Best Chicken Marinades

This post may include affiliate links from brands we've partnered with. Please read our affiliate poilcy.

These Best Chicken Marinades come in 10 different flavors and are perfect year round for quick and easy dinners! All 10 of these recipes are gluten free, dairy free, and are made with minimal ingredients for maximum flavor and ease. These marinades are perfect for meal prepping for simple meals pre-made for your freezer. There’s a little something for everyone with all these flavor choices, and I’ve included some ideas below for how to make these a full meal as well.

10 Best Chicken Marinades in Ziplock bags on a white background.

My 5 Instant Pot Marinades from a couple of years ago were so popular I did 5 More Instant Pot Marinades. But here’s the thing, I love all of those marinades, but I mostly like to bake or grill mine. So with some encouragement from you all, I set to work to have some marinade recipes we could all enjoy, (without needing an instant pot). These marinades are made specifically for the grill or the oven, so they’re perfect for year round dinners.

The instant pot does have it’s time and place, but with summer in swing, we’re grilling most nights of the week. There’s simply nothing easier than marinaded chicken and veggies thrown on the grill. Or the same thing on parchment paper and baked on 1 pan. Either way these marinades are here to make your dinnertime life much easier!

10 Best Chicken Marinades in 2 rows on a white background.

Let’s get started by talking about the 10 different flavors for the Best Chicken Marinades!

  • Balsamic Italian – balsamic vinegar combined with Italian seasoning and savory garlic make this one all around pleaser we make often.
  • Honey Sriracha – sriracha and honey combine together into an amazing marinade made even better with a touch of zesty lime and savory coconut aminos.
  • Jamaican Jerk – a slightly easier version of the classic, this marinade gets all it’s flavors from a jerk spice mix rather than having to measure out a bunch of individual spices.
  • Chipotle – the smoky chipotle chili flavor goes further with a bit of smoked paprika. That way you have lots of smokey chili flavor without too much heat in the mix.
  • Greek Lemon – garlic, lemon, and oregano come together in this super flavorful and family friendly marinade. We make this one and the balsamic Italian whenever we want a crowd pleaser!
  • Cilantro Lime – is one of our favorite combos and it makes wonderful taco bowls and taco salads. The marinade is made like a pesto with everything blended together, so it’s nice and easy.
  • Honey Garlic – just like your favorite wings, these flavors simply never get old and it’s nice and simple to make too.
  • Smokey BBQ – this one is your classic bbq chicken, but with a bit of extra flavor added with some garlic and smoked paprika.
  • Honey Mustard – this one might be the most family friendly of all because who can resist the sweet-savory combo of honey and mustard together.
  • Orange 5-Spice – this is one of our favorite ever combinations, there’s something about orange and 5-spice together that’s downright addictive and I know you’re going to love this one too.
10 Best Chicken Marinades on a white background with names in text next to the marinade bags.

Tip: If you’re looking for instant pot instructions, head over to my 5 Easy Whole30 Instant Pot Marinades or my 5 More Whole30 Instant Pot Marinades. Quite a few of these recipes today are based off those instant pot versions.

Now let’s jump in and make one of these recipes step by step!

All the ingredients for the Greek Chicken Marinade measured out in small bowls on a wooden cutting board.

Step 1:

Start by prepping each of the ingredients called for in whichever marinade you choose. We’re making the Greek Lemon in these photos, so there’s minced garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

Tip: for the green bag holders in the photos, search for (Ziplock Bag Holder Stand Adjustable For Plastic Freezer Bags/Hands Free Baggy Rack Gallon Bag Holder Stand,6 Pack/6pcs) and they’ll come right up!

All the ingredients for the Greek Chicken marinade in a Ziplock bag on a wooden cutting board.

Step 2:

Next place all the prepped marinade ingredients into a quart sized bag of your choice and mix together.

Or you can mix the marinade in a glass bowl and add the chicken before marinating it overnight. (No need to use a bag if you’re going to use it right away.)

Adding the chicken to the plastic bag with the marinade in it on a wooden cutting board.

Step 3:

Then add the chicken breasts or thighs to the bag and coat them in the marinade.

The finished Greek Chicken marinade with the front of the Ziplock labled.

Step 4:

Seal the bag being sure to get as much air out as possible and label before freezing.

To defrost: Place the frozen chicken in a container and place it in the fridge for 24 hours to defrost before baking or grilling. You want to be sure you place the bag of chicken in a container that will catch any potential leaks!

Baked 5-Spice Orange Chicken Marinade in a square glass dish on a wooden cutting board.

Step 5:

Choose whether you’ll bake or grill your marinated chicken and cook until done, (a thermometer will register 165ºF).

Bake at 450ºF for 15-20 minutes for chicken breasts, or 10-15 for chicken thighs.

Grill over medium heat 350º-400ºF for 10-12 minutes per side for chicken breasts and 6-8 minutes per side for chicken thighs.

10 Best Chicken Marinades in plastic bags horizontally placed on a white background.

Serve these marinades with some simple side dishes:

The Orange 5-Spice Marinaded Chicken cooked, sliced and placed over the top of rice with roasted broccoli on the side.
The Orange 5-Spice baked in the oven and served with Roasted Broccoli and steamed rice.

Ideas for how to make these chicken marinades a full meal!

  • Balsamic Italian – is great grilled paired with grilled zucchini, peppers, and sliced red onions. I’ve also grilled it and baked it, and then served it diced over a bed of greens with cherry tomatoes and my 2-Ingredients Balsamic Vinaigrette and crumbled feta cheese.
  • Honey Sriracha – grilled or oven roasted I paired this one with steamed sticky rice and my Asian Cucumber Salad. But it’s also great with grilled veggies too, we had it one night with grilled asparagus.
  • Jamaican Jerk – oven roasted or grilled and sliced over a bed of greens with my Mango Salsa. You can also serve it like these Jerk Chicken Bowls that have coconut rice and a peach avocado salsa.
  • Chipotle – is perfect served with grilled veggies all summer long. We also love piling it over a bed of green with Pico de Gallo and sliced avocado. I also did a sheet pan dinner with this and what I had from our vegetable CSA share. I laid out the 2 chicken breasts on one side. Then in the middle I had quartered small turnips, and on the end fat asparagus spears. I drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled it with sea salt. Then I roasted it at 425ºF for about 25 minutes and paired it with a chive aioli. For aioli you can check out my recipes for basil aioli with market veggies, and use chives instead.
  • Greek Lemon – I also serve this one grilled with any veggies I have on the grill. Usually it’s either asparagus, or the mix of zucchini, peppers, and onions. In fact you can serve any of these marinades with this combo and it’s going to be yummy! But I also served it as pictured below over my Greek Salad which was incredibly good. You can also use my Greek Inspired Grill Platter recipe for inspiration and replace the halloumi cheese with this Greek Lemon chicken.
Greek Chicken grilled, sliced and placed over the top of Greek Salad.
Greek Lemon Chicken marinade on my Greek Salad
  • Cilantro Lime – I grilled this one as well and served it diced up over my Taco Salad instead of the usual ground beef.
  • Honey Garlic – I baked this one and served it with steamed sticky rice and Asian Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad. The second time I cut it up to stir fry with bok choy from farmer’s market.
  • Smokey BBQ – I baked one batch of this along with some cubed up sweet potatoes and market veggies. The second batch I grilled and diced up. Then I served it over greens with cherry tomatoes, plantain chips, crumbled feta, and some lime juice squeezed over the top.
  • Honey Mustard – I grilled this one and diced it up to serve over a dinner salad with greens and sliced radishes we had on hand from farmer’s market.
  • Orange 5-Spice – I served this one as pictured above oven roasted with my Oven Roasted Broccoli and steamed jasmine rice.
Balsamic Marinated chicken grilled, sliced and on a black plate with grilled zucchini, peppers, and red onion.
Balsamic Italian marinade with grilled zucchini, bell peppers, and red onions.

I really hope you enjoy these Best Chicken Marinades! And if you do get a chance to make one or more of them, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. I always love hearing from you here! Also for lots more chicken recipes, head over to the recipe index.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
10 Best Chicken Marinades in plastic bags horizontally placed on a white background.

Best Chicken Marinades


  • Author: Kari
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These Best Chicken Marinades come in 10 different flavors and are perfect year round for quick and easy dinners! All 10 of these recipes are gluten free, dairy free, and are made with minimal ingredients for maximum flavor and ease. These marinades are perfect for meal prepping for simple meals pre-made for your freezer.


Ingredients

Scale

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs for each marinade

Balsamic Italian:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, see notes

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, no salt or sugar added

1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Honey Sriracha:

1 tablespoon sriracha

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or rice vinegar

Jamaican Jerk:

1/2 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 habenero, seeds and stem removed, see notes

1 tablespoon jerk seasoning mix

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons coconut aminos

Chipotle:

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon onion granules

1/2 teaspoon garlic granules

1 1/2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder

1/4 cup coconut aminos

Greek Lemon:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cilantro Lime:

2 cups roughly chopped cilantro, 1 bunch

2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil

1 tablespoon lime zest

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 2

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt

Ginger Garlic:

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Smoky BBQ:

1/2 cup bbq sauce of choice

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 clove garlic, minced

Honey Mustard:

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1 clove garlic, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules

1 teaspoon onion granules

1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper

Orange 5-Spice:

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/2 cup orange juice, from 1 orange

1/4 cup coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger


Instructions

For the Jamaican Jerk and Cilantro Lime, place all the ingredients into a small food processor or blender and blend until mostly smooth with small bits.

For all the other marinades, mix together the ingredients called for in each recipe. Then place them into your container of choice. I use glass pyrex containers to marinate overnight, and quart freezer bags to freeze these. Add your choice of 1 pound chicken breasts or chicken thighs and coat them thoroughly in the marinade you’ve chosen to make.

Marinate overnight, or freeze the chicken for a later date.

To bake these marinades, preheat the oven to 450ºF. Bake in a baking dish, 8″x8″, for 15-20 minutes for chicken breasts, or 10-15 for chicken thighs.

To grill these marinades, preheat the grill over medium heat 350º-400ºF. Grill for 10-15 minutes per side for chicken breasts and 6-8 minutes per side for chicken thighs. 

The chicken is done when it’s no longer pink and a thermometer reads 165ºF. Serve with your choice of side dishes.

Notes

If you can find reduced or aged balsamic, it’s extra delicious here.

Habenero is traditional in a jerk marinade, but they’re incredibly hot and you want to handle with care, (gloves are recommended). You can also leave it out if you don’t enjoy spice/don’t want the hassle.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Mixed

Keywords: Chicken Marinades, Chicken Marinade BBQ, Chicken Marinade Healthy, Chicken Marinades for Grilling, Chicken Marinades for Baking

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.