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Quick Yogurt-Lime Marinade for Chicken

5 from 1 vote

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Amp up tonight’s chicken dinner with this quick-to-make yogurt and lime marinade for chicken. Mix it up in minutes with plain Greek yogurt (or whole milk yogurt), grated onion and garlic, ground spices, and plenty of fresh lime juice and zest. This tangy yogurt marinade is an excellent way to season and tenderize any of your favorite chicken cuts, like chicken thighs, breasts, or drumsticks before they are baked or grilled

Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts coated with a thick yogurt marinade and fresh lime zest, arranged on a baking sheet.
Chicken breasts slathered with a spiced yogurt marinade.

This yogurt-marinated chicken is inspired by tandoori-style chicken, using thick plain yogurt and aromatic seasonings.

When you’re searching for chicken dishes for dinner, using a marinade (like lemon and herb chicken breast marinade or soy sauce chicken thigh marinade) is an excellent way to season and tenderize any of your favorite chicken cuts, like chicken thighs or drumsticks.

Why you’ll love it:

  • QUICK: With just a handful of pantry ingredients, this yogurt-lime marinade mixes up in a bowl in just a few minutes.
  • TASTE and TEXTURE: Yogurt acts as a tenderizer, infuses chicken with tangy flavor and also helps with caramelization during cooking.
  • VERSATILE: Quick chicken marinade and chicken keeps in your fridge up to one day ahead of cooking. The cooked chicken is be used in salads, sandwiches, salads or weeknight dinner.
Uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast halves in a baking dish, with a bowl of yogurt, halved onion, limes and dish of spices.

Ingredients

  • Yogurt: Use any type of plain, unsweetened yogurt that you enjoy or have in your fridge. I love the thick, creamy texture of Greek yogurt because it coats the chicken perfectly.
  • Lime: Fresh lime juice adds edgy acidity to the marinade, and grated lime zest a distinctive piney-fresh aroma. You can swap it out for lemon if you like.
  • Onion: Grated fresh onion is key to this marinade. Typical in Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, the juices from the onion quickly penetrate into the chicken. Although it won’t be as flavorful, 1 teaspoon of onion powder can be substituted.
  • Garlic: Rather than chopping garlic, crushing or grating fresh garlic quickly releases all of its pungent fragrance and flavor.
  • Spices: For a warm spicy flavor, I mix in ground cumin, and cayenne pepper for a touch of heat. You can add 1-2 teaspoons of additional spices to really amplify the seasoning. Try paprika, smoked paprika, za’atar, coriander, turmeric or curry powder.

How-to steps

Serving ideas and prep tips

  • Refrigerate the marinated chicken about 2 hours (and up to 24 hours) before grilling, baking or cooking on the stovetop.
  • Add cubes of cooked yogurt-marinated chicken to curry-spiced cauliflower naan bread for a fun one-dish meal.
  • Slice the chicken and serve in warm pita with spiced cucumber salad, creamy coconut rice and sliced cherry tomatoes.
Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts coated with a thick yogurt marinade and fresh lime zest, arranged on a baking sheet.

Quick Yogurt-Lime Marinade for Chicken

Karen Tedesco
Amp up tonight’s chicken dinner with this quick-to-make yogurt and lime marinade for chicken. Mix it up in minutes with plain Greek yogurt (or whole milk yogurt), grated onion and garlic, ground spices and plenty of fresh lime juice and zest. This tangy yogurt marinade is an excellent way to season and tenderize any of your favorite chicken cuts, like chicken thighs, breasts or drumsticks before they are baked or grilled
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Chicken
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, about 4 medium breasts or 6 thighs

Yogurt marinade

  • ¾ cup unsweetened plain yogurt, any variety (Greek, whole milk, or low fat)
  • ½ cup grated onion, about ½ an onion
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or crushed in a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Add the chicken to a bowl or large baking dish.
  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, whisking until smooth.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken. Turn the chicken pieces over with a fork so that the marinade coats them evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. Alternatively, add the chicken to a zip-top freezer bag along with the marinade, and squish the bag with your hands to distribute. Refrigerate 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • When you're ready to cook, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off and discarding any excess.
  • Cook the chicken according to your preference:

Grilled chicken

  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat for direct grilling. Oil the grill racks (the yogurt tends to stick to the grates). Grill on a medium-hot grill about 5 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through.

Baked chicken

  • Preheat the oven to broil, with the oven rack six inches from the heat source. Arrange the chicken on a rack set on top of a foil or parchment-lined sheet pan. Broil the chicken about 5-6 minutes per side, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.

Stovetop

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sear until golden brown, 3-4 minutes on each side. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan and cook until the pieces are cooked through.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. The chicken is done when it reaches 160-165F.

Nutrition

Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1085mg | Potassium: 739mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram

What you’ll love about this recipe:

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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