Absolutely Perfect Chicken Marinade

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This absolutely perfect chicken marinade will make your chicken so tender and juicy you will be amazed!!  This will be the one recipe that you use on repeat all summer!

Since you guys loved my steak marinade so much, I made this perfect chicken marinade recipe for you!  This recipe was created from my Greek Dressing which makes the flavor of this chicken unbelievable!

Cooked marinated chicken on a plate with green garnish.

Absolutely Perfect Chicken Marinade

I have found that clean eating helps me so much! I feel and look better!  Although, sometimes when I’m trying to eat healthy it seems like meals can get boring with just a meat and vegetable.  However, when my chicken is filled with this much flavor I don’t feel like I am sacrificing to eat healthy at all.  Whether I cook it on the grill, in the oven, or on the stove top, I am able to achieve a delicious meal with this marinade every time!

Trust me when I say this chicken marinade recipe is going to totally change your chicken game.  The chicken recipes you love will be so much better! No more dry and flavorless chicken.  This marinade is so simple and will be a go-to for sure!

Marinade Ingredients:

All of these ingredients work so well together to create a well balanced flavor in your chicken.  Like any good marinade, you will find an acid (vinegar), an oil (olive oil), and a combination of herbs and spices for amazing flavor.  A bonus is that many of them will be ingredients you already own!

  • Olive oil: Keeps the chicken extra moist and juicy
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Breaks down the fibers in the chicken to make it tender.
  • Garlic Cloves: Fresh is best, but using a jar will work too.
  • Italian Seasoning: The Italian seasonings blend is such a classic spice combo that will go with any meal.
  • Lemon Juice: I love using a bit of citrus to freshen up the flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds saltiness and flavor.
  • Dijon Mustard: Great spice for the chicken.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds great flavor and more saltiness.
  • Salt and pepper: To taste!

Combining the Marinade:

Making a marinade is so simple you will be amazed. And even better, you don’t have to use ANY dishes!! You will add the ingredients directly into a large seal-able bag and add your chicken.  And that’s it.  So simple and so worth it!

  1. Combine: Place all marinade ingredients into a gallon sized bag.
  2. Add chicken to marinade: Carefully coat the chicken in the marinade for at least one hour or overnight.
  3. Remove chicken: After a minimum of 1 hour, remove the chicken from marinade and discard.

The Best Ways to Cook Marinated Chicken:

The good news is when cooking marinated chicken you have so many great options for cooking.  We love to use the grill over the summer at my house, but I have listed below directions for stove top or baking in the oven as well.  Whatever option you choose, this absolutely perfect chicken marinade will take your chicken to the next level!!

  • Baking Instructions: Place marinated chicken on a shallow baking pan in a 400 degree oven for 22-25 minutes.  Chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Stove top: Grease a skillet and heat to medium-high heat.  Cook for 10 minutes on each side.  Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
  • Grill: Place on cleaned and oiled grill rack at medium heat for 9-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.  Turn chicken over halfway through cook time.  Once internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, remove from the grill.
  • Slow Cooker: Add marinated chicken to your slow cooker.  Then cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Chicken marinating in a ziploc bag.

Helpful Questions About Marinating Chicken:

When I first started creating a perfect chicken marinade recipe I had so many questions about how to use it! I mean a lot of questions!  I know many of you may be wondering the same things, so I have shared some of the things I have learned when cooking using this amazing marinade.

  • How long do I marinate?  Marinades are effective with as little as 30 minutes of soak time, however I find that an marinating overnight in the refrigerator will make your meal prep feel so much easier the next day and give your chicken the most flavor.
  • What if I marinate too long?  If chicken is left too long in the marinade it will actually become more dense and tough.  So, be sure to remove the chicken from the marinade before 2 days.
  • Do you marinate in the fridge?  Always marinate meat in the refrigerator.  Do not marinate at room temperature or outdoors.  Otherwise bacteria can very quickly multiply on your raw meat.
  • Do I need to poke holes in my chicken before marinating? Use a fork to pierce the chicken breasts all over. This will guarantee that the marinade will soak completely into the chicken to make it juicy.
  • What type of Chicken do I use? Use whatever types of chicken you prefer — chicken breasts, thinly sliced chicken breasts, chicken tenders, or chicken thighs.  All of these options work fantastic with this marinade.  Chicken tenders and thinly sliced chicken breast will cook much quicker than thick chicken breasts so beware and keep a close eye on cook times.

View of chicken marinating in bag.

How to Get Soft and Juicy Chicken Every Time:

First of all, always start with a marinade to make your chicken extra juicy and flavorful!  This perfect chicken marinade is made with all the essentials to make your chicken taste amazing and super tender.  In addition to that, I recommend flattening your chicken breasts before marinating and cooking as well to help you navigate cook time and get the most juicy, well-cooked chicken possible.  Finally, I recommend preheating the grill or pan before placing your chicken on it.

Storing Marinated Chicken:

If you do not plan to use the marinated chicken within a few days, then you need to store it in the freezer.  Otherwise, it can be stored in the refrigerator.

  • To store: Place your chicken in a freezer bag, pushing as much air as possible out before sealing.  Raw, marinated chicken pieces can be stored in the freezer up to 9 months or the refrigerator for just a couple of days.  While cooked chicken can be stored in the freezer for about 2-6 months and the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • To Defrost Frozen Chicken: Place the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.  I find that adding the marinade before freezing my chicken is so helpful.  Then, I can just pull it out when I need it and cook it right away. So quick and easy and delicious!

Finished marinated chicken sliced on a plate.

Try More Chicken Recipes!

Absolutely Perfect Chicken Marinade

4.92 from 12 votes
This absolutely perfect chicken marinade will make your chicken so tender and juicy you will be amazed!!  This will be the one recipe that you use on repeat all summer!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 6 Pieces of Chicken


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine all ingredients into a gallon sized bag. Add chicken and marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and discard.


I like to brush the chicken with the marinade a few times during the grilling process.


Serves: 6

Calories172kcal (9%)Carbohydrates2g (1%)Protein1g (2%)Fat18g (28%)Saturated Fat3g (15%)Sodium374mg (16%)Potassium52mg (1%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar1g (1%)Vitamin A14IUVitamin C2mg (2%)Calcium19mg (2%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, chicken marinade, marinade
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic


Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 4 stars
    I really loved this recipe. Added dried Rosemary and 1/2 a teaspoon of dry mustard to the recipe. I cut up a chicken and cooked it on a cookie sheet at 350f for 55 minutes. I will definitely make it again.

  2. 5 stars
    Yummy. I made this today. Marinated for about three hours and cooked in oven. This is a do again, next time for the family.
    Good flavor, moist, tender, super good. Oh, did I say yummy, I meant delicious too!

  3. 5 stars
    This chicken was top notch! We used chicken thighs and it was devoured! This one is going into the recipe file! Yummmm! Thank you

  4. 5 stars
    One of the very best recipes I’ve tried. Let it stand 24 hours and cook in Air Fryer at 375 F for 10 minutes per side (check at 8 minute mark for doneness). The flavor is out of this world, and you’re right, this will be a repeat many times over..

  5. 5 stars
    I haven’t made this recipe yet. But, it will be cooked this week. The recipe makes my mouth water. I do have a question; the Italian Seasoning is that the dried seasoning or is it the Italian Seasoning that I use to make Italian dressing?


  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I marinated the chicken for ~6 hours. I then seared each side of chicken with the “sauté feature on my instapot and then cooked for 18 minutes. So yummy!

  7. I want to try this recipe it looks delicious! I don’t have red wine vinegar. Can I use white vinegar instead? Will that work the same?

  8. 5 stars
    This was very delicious thank you so much for sharing your food talents!!! I will for sure be making more of your recipes 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    I modified this a little because I didn’t have the exact ingredients. I used merlot wine and Chinkiang vinegar and left out the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. I pan roasted it and my mom and I thought it was the best chicken breast we’d ever had. Tender and Juicy.

    As a novice, I also appreciate all the preparation tips!

  10. 5 stars
    This marinade was the best I’ve ever tasted! My family loved it! And, it was super easy and very few ingredients. I highly recommend it!

  11. Can I make this marinade 2 days before using it? (ie. mix marinade ingredients together on Tuesday, put marinade & chicken together in a bag overnight on Thursday and grill Friday at 6:00 pm).

    1. Amazing !! My new favorite marinade ! I didn’t have fresh lemon the first time I made , it was still out of this world !

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe is excellent with no sugar or honey like most marinades. I marinated mine, grilled for the crisp outside (leg quarters with skin) for about 10 minutes per side. Then, I finished cooking it in a 350° oven. My son and husband were very impressed and want me to make this juicy, delicious chicken every time.

  13. 5 stars
    Just did chicken breasts in this marinade and it is delicious! Grilled the chicken breasts after marinading for 4 hours and used the chicken breast for a Cobb salad – the flavor worked perfectly!

  14. 5 stars
    This marinade was amazing. I subbed mustard powder for the Dijon (I didn’t have any on hand). My family raves about this and I will be adding this to our regular routine.

  15. I was looking for something different from all the sweet/sour chicken dishes. This one, with NO sweet ingredients, intrigued.

    We loved it.

    Here were my tweaks, that worked for me, maybe not for you…

    Two people, two whole chicken legs, the full marinade recipe. Half on the chicken, half saved.

    Grilled with no sauce (tends to flare up so we avoid).

    I reduced the half of the marinade saved with a big glug of white wine, then stirred in a TB of unsalted butter after it was reduced. The butter mellowed out the acidity even more.

    It was really delicious. The other (very important) thing I did was STRAIN the marinade before reducint because I don’t personally like the mouthfeel of herbs, so my sauce was smooth.

    And oh, about Italian seasoning….back when I was young, I used to think it meant just oregano and basil, but it really contains so many more things which all contribute to a well-balanced, delicious herb mix…I got mine at one of our (many) supermarkets which sell things in bulk, just bought the one TB I needed.

    Going into my ever growing chicken rotation.

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