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The Best Chicken Marinade

The BEST Chicken Marinade Recipe is so easy and makes the best chicken ever! Loaded with the perfect amount of flavor, this marinade recipe is made with simple ingredients.

We eat chicken a lot in our house. I prefer chicken to red meat, even though I know my husband would disagree. I just love how versatile and easy a chicken recipe is to prepare! Most often, though, we enjoy grilled chicken. And while I love to play around with all sorts of flavors and marinades, I ALWAYS come back to my most favorite…the BEST Chicken Marinade.

This Is Going To Be Your Go-To Chicken Marinade!

Sliced chicken

How to Make Chicken Marinade

Making your own chicken marinade is so easy, really all you do is mix everything together and pour it over chicken! It’s really about what’s in great about a good marinade recipe is you can really make it your own, you just need a few important ingredients which you can mix and match!

  • Always use an oil. I like a light oil, like vegetable so it doesn’t impart a lot of flavor, and also doesn’t firm up in the fridge!
  • An acid is key to a good marinade recipe. I use vinegars a lot, but you can also use a citrus juice, or even wine. The acid balances out the oil and also help tenderize the meat.
  • A little bit of sweetener in a marinade is important, but not a must. I use honey in most of my marinades, but also love brown sugar. If you are on a low-sugar diet you can leave this out.
  • And finally spices are key. This is where you can get creative. This marinade recipe that I am sharing is pretty classic, and you can absolutely doctor it up with extra spices if you are looking for a specific flavor. I really like adding a little dijon mustard into my marinade, as a secret ingredient!
Chicken marinade in a ziplock bag

How Long Should I Marinate Chicken?

I get this question all the time. And the answer depends…for my Best Chicken Marinade Recipe, I feel like over night is best, but at least 4 hours. If you don’t leave the marinade on long enough…I mean, what’s the point? And too long sitting in marinade can be…well…too long. The acid in the marinade can start to break down the meat and give it a mushy texture. But don’t worry it will take a while for this to happen with the amount of acid that’s in this recipe. However, I wouldn’t recommend letting it marinade for more than 1 day. If you need to let the marinade sit longer for some reason, don’t add the acid until the last 60 minutes or so before cooking.

Tips to Add Flavor to Chicken Marinade

If you just don’t have at least 4 hours, you can tweak a marinade to pack more flavor punch.

  1. Use a more robust vinegar, like Balsamic, in place of the acid.
  2. A splash or Worcestershire sauce also will amp up the flavor.
  3. You can also add more flavor packed spices, like rosemary or basil!
  4. Even add in a little heat if spicy is your thing! Mix in 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a little spice!

AND make my AWESOME Chicken Dipping Sauce to go with it…it’s our FAVORITE!

Chicken tender in the a chick fil a sauce

Looking for more chicken recipes? Try These:

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Chicken with the best marinade

The Best Chicken Marinade

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 7 reviews
  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Dinner


The best chicken marinade ever!


  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 23 pounds trimmed chicken breasts


  1. In a bowl whisk together all the ingredients.
  2. Add chicken to a large zip-top bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken.
  3. Press out the extra air in the zip-top bag and seal. Squeeze the chicken in the bag, to make sure all chicken is covered in marinade.
  4. Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to grill chicken, remove the chicken from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to cooking.
  6. Preheat the grill to high heat. Place chicken on the grill, discarding extra marinade. Lower grill temperature to medium and cook on each side 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness, or until internal temperature is 165°F.
  7. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


If you would like to bake the chicken: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a large baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until juices run clear and  internal temperature reaches 165°F.


NOTE – you can add add different spices into the mix to suit your own taste or dinner idea!


  • Serving Size: 1 piece chicken
  • Calories: 296
  • Sugar: 7.5 g
  • Sodium: 1749.2 mg
  • Fat: 10.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Cholesterol: 116.5 mg

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16 comments on “The Best Chicken Marinade”

  1. This marinade is delicious!! Used it on boneless chicken breasts, they were juicy and flavorful. Will definitely make again and again.

  2. We LOVE this recipe. I make it just about every week. The flavors go perfectly with pretty much any type of cuisine we’re having. The marinade also works beautifully on tofu!

  3. So good!

    Hi Shelly.
    So I made the marinade using the maple syrup,and marinated the chicken for 2 days. So, so good!!!! Used an indoor grill to cook the chicken and served it w/ your honey mustard sauce, accompanied by mixed greens using your vinaigrette w/oregano.
    Everything was fun and easy to make, and my boyfriend & I enjoyed it all.
    Thank you

    The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to use the honey -it’s in the shopping list

  4. Hi Shelly!

    I’m “new” to your online website,and I’m really inspired
    Thank you for that! I made your blueberry Bundt cake yesterday, it made me an instant rockstar w/my cowboy boyfriend , and his cowboy buddies!

    But back to my question: I’m about to make your marinade for chicken,and I’m out if honey. Can I substitute pure maple syrup?


  5. Absolutely delicious! My family and I love this recipe, even the leftovers on top of a salad the following day for lunch is to die for! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Made this today & it is definitely going to become a frequently-used recipe! I did omit the additional salt since I find soy sauce salty enough on its own, and I had to use regular vinegar, but the chicken turned out moist and tender – hard to manage with chicken breasts today being so oversized & usually tough!

  7. This was awesome. I substituted regular vinegar, yellow mustard and Worcestershire sauce as I didn’t have the other ingredients on hand. It turned out amazing and the chicken was very juicy when reheating it. Will definitely make it again.

  8. Mobasir Hassan

    Thank you for the nice marinate . Can I use french mustard? Though it has little salt in it, should I use less salt if using french mustard?

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