Best Chicken Marinade


This chicken marinade adds great flavor and a beautiful caramel color to tender, juicy grilled chicken. This easy recipe is a must-try! For best results, don't marinate the chicken for more than 4 hours, or the lemon juice will affect the texture.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr 25 mins

Irresistibly juicy, chargrilled chicken begins with a well-executed marinade — and we have a perfectly smoky, salty, and delicious chicken breast marinade recipe that gets the job done every time. TaraNicole's tantalizing blend of soy sauce, liquid smoke, spicy brown mustard, and lemon creates a rich flavor that will make you the star of the cookout. Learn how long to marinate chicken breasts, plus get storage and freezing tips.

mid angle looking at a plate of three marinated chicken breasts
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

How to Make Chicken Marinade for Grilling

Mouthwatering, citrus-spiked grilled chicken breasts are just a few ingredients away. You'll find the full recipe below with step-by-step instructions, but here's what you can expect when you make this top-rated recipe:

Begin by combining all ingredients except the chicken breasts in a large bowl. Next, place the chicken in the bowl to coat thoroughly. Cook the chicken according to your recipe.

How Long to Marinate Chicken Breast for Grilling

Cover the bowl and refrigerate the marinating chicken for one to four hours. Be sure not to exceed the four-hour mark — lemon juice's acidity can make the meat tough and stringy if left too long.

How to Grill Marinated Chicken Breasts

Shake off any excess marinade and cook the chicken breasts on a preheated grill until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. You're sure to love the succulent, deeply savory flavor in each bite.

Can I Cook with Leftover Marinade?

Yes, you can cook with leftover marinade as long as the mixture is boiled for at least five minutes to kill any harmful pathogens.

Can I Freeze Chicken in a Marinade?

Make a scrumptious meal from frozen marinated chicken breasts in a flash. Add marinade and chicken breasts to a heavy-duty freezer bag, making sure to swirl and coat the meat before freezing — they will last up to three months.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I marinated the chicken for about an hour and used my oven broiler," shares Dorothy. "The chicken breasts were done in about 7 minutes and were juicy, flavorful, and tender."

"A perfect pairing with roasted veggies and a pasta salad," says Sam.

"My family is very particular when it comes to chicken and this was a huge hit at our house," according to Josietoes. "The flavor was excellent and the chicken was nice and tender. We will definitely make this one again."

Editorial contributions by Rai Mincey


  • cup olive oil

  • cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • ¼ cup lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring

  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make the best chicken marinade recipe.


  2. Mix olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, liquid smoke, mustard, pepper, and garlic powder together in a large glass or ceramic bowl.

    Best marinade recipe ingredients in a white bowl with a whisk.


  3. Place chicken in the bowl and turn to coat with marinade. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. For best results, do not marinate longer than 4 hours.

    Raw chicken breasts in a bowl, soaking in the best marinade recipe.


  4. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.

    A person using tongs to hold a folded piece of paper towel to oil grates on an outdoor grill.


  5. Remove chicken from the marinade and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade.

    A person using tongs to remove raw chicken breast from a bowl filled with marinade.


  6. Cook chicken on the preheated grill until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

    A person checking the internal temperature of chicken cooking on an outdoor grill.


  7. Serve and enjoy!

    Grilled chicken breasts on a plate served with lemon wedges.


Editor's Note:

The nutrition data for this recipe includes information for the full amount of the marinade ingredients. Depending on marinating time, ingredients, cooking method, etc., the actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

549 Calories
46g Fat
7g Carbs
28g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 549
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 1574mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 336mg 7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love