10 Best Chicken Marinade Recipes for Grilling

As someone who loves to grill, I’m always on the lookout for new and delicious marinade recipes to enhance the flavor of my meats. Chicken is one of my favorite proteins to grill, and with the right marinade, it can be transformed into a mouth-watering dish that’s perfect for any occasion. In this article, I’ll be sharing my top 10 chicken marinade recipes for grilling that are sure to impress your family and friends.

Best Chicken Marinade Recipes for Grilling

Marinades are a great way to add flavor and tenderness to your chicken. They typically consist of a mixture of oil, acid, and seasonings, which work together to infuse the meat with flavor and help it stay moist during cooking. Whether you prefer sweet and savory, spicy and tangy, or something in between, there’s a chicken marinade recipe out there that’s perfect for your taste buds. So, let’s get started and explore some of the best chicken marinade recipes for grilling!

Essentials of Chicken Marinades

– Choosing the Right Ingredients

When it comes to making a great chicken marinade, choosing the right ingredients is crucial. The base of most marinades includes acid, oil, and seasonings.

Common acids used in marinades include vinegar, citrus juice, and wine, while oils can range from olive oil to sesame oil. Seasonings can vary widely, from herbs and spices to soy sauce and honey.

It’s important to choose fresh ingredients and avoid using too much salt, which can dry out the chicken. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients to find the perfect flavor profile for your taste.

– Marinade Time Frames

Marinade time frames can vary depending on the recipe, but it’s generally recommended to marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Marinades that contain acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus juice can break down the chicken if left for too long, so it’s important to follow the recipe’s recommended time frame.

It’s also important to remember to marinate chicken in the refrigerator, not at room temperature, to avoid bacteria growth.

– Flavor Profiles

The flavor profile of a chicken marinade can make or break a dish. Some popular flavor combinations include garlic and lemon, honey and soy sauce, and ginger and sesame oil.

It’s important to balance the flavors and not overpower the chicken with too much spice or sweetness.

Experiment with different flavor profiles to find the perfect combination for your taste buds. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new ingredients to elevate your chicken marinade game.

Top 10 Chicken Marinade Recipes for Grilling

As a grilling enthusiast, I have experimented with countless chicken marinades over the years. Through trial and error, I have discovered the top 10 chicken marinade recipes for grilling that are sure to impress your taste buds.

You can use all these chicken marinades on the grill, griddle, pellet grill/smoker, pan-fried, or oven-baked chicken breasts, tenderloins, thighs, wings, kabobs, and so much more!

1- Classic BBQ Chicken Marinade

The Classic BBQ Chicken Marinade is a timeless favorite that never disappoints. This marinade is a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ Tbsp chili powder

BBQ Chicken Marinade Bagged

Recipes to Serve with Classic BBQ Chicken

  • Corn on the Cob
  • Coleslaw
  • Potato Salad
  • Baked Beans
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Garlic Bread
  • Green Salad

2- Zesty Lemon Herb Chicken Marinade

The Zesty Lemon Herb Marinade is a refreshing and flavorful option that is perfect for summer grilling. The combination of lemon and herbs creates a tangy and aromatic marinade that will leave your chicken juicy and flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon Herb Marinade

Recipes to Serve with Zesty Lemon Herb Chicken Marinade

  • Herbed Couscous
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Greek Salad
  • Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes
  • Quinoa Salad
  • Steamed Asparagus
  • Mashed Cauliflower
  • Herb-infused Rice Pilaf
  • Cilantro lime rice

3- Spicy Chipotle Chicken Marinade

If you’re a fan of spicy food, the Spicy Chipotle Marinade is a must-try. This marinade is a perfect blend of smoky and spicy flavors that will give a perfect spicy kick to your chicken.

Mixing chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and a touch of honey, this marinade packs a punch.

The smoky heat from the chipotle peppers blends with the zing of lime and garlic, creating a spicy and flavorful coating for your chicken. Whether grilled, baked, or pan-seared, this marinade infuses the chicken with a bold, smoky-spicy essence.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers
  • 4 large cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to tasteChipotle Marinade for Chicken

Recipes to Serve with Spicy Chipotle Chicken

  • Mexican Street Corn (Elote)
  • Mexican Rice
  • Avocado Salad
  • Black Bean and Corn Salad
  • Grilled Pineapple Slices
  • Cilantro-Lime Quinoa
  • Fajita-Style Veggies
  • Tortilla Chips and Salsa:

4- Hawaiian Chicken Marinade

The Hawaiian chicken marinade is a mix of sweet and savory flavors, like a taste of the tropics. It has pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic.

The pineapple juice is sweet, the soy sauce is salty, and the brown sugar makes it rich. The ginger and garlic add a bit of extra flavor.

When you use this marinade on chicken and cook it, it gives the chicken a delicious tropical taste that’s both sweet and tangy. It’s like having a bit of Hawaii in every bite!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  •  ½ tsp ground black pepperChicken thighs and Hawaiian chicken marinade sealed in a ziplock bag.

Recipes to Serve with Hawaiian Chicken

This amazing chicken is fantastic with various side dishes. Here are some of my favorites:

5- BASIL BALSAMIC CHICKEN MARINADE

The Basil Balsamic is another classic Chicken Marinade that combines balsamic vinegar, fresh basil leaves (chopped or blended), minced garlic, a drizzle of honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

The balsamic vinegar provides a rich acidity while the fresh basil adds a fragrant herbal note. The garlic infuses a savory depth, and the honey balances it all with a touch of sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Balsamic Chicken Marinade

Recipes to Serve with BASIL BALSAMIC CHICKEN

  • Caprese Salad
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Herbed Quinoa
  • Garlic Bread
  • Green Salad
  • Orzo Pasta

6- Honey Mustard Glaze Chicken Marinade

The Honey Mustard Glaze is a sweet and tangy option that is perfect for those who love a balance of flavors. This marinade is a perfect blend of honey and mustard that will leave your chicken juicy and flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

ingredients for honey mustard chicken marinade in bowls

7- Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

The Mediterranean-Inspired Marinade is a perfect option for those who love Mediterranean flavors. This marinade is a perfect blend of lemon, garlic, and herbs that will leave your chicken juicy and flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to tasteoverhead image fresh dill, parsley, basil, and a lemon next to dish of Greek marinade

8- Tangy Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

The Tangy Teriyaki Glaze is a perfect option for those who love teriyaki flavors. This marinade is a perfect blend of soy sauce, honey, and ginger that will leave your chicken juicy and flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Recipes to Serve with Tangy Teriyaki Chicken

9- FAJITA Chicken Marinade

The Fajita Chicken Marinade combines lime juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and a hint of paprika, this marinade captures the essence of classic fajita seasoning.

The tangy lime juice and aromatic spices blend to create a vibrant and savory marinade for your chicken. Whether you’re grilling, sautéing, or baking, this marinade gives the chicken a mouthwatering taste, making it perfect for sizzling fajitas or as a flavorful addition to any Tex-Mex dish.

Ingredients:

  •  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.

Chicken fajita marinade served over sliced chicken and vegetables.

Recipes to Serve with Fajita Chicken

10- CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN MARINADE

This special marinade makes chicken taste amazing. It’s made with lime juice, lime peel, some olive oil, garlic, and fresh cilantro.

Just mix them, pour it over the chicken, and let it sit for a bit before cooking. The chicken ends up tasty and zesty with a hint of freshness from the cilantro.

Ingredients:

  •  ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp lime zest
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Recipes to Serve with CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN 

  • Cilantro-Lime Rice
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Avocado Salad
  • Black Bean Salad
  • Jicama Slaw
  • Charred Corn Salsa
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Marinating Techniques and Tips

Marinating is a great way to add flavor and tenderness to the chicken before grilling. Here are a few tips and techniques to make your marinating process successful.

1. Using Ziploc Bags vs. Bowls

Both ziplock bags and bowls are great for marinating chicken. However, using a Ziploc bag has a few advantages.

Firstly, it allows for even distribution of the marinade as the chicken is coated on all sides. Secondly, it takes up less space in the refrigerator and is easier to store. Lastly, it allows for easy cleanup as you can simply discard the bag after use.

2. Balancing Acid and Oil

When making a marinade, it is important to balance the acidity and oil. Too much acid can break down the chicken and make it tough, while too much oil can make it greasy.

A general rule of thumb is to use a 1:3 ratio of acid to oil. For example, 1/4 cup of vinegar or citrus juice to 3/4 cup of oil.

3. Safe Marinating Practices

It is important to follow safe marinating practices to prevent foodborne illness. Always marinate chicken in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.

Also, do not reuse marinade that has come into contact with raw chicken as it can contain harmful bacteria. Lastly, make sure to properly cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure it is safe to eat.

Grilling Guide for Marinated Chicken

I know that marinating chicken is a great way to add flavor and tenderness to your meat. However, grilling marinated chicken can be a bit tricky. I will provide you with some tips to help you achieve perfectly grilled marinated chicken every time.

Prepping the Grill

Before you start grilling your marinated chicken, it’s important to prepare your grill properly. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Clean your grill grates thoroughly with a grill brush to remove any leftover debris from your previous grilling session.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. This will help to ensure that your chicken cooks evenly.
  3. Oil the grill grates lightly with a high smoke point oil like canola or vegetable oil to prevent the chicken from sticking.

Cooking Times and Temperatures

The cooking time and temperature for your marinated chicken will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken pieces. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  1. For boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grill them for 6-8 minutes per side until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  2. For bone-in chicken pieces like thighs and drumsticks, grill them for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  3. For best results, use a meat thermometer to ensure that your chicken is cooked to the right temperature.

Post-Grilling Resting

Once your chicken is done grilling, it’s important to let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. This will help to keep the juices inside the chicken and prevent it from drying out. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the chicken from the grill and place it on a plate or cutting board.
  2. Cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  3. After resting, you can cut into your chicken and enjoy it!

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