Grilled Chicken Marinade

When chicken is on the menu and you’re firing up the grill, get maximum flavor with this easy Grilled Chicken Marinade! Infuse your chicken with flavor with this simple marinade, and everyone will rave about how great the meal is!

Grilled Chicken Marinade in a mason jar.

I love marinating meat, especially chicken. Chicken is such a blank canvas and takes so well to many different flavors. This lemon-pepper marinade is tangy, a wee bit spicy, and totally savory. Plus, it infuses your chicken with an amazing flavor that pairs so well with the smoky goodness from grilling.

Marinades don’t have to be super complicated, and they don’t have to have exotic ingredients in them. This simple grilled chicken marinade recipe combines ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and pantry.

How Long To Marinate Chicken

A lot comes down to how much time you have and how much flavor you want in your chicken. After mixing up this marinade, let your chicken sit in it (in the fridge) for at least an hour. I’ve let my chicken marinate overnight, and it’s extra delicious! Some things to keep in mind when deciding how long to let the chicken marinate:
  • Boneless and skinless chicken will take less time to marinate.
  • Chicken breast will take longer to marinate than thighs or drumsticks - because the meat is thicker and denser.
  • More chicken means less flavor. If you’re marinating more than 2 pounds of chicken, consider doubling the recipe, so there are lots to go around.

How To Make This BBQ Chicken Marinade

It couldn’t be any easier, honestly! Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until it’s all combined. That’s it! I like to use a big whisk and a large bowl to really help emulsify the ingredients so that it is thick and coats the chicken evenly.

How To Marinate Chicken

You have a few choices on how actually to marinate the chicken.
  1. Pop the chicken and the marinade into a zipper-top bag and massage the marinade and chicken until the chicken is well coated. Pop it into the fridge until you’re ready to heat the grill. Flip the chicken around at least once to get the marinade all over. 
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl with the marinade. Make sure the bowl you’re mixing the marinade ingredients in is large enough to hold all the chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to start cooking. Flip the chicken over at least once while marinating.

What Cuts Of Chicken Are Best For Marinating?

This can be a chicken breast marinade, a chicken thigh marinade, or marinate the whole chicken! You can spatchcock the chicken (cut it so it lays flat open), marinate it, and then grill it. Pretty much all cuts of the chicken work and take on all the delicious flavors of the marinade.

Tips For Grilling Marinated Chicken

  • Let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking. It’ll cook more easily and evenly this way. 
  • Let the extra oil drip off before adding the chicken to the grill to avoid flare-ups from the oil in the marinade. 
  • If the chicken is skin-on, watch for flare-ups and move the chicken around to cooler spots on the grill. 
  •  Baste the chicken with the extra BBQ marinade about halfway through the cooking time. There’s no added sugar to this easy chicken marinade recipe, so burning shouldn’t be an issue (unless you burn it from the grill being too hot.) 
  • Chicken should cook to an internal temperature of 165-F. Use a digital meat thermometer to check before serving.


This recipe makes the best grilled chicken! But, you can change up the marinade and how to use it! Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

  • Make chicken kabobs! Add cut vegetables and dice the chicken using this recipe as a chicken kabob marinade. 
  • Add some spice! A pinch of red pepper flakes or chipotle powder will add some kick to the chicken. 
  • Freeze the chicken IN the marinade then it'll be ready to grill after it thaws. 
  • Make chicken tenders! Just don't let them marinate for more than an hour or so.

What To Serve With Marinated Grilled Chicken

So many dishes go amazingly well with BBQ chicken, but some of my favorites are a fresh and crunchy apple salad, crispy sweet potato fries, and creamed corn. Got extra room on the grill? Grill some zucchini to go with your chicken!


Looking for mere yummy chicken recipes? Check out some popular choices from the archives:

If you try this recipe, I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. Enjoy!

6 breasts

Grilled Chicken Marinade

When chicken is on the menu and you’re firing up the grill, get maximum flavor with this easy Grilled Chicken Marinade! Infuse your chicken with flavor with this simple marinade, and everyone will rave about how great the meal is!

  prep time: cook time: total time: 05 MIN 


3/4 cup oil (olive, vegetable or canola)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp dry mustard
2 tsp black pepper


1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.  Marinate meat for at least 1 hour, flipping meat at least once.  I like to marinate my meat overnight.

2. Grill chicken for 5-6 minutes per side or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165° F.


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