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Lemon-Herb Chicken Breast Marinade (Grill, Oven or Stovetop)

5 from 12 community reviews

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This versatile chicken breast marinade recipe is light, fresh and simple! Marinated chicken breasts can be grilled, baked in the oven or cooked in a pan on the stovetop. Mix this zippy marinade with Mediterranean-style ingredients from the pantry, including olive oil, garlic, aromatic herbs and fresh lemon juice.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a freezer bag, marinating in an herb and olive oil mixture.
Combine chicken with marinade ingredients and pop in the fridge.

This is my go-to chicken marinade recipe — it tenderizes chicken meat, the ultimate lean protein, while infusing it with an abundance of flavorful juices.

When it comes to marinating boneless, skinless chicken breasts to use them in a variety chicken recipes, this mixture gives you a lot of options. Use the marinade for any of your favorite boneless, skinless chicken thigh recipes, as well as bone-in chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs.

Basic marinated chicken breast is handy to use as a starting point for so many chicken dinner ideas, from salads to pasta and more. This recipe makes enough marinade for 4-6 servings, about 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Ingredients for a chicken breast marinade arranged on a surface, including boneless, skinless chicken, salt and ground pepper, fresh whole lemons, small bunches of rosemary, basil and parsley, and garlic cloves.

About the ingredients

  • Lemon: Depending on how juicy they are, you’ll need 1-2 lemons to produce 1/2 cup of fresh juice. If you really love lemon, grate the zest of one lemon and add it to the marinade for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Garlic: When mixed into marinades or rubs, chopped garlic tends to burn during the cooking process. That’s why I suggest grating whole garlic cloves on a rasp grater or pushing them through a garlic press. You can also substitute garlic powder for fresh garlic (use half the amount).
  • Olive oil: Use a good mild-tasting extra-virgin olive oil — save your special olive oil to drizzle over the cooked chicken as a garnish.
  • Herbs: Feel free to use a combination of fresh herbs you like. Some of the best aromatic herbs to pair with chicken are thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, cilantro, and tarragon. This marinade is delicious using dried herbs instead of fresh.
  • Crushed red pepper: A touch of heat from red pepper adds a Greek or Italian-style flavor profile to this marinade. Adjust the amount to your taste.
  • Spices: Personalize your marinade with spices! Add a teaspoon of cumin, paprika, or Dijon mustard to the basic mixture.

How-to pictorial steps

How long to marinate chicken

  • This marinade has a high ratio of acidity from citrus juices, which means it will work quickly to season and tenderize; 15-30 minutes at room temperature is ideal.
  • To plan and meal prep ahead of time, transfer the marinade and chicken pieces to a bowl or plastic zip-top freezer bag and refrigerate 4-6 hours. Any longer than that and the meat tends to turn mushy.
  • Place the bag of marinated chicken directly into the freezer for longer storage. Freeze 1-2 months.

Cooking methods for marinated chicken breasts

  • This marinade is perfect for grilled chicken breasts. Grill them on a medium-hot grill about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through.
  • To make the best baked chicken breasts, arrange the chicken on a sheet pan or baking dish. Bake 20 minutes in a preheated 425-degree oven, turning the chicken over halfway through.
  • To cook chicken breasts on the stovetop, sear them in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until brown on one side. Turn them over and cook until the second side is browned, 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook until the pieces are cooked through.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a freezer bag, marinating in an herb and olive oil mixture.

Lemon-Herb Chicken Breast Marinade (Grill, Oven or Stovetop)

Karen Tedesco
This versatile chicken breast marinade is light and simple as can be! Marinated chicken breasts can be grilled, baked in the oven or cooked in a pan on the stovetop. Mix this zippy marinade with Mediterranean-style ingredients from the pantry, including olive oil, garlic, aromatic herbs and fresh lemon juice.
Print Pin
5 from 12 community reviews
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Chicken
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

Enough marinade for 4-6 chicken breasts, or up to 2 pounds chicken parts

  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic, 1-2 cloves, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano or tarragon; or 2 teaspoons dried herb of your choice

Instructions 

  • Put the lemon juice into a medium bowl. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and whisk until the salt dissolves.
  • Add the olive oil, red pepper and herbs. Whisk to combine.
  • Put the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the marinade over. Turn the pieces to coat on both sides. Marinate at room temperature 15-30 minutes before cooking.
  • To marinate the chicken up to 6 hours ahead, place the chicken in a bowl or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over and flip the chicken with tongs, or squish the bag with your hands to distribute the liquid evenly.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

    • Grilled chicken breasts: Grill on a medium-hot grill about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through.
    • To bake the chicken, arrange the breasts on a sheet pan or baking dish. Bake 20 minutes in a preheated 425-degree oven, turning the chicken over halfway through.
    • Stovetop: Sear in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until brown on one side. Turn them over and cook until the second side is browned, 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook until the pieces are cooked through.
    • Personalize your marinade with spices! Add a teaspoon of cumin, paprika, or Dijon mustard to the basic mixture.

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 588mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 332IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Yum! Simple and flavorful. My favorite chicken marinade. Thank you

  2. Kerb House says:

    5 stars
    All my favorite herbs and the lemon makes these so tangy! Next time I’m making it with thighs! Skin-on!