A Handy Poultry Marinating Chart and Guide

Tips for Submerging the Chicken or Turkey in Marinade

Marinating a whole chicken


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Poultry, in particular, benefits from a good marinade. Skinless, boneless breasts need the marinade for the moisture and every piece needs it for the tenderness and protection from the flame. Poultry needs a delicate touch and a marinade is vital to keeping the meat from drying out and the skin from burning.

Poultry Marinating Tips

When marinating poultry pieces it is important to toss them around periodically to allow the marinade to reach all surfaces. The marinade won't have a chance to sink into all parts of a pile of chicken legs if they are pressed too tightly together. Use a resealable plastic bag, kept in the refrigerator, and turn periodically during the marinating time. 

Marinating whole chickens can be a challenge due to the size. To submerge a whole chicken in a bowl full of marinade, will take a lot of the marinade. Large, 2-gallon resealable bags are available and can accommodate most whole chickens. Apply the marinade to the inside and under the skin as much as possible before you place it in one of these large bags. Add the remaining marinade, squeeze out as much air as possible and seal. Refrigerate. 

Poultry Marinating Times Chart

Type Part Marinating Times
Turkey Whole 6 to 8 hours
Chicken Whole 4 to 6 hours
Turkey Legs/Thighs/Wings 3 to 4 hours
Chicken Legs/Thighs/Wings 2 to 3 hours
Turkey Breast - Skin on 2 to 3 hours
Chicken Breast - Skin on 1 to 2 hours
Turkey Breast - Skinless/Boneless 1 to 2 hours
Chicken Breast - Skinless/Boneless 30 minutes to 1 hours