7 BEST Chicken Marinades

7 BEST Chicken Marinades

These 7 well-tested, easy chicken marinades will transform boneless chicken breasts into several tasty, healthy meals. We’ll show you 4 different methods for cooking your marinated chicken, plus how to make them into freezer meals for later.

These 7 well-tested, easy chicken marinades will transform boneless chicken breasts into several tasty, healthy meals. We'll show you four different methods for cooking your marinated chicken, plus how to make them into freezer meals for later.

5 Reasons to Love These Marinade Recipes

  1. Marinating chicken helps to infuse flavor throughout and adds moisture to a cut of chicken that can be notoriously bland and dry.
  2. We’ve developed and meticulously tested 7 delicious combos of marinade ingredients so you never get bored again! I seriously love every single one of these.
  3. We’ll show you how to cook your marinated chicken 4 different ways–grilled, baked, slow cooked, or pressure cooked. You have options!
  4. You can prep these in bulk and freeze them. So dinner is always ready to go!
  5. Bonus: We’ll show you how to repurpose your marinade into a safe-to-eat, flavorful sauce to drizzle over your cooked chicken. It can be done!
chicken in freezer bags

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7 Chicken Marinade Recipes

There is a marinade for everyone in our collection!

1. Asian Chicken Marinade

With just a few key Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create some seriously tasty marinated chicken. Serve it in wraps, on salads, or over rice. Perfect side dishes are Asian Slaw and Brown Rice (or Cilantro Lime Rice)…yum!

chicken breasts in marinade in a gallon sized freezer bag
asian chicken sliced with asian slaw and rice

2. Honey Mustard Chicken Marinade

You had me at 5 ingredients! That’s right. This recipe only requires 5 pantry staple ingredients for a perfect sweet and tangy result. This chicken is delicious on top of salad with our Honey Dijon Dressing or serve it like we do in our Honey Dijon Chicken Sandwiches.

chicken breasts in honey dijon marinade in freezer bag
grilled honey mustard chicken on a plate with salad and sauce

3. Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme and more, this bright and flavorful marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken. Pairs perfectly with our Crispy Smashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, and Strawberry Fields Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with lemon garlic marinade
lemon garlic chicken

4. Balsamic Chicken Marinade

Fresh herbs and pantry staples combine to create this complex marinade. Grill or bake the chicken, then enjoy on its own or atop a salad. Side dish ideas include Simple Boiled Baby Potatoes or No Boil Corn on the Cob. The pictured one below is served over cous cous with a simple Caprese Salad (cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and fresh basil with balsamic glaze).

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade
Balsamic chicken on top of quinoa topped with tomatoes and mozzarella

5. Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Cilantro, lime, garlic, and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy marinade. Serve the cooked chicken a la cart over Cilantro Lime Rice, on tacos, in quesadillas, or shredded on top of nachos, like these Instant Pot Chicken Nachos.

cilantro lime marinade and chicken breasts in a sealed freezer bag
cilantro lime chicken grilled on a plate with limes

6. The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade

This marinade packs a flavor punch! In fact, I think it’s the BEST savory one you’ll find. With just a few pantry staple ingredients, boring chicken is taken to a whole new flavor level! Enjoy a la carte with mashed potatoes, on top of our Favorite Cobb Salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap.

savory chicken marinade in savory chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts
grilled savory chicken breast with mashed potatoes and green beans on a plate

7. Southwest Chicken Marinade

Of all the marinades in the world, THIS is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. It can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos, quesadillas, Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls, Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps or Southwest Chicken Salad.

southwest chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts
southwest chicken

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FAQs about Chicken Marinades

Can you freeze marinated chicken?

Absolutely! As freezer cookbook authors, we especially love how easy it is to prep these chicken breast marinades ahead of time and freeze them to have on hand for another night. Every recipe includes freezing instructions, so you can double and freeze a batch anytime.

frozen chicken in marinades in freezer bags

To Freeze: Simply add all the marinade ingredients to a gallon-sized freezer bag or one of our favorite freezer meal dishes, toss or whisk to combine, and add in 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts per marinade batch. Then, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months for best results.

To Thaw: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods and then cook the chicken according to our recipe instructions. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

We encourage you to stock up on all the ingredients for these marinades and prep them in bulk for an hour or so over the weekend. You’ll love having them on hand in the freezer!

How long can chicken marinate in the fridge?

In our tests, we found that it’s best to marinate your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours and up to 24 hours. Less than 1 hour didn’t seem to infuse enough flavor into the chicken breasts and more than 24 hours (unless the chicken was frozen for part of that time) can cause them to become a bit mealy and mushy, especially if the marinade has a high acid content.

chicken breasts in freezer bags

If you’re freezing your chicken in the marinade, skip the time in the refrigerator and throw it immediately into the freezer. It will not over marinate in the freezer, but the chicken will begin to absorb some of the flavor during its stay. Then, while it thaws using one of these safe methods, it will marinate even more.

Can you marinate frozen chicken?

Yes, you can marinate frozen chicken. Go ahead and throw frozen boneless chicken breasts or thighs in a freezer bag with the marinade and stick the bag in the freezer until you’re ready. Or, place the bag of chicken and marinade in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours, until thawed completely.

chicken marinades in freezer bags

Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?

Absolutely! All cuts of chicken can benefit from a dip in a marinade. So, these marinades work just as well for chicken thighs and bone-in chicken. Cooking time will vary from our recipes, however, since we direct you how to cook chicken breasts.

Where do you get your chicken breasts from?

We are HUGE fans of ButcherBox and have been getting our chicken (and beef, seafood, and pork) from them for years now. We love that their chicken is 100% organic and all their meat is healthy and sourced responsibly. It’s so convenient to have it delivered to our doorsteps whenever we choose!

woman holding Butcherbox

You should definitely check it out and see if ButcherBox would be a good fit for your family. Our readers and we just love it!

Bottom Line: I hope you feel sufficiently motivated and resourced to make some darn delicious (and healthy) chicken meals now! Be sure to look for boneless, skinless chicken breasts to go on sale and then stock up. Spend an hour on the weekend prepping several of these marinades, toss your chicken in freezer bags, and freeze so you can have dinner ready to cook any night!

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