This Greek Chicken Marinade is THE BEST because of a secret ingredient, and a technique that really gets the flavor into the chicken breasts.
If you want flavorful, tender chicken with delicious Greek flavors, start with a Greek Chicken Marinade. The marinade is easy to mix up (it also works as a salad dressing!) and I’ve got a great tip for maximizing the amount of flavor. After marinating for a short time, the chicken breasts get grilled to perfection. It’s a dish that the whole family is going to love.
Get all the details for this easy chicken marinade below or click here to head straight to the recipe.
Making Greek Chicken Marinade
What are the ingredients for this Greek chicken recipe? We’re using olive oil as the base, along with red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice and zest, and some Dijon mustard. This gets seasoned with garlic, oregano, and thyme for some classic Greek flavors.
Many Greek dressings have a little bit of mustard, but why? I tried this marinade recipe with and without mustard. I found that it really helped the marinade cling to the chicken and also helped keep it emulsified when using it as a salad dressing. Without it, the garlic and herbs just kind of sink to the bottom. The little bit of mustard helped keep everything where it needed to be, whether that was on the chicken or on the lettuce, and didn’t skew the flavor at all. If you don’t have Dijon mustard, another kind will work but Dijon is my preference.
Submerge your chicken breasts in this Greek chicken marinade recipe for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
How To Maximize Marinade Flavor
Marinades really only flavor the outside of meats because, as we know, marinades don’t penetrate meat very far in. For that you’d need to brine your chicken breasts.
To maximize flavor and get more of the surface are of the chicken in contact with the marinade, I decided to score the chicken breasts in a cross-hatch pattern as shown below. Marinades flavor the surface, so the more surface, the more flavor!
You can also cut the chicken into pieces before marinating. I suspect this is why those skewers of chicken souvlaki are so tasty – all that surface area exposed during marinating!
How To Cook Greek Chicken
I think the best option after marinating chicken is to throw it on the grill! Get your grill grates clean and heat the grill to medium-high heat before you start cooking.
The chicken breasts will take 6-8 minutes on each side on the grill. Make sure to check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast – you want to cook the chicken to 160°F. Once it’s reached that, remove the chicken from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
You can also optionally do a brush of warm honey at the end after cooking. Some people enjoy a hint of sweetness to their Greek chicken, but adding honey before cooking can cause the sugars to burn. Instead, warm up 1/4 cup of honey and brush on the cooked chicken right before slicing and serving. It really is so good!Print
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- Using a knife, score chicken breasts on one side with hash marks, about ⅛-inch deep and ½-inch apart.
- In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, mustard, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, oregano, and thyme.
- Add chicken to bowl and submerge in marinade. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or in the fridge for 2 hours. Redistribute chicken halfway through marinating time.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until chicken registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
- Remove chicken from grill. Let rest 10 minutes.**
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*If you’d like to only marinate 4 chicken breasts, remove half of the marinade before adding the chicken. The reserved marinade can be frozen for up to three months and used later. It also makes a delicious Greek salad dressing – make a salad and serve the chicken on top!
**While the chicken is resting, you can optionally warm up 1/4 cup of honey in the microwave. Then brush it lightly on the chicken. Let chicken continue to rest. The honey adds a nice bit of sweetness and goes well with the other flavors in the marinade.