This is, hands down, the BEST Chicken Marinade that we have ever had!
Not only does it give chicken great flavor, it also penetrates the meat which makes it nice and juicy when grilled or baked.
And sometimes, we use a combination of these appliances for our meal preparation.
But there is nothing better than throwing a chicken breast that has been marinating all day on the grill for dinner.
Chicken Marinade Ingredients
Our go-to chicken marinade had always been Zesty Italian Dressing. We would put the chicken in a zip-lock bag and coat it in the dressing.
Then place it in the refrigerator and whenever we were ready to eat, we would pull it out and grill it.
However, that was until we were at a friend’s cookout.
He had made and grilled chicken breasts for the main dish. One bite in and I knew that I had to have his marinade recipe!
The chicken was so moist and delicious. Not to mention the flavor that the marinade provided was outstanding!
After a little bit of coaxing, he gave up his famous recipe.
Although we have tweaked it somewhat, the base of the recipe stays the same.
Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce are the key ingredients in this recipe.
The sweetness of the brown sugar balances out the bitterness of the vinegar. And the soy sauce adds a slight salty flavor while the oil allows the marinade to coat the chicken.
It adds just a hint of ‘wow, that is incredible’ along with ‘I am not sure what that is, but I love it’.
And of course, no marinade is complete without a little citrus, garlic, salt and pepper.
You could also add in some of your favorite herbs. Although I prefer to leave the chicken marinade as is.
Grill or Bake
So the question now arises on whether it is better to grill or bake the chicken.
During the summer months, we love to grill out everything that we can. We even grill our pizza dough!
In our opinion, there is no need to heat up the kitchen on a hot day if you don’t have to.
However, in the middle of winter, grilling isn’t an option where we live so the chicken gets baked.
But no matter which method you choose, be sure to remove the marinated chicken breasts from the refrigerator at least a half an hour before cooking.
Allowing it to come to room temperature will help your chicken remain moist during the cooking process.
Although we know that chicken must be cooked to 165°F, we actually remove our chicken from the grill or oven when our digital thermometer reads 150°F.
After you put your chicken on a platter, tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest.
This process is important to allow two things to happen.
First of all, the chicken needs to rest so that the moisture that has been drawn to the surface of the chicken during the cooking process can disperse back into the meat.
And second, the chicken will continue to cook after being removed from the heat source. This is why it is important to remove the chicken at the 150°F mark.
So when you are ready to eat it, it will not be overcooked and dried out.
Check out the printable recipe below and let me know what you think!
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The Best Chicken Marinade
- 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 ½ pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
- Add the ingredients to a large zip-lock bag and squeeze to mix the ingredients together.
- Place chicken pieces in the bag and massage the marinade onto the chicken with your hands squeezing on the outside of the bag.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for 4 hours.
- A half an hour before you are going to grill or bake your chicken, remove the bag from the refrigerator and set at room temperature.
- Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Remove the chicken pieces and shake off excess marinade. Grill for approximately 5-6 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 150°Remove and immediately cover with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes or until the internal temperature rises to 165°F.
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your chicken breastor until internal temperature reaches 150°Remove and immediately cover with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes or until the internal temperature rises to 165°F.