We really think this is the best chicken marinade recipe for the great flavor it adds!

With an easy combination of ingredients you likely have on hand, this grilled chicken marinade guarantees juicy, tender, and flavorful chicken every time!

With a slight hint of sweetness with a bright tangy and salty flavor, this is sure to be the go-to recipe for every time chicken is on the menu.

The Best Chicken Marinade on chicken

The Best Chicken Marinade

  • It’s so easy to create your own marinade for chicken using this basic recipe!
  • Tailor the herbs and spices to your liking or add some to bbq sauce to make a savory glaze!
  • Make the marinade in advance so the flavors can blend and allow plenty of time for the chicken to marinate.
  • Shake it up and use it on any recipe for chicken breasts, drumsticks, thighs, or wings!
  • Add chicken marinade to pieces before freezing so it’s pre-seasoned and ready to cook. Simply thaw and grill!
Chicken Marinade and seasonings over chicken breasts

Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • Acid – This recipe uses red wine vinegar and a bit of lemon juice as the acidic components which help break down the meat making it more tender (be sure not to marinate too long!).
  • Fat – We prefer vegetable oil or avocado oil over extra virgin olive oil as it has a neutral flavor.
  • Salt & Sugar- Soy sauce adds salt, and umami (and helps the exterior of the chicken brown a little bit). Brown sugar adds a hint of sweetness but also caramelizes well on the grill.
  • Flavor – Garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic cloves) and herbs or spices with a bit of Dijon add great flavor.  


  • Vinegar – Switch the red wine vinegar for balsamic, apple cider vinegar, or lime juice in place of the lemon.
  • Sugar – Brown sugar can be replaced by honey or maple syrup.
  • Flavors – Sprinkle in a little basil, parsley, rosemary, and red pepper flakes in place of Italian seasoning mix. Try a bit of lemon zest or fresh herbs if you have them.
Chicken Marinade and seasonings over chicken breasts in a bowl with parsley

How to Make Chicken Marinade 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or freezer bag.
  2. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator between 1 and 6 hours (as per the recipe below).
  3. Discard used marinade.

Serve this chicken over salad or tuck it into a bun to make grilled chicken sandwiches!

Quick Tips

  • Keep fresh marinade in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for a few days.
  • You can use this on bone-in or boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
  • Marinate in a bowl, freezer bag, or baking dish. Do not marinate in a metal bowl or container.
  • If you have extra (unused marinade!), add a little to veggies before grilling or your other favorite side dishes for a punch of flavor.
  • Use this chicken marinade to season chicken whether it’s pan-fried on the stovetop, grilled, or baked.
  • Cook marinated chicken breasts on the grill until a meat thermometer reaches 165°F, about 7-8 minutes per side. Let the chicken rest before serving.

More Marinade Recipes We Love

Did your family love this easy Chicken Marinade? Leave us a comment and a rating below!

The Best Chicken Marinade on chicken
4.97 from 199 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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The Best Chicken Marinade

This easy marinade makes the perfect juicy chicken and can be tailored to suit any meal!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4
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  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


  • cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl or a freezer bag.
  • Add chicken and marinate at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
  • Grill, bake, or broil as desired.

To Grill Boneless Chicken Breasts

  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat and cook chicken 7-8 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Rest 3-5 minutes before serving.


  • Keep fresh marinade in a jar with a tight-fitting lid for a few days.
  • This is enough marinade for up to 2lbs of chicken, the recipe can be doubled.
  • You can use this on bone-in or boneless chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
  • Marinate in a bowl, freezer bag, or baking dish. Do not marinate in a metal bowl or container.
  • If you have extra (unused marinade!), add a little to veggies before grilling or your other favorite side dishes for a punch of flavor.
  • Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 tablespoon of the marinade as most of the marinade will be discarded.
  • Nutrition information does not include chicken as this can be used on bone in or boneless chicken with or without skin.
4.97 from 199 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 52 | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Chicken, Dressing, Sauce
Cuisine American
chicken with The Best Chicken Marinade and writing
marinating chicken in The Best Chicken Marinade with finished dish and writing
close up of The Best Chicken Marinade on chicken with a title
close up of The Best Chicken Marinade with chicken in a bowl with a title


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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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4.97 from 199 votes (172 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    1. The acid in the lemon juice helps tenderize the meat. You can leave it out and it will slightly change the flavor, but should still be tender with the red wine vinegar.

  1. This was so delicious. I also had all the ingredients already in the house which is nice. I didn’t have a grill, so I used a skillet on the stovetop, but the delicious flavor is delicious flavor. Highly recommend.5 stars

  2. It is the best marinade. I allowed the chicken breast to marinade over night and baked it. My guest is still raving over the tenderness and the favor. I think the best is the breast was so moist!5 stars

  3. This marinade was wonderful! I’m on a low fat/no sugar diet so I left out the brown sugar and it was still fabulous! Thank you, Holly for all of your delicious recipes!5 stars

  4. I made the best chicken marinade recipe and marinated the chicken about two hours. My so grilled them, and was very careful not to overcook them. They were DELICIOUS!! We will definitely make them again!!
    I’ve used other recipes you have posted, and had very good results. Now I look for your posts when I google recipes, because you are consistently very good! Thank you!5 stars

  5. Love your recipes.
    If I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, how long do I bake them?

    1. I haven’t tried this marinade on shrimp but it sounds like a delicious idea, Brittany! I wouldn’t marinate the shrimp for more than 30 minutes though as the acidity can start to break down the delicate shrimp meat.

  6. Out of all the marinades, this one is the best!!! I cook up a few extra for lunches and they are perfect. Moist and tender! Family of 7 and everyone agrees this is the ONE. PS because of carbohydrate issues. I leave out the Brown sugar….still perfect!5 stars

  7. This is an excellent and easy marinade for chicken. I made it last night and it was delicious. I’ve made many marinades in the past and this is among the best. Thank you, you have great recipes!5 stars

  8. I am so glad that I found this recipe! I had planned to make Caesar Salad for dinner, since we are going through a heatwave here in BC, Canada, but I wanted to get creative with the chicken breast. All I have to say is WOW – this was absolutely delicious. My husband grilled it on the BBQ and after his first bite, he said this marinade recipe is a keeper!

  9. Wow! I just took the chicken out of the oven and tried a little piece and that marinade is delicious! Definitely using it again when I grill on the bbq!5 stars

  10. I had to try it, but it was not that good. It had somewhat of a bitter taste and the flavor was not good. My wife and I both felt the same way. We have a different recipe that we use and love, but I thought I’d try something different for a change. It may have been the Dijon mustard. I don’t know, but this recipe needs an overhaul!2 stars

    1. Sorry to hear that Mike, this recipe is usually a reader favorite! If you try it without the dijon mustard let us know what you think :)