The 10 Best Marinate For Chicken – Chicken Marinades to Blow Your Mind

Is your family getting bored of the same old 2 boring chicken recipes you know?? Adding a simple marinade to your chicken will easily enhance the flavor, taste, and tenderness of your chicken, with minimal effort. 

You can marinate all different cuts of chicken from chicken drumsticks, chicken thighs, chicken breasts, and even the whole damn chicken if you want to! 

While you could go to the supermarket to buy a pre-made marinade, I highly recommend making your own homemade marinade with simple ingredients.

Most marinades are full of processed additives, such as high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors. But if you make a marinade of your own, you don’t have to worry about it. You can also save a lot of money by making marinades of your own.

The Best Chicken Marinade Recipes

Let’s see my 10 favorite chicken marinade recipes.

1. Caribbean Marinade

This chicken marinade is my personal favorite for grilled chicken thighs. It’s spicy and tangy. I like to add a little bit of lime juice for extra zing!

2. Mexican Chicken Marinade

Although this recipe sounds exotic it uses pantry staples I know you will have in your kitchen. This is a great last-minute go-to and is always a crowd-pleaser. I have used this marinade to do whole grilled spatchcock chicken and it was a huge hit! I made 3 times the recipe and marinaded the whole spatchcock chicken, then used the leftovers to baste throughout the cook. Delicious!

3. Whiskey Pineapple Chicken

I never would have thought about this combination – but WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! This marinade is a great one to use for wings for a change from your regular buffalo or bbq sauce!

4. Greek Chicken Marinade

This Greek chicken recipe is another one that sounds exotic but uses everyday pantry ingredients. It’s my go-to for an easy weekend lunch. It’s light, fresh, and zingy! You can also add a couple of tablespoons of Greek yogurt to this to step things up a notch.

5. Honey Balsamic Glaze 

Chicken and balsamic vinegar are a match made in heaven, and this recipe proves that. It’s tangy, sweet, and has a fantastic shine!

6. Sweet Chili Chicken Marinade

This is my kid’s favorite way to eat chicken. Simply marinade your chicken thighs and serve with rice and a side salad for a quick, easy and delicious weeknight meal. You can even marinate the chicken a day ahead to make it even faster.

7. Cuban Mojo Chicken Marinade

This recipe will require a trip to the supermarket, however, it is totally worth it. This recipe uses the marinade for a whole roast chicken, however, you could use it for breasts, thighs, or even drumsticks. I like to use this marinade to mix up my traditional Sunday roasts.

8. Italian Chicken Marinade

This marinade is a classic. I exclusively use this marinade for baked chicken breasts. Make a batch of this and keep it in the marinade in the freezer for a quick delicious weeknight dinner.

9. Satay Chicken Marinade

What beats satay chicken skewers? THIS chicken satay recipe. It’s honestly just the best chicken satay recipe out there. Period.

10. Chicken Teryaki Marinade

Chicken Teryaki was always a staple growing up for me and this recipe takes me back. Everyone should know how to make this, but I had to include it in my list. It’s a timeless meal. Simply marinate and grill your favorite cut of chicken and serve on rice. Classic.

Tips: How to Marinate Chicken

Although making a good marinade is fairly easy, here are some useful tips on how to marinate chicken for the best results.

Use a sealable plastic bag or big plastic wrap tray. You want to seal as much as you can in juices and flavors. As a general rule, I use a 1-quarter-sized bag when I’m marinating less than a pound of chicken, and it’s fine.

Keep meat from other foods in the refrigerator to prevent unhealthy contamination with raw meat.

For the best results, consider marinating the chicken the night before cooking for the full flavor.

Marinate chicken in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. This will help keep your food healthy from foodborne illnesses.

Make sure you discard the unused marinade until it is time to cook the meat and do not use it as a sauce unless you cook it first because it contains raw chicken juices.

Don’t be scared to use a different combination of ingredients. Lime juice, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, ground herbs and spices, and plenty of olive oil salt, and pepper. 

Don’t be scared to use different cuts of chicken. Skinless chicken breast, skinless chicken thighs, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs, drumsticks, chicken wings, chicken quarters, spatchcock chicken, or even try and marinade an entire chicken! 

If you can’t cook your marinated chicken within two days, you can also freeze the meat in the marinade for later use. That’s a bonus of using freezer ziplock bags – you can only throw them straight into the freezer for later. Then, when it’s time to prepare, thaw the meat and cook it.

Chicken Marinade Times:

I recommend marinating your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Ideally, you want to marinate for 24 hours for maximum flavor.

I suggest that you marinate your chicken packs in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Chicken Marinade Safety:

If you are using frozen chicken you might be tempted to “quick-thaw” it, don’t do this. You can still get sick if you do not thaw chicken correctly (and your chicken will also be much tougher). Ideally, you should prepare ahead and put your frozen chicken in the refrigerator and let it rest for 24 hours or so, or until it has fully thawed. 

If you’re planning to freeze your marinated chicken, be sure to use fresh (not frozen) chicken. It is not possible to mix the frozen chicken with the room-temperature liquid and then freeze it again. That said, you can mix the frozen chicken and marinade and refrigerate the pack until the chicken is fully thawed and cooked within 1 day if you like.

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