Best Grilled Chicken Marinade

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If you want tender, juicy chicken that’s sweet, bright, and dripping with savory, indulgent flavor then you want my Grilled Chicken Marinade. It will turn any cut of chicken you’re grilling into an all-star dish.

Sliced chicken on black counter. Test reads "Grilled Chicken Marinade".

Grilled Chicken Marinade

This marinade is the perfect flavor combo for grilling all kinds of chicken. It’s easy enough to whip up with pantry ingredients, and so tasty your guests will demand more. This simple marinade does it all. With bright notes from the vinegar, savory sweetness from the simple blend of seasonings, and some oomph from the garlic and Parmesan, you’ll be marinating with it in your dreams.

Marinades are a great option for quick and easy dinners when you know you’ll need it. Simply pop the chicken into the marinade in the morning and grill in the evening. And, yes, I’m biased, but I think this is the best grilled chicken marinade around.

Ingredients for marinade in a glass mason jar.

Ingredients for Marinade for Chicken

Not only is this the best chicken marinade you’re likely to find, but it’s a breeze to make and produces tender, savory chicken every time. Here’s what you’ll need to make this chicken marinade for grilling.

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, breasts, or tenders
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Once you have your chicken marinade ingredients assembled, then combine them all in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and massage to mix. Add your chicken, massage the marinade in, and then place in your refrigerator. The marinade will work its magic and you can relax until it’s time to grill.

Marinade ingredients in white bowls on black counter.

How Long to Marinate Chicken

Once you’ve your chicken soaking in your marinade and chilling in your refrigerator, you’ll want to let it marinate for 4-8 hours. You want to make sure you give your chicken a minimum of 4 hours to ensure all your herbs and spices have a chance to do their thing. If you have the time, and you want to bring out the natural flavor of your chicken while taking it to a whole other level, go for the full 8 hours. It’s no more work on your end, and your tastebuds will thank you.

Tips for Making Marinade

This marinade alone is a game-changer for your grilled chicken recipes, but I’ve got some tips to help you get the absolute best flavor in every bite of chicken.

  • Start with quality. This marinade only takes a few minutes to make and uses common ingredients. That’s why I recommend going with top quality ingredients where you can. Opt for fresh cracked black pepper over that old shaker, and grate your own Parmesan.
  • Double the recipe. We make this marinade and grill batches of chicken to use throughout the week as a meal prep protein. It tastes great on salads, in rice bowls, or tossed into some pasta.
  • Shop on sale. This recipe works as an awesome flavor enhancer for all cuts of chicken. Buy breasts when they’re on sale, or swap for legs, wings, and thighs when you need something super economical.

Chicken in a grilled chicken marinade.

How to Grill Chicken with Marinade

Now that you have the recipe for this awesome marinade, it’s time to grill up chicken so tasty it’ll bring a tear to your eye. Here’s how to prepare chicken with this killer marinade on your grill.

  1. Marinate. Combine the ingredients for your marinade in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and then massage to combine. Place your chicken in the marinade, remove any excess air, seal, and massage your chicken to soak in all the amazing flavors. Then, simply place in your fridge for 4-8 hours..
  2. Grill. Preheat your favorite grill to 450 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken directly on your grill grates. Let your chicken cook for 5-7 minutes, flip, and cook another 5-7 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Be sure to use an internal meat thermometer for this to ensure you don’t over or undercooked your chicken.
  3. Rest. Promptly remove the chicken from the grill and rest for 5-10 minutes. This is going to allow for all those flavorful juices to settle and ensure tender, savory goodness in every bite.
  4. Enjoy. Once you’ve given your chicken some time to rest, slice it up, serve alongside your favorite Hey Grill Hey sides, and dig in.

More Delicious Marinade Recipes

Marinades are a great way to infuse meats and vegetables with flavor and moisture before firing them on your grill. Check out even more of the delicious marinade recipes from Hey Grill Hey:

Grilled chicken marinade in a glass bowl next to a grilled chicken breast.

Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe

Hey Grill Hey is here to ensure you master a BBQ recipe like a total pro. In fact, we hope each recipe and tutorial makes you feel like a backyard BBQ hero so you can feed the people you love. If you loved this recipe, then be sure to rate it 5 stars and tell us about it in the comments.

You can access this amazing Grilled Chicken Marinade recipe, as well as over 500 other easy and delicious recipes on the Hey Grill Hey App.

Grilled Chicken Marinade

By: Susie Bulloch
5 from 1 votes
For a meal that is delicious, fast, and convenient, reach for this grilled chicken marinade! It's the perfect blend of ingredients to infuse the chicken with tons of flavor while keeping the meat tender and juicy.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Marinade Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 20 minutes
Servings4 people
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  • 2 pounds chicken breast or thighs any chicken pieces will work for this recipe
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Make the marinade. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and massage the combine thoroughly.
    ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, 2 cloves garlic, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt
  • Add the chicken. Add your chicken pieces to the bag with the marinade. Press any air out of the bag and seal it tightly. Massage the marinade around the chicken breasts.
    2 pounds chicken breast or thighs
  • Marinate. For the best results, refrigerate the marinating chicken for 4-8 hours (8 hours is optimal) before grilling.
  • Preheat. Turn on the grill and preheat it to medium-high heat (around 450 degrees F).
  • Grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the chicken directly on the grill, close the lid, and grill for around 5-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Enjoy. Remove the chicken from the grill to a serving platter. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Calories: 559kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 387mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 214mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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We published this post originally in January 2023, but we recently updated it with more information, helpful tips, and new photos. The recipe remains the same.



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

3 Reviews

  1. Jim Gill says:

    This recipe sounds great. Could the marinade be whisked together in a blender to make it a bit thicker and more emulsified?

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:


  2. Cheryle Austin says:

    I made this marinade tonight for chicken thighs and it was DELICIOUS! Packed with flavor and easy to prepare. Thank you!