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Grilled Lemon Yogurt Chicken

Rated as 4.57 out of 5 Stars

"There is something special about what yogurt does to chicken in its smoky, sizzling time over charcoal. It imparts a tangy flavor that lifts all the other flavorings. It tenderizes slightly, without turning the meat into mush. It grills to a caramelized dark brown without tasting burnt."
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3 h 50 m servings 523
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Whisk together the 1/2 cup yogurt, the juice from 1/2 lemon, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, paprika, herbes de Provence, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and harissa in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Remove chicken from bag and transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels. Pat chicken pieces dry with more paper towels. Season with pinch of salt.
  5. Grill chicken, skin-side down, on the preheated grill for 2 minutes. Turn each piece and move to indirect heat.
  6. Grill, turning often, with lid down until well-browned and meat is no longer pink in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
  7. Serve chicken with the yogurt harissa mixture on the side.


  • Editor's Note:
  • If your store doesn't carry harissa sauce, you can make your own with this recipe.
  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 523 calories; 29.9 5.8 55.2 169 590 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 154
  1. 198 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

Wallaceclan - harissa is a North African chili paste. If you don't have it, you could make a paste with 1 t. sriracha or chili garlic sauce, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1/2 t ground cumin , 1/2 ...

Most helpful critical review

Did not like dipping sauce

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Most positive
Least positive

Wallaceclan - harissa is a North African chili paste. If you don't have it, you could make a paste with 1 t. sriracha or chili garlic sauce, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1/2 t ground cumin , 1/2 ...

Thank you Chef John. I followed your recipe exactly, except that I used chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken (not a fan of bones), and my husband said that this was the best chicken ever....

Such a nice change from other grilled chicken and so healthy. You can do this marinade with any type of chicken (ie: boneless, skinless breasts or thighs). I didn't even marinate it for more t...

Outstanding. Greeks and Indians famous for using natural live yogurt for moisture and tenderization. Good flavors though I'd add onion. Sidebar: My Mother would use yogurt instead of buttermilk...

Excellent. I did how ever(not by choice, planned to make it according to recipe but my plans changed) so it marinaded for 30 hours and turned out amazing. Very moist and flavorful. Did not ma...

Marinaded for only 2 hours (was short on time). Did not pat dry the sauce off (why waste it?). No grill available, so I baked for 40 mins and then broiled on each side until crispy brown and w...

VERY GOOD!! I also used chicken breasts. The meat was tender, moist, and flavorful. I have had trouble in the past with dry grilled chicken - not anymore! Thank you Chef John for our new gri...

this is very good! i kept the recipe the same except using chicken breast and adding some extra rosemary, which goes so well with lemon and chicken. i also chose not to make the dipping sauce.. ...

This was tasty, but it wasn't like... WOW, flavor! I think if i tweak it a bit, though, it will be a great recipe. It was super moist though!