An easy marinade for chicken is a great way to make it infused with flavor no matter how you cook it. Which is good, because a lot of our weeknight repertoire recipes are for chicken. And as such, our relationship with the chicken can become stale pretty quickly. Still, it’s one of the easiest, fastest, and healthiest options in the neighborhood, so we inevitably come back to it over and over again.
The holy trinity of salt, pepper and olive oil works wonders on meat and vegetables, but sometimes you have to change it.
In our efforts to maintain our relationship with America’s most ubiquitous poultry, we also not want to make things more complicated, then we bring you these simple marinades for chicken. Simply put whole breasts, thighs, wings and / or drumsticks in the marinade overnight and let them swim in their Ziploc bag in your fridge like a fish you won at a carnival.
The next day, pour everything into a baking dish (or slow cooker in the morning), or put the chicken on the grill, then prepare a few easy sides (rice is always nice) and dig.
Of course, you can just use an Italian dressing as a marinade, or a ranch packet, or Frank’s Red Hot, or any number of store-bought sauces, but these easy marinades aren’t much more work, and they do. taste so amazing you’ll love to see chicken on the menu again… and again… and again.
Our tandoori-style marinade recipe relies on yogurt to do all the tenderizing work for you, so leaving it overnight makes it even better. Simply put all the ingredients (including ginger, garlic, onion, and lime juice) in a food processor and mix for this one-step marinade that packs a fragrant punch. Serve the faux tandoori bird with roti, naan, or rice.
Rosemary and soy sauce are the key ingredients to complement the balsamic vinegar in this marinade. Pie and sweet, this is another easy food processor recipe with just a few ingredients to mix together before the chicken hits the slow cooker, grill, or skillet. Get our balsamic marinated chicken recipe.
Combining lots of lemon juice with chili flakes creates a surprisingly complex flavor for the chicken while maintaining a really bright profile (in part thanks to the fresh herbs). Freshly squeezed juice is the real key to this one, so be sure to use the marinade a few hours after it’s brewed. Get our lemon marinade recipe.
Just another two main ingredient marinade to give amazing results with this honey and mustard combination. It’s basically a grown-up version of your favorite chicken fillets from that college bar. It’s hard to beat such classic flavors. Get our Dijon Honey Marinade Recipe.
Jalapeño adds a little spice to this tangy lime and cilantro marinade. This one isn’t supposed to stay overnight; a maximum of four hours is recommended due to the high acid content, and if you’re pressed for time, 30 minutes is enough. Just enough time to preheat the grill! Get our lime and cilantro marinade recipe.
Wait until you have fresh oregano to prepare this marinade: 1/4 cup of tender leaves and stems goes through the blender with fresh thyme, lemon juice, white wine, olive oil and onion. It’s a vibrant and versatile Mediterranean marinade that also works as a Greek dressing. Get our oregano marinade recipe (and use it on this grilled chicken with grilled lemons).
It does take a bit longer than most on this list, but only because it requires a little extra soaking time for the dried peppers before you toss them in a blender and give them a ginger and cumin swirl. Spread this thick and spicy paste over the chicken thighs and grill, then chop the meat for tacos or just serve the thighs intact with rice. Get our Adobo marinade recipe.
This Argentinian herb sauce is mainly used as a dressing but also works as a marinade for grilled meats (we do not recommend putting a whole batch of chimichurri in the oven or in the slow cooker like with other marinades that become a cooked sauce, because it will tarnish the flavor) – and it’s as good on steak as it is on chicken. It’s filled with parsley, garlic and oregano and tastes even better the day after it’s made. Since you will definitely want to use it as a finishing sauce as well, be sure to make a bigger batch and separate part of the marinade portion (as raw chicken juice is not an ingredient that you want to baste on your finished dish). Get our Chimichurri recipe.
Yes, this marinade has a vague name, but the simple combo of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, and sesame oil is dynamite on the chicken, whatever you call it. Because the marinade is cooked with the chicken, it is safe to use as a sauce over rice when cooked. But if you prefer to grill your chicken, you can simply boil the rest of the marinade in a pot on the stovetop while the meat cooks over the coals. Get our Asian marinade recipe.