This chicken marinade is a blend of garlic, herbs, olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and Dijon mustard. It produces perfect marinated chicken every time, and you can use your chicken marinade for baked, broiled, grilled or sauteed chicken.

Every cook needs a chicken marinade in their recipe box, and this is the best one I’ve ever had! Serve your chicken with rice pilaf and parmesan zucchini for a complete meal that the whole family will love.

The best chicken marinade covering grilled chicken breasts, garnished with lemon.

In the summer I am all about grilling, and I make this amazingly delicious chicken marinade at least once a week. It takes just minutes to put together and uses ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. This marinade produces tender, juicy and flavorful chicken that will earn you rave reviews! If you love to marinate your food, be sure to also check out my teriyaki marinade, BBQ chicken marinade, turkey marinade, tri tip marinade and shrimp marinade recipes.

Chicken Marinade Ingredients

To make this recipe, you will need extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Italian seasoning, Dijon mustard, salt and black pepper.

How Do You Make Chicken Marinade?

Place all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or resealable freezer bag. If you’re using a bowl, whisk the ingredients together. For the bag, seal the bag and shake until everything is combined. Add chicken to the marinade and let it soak for at least one hour. Remove the chicken, then grill, oven bake, broil or sauté and serve!

Chicken marinade being poured over skinless chicken breasts.

Tips For The Perfect Dish

  • This marinade can be made up to 3 days before you plan to use it. Simply store the marinade in the fridge until you’re ready to add your chicken. The olive oil in the marinade may solidify if stored in the fridge for an extended period of time. Simply let the marinade sit at room temperature for 20 minutes and the olive oil will thaw back into a liquid consistency.
  • You can really use any cut of chicken for this marinade such as boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, chicken tenders, or even chicken drumsticks. This recipe also works great with chicken wings.
  • Pair your marinated chicken with some hearty side dishes such as baked mac and cheese, make ahead mashed potatoes, sauteed cabbage, oven baked potatoes, or sweet potato souffle.
  • I like to grill chicken in double the quantity that I think I’ll need, and I use the leftovers for green salads, pasta salad and sandwiches.

Quick Tip

This marinade contains sugar which adds great flavor, but can easily burn on the grill. Make sure your grill is not overly hot before you add your chicken! You’ll want to grill your chicken over medium heat, and if you’re using bone-in cuts that take longer to cook, place them over indirect heat.

Chicken breasts in a savory marinade.

Recipe FAQs

How do you cook marinated chicken?

My favorite way to cook marinated chicken is on the grill. If the weather isn’t nice enough for outdoor grilling, I use an indoor grill pan on the stove. If you prefer, you can bake or saute your chicken. I recommend baking your chicken if you’re using bone-in cuts such as drumsticks or chicken thighs.

How long do you marinate chicken?

Chicken should be marinated for a minimum of one hour for boneless, skinless cuts. If you use a bone-in, skin-on cut, you’ll want to marinate for at least 4 hours. I typically marinate my chicken for about 8 hours to get the best flavor.

Is it better to marinate in the fridge or at room temperature?

You should always marinate chicken in the refrigerator. It is a food safety hazard to marinate chicken at room temperature.

What temperature should chicken be cooked to?

All cuts of chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. The easiest way to gauge if your chicken is done is to insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken – be sure that the thermometer is not touching the bone. Once you’ve reached the correct temperature, remove the chicken from the heat and let it rest for 3 minutes before you slice it.

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Chicken Marinade Flavor Variations

While this recipe is delicious as-is, you can add other ingredients to customize it to your tastes.

  • Spicy: Add crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Herb Lovers: Add 1/4 cup fresh herbs such as thyme, green onions, oregano rosemary or parsley. Scrape off the large pieces of herbs before you cook your chicken.
  • Asian: Use a blend of olive oil, toasted sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and garlic.
  • Mexican: Use my chicken fajita marinade recipe!
  • Flavorings: You can use honey instead of brown sugar, and add other spices to the mix such as paprika, garlic powder and onion powder.
Marinated chicken breasts cooked on a grill pan.

Once you try this chicken marinade recipe, you’ll find yourself using it constantly! I make marinated chicken almost every week and my family happily devours it. Even the kids love this one!

Grilled chicken flavored with chicken marinade served with couscous and green beans.

More Great Chicken Recipes

Chicken Marinade Video

Love This Recipe?

Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 48 votes

Chicken Marinade

AuthorSara Welch
The best chicken marinade covering grilled chicken breasts, garnished with lemon.
This chicken marinade is a blend of garlic, herbs, olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar and Dijon mustard. It produces perfect marinated chicken every time, and you can use your chicken marinade for baked, broiled, grilled or sauteed chicken.
Time
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Marinating Time1 hour
Total Time6 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Place all the ingredients in a large bowl or resealable gallon sized bag.
  • If using a bowl, whisk to combine the ingredients. If using a bag, seal the bag and shake to combine the ingredients.
  • Add 2-3 pounds of chicken, then marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.
  • Proceed with cooking method of your choice.

Notes

  1. This marinade can be made up to 3 days before you plan to use it. Simply store the marinade in the fridge until you’re ready to add your chicken. The olive oil in the marinade may solidify if stored in the fridge for an extended period of time. Simply let the marinade sit at room temperature for 20 minutes and the olive oil will thaw back into a liquid consistency.
  2. This marinade contains sugar which adds great flavor, but can easily burn on the grill. Make sure your grill is not overly hot before you add your chicken! You’ll want to grill your chicken over medium heat, and if you’re using bone-in cuts that take longer to cook, place them over indirect heat.

Nutrition

Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 696mg | Potassium: 119mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.1mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Instead of brown sugar I substituted Pure Maple syrup. It is important not to use maple flavored syrup .

  2. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was absolutely phenomenal. Marinated 4 thin chicken breasts for about 4 hrs and they were outstanding. My kids (11/13) even ate them with no ranch….and loved them:)

  3. I can’t wait to try this! I’m actually going to try making my marinade at home before a road trip to Arizona and marinating my chicken when I get there. Wish me luck! 🤞🏻

  4. 5 stars
    This marinade is the perfect addition to eggplant as well! I personally left out the brown sugar (on accident, but I loved the results!) Tonight I’m making 3 eggplants for me to eat during lunch for the week and using this recipe. I can’t wait!

  5. 5 stars
    This is our absolute favorite marinade for grilled chicken. We grill a lot of chicken and then can make different dishes using the leftover meat in salads, Asian noodle bowls, sandwiches etc. Thank you, Sara. You have a winner here.

  6. Hi

    I made your recipe and I bake it in my oven at 400 for 20 minutes. My chicken didn’t get caramelize how it looks in the picture. I even change my oven temp. to 425 and still didn’t do it. I used a glass baking dish. Don’t think my oven is not hot enough. I measured everything so I don’t know were it went wrong , but still came out good! Any advice ?? Also there was still a lot of marinade left do you throw that away??

    1. 5 stars
      I used half the marinade for chicken, and the other half for veggies (In particular, on eggplant that I then baked off and it was phenomenal.) You could also use the unused half to reduce down and use for a glaze to top your chicken. The brown color in the pictures is because the chicken was grilled. You may be able to replicate the results if you sear your chicken in a heavy bottomed pan, then finish off in the oven.

      1. What was the temperature that you used to grill the chicken breast? Also how long did you cook on each side? Direct heat? New to grilling. Using Char- broil Kamander.
        Thanks

      2. I pound my chicken lightly (not too thin), but it on the gas grill direct heat med high to high for 3-4 minutes on each side. Overcooking will make it dry.
        Slice in strips and then you can use it however you like.
        Leftovers are still moist.

    2. Did you pay the chicken dry, and discard the excess marinade? That’s an important step for browning. Just a thought. In the past I didnt do that step because I felt I was losing flavor by discarding the sauce, but if marinated long enough the flavor is there, and it should brown.

  7. 5 stars
    This really is the best chicken marinade! So incredibly juicy & flavorful. I was out of fresh garlic, so had to sub 1-teaspoon of garlic powder, & it was still amazing. My husband said next time, to make a double amount of chicken, it was that good!

  8. 5 stars
    I guess I have been using this recipe ever since it was posted. I use it for my shish kabobs. SOOOOO good! It is my go too!

  9. 5 stars
    Just made this, it will be my “go to” marinade. Perfect blend of flavors so that none stands out over the other. Delicious!

  10. In the picture under the chicken what kind of salad is that? You have the recipe on your site? Love to make the chicken with that salad in the picture!! If it’s not On your site can you tell me what I need/measurements to make that salad in the picture please?! Love your recipes!!!

      1. What is the temperature to bake the chicken breast in, and do I bake it covered or not covered?
        Thanks, Joan

  11. Does this work for any type of chicken meat, ie, breast, thigh, drumstick… and do you recommend bone-in skin on or boneless skinless?
    Thank you!

    1. It works for any type of chicken, and it depends on how you’re cooking it. If you’re grilling, boneless cuts tend to cook quickest and won’t burn on the grill. If you’re roasting the chicken, you could use bone in skin on cuts!

  12. 5 stars
    This is a great marinade indeed. And the best thing was I already had everything at home, so I could immediately give it a try. 🙂

  13. My husband is actually allergic to Balsalmic vinegar (weird, I know, haha). I usually use red wine vinegar in place of it. Do you think that would be a fine substitute in this? It sounds delicious and I want to try it!

  14. 5 stars
    This marinade was amazing. It was everything described and more. Best part-had all the ingredients. The balance of flavors mixed perfectly. Marinated the chicken for three hours and then grilled on a charcoal fire. Served over a spring mix blend of lettuce. Can’t wait to try this again.