Mediterranean Chicken Marinade Recipe (3 Ingredients)

I used to rely on bottled marinade or pre-marinate chicken before I realized how ridiculously easy it is to make your own. All you need are a few pantry staples to put together a flavorful marinade for chicken (or any other meat or fish for that matter).

This Mediterranean-inspired marinade uses just three basic ingredients—olive oil, lemon and garlic—to infuse chicken with plenty of tangy, savory flavor. Adding herbs adds extra pizzazz, but even without them, you can count on your chicken to be anything but boring.

How long to marinate the chicken.

Acid is a key player in many marinades because it helps tenderize the meat. Here, lemon is the acid of choice. However, despite the good things that lemon (or other citrus) juice and vinegar provide, they must be used with caution because they are so acidic that the chicken will become tough if marinated for too long. Allow your chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 4 hours, to reap its benefits.

Just recipes / Ciara Kehoe

How to Cook Marinated Chicken

This marinated chicken takes well to both grilling and baking. To grill, heat your gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates well. Cook, flipping halfway through, until grill marks appear and the chicken is cooked through.

Alternatively, place the chicken in a lightly oiled baking dish and bake at 425°F. Whether you grill or bake the chicken, it's done when it registers 165°F with an instant-read thermometer—the exact time will depend on the kit you're using.

Tips and tricks

  • Any cut of chicken works well with this marinade, whether bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless. Feel free to use breasts, thighs, legs, drumsticks, wings, or a combination.
  • This recipe makes enough marinade to coat 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of chicken, which will serve 4 people. If cooking less or more, halve or double the recipe as needed.
  • To kick up the tangy flavor, try adding a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard to the marinade. Or if you want to spice it up, add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  • If you want to lighten the tart savory note and add some sweetness to the marinade, stir in a teaspoon or two of honey.

Just recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Add herbs for a boost.

Although adding herbs to this pickle is optional, it really takes it to the next level. Oregano, rosemary and thyme are Mediterranean herbs that feel right at home here. Feel free to use fresh or dried, alone or in combination, depending on what you have on hand.

You can also experiment with dried herb and spice blends like Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, or even za'atar.

Other marinated chicken recipes to try

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