The BEST Greek Chicken Marinade (Easy Recipe!!!)

This Greek Chicken Marinade effortlessly infuses chicken with the enticing aromas and flavors of the Mediterranean. Made from simple, easy-to-find ingredients, this versatile marinade is perfect for summer grilling, simple weeknight dinners, and meal prep. 

Greek food is one of the most vibrant cuisines in the world. It’s known for showcasing fresh and wholesome ingredients, aromatic herbs and spices, and plenty of olive oil to create a balanced blend of earthy, savory, and tangy flavors.

All of these wonderful qualities and more are found in this easy Greek Chicken Marinade. Made from a simple blend of oil, vinegar, lemon juice, aromatics, and dried herbs, it takes minutes to stir together and always infuses chicken breasts, thighs, or legs with incredible Mediterranean flavors.

The best part? Once the chicken is marinated, you can cook it on the grill, sear it in a skillet, or bake it in the oven. With each bite, your taste buds will be transported straight to the sunny shores of Greece! 

Ingredients for greek chicken labeled on counter.

Ingredients needed

  • Chicken – You can use the marinade for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or legs.
  • Olive oil – A staple ingredient throughout the Mediterranean, olive oil distributes all of the flavors and lends distinct Mediterranean flavors. 
  • Red wine vinegar – This adds a tangy, slightly acidic taste and helps tenderize the chicken.
  • Lemon juice and zest – Acid is a must in chicken marinade recipes. The juice and zest not only add refreshing flavors but also act as natural meat tenderizers. 
  • Garlic cloves
  • Honey – The sweetness balances the savory and tangy tastes.
  • Dried oregano – It adds a distinctive herbaceous element. If you can find Greek oregano, even better! Or, try one of these substitutes for oregano.
  • Onion powder
  • Kosher salt and black pepper 

How to make Greek marinated chicken 

Start by whisking the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl or glass measuring cup. 

Next, place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag or casserole dish and pour the marinade over top. Seal the bag or cover the dish and place it in the fridge to marinate.

Toss and turn the chicken in the marinade every so often to ensure that every piece is fully saturated in Greek flavors. 

About 20 minutes before you’re ready to cook, place the chicken on the counter to bring it to room temperature. 

From here, choose your preferred cooking method: (1) on the grill, (2) in a skillet on the stove, or (3) in the oven. 

No matter which method you choose, remember that the chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160ºF before it can be taken off the heat and set aside to rest. Once it’s rested for 5 to 10 minutes, the chicken is ready to slice and serve!

Grilled Greek chicken

  1. Preheat the grill or grill pan and lightly oil the grates.
  2. Grill the marinated chicken on both sides until browned and cooked through.

Pan-seared Greek chicken

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Once it’s hot, place the chicken in the pan and sear on both sides until browned and cooked through.

Baked Greek chicken

  1. Place the marinated chicken in a baking dish and drizzle it with olive oil.
  2. Bake the chicken until it’s cooked through.
Grilled whole chicken breasts on plate with lemons.

Tips and tricks

  • Feel free to set aside a small portion of the Greek marinade to baste over the chicken as it cooks.
  • Are you making this recipe with chicken breasts? Large and thick chicken breasts, while juicy and delicious, will take longer to cook. If you want to speed up the cooking time, cut each breast in half and pound them to an even thickness before marinating.
  • When it’s done cooking, place the chicken on a cutting board, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This gives the juices time to redistribute and the chicken time to reach the safe-to-eat internal temperature of 165°F.

Customize it

You’re welcome to customize this Mediterranean chicken marinade with extra add-ins and adjustments. Just remember to always use the freshest ingredients to capture the essence of authentic Greek food. You can add:

  • Fresh herbs – Like oregano, mint, dill, basil, thyme, and/or parsley. 
  • Dry spices – Add paprika for a touch of smokiness. Red pepper flakes are also welcome if you love a subtle spicy kick.
  • Dijon mustard – This is a common ingredient in many marinade recipes because just a small amount adds depth and complexity. 
  • Shallot, red onion, or sweet onion – These give the marinade a hint of onion flavor, sweetness, and texture. 
  • Greek yogurt – This creamy and thick yogurt will tenderize the meat, give it a creamy consistency, and create a flavorful crust. To add Greek yogurt to the chicken marinade, only use 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 to 3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt. 
Sliced chicken breast ready to be served.

FAQs

How long can you marinate chicken breasts?

You can marinate chicken breasts in the Greek marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes or a maximum of 12 hours. I like to let them soak overnight so all of the amazing flavors have time to penetrate and tenderize the meat.

How long can you marinate chicken thighs?

Chicken thighs benefit from a slightly longer marinating time than chicken breasts. 4 hours or overnight is ideal, or you can let them marinate for only 2 to 3 hours if you’re short on time.

Can you marinate frozen chicken in Greek marinade?

I don’t recommend it. You can, however, place the fresh chicken in the marinade, then transfer it to the freezer. The meat will marinate as it thaws before cooking.

What else is Greek chicken marinade good for?

All kinds of things! Consider making a double or triple batch of this recipe to use with vegetables, potatoes, tofu or tempeh, lamb, pork, shrimp, and fish. You can also repurpose the marinade into a zesty salad dressing by thinning it with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar.

Serving suggestions

You can pair the flavor-rich Greek chicken with traditional Greek sides, like tzatziki sauce, pita bread, lemon rice pilaf, lemon-roasted potatoes, grilled veggies, stuffed grape leaves (Dolmas), and a simple Greek salad. 

Or serve it alongside any of these Mediterranean-inspired recipes:

Start your meal with one of these 17+ Greek Soups. And, to end the meal, look no further than this collection of 19+ traditional Greek desserts.

Storing

Store the leftover Greek chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. It also freezes well for 3 to 4 months. Before reheating, let the chicken thaw overnight in the fridge. 

If you have extra unused marinade, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. The used marinade must be discarded as it can contain harmful bacteria from the raw meat.

Sliced chicken breast ready to be served.

Wine pairings for Greek chicken

  • The chicken’s dimensional fresh flavors pair perfectly with Assyrtiko. This white wine from Santorini is often considered Greece’s most coveted grape variety. 

More Mediterranean-inspired recipes

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Sliced chicken breast ready to be served.

Greek Chicken Marinade

This Greek Chicken Marinade effortlessly infuses chicken with the enticing aromas and flavors of the Mediterranean. Made from simple, easy-to-find ingredients, this versatile marinade is perfect for summer grilling, simple weeknight dinners, and meal prep.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Marinade:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon (zested and juiced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (grated or minced)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Chicken:

  • 1 pound chicken (breasts or thighs, pounded to a uniform thickness)

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the marinade ingredients.
  • Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag or casserole dish, and pour in the marinade.
  • Allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  • Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
  • Cook chicken on the grill, in the oven or on the stove until internal temperature registers 160-degrees at the thickest part (see notes for detailed instructions).

Grill:

  • Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil grates. Grill chicken until each side browns and has light grill marks, about 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.

Stove:

  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken around 5-8 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through.

Oven:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 18-20 minutes, until cooked through.
  • Remove chicken breasts from the grill, stove or oven and set aside to a clean plate. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Store the leftover Greek chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. It also freezes well for 3 to 4 months. Before reheating, let the chicken thaw overnight in the fridge. 
  • If you have extra unused marinade, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. The used marinade must be discarded as it can contain harmful bacteria from the raw meat.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal | Protein: 35g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 422mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg

4 thoughts on “The BEST Greek Chicken Marinade (Easy Recipe!!!)”

  1. 5 stars
    This was amazing and that’s that I only marinated it for about an hour and a half! I grilled it and it stayed so juicy and flavorful! I’ll definitely keep this recipe for next time.

    Reply

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