This easy Traeger Chicken Breasts recipe features marinated chicken breasts cooked low and slow on a pellet grill. It’s the perfect summer meal with layers of herbaceous, tart, and smoky flavors in every bite!
Chicken breasts are known to be an easy-to-cook and flexible protein you can infuse with many different flavors. But this Traeger Chicken Breasts recipe takes this simple cut of chicken over the top!
This recipe begins by marinating chicken breasts in my simple Greek marinade so every bite has a refreshing pop of tart citrus. From there, the marinated chicken breasts make their way to the pellet grill to cook low and slow. Smoking chicken on a Traeger pellet grill infuses the meat with natural, wood-fired flavors that you can’t get from baking, sous vide, or air frying.
The smoked chicken breasts are always juicy with layers of mouthwatering flavors that no one can resist. Enjoy them for summer dinners, potlucks, or anytime you’re ready to fire up the pellet grill!
Here’s everything you need to make marinated smoked chicken breasts on a pellet grill:
- Chicken – While I made this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it works just as well with boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. Just know that bone-in cuts will take slightly longer to cook.
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar – This adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to the chicken marinade. The acidity also breaks down the proteins in the chicken, resulting in a more tender and juicy texture.
- Lemon juice and zest – These also give the marinade a vibrant and zesty flavor while tenderizing the meat.
- Honey – For a delicate sweetness that balances the rich and savory flavors.
- Dried oregano – To give the chicken an even more herbaceous flavor, you can add dried basil, rosemary, and/or thyme to the marinade.
- Onion powder
- Salt and black pepper
How to cook chicken breasts on a Traeger grill
Whisk the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and add the chicken breasts to a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken, then place it in the fridge to marinate.
Once it’s done marinating, place the chicken on the preheated Traeger (or other pellet grill) and grill until the breasts are cooked through.
Transfer the grilled chicken to a clean plate and tent it with foil. Set it aside to rest before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Tips and tricks
- Large, thick chicken breasts will take longer to cook. To speed up the cooking time, cut each breast in half and pound them to an even 1-inch thickness before marinating.
- Remember to take the marinated chicken out of the fridge 20 minutes before you start cooking. This way, it will come down to room temperature and cook more evenly.
- Feel free to reserve the leftover marinade and use it as a baste to brush over the chicken as it cooks.
- Experiment with different wood pellets to adjust the flavors. Hickory, apple, or mesquite wood pellets will all add distinct smoky notes without overpowering the chicken’s natural flavors.
The beauty of this smoked chicken recipe is its flavor possibilities. You can turn up the flavor by changing the marinade, rubbing the chicken with a seasoning blend, or basting the chicken with sauce while it’s cooking. These delicious ideas will help you get started:
- Marinades: Swap the marinade in this recipe for my Peruvian Chicken Marinade to give the chicken a saltier and more savory flavor.
- Bastes: Use a silicone brush to baste the chicken breasts with BBQ Sauce, White BBQ Sauce, Honey Mustard, Lemon Butter Dill Sauce, or Peanut Sauce while they smoke.
- Dry rubs: Before smoking, rub the breasts with Chicken Wing Dry Rub, Smoked Chicken Wing Rub, Cajun Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, or Taco Seasoning to give them more dynamic flavors.
At a minimum, you should marinate the chicken breasts between 30 minutes to 2 hours. But to give them an even more intense flavor, leave them in the marinade for 4 to 24 hours.
Boneless and skinless chicken breasts (of a 1-inch thickness) will take around 15 to 20 minutes to cook at 400ºF. Bone-in chicken breasts or thighs will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes to cook. Just keep in mind that these cooking times may vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken.
You’ll know they’re done cooking when their internal temperature reaches 165ºF. To check the temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breasts as they’re cooking.
I highly recommend serving the smoked chicken breasts with a delicious sauce drizzled on top! My Creamy Green Sauce and Jerk Sauce are two of my favorites, but any of these 25+ Delicious Sauces for Chicken will pair well.
As for sides, pair the smoked chicken with any of these classic barbecue sides:
- Traeger Asparagus
- Red Cabbage Coleslaw
- Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
- German Potato Salad
- Corn on the Cob
- Pinto Beans
- Tomato Cucumber Salad
- More → 50+ BEST Sides for Chicken
Did you end up with leftover chicken? Chop or shred the leftover cooked chicken breasts and put them to use in any of these dishes:
- Pulled Chicken Sandwich with one of these 15+ Sauces
- Lettuce Wraps with one of these 15+ Sauces
- Chicken Salad
- Chicken Cobb Salad
- Chicken Tacos with one of these 9+ Taco Sauces
- Leftover Chicken Soup
- Salsa Chicken
Store the leftover chicken breasts in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. They also freeze well for 3 to 4 months. Before reheating, let the chicken thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
If you have extra unused marinade, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Any leftover used marinade must be discarded as it can contain harmful bacteria from the raw meat.
Wine pairings for smoked chicken
- Pair the chicken with a buttery and oaky Chardonnay or a slightly sweet Riesling or Pinot Grigio to complement the smokiness of the meat with a contrasting refreshing flavor.
- Learn more about pairing wine with chicken dishes → The Best Wine Pairings for Chicken.
More smoker recipes
- Smoked Pork Belly
- Traeger Steak
- Smoked Beef Short Ribs
- Traeger Smoked Tri-Tip
- Smoked Burgers
- Smoked Corned Beef Brisket
Did you try cooking chicken breasts on a Traeger?
If you loved this smoked chicken breast recipe, I would appreciate it if you gave it a starred review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Traeger Chicken Breasts Recipe
- 1 pound chicken (breasts or thighs, pounded to a uniform thickness)
- 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.
- Preheat your Traeger (or other pellet grill) to 400 degrees. Grill the chicken for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove from the grill and set aside to a clean plate. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!