Easy Chicken Marinade – 6 Ways (for super juicy chicken!)

Dry, tasteless chicken no more! Use one of these 6 delicious chicken marinade recipes to infuse flavor into your chicken. All you have to do is mix up a marinade and let your chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

In this post, we’ll teach why you should marinate your chicken, how to make a chicken marinade, and how to freeze marinated chicken!

6 chicken marinades in plastic bags.

This chicken marinde post is one of our most popular recipe tutorials on Fit Foodie Finds. So many of you have made one of these chicken marinades and loved every bite. Enjoy!

Featured Comment

Please don’t ever take this down- each one is delicious and makes for an easy weeknight dinner option. I’ve made them all and they’re great- thanks for sharing! – Krista

If there is one thing we stand by it’s marinating chicken. Chicken marinades truly add so much flavor and tenderness to chicken and we worked hard perfecting 6 different chicken marinade flavors for you.

My personal favorite marinde for chicken is the teriyaki version because I can serve it next to white rice and roasted broccoli, but balsamic is a close second and perfect for grilling chicken!

Other flavor variations we’re sharing in this post are: teriyaki, balsamic, lemon, fajita, italian, and BBQ.

What is in a chicken marinade?

Our basic chicken marinade is made with an olive oil base and then any additional flavors such as citrus juice, fresh herbs, spices, and sauce. Let your chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes and then cook it any way you want.

  • oil: we like using a mild in flavor oil such as olive oil. You can also try avocado oil.
  • citrus: a little bit of lime, lemon, or orange will add so much brightness to your chicken.
  • fresh herbs: bring on the herbs. We recommend any and all herbs including dill, rosemary, cilantro, and parsley.
  • seasonings: spices add a more intense flavor. Try garlic, chili powder, onion powder, or garlic powder.
  • sauces: our go-to sauces for marinating chicken includes bbq sauce, Worcestershires sauce, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar.
lemon chicken marinade ingredients.

How long should I marinate my chicken?

We recommend marinating your chicken for anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours.

If your chicken marinade does not contain a citrus fruit or acid-like vinegar, you can marinate it overnight or for up to 24 hours.

How much marinade do I need per 1 lb. of chicken?

Per 1 to 1.5 lbs. of chicken, you’ll need around 1/2 cup of marinade. So, feel free to double or triple any of these marinades to flavor more chicken.

What cuts of chicken can I marinate?

Any cut of chicken can be marinated: chicken breasts, chicken legs, chicken thighs, and whole chickens!

chicken breasts marinating in teriyaki sauce.

What should I marinate my chicken in?

When it comes time to actually marinate your poultry, pretty much any container large enough to house your chicken works! Here are our top 3 choices.

  1. Casserole dish: we love using a simple casserole dish because it makes for easy baking when it’s time to cook!
  2. Gallon-size plastic bag: planning to freeze your marinated chicken? Use a plastic bag as your vessel for marinating.
  3. Glass container or bowl: don’t have either of the above? Any glass container or bowl will work!

How do I cook marinated chicken?

Our #1 piece of advice when cooking chicken is to make sure to cook it until the internal temperature is at least 165ºF. Pretty much any cooking method is fair game. We’re linking to some of our basic chicken breast recipes below so you can learn how to easily cook your marinated chicken.

meat thermometer.

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Can you freeze marinated chicken?

Freezing marinated chicken is one of our secret meal-prep tips! Simply place your chicken in a large, gallon-size bag and then add the marinade. Remove as much air as possible and then seal the bag shut. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

PS: there is no need to let your chicken marinate for the full 24 hours before freezing. It will marinate as it freezes and as it thaws!

How to cook frozen marinated chicken

We get this question all. the. time. Unfortunately, we don’t ever recommend cooking chicken from a frozen state unless you use an Instant Pot. Get our Instant Pot Chicken recipe here.

For the best results and to avoid any kind of food-borne illness, let your marinated chicken completely thaw before following of the above cook methods.

Well, what about a chicken dry rub or chicken seasoning? Dry rubs typically flavor the outside of your meat, but a marinade is going to flavor the entire cut of chicken. Sometimes, we like to use a combination of both!

And now, please enjoy 6 of our go-to chicken breast marinade recipes!

chicken and marinades in plastic bags.

Chicken Fajita Marinade

Looking for chicken fajita marinade that’s super simple to put together yet packs in all the classic fajita flavors? You’ll love this chicken marinade as it’s made with a mixture of olive oil, spices, lime juice, and fresh cilantro!

What you need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper  
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro 
chicken fajita marinade ingredients and chicken breasts in dish.

Lemon Chicken Marinade

This lemon chicken marinade is light, fresh, and made with lemon juice, dill, garlic, and olive oil. It’s a winner every time!

What you need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill 
  • 1/2 tablespoon white rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
lemon chicken marinade ingredients and chicken breasts in dish.

BBQ Chicken Marinade

There is nothing better than saucy BBQ chicken. Follow this easy bbq chicken marinade recipe and mix your favorite bbq sauce with savory spices and a little olive oil!

What You Need

  • 1/4 olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
bbq chicken marinade ingredients and chicken breasts in dish.

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

Say hello to the greatest teriyaki chicken marinade you’ve ever tasted. Our homemade teriyaki sauce is made with 7 simple ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. PS: it’s made without refined sugars, too!

What You Need

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion 
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
teriyaki chicken marinade ingredients and chicken breasts in dish.

Italian Chicken Marinade

This Italian chicken marinade is such a great all-purpose marinade to make for any meal. It’s made with fresh and dried herbs, lemon, and olive oil. You’ll never buy store-bought Italian marinade again!

What You Need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil 
Italian chicken marinade ingredients and chicken breasts in dish.

Balsamic Chicken Marinade

We love this balsamic chicken marinade so much because it keeps things simple with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic, and fresh basil. Yum!

What You Need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil 
Balsamic chicken marinade ingredients and chicken breasts in dish.

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