How to marinate chicken, plus marinating and grilling tips and information. Also some links to some easy homemade marinade recipes.
(For your shopping convenience, this post contains affiliate links.)
Some quick tips for you today on How to Marinate Chicken. I love to grill! Someone asked me recently why I didn’t have a lot of grilling recipes and information since they knew I loved to grill, so trying to change that.
In the meantime, I thought I’d start with some quick tips on how to marinate chicken for any beginners out there.
How to Marinate Chicken
If you’re unsure how to marinate chicken, to get started you’ll need three things: chicken, marinade, and a resealable bag or container.
First, let’s start with the chicken. You can use any kind of chicken including chicken breasts (with bones), boneless skinless chicken breasts, chicken tenderloins, chicken cutlets, or even chicken thighs.
I love using thin cuts of chicken such as boneless skinless chicken cutlets. For boneless chicken you can use a meat mallet so that the chicken is not only thin but uniform thickness for even cooking.
Thin cuts of meat cook fast on the grill or in a pan on the stovetop. Quick cooking means dinner on the table a lot faster! Also, I think the marinade does better with thinner cuts of chicken. Personal preference though! Chicken thighs are also a family favorite.
Next, you’ll need a marinade. Make sure you have enough marinade to cover your chicken. Here are a few to try…
- Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken Marinade
- Teriyaki Marinade
- Spicy Garlic Mustard Marinade
- Honey Mustard Chicken Marinade
Last, you’ll need a resealable plastic bag, or you could use a container or bowl. I prefer a resealable bag for easy cleanup and so you can toss the chicken around easily to coat.
Place your chicken in the resealable bag, cover the chicken with the marinade, then seal your bag. Toss gently or “massage” the bag and chicken so that that chicken is fully covered in the marinade.
Important! If the marinade is acidic, such as it contains citrus juice, vinegar, etc. please do NOT marinate your chicken very long. The acidic ingredients will start to break down the meat causing your chicken to be tough and chewy.
I like to marinate my chicken for about 20-30 minutes on the counter. I try to check on it though and if I notice it’s starting to look white and tough around the edges, I pull the chicken out of the marinade.
If there isn’t anything acidic in the marinade, you can let your chicken sit in the marinade longer. Darker cuts of chicken such as chicken thighs and legs could sit in a marinade a little longer if using an acidic type marinade.
When your chicken is done marinating, remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Do NOT serve the marinade on the side when serving, since the marinade had raw meat in it. If you’d like to use the marinade as a baste or sauce you can either:
- reserve some of the marinade on the side before adding the chicken, or
- place the marinade that was with the raw chicken in a saucepan and bring to a boil (make sure it’s a full boil to kill any bacteria). But note, that some marinades may not boil well and may burn depending on what is in them such as sugar. Therefore, I’d suggest going with option 1 if you can.
After your chicken is done marinating, it’s time to cook, bake or grill as desired. If you’re grilling your chicken, I’d suggest patting the chicken dry with some paper towels before placing the chicken on the grill to prevent flare-ups.
Have a favorite chicken marinade recipe? Would love to hear!