Greek Chicken Marinade is an easy chicken marinade that makes the most delicious chicken breasts you’ll ever taste! The classic Greek flavors of lemon, garlic and oregano, along with Greek yogurt, will transform any cut of chicken from bland and boring to tender and juicy!
We all need a good chicken marinade in our list of recipes because chicken is so economical and easy to make for healthy weeknight meals. This is my go-to chicken marinade because it’s easy to swap out the spices and create entirely different flavors depending on what else I’m serving for dinner.
This chicken marinade will take your grilled or baked chicken to the next level!
Greek Chicken Marinade ingredients (with substitutes).
- Olive Oil is used in the marinade to help the flavors penetrate the meat faster. The best oils for marinating chicken are NON GMO olive oil, safflower oil, corn oil and peanut oil. Adding oil to the marinade also helps the meat hold onto moisture and prevents it from sticking to the pan or grill while cooking.
- Greek Yogurt has active bacteria and lactic acid which slowly break down the protein, making the chicken moist and tender. Substitute with plain full fat yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream.
- Lemon is added for a classic Greek flavor and also adds more acid which helps to tenderize the meat. You’ll be using the juice and the zest for maximum lemon flavor! You can use preserved lemons instead of fresh lemons if you have some on hand!
- Garlic is kind of a no-brainer! Freshly minced garlic is a must for any Greek chicken marinade! If you can’t get your hands on fresh garlic, don’t worry about it! Just use 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder for every clove. For this recipe I would use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Hey, I love garlic!
- Ground Spices and Dried Herbs are really what take this easy chicken marinade to the next level. The ones used in this recipe are onion powder, dried oregano, coriander, sea salt and cracked black pepper. If using fresh oregano, you’ll need to triple the amount because dried herbs are more potent than fresh herbs.
- Chicken Breasts are included in the recipe cooking instructions, but you can use ANY cut of chicken that you prefer. This marinade can be used for boneless or bone-in cuts of chicken. Bone-in chicken does require more cooking time. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees).
How to make Greek Chicken Marinade.
Step 1. Mix marinade ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, stir the olive oil, yogurt, oregano, garlic, coriander, salt, pepper, onion powder, lemon juice and zest. (Reserve a 1/2 cup in a separate bowl if you wish to baste the chicken while it’s cooking.)
Step 2. Coat the chicken breasts: Add the chicken breasts to the bowl of marinade and toss to coat them evenly. Cover and chill in fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 48 hours. Remove chicken from fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow the meat to come to room temperature. (Discard marinade that raw chicken was in to prevent cross contamination.)
Step 3. Cook the chicken: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a grill pan. Heat the pan over high heat and cook the chicken 5 minutes on one side. Turn the chicken over and transfer the grill pan to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
How to cook marinated chicken – 3 methods.
I’ve shown you how to use a cast iron grill pan to cook the Greek marinated chicken on the stove and finish off in the oven in the steps above. Here are 3 more ways you can cook this delicious chicken!
- Bake – place the marinated chicken breasts on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes depending on thickness.
- Grill – It’s always a good idea to pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness before grilling, about one inch. This will help to cook the meat evenly and prevent over cooking and drying out. Cook the chicken over a medium heat about 5-7 minutes on each side.
- Pan-fry – Pound the chicken to an inch thickness between two pieces of plastic wrap. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Oil the pan and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side.
How to tell if chicken is done.
- The only way to know if the chicken is safely cooked is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to check for the internal temperature. The internal temperature of cooked chicken should be at least 165 degrees.
- The juices should run clear if the chicken breasts is pierced with a fork.
How to store leftover chicken.
- Raw marinated chicken – Refrigerate for up to 2 days. Freeze for up to 9 months.
- Cooked chicken – Refrigerate for up to 4 days
- These food-safe storing instructions can be found at FoodSafety.gov.
- Use freezer bags or air-tight containers to store food in the fridge and/or freezer.
Tips for cooking Greek Marinated Chicken.
- Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes for the best infusion of flavor.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature. This will allow the meat to cook more evenly and help to keep it from drying out.
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder can used in place of fresh garlic.
- 6 tablespoons of fresh oregano can be substituted for dried oregano.
- Use Preserved Lemons instead of fresh lemon juice. I think every cook needs a jar of preserved lemons in the fridge and this marinade is the perfect excuse to go ahead make some! Substitute the fresh lemon juice and zest for 1/2 of a preserved lemon wedge and eliminate the salt. (Preserved lemons are salty!)
- If you would like to use some of the marinade for basting the meat while it’s cooking, remember to reserve a small amount of marinade BEFORE you put the raw chicken in it. This is to prevent the contamination of salmonella or any other harmful bacteria that could potentially be in the marinade from the raw chicken.
Other Greek recipes you might like.
Greek Chicken Marinade
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain
- 3 lemons, zest of 1 lemon and juice of all 3
- 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 4 chicken breasts, 2 lbs.
- Whisk marinade ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the chicken breasts in the marinade to coat. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes up to 48 hours. Remove the meat from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking to let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and heat a lightly oiled grill pan over high heat.
- Sear the chicken breasts on one side for 5 minutes, turn them over and bake for 15 minutes or until done through.
- Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Remove from fridge 3o minutes before cooking to allow to come to room temperature. This will help the chicken cook more evenly.
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder can used in place of fresh garlic.
- 6 tablespoons of fresh chopped oregano can be substituted for dried oregano.
- Use preserved lemons by substituting the fresh lemon juice and zest for 1/2 of a preserved lemon wedge and eliminate the salt.
- Remember to reserve a small amount of marinade BEFORE you put the raw chicken in it, if you want to use some for basting the meat while cooking. This will help prevent contamination in the marinade.