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Perfectly Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon, Garlic & Herbs

5 stars based on 64 votes

Grilled chicken

This is my basic, go-to grilled chicken — perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or cookout — and so versatile. You can serve the fillets on their own (kids love them), topped with cheese on a toasted bun, chopped up in a quesadilla or, as I often do, sliced over a Greek or Caesar salad. The added bonus? They are quick and easy…you do all of the prep ahead of time and you won’t dirty a single bowl (the marinade is made right in a zip-lock bag).

Grilled chicken 2

As you know, grilled chicken breasts often come out dry and bland. This recipe ensures tender, flavorful grilled chicken every time.

Grilled chicken 11

Begin by pounding the fillets to an even ½-inch thickness. This both tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking. It makes sense — left in their natural shape, the thin side of the fillet dries out while the thicker side finishes cooking.

Grilled chicken 8

Next, marinate the chicken breasts in olive oil, lots of fresh garlic, dried herbs, and lemon zest.

Lemon zest

Contrary to popular belief, acidic ingredients, such as vinegar or lemon juice, do not tenderize lean boneless chicken breasts. Just the opposite — they “cook” the exterior of the meat (think ceviche) and give it a leathery texture. The lemon zest here is enough to give the chicken the essence of lemon, while still maintaining its smooth, succulent texture.

Grilled chicken 9

When you’re ready to eat, preheat your grill to high heat. You want nice grill marks and char in the short amount of time it takes to cook these.

Grilled chicken 12

Finally, and this one’s obvious, don’t overcook them. When pounded thin, chicken breasts only need 2-3 minutes per side…no more!

Grilled chicken 1

That’s all there is to it. Hope you enjoy!


Use a fine or Microplane grater to zest the lemon. Simply rub the lemon in one direction against the blades, turning the lemon as you go. Be sure to remove only the yellow part; the white pith underneath is bitter.

If you are using less than 4 chicken breasts, you’ll need to reduce the salt accordingly.

My Recipe Videos

Perfectly Grilled Chicken Breasts with Garlic, Lemon & Herbs

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1¾ pounds total)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, from one lemon

Instructions

  1. Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax paper and, using a meat mallet, pound to an even ½-inch thickness.
  2. Mix all ingredients except chicken together in a 1 gallon zip-lock bag. Add chicken breasts and massage marinade into meat until evenly coated. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (the bowl protects against leakage); let the chicken marinate at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
  3. Clean grill and preheat to high. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over grates several times until glossy and coated. Place chicken breasts on the grill (make sure they are well-coated with the marinade; the more garlic, lemon zest and herbs on the chicken, the better!). Grill, covered, for 2-3 minutes per side.

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Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 chicken breast (Note: Nutritional data includes marinade, so numbers are inflated)
  • Calories: 413
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 42g
  • Sodium: 958mg
  • Cholesterol: 127mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    This is a an awesome chicken marinade. I use it all the time. Ty

    - Sara on October 16, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have used this recipe multiple times this summer. It is perfect indeed. Really good for salads. I send them back with my daughter in college and she appreciates it so much.

    - Laura K on September 20, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is one of the most useful and best recipes I’ve found in years!!! I have over-marinated my chicken breasts all my life and never knew that adding lemon juice pre-cooks them! Now this is my one and only marinate for chicken breasts and they come off the grill juicy and tasty every single time! Thank you for this miracle recipe – I share this ‘secret’ all the time!!

    - Judi Leatherman on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the best chicken recipe. Don’t skimp on the olive oil.

    - Suzanna Miller on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I loved this marinade on chicken. I left out the thyme and kept everything else the same. I wanted to grill it but ended up cooking inside in pans. Everyone was pleasantly surprised how good it was! Thank you!

    - Karly on August 20, 2017 Reply
  • 2 stars

    1 1/2 teaspoon of thyme was far too much. That and the salt was all I tasted. I will try it one more time only using 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and omitting the salt entirely. The chicken was juicy.

    - Douglas Kelly on August 13, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this tonight and it was a hit!!! I always have a hard time zesting lemons, so I used a combination lemon zest & fresh lemon juice, as well as added dried rosemary. The chicken was so moist and flavorful, and I only let the 1st batch marinate for 4 hours! Thanks again Jenn for another great, go-to recipe!

    - April on July 21, 2017 Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this! Would it also work with boneless, skinless thighs?

    - Rae on July 21, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Rae.

      - Jenn on July 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love this recipe. Because of fresh rosemary in the backyard, i also add that to the marinade. Typically I’ll buy 10-15# of chicken at a time and prepare in bulk and freeze in a ziplock just enough per bag for all 5 of us and extra for lunch the next day to take to work. So easy to clean up prep dishes once and have yummy and fresh dinner any night! Working woman’s dream dinner.

    - Laurie Flynn on July 7, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely delicious! My husband, our 3 boys, and I all agreed that it was the best chicken we have had in a long time. I wouldn’t change a thing. It reminded me of Panera chicken, only better. Definitely a keeper.

    - Amanda Woodiel on June 25, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Perfect! I am NOT a great cook and a total rookie at the grill. They were PERFECT!!

    - Deb on June 23, 2017 Reply
  • Can I make the marinade in advance and then add the chicken to it to marinate for 12 hours or less. I want to make the marinade tonight and put the chicken in tomorrow morning for tomorrow night’s dinner.

    - Veronica on June 23, 2017 Reply
    • Definitely!

      - Jenn on June 24, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Really good. Really easy. Another great Jenn recipe.

    - Mary on June 22, 2017 Reply
  • Will this work on fish??

    - Russell H Lunsford on June 12, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, but you wouldn’t need to marinate it for as long as the chicken. I’d love to hear how it is with fish!

      - Jenn on June 13, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the ONLY grilled chicken breast recipe we need. So flavorful and amazing. Kids love it too. So true that acid is not needed in marinade to bring out flavor.

    - Beth Tennison on June 11, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another winner. Made it with the asparagus/peas. I will try to take it off just a smidge earlier as I wasn’t quite able to comment that it was super moist, but the flavor and hint of lemon was perfect. I marinated for 8 hours and the chicken looked exactly like your photo. We will be making again very soon as I like the versatility of its use above and beyond just eating as is.

    - Christy on June 4, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is amazing! Couldnt believe how moist and tasty the chicken turned out. Marinated for 6 hours then cooked on the grill as directed. Thanks 🙂

    - Megan D on May 25, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    No lemons, so used lemon juice instead. My husband’s comment after taking his first bite… “I’ve never had chicken that was this moist” … awesome!

    - Suzanne dc on April 30, 2017 Reply
    • 5 stars

      It does work.

      - Ed on May 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Perfect every time!

    - Susan Campbell on April 29, 2017 Reply
  • At what temperature do you grill the chicken breasts? If I have my grill on high, it can get to around 600 degrees.

    - Lynn Perkins on April 27, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Lynn, your grill should be set to high. You know your grill best, though, so if you feel like it runs really hot, you could turn down the heat just a smidge.

      - Jenn on April 27, 2017 Reply
  • how long should the breasts marinate?

    - marie on April 14, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Marie, the chicken should marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on April 14, 2017 Reply
  • I am contemplating trying out this recipe for a simple lunch tomorrow, but I live in an apartment and I do not have an outdoor grill. Is there any way to adjust the cooking time/method to accommodate grilling in the oven? Thank you!

    - Faraday on March 22, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Faraday, Yes, you can use the oven. I’d place them on a broiling pan and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 5 minutes per side, or until chicken is done. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on March 22, 2017 Reply
  • Hi – can I cook these on a stovetop grill? We are currently getting over a foot of snow here so outdoor cooking is not an option! 🙂 Thanks!

    - Clara on February 9, 2017 Reply
    • Sure Clara, that will work just fine. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on February 9, 2017 Reply
  • Is this marinate good for chicken that I will be using in a Caesar salad? I made your Caesar dressing earlier to use tomorrow and I don’t know if the flavor’s will complement each other. Also I will be using my grill pan on the stove is the cooking time the same? Thanks!

    - Brenda P on January 13, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Brenda, this chicken is perfect for a Ceasar salad! And if you use a grill pan, you’ll also need to turn on your oven; sear the chicken in an oven-proof pan over high heat (for a min or two per side until browned) then finish it in a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on January 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I saw this recipe and thought the last thing I needed was another recipe for marinated grilled chicken breasts. It was not true then but it certainly is now. These are so much better than any others I have tried. Maybe because of what she said about not using lemon juice in a marinade and only using zest? All i know is these are delicious, juicy and easy. I live in Florida so we grill all the time and these are a menu regular, my husband doesn’t put hot sauce on them and he puts that on everything 😉 Thanks Jenn!

    - Stacy on December 5, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This marinade is so good! I use it once a week! During the summer grilled chicken makes a perfect light meal. In the winter I will marinate bone in skin on thighs and breasts over night. The next evening I throw it all in a pan with potatos and brussels. Bake at 400 for 45-60. Then dinner is done! So versatile, and easy.

    - Tori on December 4, 2016 Reply
  • It looks so good but I do not have a barbeque. Can you cook the chicken in the frying pan or oven instead? How would you need to modify the recipe?

    - Carly on November 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Carly, You can go either way– If you use the oven, I’d place them on a broiling pan and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 5 minutes per side, or until chicken is done. If you use the stove (you’ll need to turn the oven on too), sear the chicken in an oven-proof sauté pan over high heat (for a min or two per side until browned) then finish it in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.

      - Jenn on November 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    So tasty and delicious! Only marinated for about 3 hrs and the flavour was lovely and the breasts were moist…. This is the bbq chicken breast recipe I have been searching for!!

    - Kim McAlister on November 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was preparing for my daughter’s baby shower and wanted to make grilled chicken. As a vegetarian I turned to Once Upon a Chef because every recipe I have ever tried was delicious so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Everyone raved about the grilled chicken. I made 20 pounds and there weren’t any left!

    - Chris on October 8, 2016 Reply
    • I have 20 pounds for a party. How did you grill, plate and serve it? Grill ahead and chafing dishes or grill to order so to say?
      Thanks!

      - Brig on June 8, 2017 Reply
  • 3 stars

    I made this recipe as written & found that it tasted like the dried herbs used. I was going for it to taste very fresh & bright. It tasted kind of flat to me. I ended up using it in a salad with the buttermilk dressing recipe & the fresh greens from the salad with the homemade buttermilk dressing definitely brought the chicken up a taste level. I’m indifferent to making it again. The preparation was really easy, it’s the final taste that gave me problems. Any suggestions on how to brighten it up or freshen it up? Thanks.

    - Caroline on October 7, 2016 Reply
    • 5 stars

      I added fresh rosemary and that chicken was loved by all.

      - Laurie Flynn on July 7, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This chicken is so easy and delicious. It has a freshness about it from the lemon. It is going to become a staple at our house. The left overs are great on a salad!

    - Reyanne Guerrero on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Such an easy recipe and quite delicious. I’ve never succeeded in grilling chicken breast and not having it come out dry. This one is moist each time and I have not made it yet where I was able to marinate for 4 or more hours. I’ve made this three times so far and marinated for only 1-2 hours (due to time restrictions) and it still comes out great. One day I will try to marinate for longer, but it’s good to know it turns out great either way. Thank you for this one and all of your fantastic recipes!

    - Angie on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Is the salt in the recipe table or kosher? I doubled the marinade and used 1 tsp of table salt and the marinade was on the salty side for my taste. That said my guests loved the chicken.

    - Lori on September 6, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Lori, table salt is correct for this recipe. (I’ll always specify if a recipe calls for kosher salt.) Sorry to hear it was a bit salty for you! Probably makes sense to cut it back a bit more next time to suit your taste.

      - Jenn on September 6, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Could I use this recipe for chicken kebabs (breast meat) instead of whole chicken breasts? If yes, should I still pound the meat and could I marinate overnight? We are having a bbq for 50 people this weekend and think kebabs would be easier to serve. Also, do you recommend dried herbs over fresh herbs (I have both)? Thanks in advance for your response.

    - Le Hoa Duong on August 5, 2016 Reply
    • Yes Le Hoa, you could turn these into kebabs, but it’s not necessary to pound the meat. You can still marinate the chicken overnight and, regarding the dried versus fresh herbs, that’s just a matter of personal preference. (If you go with the fresh herbs over the dried, you’ll want to triple the amounts called for.) Hope the BBQ is a success!

      - Jenn on August 5, 2016 Reply
  • How long do you marinade the chicken before grilling?

    - Susan Blackadar on July 2, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Susan, Let the chicken marinate at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

      - Jenn on July 2, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made these and they are wonderful, packed with flavor. Thanks for the recipe.

    - Darlene on June 21, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Had this for dinner tonight. It was amazing. Reminded me so much of the Greek Chicken from my favourite restaurant. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to prepare and how fast it cooked. Will be in regular rotation all summer long. Thanks so much for such a great recipe.

    - Sand D on June 20, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I had gotten away from doing boneless skinless chicken breasts on the grill because of repeated bad results!!! Thank you Jen for helping me see the light!!! Made these for my daughter and family last night and viola……SUCCESS!!!! They were sooo flavorful, tender and moist!! Love your recipes Jen!!! There is a lot of success in my kitchen since I’ve found your website!!!!

    - Karen Tennant on June 9, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve used this lemon marinade countless times and have even subbed italian herb seasoning in place of the garlic and herbs when Im out of them.. fantastic recipe!! My only question is can I leave this in the marinade for 24 hours?
    Thanks!!

    - Georgia on April 5, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Georgia, So glad you like it!! I think you’ll get the best results if you marinate the chicken no longer than 12 hours.

      - Jenn on April 5, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Was looking for a quick and easy chicken dish. Everyone really enjoyed the recipe. It was moist and flavorful. This is a keeper.

    - Trudy on March 26, 2016 Reply
  • Should the garlic be minced?

    - Francielloyd on February 28, 2016 Reply
    • Yes, the garlic should be minced.

      - Jenn on February 28, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Got rave reviews from my family on the grilled chicken recipie. First time I made the chicken Caesar salad. Just made again tonight. First time I used chicken tenders and it worked great. This time I used breasts that I split lengthwise to get even thickness for even cooking. Will be my go to recipie for grilled chicken breasts for whatever I am cooking. The other good thing is that you can use the lemon zest in the marinade and the juice of the same lemon in the Caesar dressing.

    - Joe Ingram on December 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    What a great recipe. I used it with chicken thighs and it turned out beautifully – full of flavour. A medium heat with a griddle pan cooking the fillets for 4 minutes each side (a little longer if need be) produced a lovely caramelisation and bar marks. Marinating the thighs for an hour is great ( overnight is brilliant).

    - Vic on December 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Excellent, perfect with grilled asparagus and brussel sprouts! And I only marinated mine for just over 1.5 hours.

    - Turtle on September 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wonderful grilled chicken breasts!!!
    Very good and moist with a wonderful lemon/garlic flavor. Will make again and again.

    - Cindy G on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wow!!!! I’m going to have to give this one 6 stars!!! I had been putting this recipe off thinking it was probably fine but a little boring. Well!! I was so wrong!! I even forgot to pound the chicken. I’m fooling everyone into thinking I’m an amazing chef!!!

    - Rachel on August 14, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe has changed my life! I only know how to grill chicken thighs and chicken on the bone- I have never had success with boneless breasts on the grill until now! I am very excited! My chicken came out perfectly, just like its name!

    - Ruthie on August 10, 2015 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Since my original post, I have made this chicken about fifteen times! It is outstanding and the only chicken I ever want! I just wanted to mention that I have used six breasts with the same amount of marinade and it’s really just as good! YUM

      - Ruthie on October 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just wanted to say this is a wonderful recipe! I was skeptical, because the ingredients are so simple. However, the chicken turned out perfectly tender, moist, and full of flavor. I used a thigh, which was very thin, so didn’t even pound it.

    - Alegra Dashielle on July 31, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Well first off, this was the juiciest grilled chicken I have ever had! unfortunately, I didn’t have a lemon or thyme, so did a bit of fusion cooking. I subbed the thyme with sage and the lemon with medium curry.

    WOW! Grilled boneless curried chicken breasts! What a treat.

    Great site by the way, you are now one of my fav’s!

    - Leo on July 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thanks so much for sharing your grilled chicken with lemon, garlic and herbs recipe, like so many others I can’t believe how good yet simple it is. I added it to a Greek salad, amazing!

    - Lizzie on July 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I had a BBQ this weekend and made this for the first time (along with the garlic rosemary flank steak 🙂 Everyone LOVED this. They loved the flank steak too but the chicken was the hit of the evening. Thanks!!

    - Karen Priscella on June 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I didn’t have a lemon on hand, but did have a lime! The lime was delicious with the herbs – I paired it with your corn, black bean chipotle salad. It was a “rock on” kind of moment as we savored the holiday weekend. Thank you!

    - Cortney on May 26, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is an awesome marinade!

    - lisa on May 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made this twice now. You can really taste the lemon and garlic

    - Kathy on May 14, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These were the BEST chicken breasts I have ever cooked on the grill! Very flavorful, tender and juicy. The chicken just melted in your mouth!! I put them in the marinade around 8 am before work and cooked them on the grill around 7 pm…….everyone raved about how delicious they were! Great, simple and easy recipe going into my permanent collection! Thanks! 🙂

    - Lisa on May 12, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I can’t believe that this simple of a recipe tastes THIS GOOD. It feels like I am cheating! It does taste like restaurant quality chicken, but a lot healthier. I put this in a salad with squeezed lemon juice, pepperocinis, feta cheese, sliced cucumbers, and sunflower seeds and it was awesome. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    - Kristin on May 8, 2015 Reply
  • These chicken breasts were fantastic. Pounding them out really does tenderize them and make for more even cooking. Wish I had done that in the past with grilling chicken breasts. So tasty!

    - Jaime on May 8, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We loved this recipe. This was the first time I’d ever pounded any meat. I am learning how to be more adventurous because of your site! Since this came out so delicious, I also made your fabulous Moroccan chicken,.

    - Tess on April 30, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I found this recipe 3 months ago and have made it several times to rave reviews. Super simple and truly delicious. Thank you!

    - Klily on April 17, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hello

    I have a question.

    Do you list the nutritional info for your recipes? I didn’t see it but thought I would ask just in case I overlooked it.

    Thanks

    - Angie C on April 14, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Angie, Most of my newer recipes include nutritional data. Have just added it to this one as well; you’ll find it beneath the recipe.

      - Jenn on April 17, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Over the past month we have tried so many of your recipes. What a breath of fresh air to our dinnertime! This chicken is delicious and makes us feel as if we are in a restaurant.

    - Mindy on March 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My new go-to chicken marinade. The pairing options for the flavour profile are endless. As with all your recipes, the balance of flavours is perfection!

    - Sarah on March 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I loved this recipe. My picky 8 and 6 year old also lived it. I made it with a side if Israeli couscous and the Italian salad on this site. Great combo!! Made recipe exactly as written and it was perfect.

    - Jennifer hamri on March 22, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my go to recipe for grilled chicken. It’s perfect. great alone, in salads, and makes a great sandwich with lettuce, tomato and bacon on a fresh toasted roll.

    - Pauline on March 20, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made this several times now. You can really taste the lemon and garlic. No need to make any changes we love it!

    - Kathryn on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I did my best to mess up this recipe. First, after I mixed the marinade I discovered the package had 2 extra chicken breasts. So I tossed in some extra oil and seasoning without measuring. I pounded most of the breasts too thin. Then I forgot about them and left the bag in the frig for 24 hours. I cooked them on the stove on a large grill pan. They were DELICIOUS! My husband even complimented me. This recipe is foolproof.

    - Marcia Maiten on January 22, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    awesome recipe! Juicy and flavorful! I marinated overnight it came out perfect

    - Trish on January 10, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I really love this recipe! I just wanted to add that I made an extra marinade and put the lemon juice from the other zested lemon. To the extra marinade, I added kabob veggies to grill along side the chicken.

    - Roberta on December 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the best grilled chicken I’ve ever had so far! We marinated chicken for 2 hours and it turned out to be so tender and tasty. This will be my go to recipe from no on.

    - Oksana on December 16, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Great recipe – it came out so moist and tender. I used the leftover chicken served over pasta with pesto the next night with the “Big Italian Salad” from this site. The only thing is that I don’t think I pounded the breasts thin enough as they were still a bit pink inside after grilling – I finished them in the oven and they were perfect.

    - Colleen on November 19, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you! My very picky family loved my chicken tonight because of this delicious marinade. Rushed as usual, I could not pound the chicken and it only marinated about 2 hours, but it still worked!

    - Laurie on September 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is now my go-to marinade for chicken breasts! I discovered it recently when I was trying to find the best chicken breast marinade for Dobar Chicken (which I highly recommend if you’ve never had this dish before – it’s a dish from Seattle restaurant, Pogacha).

    This marinade is so easy and fast (I generally let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes) and then it’s a quick 4-6 minutes on the grill. I’ve used it for Dobar Chicken and Chicken Pesto, and will probably find more ways to incorporate it in salads and other meals.

    Thanks so much Jenn for finally proving to me that chicken breasts can be cooked perfectly with great flavor, and without coming out dry!

    - Alexa on July 20, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The perfect go-to chicken for salads, and easy to double for a make-ahead summer dinner party. In the winter I make this on my indoor grill pan for a healthy meal with broccoli and couscous. Love it.

    - Adrian on July 11, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This chicken was amazing! I am the daughter of a chef and I LOVE to cook. This is the first time I have left a comment on a recipe site because the chicken is that good. Thank you!

    - Paula Boylan on July 7, 2014 Reply
  • Can you use boneless chicken cutlets — already thin — so you don’t need to pound them? Thanks!

    - Wynn on May 27, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Wynn, Unfortunately, I think the cutlets would dry out on the grill; those are better for sautéing.

      - Jenn on May 27, 2014 Reply
  • These made my first catering gig a hit ..thanks 100

    - Jimi cash on May 11, 2014 Reply
  • Would it taste better with a char. grill ? Please answer by 8am

    - Jimi cash on May 10, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jimi, Yes, I think everything tastes better on a char grill 🙂

      - Jenn on May 10, 2014 Reply
  • The calorie count would be nice to put with the recipie!

    - Monique on May 4, 2014 Reply
  • Can I cook this on a “George Forman grill”?

    - Janet on March 22, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Janet, Yes that should work fine!

      - Jenn on March 22, 2014 Reply
  • im trying this recepie out as we speak. i added grated chillie n chuckney. i hope it turns out well. will keep u posted. thank u for sharing ur knowledge with us!:-))

    - buhle on February 18, 2014 Reply
  • Attempting this without the garlic or lemon zest for a late lunch. Hope marinating the breasts for 30 minutes in the fridge will be good enough. Also, I’m going to be using a grill pan instead of a proper grill.

    - The Paras G on February 3, 2014 Reply
    • To follow up on my previous comment, I want to thank you for sharing this recipe on your blog. I successfully made the most tender and juicy grilled chicken breasts that I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Went great with my spinach-mint-cilantro pesto and a Mediterranean-style salad. I cut up the extra breasts, added them to the salad and refrigerated it for a quick meal. Can’t wait to eat that tomorrow! 🙂

      - The Paras G on February 3, 2014 Reply
  • I make this all the time and was a big hit for my party last night.
    Unfortunately, I overplanned and have a lot of grilled chicken left over. Does the cooked chicken freeze well?

    - Melinda on January 1, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Melinda, I suppose you could freeze it but the texture wouldn’t be quite the same. If it were me, I’d repurpose it for another dish. It’s delicious chopped up in my Chicken Tortilla Soup.

      - Jenn on January 1, 2014 Reply
  • Thanx for the reply. I left the chicken with the said stuff for almost 4 hrs then sauté it on the pan. It went flying at the dinner table. It was a pound party and I felt good about myself . This recipe is winner.

    - sonia on December 28, 2013 Reply
  • Can we use an oven instead of a grill?! If so what are the directions for it?!

    - Sam on December 19, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Sam, These are definitely better on the grill, but if you want to cook them indoors you can broil them. Place them on a broiling pan and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and broil an additional 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

      - Jenn on December 21, 2013 Reply
  • Hi, I don’t have a grill. .. but I would love to do the same on the pan on the burner. Hw to go about it.

    - sonia on December 15, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Sonia, I would sear the chicken in an oven-proof sauté pan over high heat (a min or two per side until browned) then finish the chicken in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, or until done. Hope you enjoy and please let me know how it turns out.

      - Jenn on December 15, 2013 Reply
  • What if i couldnt mince the garlic but cut it in small/medium pieces will thay affect flavor.

    - lily on November 20, 2013 Reply
    • Lily, No worries, it will be fine.

      - Jenn on November 20, 2013 Reply
  • I had the chicken in the marinade for 24 hrs. Is it still okay to cook?

    - Melinda on November 17, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Melinda, It is absolutely still fine to cook. Since there’s no acid in the marinade, the meat holds up very well. It will just be very flavorful.

      - Jenn on November 17, 2013 Reply
      • Just an update. You’re right Jenn. The chicken was delicious. I served it waith a salad and everyone in the family enjoyed it. Now I’m trying to figure out what to make tonight. THANKS.

        - Melinda on November 19, 2013 Reply
  • The chicken was so juicy, and flavorful; it goes perfectly with the Big Italian Salad. The recipe for the salad dressing is so good, I could, and would drink it! The only difference I do for the dressing is more basil, and a little more honey, about a tablespoon.

    - Dwana Bull on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • what can you substitute for olive oil?

    - Jen on August 14, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Jen, You could use vegetable oil or canola oil.

      - Jenn on August 14, 2013 Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Going up to a cottage this week end and we will be cooking a couple of meals. To make it easier I thought I would do the breasts up ahead of time in the marinade and the freeze for easier transport and thaw when needed.
    Any problems doing it this way?

    - Karen on July 17, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Karen, It should be fine. Have a nice weekend 🙂

      - Jenn on July 17, 2013 Reply
  • Made this dish for dinner last night…it was really tasty.

    Thanks!

    - neetu on July 2, 2013 Reply
  • Can you make the marinade a couple days ahead
    and keep on refrigerator?

    - Carol on June 28, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Carol, Yes, definitely.

      - Jenn on June 28, 2013 Reply
  • This is a nice chicken dinner. The marinade is not a strong one, but mellow and tasty. Thanks to your excellent instructions to cook on the bbq, they came out moist and juicy. Thank you.

    - Lucille on June 26, 2013 Reply
  • this was AMAZING!!!!

    it was tender and not dry at all! every body just loved it! thank you very much.

    - bash on June 21, 2013 Reply
  • This was a very tasty recipe! I had company this afternoon and wanted a healthy fresh grilled chicken recipe to go over salad. This was perfect and company loved it as well! Thank you!!

    - Lori on April 28, 2013 Reply
  • I loved this recipe! My boyfriend is the PICKIEST chicken eater ever and he raved about this chicken. It was so flavorful and easy to do. I will keep this recipe on hand for a LONG time…you can do so much with it!

    - Julia on March 10, 2013 Reply
  • This was the most flavorful and moist grilled chicken ever – it is my new go-to recipe for chicken on the grill! My husband grilled it just as you said and it came out perfectly! We served it with grilled zucchini and roasted potatoes. Delicious!

    - Rebecca on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • This chicken marinade is fantastic. I did not have thyme so I subbed in a little basil. I have read that acidic ingredients will toughen meat (and turn beef a nasty grey color) but it is hard to find a marinade that doesn’t use some type of acid. Thanks for the great recipe.

    - Karen on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Thank you for sharing! it really was the best grilled chicken breast. the key was leaving out acidic stuff n the hi temp !! thanks once aGAIN

    - sidra on February 12, 2013 Reply
  • Jenn, is there anything you don’t do well? This recipe was superb, like everything else I’ve tried. Thank you!

    - Pauline on January 10, 2013 Reply
    • Thank you, Pauline! I’m so glad you enjoyed!

      - Jenn on January 10, 2013 Reply
  • Such a great tasty marinade made it on my George Forman came out great !

    - Sabrina on December 29, 2012 Reply
  • These were awesome!!!

    - Kelly W. on October 22, 2012 Reply
  • It was my first time to (electric) grill chicken breasts and I followed your recipe – the result? Juicy, flavorful chicken breasts. So stoked! Will definitely try more recipes from your site.

    - Dee on October 11, 2012 Reply
  • I made this for dinner the other night. I only made one serving, so I decreased the marinade accordingly, and it worked wonderfully. The chicken cooked evenly and wasn’t dry at all. I’ll be pounding out my chicken from now on! Thanks!

    - Suzannah on October 4, 2012 Reply
  • I never pound meat . Instead, I will butterfly the chicken and plan on using a grill pan (apartment life sometimes leaves something to be desired).

    - Winston on October 4, 2012 Reply
  • This chicken recipe is excellent. The advice to pound the chicken breast evenly and to avoid acid juice in the marinade was appreciated. I sprinkled fresh herbs on everything just serving. The texture of the chicken was superb, and leftovers were fabulous in chicken salad. Thanks!

    - Kathy on September 6, 2012 Reply
  • Yum yum! LOVE grilled chicken!

    - Perrie on June 27, 2012 Reply
  • These are great! I’m big on pantry/fridge/freezer ingredients – so I’ve used a couple T’s of lemon juice instead of zest and it works well. This chicken is so versatile – you can switch out the seasonings for cumin, onion and chili powder for mexican dishes, or use some soy sauce with the marinade, remove the basil and oregano, and you’ve got a yummy asian marinade. I love this recipe on your caesar salad with some homemade croutons and sun dried tomatoes!

    - Leslea on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Thanks for the recipe! I am trying it tomorrow so I will be back with the verdict, which I’m sure will be great! Never knew that about the lemon juice.. I always juiced and zested but will be trying your method.

    - Anna M on May 26, 2012 Reply
  • My new favorite go to chicken! Delicious!

    - Kathy on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • This is one of my favorite recipes to make – its easy, delicious and full of yummy flavor!

    - Renee LeVine on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • This is my new go-to recipe for grilled chicken. Sometimes I sub fresh herbs for the dried, but other than that, there are no changes needed! Delicious!

    - Amber R on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Simple and delicious. Leftovers are great in a salad.

    - Susan on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • Jennifer!!!!!!!!!! Are you married? Awesome recipe. I have instanly become the king of grilled chicken amongst my friends and family!

    - Steve on April 24, 2012 Reply
  • Made these tonight and served them with a lemon and caper pasta recipe I also found online. Great pair and the chicken was tender and moist and delicious. Thanks!

    - Rose on March 31, 2012 Reply
  • Just as the title promises-perfect. Love your recipe and directions. Thanks for the inspiration!

    - Julie Backas on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • The. best. grilled. chicken. ever. Hands down. The chicken is so juicy. My family loves it. I make this chicken at least twice a week in the summer. And cook it indoor on grill pan in the winter and late fall.

    - Beata Harnett on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This chicken recipe is terrific. Not only do I make it, but my sisters and friends do!

    - Beth on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • This is my second comment on this recipe, spurred of course by the chance to win the Le Creuset Dutch oven, but every time I use this recipe I think about commenting again. It truly is my go-to recipe for grilled chicken. The combination of method (pounding the breasts and highest heat grilling) plus using lemon zest instead of juice to marinate is pure genius and transforms bland boneless, skinless chicken breasts into the most flavorful and moist grilled chicken ever. I have started making extra to freeze and have on hand for salads. Truly a stellar recipe!

    - Charlene on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • These were the most tender, well-seasoned chicken breasts I’ve ever had! I had to use a rolling pin, but I’m definitely getting a meat mallet now. I put the Ziploc bag over a glass measuring cup (draping over its sides) to keep the bag standing up, making it easier for me to add the oil and the rest of the marinade. Thank you so much!!

    - Kim on January 1, 2012 Reply
  • I’ve never tried it, Kris. But please let me know how it turns out if you do!

    - Jennifer on October 12, 2011 Reply
  • Have you ever tried this marinade on boneless pork chops? If so how did they turn out?

    - Kris on October 12, 2011 Reply
  • I’d like to try your recipe on an old Jenn-Air grill. That means I won’t be covering the meat while it’s grilling. Any recommendations on how long to cook the pounded chicken on each side?

    Thanks,
    Robin

    - Robin on September 25, 2011 Reply
  • Wonderful marinade! I found my new favorite 🙂 Lovely site too!

    - Jenni on August 3, 2011 Reply
  • Oh ho ho, I have found my go-to recipe/method for grilling chicken breasts. These were fantastic. Thank you so much!

    - Charlene on May 9, 2011 Reply
  • The wash is only an aesthetic thing not something I think would affect the taste. cool them,the first feeling I have that is many different ideas you wrote,insist it.now link my name to see my website,some about Retro Jordan,thanks.

    - Retro Jordan on October 15, 2010 Reply
  • Betty, You can do the chicken ahead of time if you need to, and fresh rosemary would be a fine substitute for the oregano. Enjoy!

    - Jenn on August 3, 2010 Reply
  • Can this chicken be grilled early and then reheated slowly in the oven later in the day?

    I am disabled and can’t do all the cooking all once unfortunately; thus the need to do the chicken early if possible.

    Also, can I use rosemary instead of the oregano? I have both fresh and dried.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated:)

    - Betty Dahlberg on July 30, 2010 Reply
  • LOVE this recipe!! I was scared to grill at such a high temperature, but I followed your directions exactly and it was wonderful! Moist, flavorful without being overpowering, quick and easy prep. What more could you ask for? Thanks again for another keeper! This will be my go-to chicken recipe from now on.

    Carol Herndon

    - Carol Herndon on July 25, 2010 Reply
  • Like a child on the shoulders, like tears on the face, like a poet among the letters on the moon, like dolphins on ocean, you are my angel, is the first and last paradise!

    - Jordan retro 4 on July 9, 2010 Reply
  • Made this chicken for our Father’s Day BBQ and it was a big hit. Keep the recipes coming…my family is loving them!!

    - Shelly on June 22, 2010 Reply
  • Matthew, Unfortunately, this recipe won’t work in a saute pan. The only substitute for the grill would be a grill pan. Hope that helps!

    - Jenn on June 18, 2010 Reply
  • Made this tonight overtop angel hair pasta tossed with a lemon-chive sauce. The chicken is simply fantastic—and so easy to make. Just like you, this will be my basic go-to grilled chicken recipe too! Thanks

    - Danielle on June 15, 2010 Reply
  • I love a simple moist chicken breast, and doing it on the grill makes it even more enticing!

    - Kelli on June 7, 2010 Reply
  • We just cleaned up the grill for the season and I’ve been looking for great chicken breast marinades–perfect timing!

    - Shauna from Piece of Cake on June 6, 2010 Reply
  • This sound fabulous! Love easy chicken recipes – will definitely try this!

    xxMK
    Delightful Bitefuls

    - Mary on June 6, 2010 Reply
  • Thank you so much for these step-by-step instructions! I didn’t know that acid ingredients such as vinegar make the meat tough. I’m going to try this marinade today!

    - Reija on June 5, 2010 Reply
  • What alterations would you suggest if we don’t own a grill and had to saute the chicken instead?

    - MRK on June 5, 2010 Reply
    • I don’t see any reason this would not be delicious prepared in an iron skillet. I cook marinated chicken recipes all the time in my iron skillet, just be sure not to overcook them and make them dry. Look at the ingredients, I mean, how bad could it be?

      - Jo on July 27, 2013 Reply

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