A delicious and EASY chicken marinade made with a simple combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic and spices. This mouthwatering marinade creates so much flavor and keeps the chicken moist and tender!
Simple grilled chicken marinade
Today I have a delicious and easy chicken marinade to share with you. It is my absolute favorite! We’ve been taking advantage of the beautiful weather this summer and grilling as much as we can, however I don’t plan on stopping this fall. The kids started school yesterday and the pool closes today, so I guess that means summer break is officially over.
I debated sharing this recipe now or waiting until next year, but if you’re anything like us, you’ll still be grilling a few more months so you’ll want to try this easy chicken marinade out! It’s super quick and simple to whip up, and uses fridge and pantry staples that I bet you already have on hand.
The flavor is a bit tangy from the balsamic and the Dijon gives it the perfect kick. It makes the chicken so moist and juicy, with a deliciously charred and caramelized exterior. It will quickly become your absolute favorite chicken marinade recipe ever!
Why marinate your chicken?
Whether you’re making grilled chicken breast, chicken kabobs, drumsticks or tenders, I’d definitely recommend marinating the meat beforehand. The marinade helps break down the fibers in the chicken, which tenderizes the meat and allows the flavors to penetrate through. With this simple step, you’ll have perfectly tender and juicy chicken that’s loaded with flavor in every bite!
How long should I marinate the chicken?
The longer it marinates, the more flavor it will have. Ideally you should aim for about 2 to 8 hours, so that the marinade has time to work its magic. If you’re short on time, then make sure it marinates for at least 30 minutes. I usually prepare the marinade in the morning or early afternoon, so that the meat has time to marinate all afternoon until dinner.
Tips for making and using this marinade
- Pat chicken dry. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel before placing in marinade to allow it to absorb more flavor.
- Meat thickness. If the breasts are thick, I like to pound the chicken down with a rolling pin once they are in the bag. You can also use a meat mallet, however I’d recommending pounding the meat before you add it to the bag.
- Brush on extra marinade. To cook chicken, lift out of the bag with tongs and place directly on the grill (no need to wipe off marinade). You can brush on any extra marinade within the first few minutes to add more flavor.
- Use a meat thermometer. Always cook chicken to at least 160°F, but check as it gets close so you don’t overcook and dry it out.
- Let rest. Make sure to let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving to retain the juices. Five minutes is usually enough time.
- Marinade variations. Feel free to swap balsamic vinegar for low sodium soy sauce or even skip the Dijon if it’s not your favorite. You can also add extra spices like Italian seasoning or red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat.
- Make extras. I always make extra chicken to have on hand for an easy lunch or dinner. We love it served over a big chopped salad, in a buffalo chicken wrap or as a topping for a stuffed sweet potato.
More delicious marinades to try:
Easy Chicken Marinade
- Thaw and trim chicken breasts. Pat down with paper towels and then place in a zip top bag or a large bowl.
- Then mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic salt and pepper in a small bowl (you could also add to the big bowl).
- Pour the marinade over the chicken. Then place into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (up to 12 hours).
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Place chicken on the grill for 5 to 6 minutes per side (or until a thermometer reads 160°F to 165°F and then center is no longer pink). Let meat rest for about 5 minutes before serving.