Chicken Marinade Recipes

Marinated chicken in pan
Anna Kurzaeva/Getty Images

Dry chicken is a very common kitchen mishap. Cooks worry about serving a safely cooked piece of chicken and sometimes underestimate the power of the grill or heat source drying out the bird until only a moist sauce can save the day. Barely.

A good chicken marinade will help prevent the chicken meat from drying while adding extra flavor. When ​marinating chicken, make sure to separate the pieces, allowing the marinade to reach as much of the surface of the meat as possible. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts can be marinated in as little as 30 minutes while a whole chicken needs between 6 to 8 hours.

Our collection of chicken marinades are easy and quick to make, bring a lot of different flavors to your table, and will be your new favorite mixtures if chicken is a staple in your household meals.

3:05

Watch Now: Our Top Chicken Marinade Recipes

  • 01 of 10

    Jamaican Jerk Marinade

    Jamaican Jerk Chicken
    Joff Lee / Getty Images

    These Jamaican flavors are a staple in Caribbean cooking because the spice mixture brings out the best in a simple chicken breast. Marinate chicken legs and oven roast or grill. Use on a whole chicken before cooking it rotisserie style, or leave some chicken wings in the mixture for 2 hours before coating them in flour and deep-frying.

    Similar dry rub versions are commonly used in many parts of Eastern Africa, but this Jamaican version is pungent and powerful. The blend features onions, garlic, peppers, dry herbs, nutmeg, cinnamon, hot sauce and allspice, the secret of a good jerk marinade.

  • 02 of 10

    Teriyaki Marinade

    Teriyaki chicken
    Juanmonino/Getty Images

    Teriyaki refers to a technique in which meats and veggies are glazed with a mixture of soy, mirin, and sugar. Our marinade uses vinegar instead of mirin, but adds green onions and garlic for an extra kick.

    This marinade is really great because if you simmer it until thick, you can use it as a table sauce. If the sauce is too watery, mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons of water into the sauce, letting it cook for 30 seconds. Great on chicken, the marinade also works well on pork.

  • 03 of 10

    Red Wine Marinade

    Red wine chicken
    Joe Watts / Getty

    Bursting with flavor, this red wine marinade is great on any piece of chicken from skinless, boneless breasts to whole birds. Use it as a basting sauce in rotisserie-style chickens. Balanced and flavorful, it has the right parts of sweet, savory and tangy to make your chicken an exceptional dish.

    Use dry red wine and good quality olive oil. Mix them with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and Worcestershire sauce. If making a sauce, use cornstarch to thicken the mixture.

  • 04 of 10

    Pineapple Marinade

    Pineapple chicken
    LauriPatterson / Getty Images

    Sweet and fruity, this chicken marinade uses the powers of pineapple and vinegar to add tenderness and flavor. Many cuisines use tangy fruit juice, and sometimes the peel itself, of fruits like papayas and pineapples to soften the connective tissues in tough meats.

    Mix crushed pineapples, soy, honey, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and aromatic cloves to make your marinade. Because of its high sugar content, watch your chicken pieces once they're on the grill because the outside could burn easily.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Lemon Pepper Marinade

    Rotisserie Chicken
    Food Image Source / Getty Images

    Based on the flavor of rotisserie chicken in those famous warehouse stores, this poultry marinade is perfect for all kinds of chicken no matter how are you planning on cooking them.

    Simply mix lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and dill to make your marinade. Because chances are you have everything but the dill in your pantry, make it without it in a pinch. Or if you have cilantro or parsley instead, keep the same measurements and enjoy a different herby flavor.

  • 06 of 10

    Lemon and Rosemary Marinade

    Lemon rosemary chicken
    Jodi Pudge/Getty Images

    With a hint of acid from the lemon and earthy freshness from the rosemary, this marinade gives your chicken a lemon-herb flavor similar to the classic store-bought rotisserie chicken, but better!

    Use large lemons (Meyer lemons are fantastic for this recipe), rosemary, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Marinade the chicken for 1 to 2 hours.

  • 07 of 10

    Lemon-Wine Marinade

    Lemon-Wine Marinade
    Joy Skipper/Getty Images

    Rich with the flavors of lemon and wine, this marinade works well on all types and cuts of chicken. With as little as 30 minutes marinating time, this recipe plumps the meat and adds moisture and flavor, thanks to its high acid content.

    Mix olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, herbs, garlic, and our secret ingredient, lemon rinds. If you're roasting the chicken, keep the lemon rinds and chop finely once the chicken is cooked. They have an amazing flavor and will add a welcome, mildly sour tang to your meal.

  • 08 of 10

    Fajita Marinade

    Fajitas
    istetiana / Getty images

    Juicy fajitas are a wonderful and healthy meal. Load them with grilled vegetables and meats, a dollop of sour cream and some cilantro, and you'll have a tasty dish in no-time. Use this marinade for both the veggies and the chicken, but marinate them separately.

    Mix beer, oil, onions, garlic, lemon juice, chili, salt, pepper, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon of taco seasoning for extra flavor, and chop a handful of fresh cilantro into the mix for a bolder flavor.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Orange-Cilantro Marinade

    Orange Cilantro Tilapia
    Orange-Cilantro Tilapia.

    Our fresh orange and cilantro marinade can be used on chicken for as little as 30 minutes. Pierce the chicken pieces with a fork to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat and place in a bag with the marinade for up to 2 hours.

    Mix orange zest and juice with salt, herbs, jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro. This simple combination of flavors works wonderfully to bring out the best in your chicken and is delicious also for coating potatoes, carrots, or turnips before roasting them.

  • 10 of 10

    Sour Cream Marinade

    sour cream dip in bowl on wooden board

    Handmade pictures/Getty Images 

    Using dairy to marinate is common in many cuisines, from Indian chicken to Hispanic pork preparations. The fat and acid in milk and cream give the chicken a wonderful flavor and texture. Used to tenderize the meat by breaking down the collagen, sour cream also helps to keep all the bits of herbs in place.

    Mix sour cream, vinegar, onions, mustard, lemon juice, celery salt, and seasonings and pour it over your chicken pieces in a resealable bag. Let to rest for up to 2 hours and grill or bake.