Grilled Chicken Marinade

Tired of flavorless, dry, and tough chicken? Then let your raw chicken marinate in this easy grilled chicken marinade before cooking. Each piece of chicken will soak in the delicious flavors of this honey based sauce, and turn out moist and flavorful after it's cooked!

Thinly, sliced grilled chicken breasts with lemon wedges on a small, gray plate.
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Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe

Before I learned how amazing marinated chicken was, I always thought it was just an unnecessary extra step in the cooking process. But, now I almost don't grill chicken without it! I especially don't like to grill chicken that hasn't sat in a marinade.

This grilled chicken marinade is so easy to make and truly creates the most tender and juicy chicken.

I love to throw some chicken into this marinade and let it do it's magic. Then I cook it on the grill and serve it over a bed of crunchy fresh lettuce, or on it's own with simple sides like brown rice or cornbread casserole.

And yes! You can use this marinade even if you don't have a grill. Just cook the chicken over medium-high heat with any method you want and it will turn out perfect.

Honey vinaigrette mixed together accented by a plate of chicken breasts.

Why You'll Love this Recipe

Trust me, marinating chicken is the way to go. Once you try it, you'll see what all the hype is about!

  • Grilled chicken marinade is great for meal prep! You can throw the ingredients together on a busy day and then allow the chicken to marinate all day.
  • Making your own marinade is great if you have any dietary restrictions or if you like to keep an eye on ingredients that you consume.
  • Most of these ingredients are things you likely already have on hand. An easy recipe to throw together at the last minute. With simple steps to follow too!
Honey vinaigrette ingredients in small, individual bowls.

Ingredients

These key ingredients are all you need to make this easy honey mustard chicken marinade:

  • honey
  • lemon juice
  • white wine vinegar
  • dijon mustard
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • dried rosemary

Substitutions and Variations

Make a different flavor profile by adding things like fresh garlic, fresh herbs, onion powder or garlic powder. Lime juice would make a tasty honey lime chicken marinade.

Add a more savory flavor with a splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

Want this marinade to be a little spicy? Mix in a little chili sauce or hot sauce.

If you don't have white wine vinegar, you can substitute another vinegar its place. The flavor will change, but you can use red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. If you choose red wine vinegar, you have to try this red wine vinaigrette.

Avocado oil is a great substitute for extra virgin olive oil.

Honey vinaigrette ingredients in small, individual bowls accenting a plate of raw chicken breasts.

How to Make Grilled Chicken Marinade

It isn't difficult to make a great marinade! Just a few easy steps and minimal effort you can complete this simple recipe in no time. Here's what you'll need to do:

Grab a small bowl or a large glass measuring cup and make sure it's completely clean.

Honey being poured into a bowl with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.
Dijon mustard and spices added to honey, vinegar and lemon juice mix.

Pour honey, vinegar and lemon juice into the bowl first and stir well.

Then add dijon mustard, dried rosemary, salt and olive oil to the honey mixture.

Dijon mustard, spices, honey, vinegar and lemon juice whisked together.
Honey vinaigrette mixed together accented by a plate of chicken breasts.

Whisk the marinade ingredients together until thoroughly combined and evenly mixed together.

Then use the marinade for boneless skinless chicken breast, pork chops, chicken tenders, boneless chicken thighs, fish or any other type of meat you want to use.

Chicken breasts being placed in bowl of honey vinaigrette marinade.

How to Marinate Chicken

First, reduce the thickness of the chicken breast by slicing them in half or beating them slightly with a meat mallet. This will help ensure the chicken stay juicy and tender after it's cooked.

Place the chicken into a large mixing bowl and pour one cup of marinade over it. Reserve the rest of the marinade to use as a dressing if you plan to serve your chicken over salad.

Chicken breasts fully covered with honey vinaigrette marinade and seasoned with spices.

Season the raw chicken and then allow it to marinate in the fridge for 1 to 24 hours.

Don't do more than that, or the citrus in the vinaigrette will begin to turn the meat. You can, however, prepare the marinade ahead of time and only add the chicken to it when you are ready to start the marinating process.

Grilling Marinated Chicken

Ready to grill?! Me too. Let's get started.

Once you've reached your desired marinating time, preheat the grill to 400°F (20°C) Fahrenheit.

Overhead, wide photo of chicken breasts fully covered with honey vinaigrette marinade and seasoned with spices.

Then place the marinated chicken onto the hot grill and use a basting brush to coat each piece in marinade that is leftover in the bottom of the bowl.

Thinly sliced chicken breast on a propane grill.

Grill chicken for about 3 minutes then flip and continue cooking for 4-5 more minutes. Use an instant read meat thermometer to check the internal temp of each piece of chicken.

Once the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), pull the chicken off of the grill. Let it rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve!

A bowl of lettuce topped with each grilled chicken salad ingredient.

How to Store Grilled Chicken Marinade

Place leftover chicken pieces into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze this tender and moist chicken for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight before reheating.

To reheat, place chicken on the stovetop in a hot skillet or in the microwave. You can reheat in the oven as well! Make sure the reheat to a safe internal temperature.

Store this great marinade in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Give it a good shake before using it as a marinade or a salad dressing.

Honey vinaigrette being poured on grilled chicken salad.

Uses for Grilled Chicken Marinade

Not only can you marinate chicken in this, you can use it as a salad dressing. Grilled chicken salad is a tasty way to include both uses in one dish! Or, drizzle it on top of a strawberry spinach salad.

You can marinate pork chops in this sweet and tangy marinade too! Then throw them on the grill to maximize the flavor.

Did you know you can marinate vegetables too? Adapt my recipes for grilled squash and zucchini or roasted broccoli by marinating the veggies in this sticky honey sauce first!

Feel free to use this marinade on any type of chicken you want; chicken wings, chicken legs, chicken thighs, tenders, chicken breast, even a whole chicken.

Don't forget to serve your yummy chicken with an easy side dish like fruit salad, roasted potatoes, or pasta salad.

Dijon mustard, spices, honey, vinegar and lemon juice whisked together with a wooden handled flat whisk.

Tips for Success

  • Don't have a grill? Cook this tasty chicken in a skillet, casserole dish, air fryer, or any of your other favorite cooking methods.
  • The longer you marinate, the more layers of flavor the chicken will have. One hour is the recommended minimum, but I highly encourage you to let it sit longer.
  • Since this is a honey and citrus based marinade, keep an eye on the grill while the chicken is cooking. There is a possibility for some flare-ups and you don't want the chicken to burn!

FAQ

What is a good base for marinade?

Marinades are typically made from three different basic ingredients. A successful marinade will have an acid (like vinegar), an oil, and then finished with spices. So, a good base for a marinade would be any variation of these ingredient!

Should you poke holes in chicken before marinating?

It is not necessary to poke holes in the chicken before marinating it, but it's also not a bad thing to do! Using a fork or knife to poke some holes into the chicken will just help get the marinade deeper into the chicken. If you'd like the flavor to seep into more layers, then poke a couple holes in the chicken before seasoning it or placing it into marinade.

A honey vinaigrette dressing being drizzled onto the grilled chicken salad.

More Marinade Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Thinly, sliced grilled chicken breasts with lemon wedges on a small, gray plate.

Grilled Chicken Marinade

Grilled chicken marinade is a no-fail way to make flavorful and tender chicken! You'll love this simple recipe with many different uses.
4.99 from 56 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Marinade Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Madison Wetherill

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

Grilled Chicken

  • 1 to 1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken marinade

Instructions

Make the marinade

  • Add honey, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar to a mixing bowl and combine.
  • Then add Dijon mustard, oil, salt and rosemary to the bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Use immediately or store for later.

Marinate the chicken

  • Reduce the thickness of the chicken breast by slicing them in half or beating them slightly with a meat mallet. (This will help ensure the chicken cooks easily and stays juicy and tender after it's cooked.)
  • Place the chicken into a large mixing bowl and pour one cup of marinade over it. Reserve the rest of the marinade to use as a dressing if you plan to serve your chicken over salad.
  • Season the raw chicken and then allow it to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Grill the chicken

  • Once you've reached your desired marinating time, preheat the grill to 400°F (20°C) Fahrenheit.
  • Then place the marinated chicken onto the hot grill and use a basting brush to coat each piece in marinade that is leftover in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Grill chicken for about 3 minutes, then flip and continue cooking for 4-5 more minutes. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temp of each piece of chicken.
  • Once the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), pull the chicken off of the grill. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 4ounces chicken | Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 901mg | Sugar: 3g

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