oil: For that delicious nutty flavor!
  • Orange Juice: Just a tablespoon, for acidity.
  • Fish Sauce: We use Red Boat fish sauce.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This healthy vinegar adds a touch of sour flavor to round out the marinade.
  • Minced Garlic: Or garlic powder.
  • Ginger: Use freshly grated ginger for the best flavor.

For the Cilantro Lime Marinade

  • Avocado Oil: Or olive oil.
  • Fresh Cilantro: Chopped.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: You’ll need about 3 tablespoons.
  • Minced Garlic
  • Ground Cumin: This earthy spice makes for a super tasty marinade.
  • Smoked Paprika: To add a little heat.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: Optional, to add some more heat!
  • Coarse Sea Salt: Or kosher salt.
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper: To taste.

For the Shawarma Marinade

  • Avocado Oil
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: You’ll need about 1 lemon’s worth.
  • Garlic Cloves: Minced.
  • Onion Powder: Just a teaspoon.
  • Ground Cumin
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Dried Oregano: This earthy, slightly minty herb adds great flavor.
  • Turmeric: For a pop of peppery goodness.
  • Ground Cinnamon: A few pinches of cinnamon provide some warmth and depth of flavor to the marinade.
  • Cayenne Pepper: To turn up the heat!
  • Ground Coriander: This citrusy spice is an important addition.
  • Ground Cardamom: Just a pinch.
  • Salt & Pepper

For the Fajita Marinade

  • Avocado Oil: Or olive oil.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: You’ll need the juice of about 1 lime.
  • Chili Powder: For spiciness.
  • Ground Cumin
  • Garlic Powder: A teaspoon of garlic powder really elevates the flavor of this marinade.
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper: To taste.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Optional, to taste.

For the Balsamic Marinade

  • Avocado Oil: Or olive oil.
  • Ghee: Melted.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: From about 1 lemon.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: Use your favorite brand.
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Minced Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper

How to Make a Chicken Marinade

Although these marinades vary in flavor, the process of making them is pretty much the same! Here’s a general run-through.

  1. Combine Ingredients: Add all the marinade ingredients to a bowl or a jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
  2. Coat Chicken: Pour the marinade over the chicken and close the bag. Gently massage using the bag to coat the chicken pieces evenly. Alternatively, you can keep it in a jar or container and coat the chicken with tongs or clean hands.
  3. Marinate: Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight for the best results). You can also store it in the freezer (lay it down flat if it’s in a bag) for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

How Long Should You Marinate Chicken?

I highly recommend marinating your chicken overnight. This will allow the flavors of the marinade to soak into the chicken, thus giving you the most juicy, tender and flavorful meat!

However, if you’re in a pinch, these marinades will do the trick in just two hours of soak time. You’ll still have some seriously flavorful and delicious chicken, but it’s definitely worth it to plan ahead and marinate it for longer.

Do You Rinse Marinade Off Chicken Before Cooking?

There’s no need to rinse the marinade off of your chicken before you cook it. I actually advise against doing that. It’s best to transfer the chicken straight from the marinade to the oven, grill, stove, etc. Your taste buds will thank you!

How to Cook Your Chicken

Believe it or not, the hardest part is over! Cooking chicken is a piece of cake, whether you’re doing it on the stove, on the grill or in the oven.

Baked Chicken

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Bake: Place the chicken on a parchment lined baking dish or baking sheet. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through or reaches 165°F. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Broiled Chicken

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from heating grill.
  2. Broil: Place the chicken breast-side down on a parchment lined baking dish or baking sheet and broil in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then flip the chicken breast skin-side up. Continue broiling until the chicken is cooked through or reaches 165°F, about 8-10 minutes more.  The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Grilled Chicken

  1. Heat Grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates.
  2. Grill: Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Do not overcook them. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.

Top view of grilled chicken breast on a wooden cutting board on a grey background

Cook it in a Skillet

  1. Heat Oil: Heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until simmering.
  2. Cook: Place the chicken in the pan, cooking undisturbed for 5 minutes, browning on each side. Cover the pan with the lid, lower the heat to medium and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through or reaches 165°F. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Cook chicken in the air fryer

  1. Coat Chicken with Avocado Oil: Place the chicken breasts in the air fryer basket and spray and pat both sides with oil.
  2. Cook: Air fry at 365°F for 10 minutes.
  3. Flip: Open the air fryer basket and use tongs to flip the chicken.
  4. Finish Cooking: Close the basket and cook for another 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken, until it’s cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Let Cool & Serve: Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or plate, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before cutting. Serve and enjoy!

Top view of seasoned chicken breast in the air fryer

Serving Suggestions

Need some ideas for what to serve with your chicken? Any of these easy side dishes would make a delicious pairing.

  • Serve with Sweet Potato Fries: These crispy Sweet Potato Fries taste amazing with every single flavor of chicken here!
  • Pair with Grilled Veggies: Grilled vegetables are the perfect side for chicken breasts or thighs, especially if you’re cooking them on the grill. You have to try my flavorful Grilled Zucchini Recipe!
  • Serve with Smashed Potatoes: Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, these Easy Smashed Potatoes will rock your world! They’re made with an amazing homemade pesto sauce that I also recommend trying.
  • Add Into Fried Rice: Not sure what to do with your leftover chicken? Cut some up and cook it with a pan of Fried Rice. Deliciousness!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Leftover chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, no matter how it was cooked. It will stay fresh for 3-4 days. To warm it up, reheat it in the oven at 325°F until warmed through. If you save your marinade, you can add it to the pan when you reheat your chicken!

Can I Freeze Cooked Chicken?

Yes, cooked chicken can be kept in the freezer for long-term storage. Place it in a freezer-safe bag with all of the air squeezed out and enjoy it within 3-4 months. Thaw frozen chicken overnight in the fridge before reheating.

More easy chicken recipes to use chicken marinade:

Air Fryer Chicken Breast

Grilled Chicken | Keto | Whole30 | Paleo | Low Carb

Instant Pot Lemon Chicken with Garlic

Oven Baked Fried Chicken

6 cooked chicken breasts on a white plate with labels

Chicken Marinade

These Easy Chicken Marinade Recipes made 6 different ways are a delicious way to mix it up if you are tired of making the same old chicken dinner! Now, you can make perfect chicken breasts full of Lemon Garlic, Teriyaki, Cilantro Lime, Shawarma, Fajita or Balsamic flavor! All of these marinade recipes are gluten-free, keto, low carb, paleo and Whole30 compliant!

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: American

Keyword: best chicken marinade, chicken marinade, chicken marinade recipes, easy chicken recipes, how to cook marinated chicken, how to make marinade, how to marinate chicken

Servings: 4

Calories: 202 kcal

Author: Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs

Lemon Garlic Marinade

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice about 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp lemon zest about 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos we use Noble Made by The New Primal. You can also use tamari or low sodium soy sauce if not Whole30
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 tsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt, add to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper add to taste

Teriyaki Marinade

  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos or tamari/low sodium soy sauce, if not Whole30
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tbsp Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced, or 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger or 1/4 tsp dried ginger

Cilantro Lime Marinade

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt, add to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper add to taste

Shawarma Marinade

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice about 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/3 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Fajita Marinade

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice about 1 lime
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper optional, or to taste

Balsamic Marinade

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice about 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/3 tsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions

To Make the Marinade

  1. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag, glass bowl or resealable glass container (if you plan to freeze it).

  2. Add all the marinade ingredients to a bowl or a jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.

  3. Pour marinade over chicken and close bag (if using) and gently massage using bag, tongs or clean hands to coat chicken pieces evenly.

  4. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight for best results). May also store in the freezer (lay it down flat if in a bag) for up to 3 months.

  5. FRIDGE: Remove chicken from fridge and cook according to instructions below.

  6. FREZER: Remove chicken from the freezer the night before and allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, cook according to instructions below.

To Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the chicken on a parchment lined baking dish or baking sheet.

  2. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through or reaches 165°F. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

To Broil

  1. Preheat oven broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from heating grill.

  2. Place the chicken breast-side down on a parchment lined baking dish or baking sheet and broil in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then flip the chicken breast skin-side up. Continue broiling until the chicken is cooked through or reaches 165°F, about 8-10 minutes more. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

To Grill

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates.

  2. Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Do not overcook. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.

To Cook in a Skillet

  1. Heat 2 tbsp avocado oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Place chicken in pan, cooking undisturbed for 5 minutes, browning on each side.

  2. Cover pan with lid and lower the heat to medium and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through or reaches 165°F. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition info is for chicken with the lemon garlic marinade.

Nutrition Facts

Chicken Marinade

Amount Per Serving

Calories 202 Calories from Fat 90

% Daily Value*

Fat 10g15%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Trans Fat 1g

Cholesterol 73mg24%

Sodium 411mg17%

Potassium 447mg13%

Carbohydrates 3g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 24g48%

Vitamin A 45IU1%

Vitamin C 7mg8%

Calcium 19mg2%

Iron 1mg6%

* Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy using the WPRM recipe calculator. It is best to make your own calculations to ensure accuracy. We expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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