The Best Grilled Chicken

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Say goodbye to dry, bland grilled chicken breasts. This recipe guarantees juicy, flavorful chicken every time.

Sometimes in cooking the simplest dishes are the hardest to get right, and grilled chicken is a perfect example. Because boneless chicken breasts are so lean, they often turn out dry, rubbery, and bland. Contrary to popular belief, marinating alone will not save grilled chicken from drying out; in fact, it’s often the marinade that causes the problem!

My technique and marinade ensure tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled chicken every time. You can serve the fillets on their own as a healthy main course (kids love them), topped with cheese on a toasted bun, or, as I often do, sliced over a Caesar salad. Bonus: the recipe is quick and easy. You do all of the prep ahead of time and you won’t even dirty a single bowl.

What You’ll Need To Make THE BEST Grilled Chicken

ingredients for grilled chicken breasts

STEP-BY-STEP Instructions

Step 1: Pound the Chicken

Place the chicken breasts in a 1-gallon freezer bag and pound to an even ½-inch thickness. This both tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking. Left in their natural shape, the thin side of the fillet dries out while the thicker side finishes cooking. If you don’t have a meat mallet, a rolling pin or a saucepan will both work well.
pounding the chicken breasts

Step 2: Make the Marinade

Lemon is a key ingredient in this marinade, but I only use the zest. Contrary to conventional wisdom, 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 and give it a leathery texture. The zest gives the chicken ample lemon flavor, without affecting the chicken’s succulent texture.

zesting the lemonThe best tool for zesting citrus is a fine or microplane grater. 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.

Once you’ve zested the lemon, mix all of the marinade ingredients except for the chicken together in a 1-gallon zip-lock bag (go ahead and use the same one you used for pounding if it is still in good shape).

marinade ingredients in bag

Add the chicken breasts to the bag and massage the marinade into the meat until evenly coated.

massaging marinade into chickenStep 3: Marinate

Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (the bowl protects against leakage); let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

sealed chicken in bowl ready to marinate in the fridge

Step 4: Grill

When you’re ready to eat, preheat your grill to high heat and oil the grates (clean, oiled grates will give you the best grill marks). Be sure your grill is very hot before cooking the chicken; you want nice grill marks and char in the short amount of time it takes to cook these. When pounded thin, chicken breasts only need 2 to 3 minutes per side…no more! If you try to flip the chicken and it feels stuck, try giving it 30 seconds. It’ll release naturally when it’s ready.

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for the grill to be covered while the chicken is cooking. This creates convection heat which helps give the chicken a nicely charred exterior and a tender, moist interior.

chicken breasts on the grill

After removing the chicken from the grill, let it rest for 3 to 4 minutes before cutting into it. This will help keep the juices in and retain the meat’s moisture. (The timing is perfect as it’s just enough to get it onto plates, add sides, and put on the table).

While this chicken is best right off the grill, it’s also the kind of thing you can make a double batch of and freeze for future use in salads, pastas, and sandwiches.

Freezer-Friendly Tips

  • Make sure the chicken is completely cooled before freezing it.
  • Keep the chicken pieces whole (no slicing before freezing).
  • To avoid multiple pieces stuck together (which extends defrosting time), wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap and then place them all in a ziploc bag. This also allows you to defrost one piece at a time if you’d like.

You May Also Like

The Best Grilled Chicken

Say goodbye to dry, bland grilled chicken breasts. This recipe guarantees juicy, flavorful chicken every time.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 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. One at a time, place the chicken breasts in a 1-gallon zip-lock bag; using a meat mallet, pound to an even ½-inch thickness.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients except for the chicken together in a 1-gallon zip-lock bag (go ahead and use the same one you used for pounding if it is still in good shape). Add the chicken breasts to the bag and massage the marinade into the meat until evenly coated. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (the bowl protects against leakage); let the chicken marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat the grill to high heat and oil the grates. Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcook. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 chicken breast (The nutritional information includes all of the ingredients for the marinade, so one serving is likely significantly lower in calories and fat than the numbers below.)
  • Calories: 413
  • Fat: 25 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 42 g
  • Sodium: 958 mg
  • Cholesterol: 127 mg

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.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:

Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn,

    Would this recipe work for pork chops?

    Thank you!

    • — Vanessa K on July 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Vanessa, I haven’t tried this with pork chops, but I suspect it would work. (Cook time is likely to be different so keep a close eye on them). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • DELICIOUS. 5 stars are not enough.

    • — Mary on July 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • The best grilled chicken I’ve ever had!

    • — Jordan on July 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious! And it was a great idea to do a large batch and freeze some.

    • — Joan on July 3, 2020
    • Reply
  • Easy, fast, tender, and delicious. Doesn’t get better than that!

    • — Debbie on June 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was really delicious and a nice change of pace from my usual chicken-on-the-grill marinade. But 1/2″ is very thin for grilling so I didn’t pound the chicken that thin and took probably twice as long to cook on average (~ 5-6 minutes/side). Will definitely build this into my rotation!

    • — Jeff on June 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have all the ingredients except lemon zest. Can I use orange zest?

    • — Elise on June 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • The chicken will have a slightly different flavor, but technically it will work. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on June 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • I was all sent to make this and discovered I only have boneless skinless thighs. Will the recipe still work or what changes / adjustments should I consider? Thanks!

    • — Betsy on June 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • It will work, Betsy – no need to pound them out though. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe and my new “go to” for grilled chicken. Easy, very tender and delicious! I discovered your blog and cookbook and it has taken me out of my “cooking comfort zone” and really helped put happiness on our dinner table! I noticed most of your recipes call for extra virgin olive oil–is there a reason for using extra virgin vs regular olive oil? Also does the brand make a difference? Thanks!

    • — Debbie on June 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad your family enjoys the recipes, Debbie! I usually call for extra-virgin since that’s what most people have on hand. But, in general, you should use regular olive oil for cooking and marinades, and extra-virgin for salads and drizzling. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this recipe last night for dinner salads and it was absolutely phenomenal. I will definitely be making this recipe on a regular basis. Thank you Jenn for another recipe that I cannot live without.

    • — Kia on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • Is is 1& 3/4 chicken or 3/4 chicken ?

    • — Chantal on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Chantal, It’s 1 and 3/4 (so 1.75 lbs). Sorry for any confusion!

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2020
      • Reply
  • This chicken is awesome!! It is so moist and flavorful!! I love that I can prep it the day before, and then dinner is a snap the next night. Thanks for another delicious recipe, Jenn!!

    • — Alex Scopeletis on June 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Winning recipe! I read all the positive reviews and decided to make this for some dinner guests. It was absolutely delicious. I think Jenn is absolutely right in using the zest from the lemon instead of the juice as the texture of the chicken was much nicer. Thanks for another great recipe. You and the Barefoot Contessa are my go to recipes when I want to make something that I know will be delicious.

    • — Ann J Conroy on June 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Delicious!! Another amazing and easy recipe Jenn-my absolute go to book/website for the best recipes! Thank you!

    • — Laura on June 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • 🙂 You’re welcome!

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, thanks for another awesome recipe! My question is, can these be frozen in the marinade? I’m hoping to make a bunch up, freeze them, and pull out and thaw for summer BBQ’g. Thanks in advance for answering. 😊

    • — Corinne on June 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Corinne, that will work. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • I’ve never had any luck with grilled chicken until I tried this recipe. It was moist, flavorful and delicious…not to mention very quick! Thanks for another great recipe.

    • — Niki on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe is going to become a staple in our house. Chicken turns out perfectly every time, & amazing on caesar salad. We had friends over the first time I made it and they asked for the recipe and have started enjoying it regularly too. It’s great leftover in anything, but especially great on salads.

    • — Amy Glanz on June 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • Usually, when I cook chicken breasts, I season them with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them in the oven. Not exciting but it does the job. Not any more!!
    This recipe for grilled chicken was so quick and easy and tasty! If I could put garlic on everything, I would! It really made this marinade a home run for me. The chicken was much more moist and flavourful than with my old, tired method.
    If I had known that a marinade could be made so quickly and easily and add so much more flavour, I would have done this a LONG time ago! I know you can use bottled stuff from the store but I don’t care for it.
    This will be my new go-to for chicken. Yay!
    *There isn’t a recipe that I’ve tried from Jenn that I didn’t like!

    • — Christina on June 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • Fantasitic! Absolutely delicious and so moist. This will now be my go-to grilled chicken recipe, thank you so much!!

    • — Cynthia M. on June 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. Super excited to try this. I started marinating this morning and realized I won’t need it until tomorrow night. Ok to marinate it for 36 hours instead of 12 or will it be too seasoned? Thanks!

    • — Elizabeth on June 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • It should be fine – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • We tried this recipe for the first time last week, and just like every other recipe I’ve tried from this site, it was AMAZING. Perfectly seasoned, juicy, and tasty. We’ll probably never grill chicken breast any other way!

    • — Angela on June 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Jenn can I grill the chicken on the stove top in a cast iron grill pan

    • — Anthony Perone on June 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Anthony — If you cook this on the stove, I’d sear the chicken over high heat (for a min or two per side until browned) then finish it in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, is there a reason you say to put it in the oven to finish cooking? Why not finish in the grill pan on the stovetop? Linda

        • — Linda Hoskin on June 14, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Linda, I just suggest that because I don’t want the outside of the chicken to get too browned before the inside is cooked through. If you can get it fully cooked in the center without it browning too much on the outside, feel free to cook it entirely on the stove. Hope that clarifies!

          • — Jenn on June 15, 2020
          • Reply
  • Hi
    Can you use chicken tenders instead of the breast?
    Thanks.

    • — Maureen on June 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Maureen – no need to pound them out. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Just discovered this website and am loving the recipes. Made this yesterday and it was good. What kind of salt do you use in your recipes? I used kosher and it wasn’t salty enough for me but still tasty. So easy to prepare. Thanks.

    • — Verna on June 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you’re enjoying the recipes! When a recipe of mine says salt in the ingredient list, I’m referring to regular/table salt. If it calls for something else like kosher salt, I will specify that in the recipe. And while it doesn’t make a huge difference, different salts have different-sized grains and so you may end up using a bit more or a bit less if you use a different type of salt than the recipe calls for. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on June 10, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jenn for the clarification. Other sites says salt and they mean kosher and you can see how salty those ended up! I’m loving your site and will for sure remember you use table salt. 👍

        • — Verna on June 10, 2020
        • Reply
  • Made this for chicken caeser salad. Came out amazing! My friend told me it was the best chicken caeser salad she had ever had. Definitely a keeper!

    • — Sarah on June 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • Loved this! Made this with only a 3 hour marinade and still turned out super flavourful. Whole family commented on how juicy it turned out. Thanks for all of your fantastic recipes!

    • — Sandra M on June 6, 2020
    • Reply
  • I pounded chicken thighs instead of breasts and changed nothing else. Full of flavor. I marinated for 8 hours. Excellent!

    • — Beth on June 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Such an easy recipe and a definite keeper. We loved the lemon flavor and the chicken was moist and tender. Who knew the lemon juice I used before in my lemon marinade was the problem? I used 4 large chicken breasts pounded thin and only marinated the chicken for about 3 hours but was very pleased with the flavor. I also substituted fresh lemon thyme from my herb garden for the dried thyme and added a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary to the marinade bag. Yum! With my pilaf, it was a killer entree!

    • — Suzanne Bennett on June 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • I really wanted to take advantage of the nice weather in Seattle and decided to grill outside using your The Best Grilled Chicken recipe. It was incredible! The flavor was amazing and the chicken was so moist and juicy! This will definitely be a go-to recipe for me all summer long!

    • — Cyndy on June 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is our favourite grilled chicken recipe. It’s super flavorful, juicy and never dry.
    Thanks for all your recipes.

    • — Joanne Francis on June 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is the best! Followed recipe exactly and chicken was flavorful and tender. I printed it and added it to my copy of your cookbook.

    • — Patricia on June 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this about a billion times and can confirm that this is a 5 star recipe!

    • — Chad on June 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Really good!! I only had 1/2 large lemon, so used that plus the juice, I didn’t have dry thyme, so used Italian spice blend + the oregano, and we only had about 30 min to marinate. They came out amazing! So flavorful and tender! Can’t even imagine how good they would be if marinated longer! Will definitely make this recipe again and again!

    • — Pam on May 31, 2020
    • Reply
  • Made this evening for dinner but used my cast iron griddle pan really delicious and I will difinetly be using again on the barbecue .

    • — Jean on May 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Every dish I’ve made from your site has become a staple in our household!! Simply delicious – even when I think it might be too bland or ordinary, it is always just right. Thank you for elevating my game and making me seem like a great cook!!

    • — Diana on May 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • My goodness, your recipes never fail! This is my new go-to recipe for chicken!

    • — Michelle Rossano on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Would be nice if you listed the rest of the marinade items beyond the lemon zest. Could only guess at what was in the small bowls, and I am guessing the other item was garlic. Sorry if I am such a Putz.

    • — Neville Gunther on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Neville, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, under the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy the chicken if you make it!

      • — Jenn on May 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • Could I make this in a saute pan?

    • — Lois Moyer on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure — 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. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 28, 2020
      • Reply
    • Thanks for asking this question Lois. This is what I was going to ask. Thank you Jenn.

      • — Quincy on May 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • I don’t think I’ll grill chicken breast any other way now. It turned out tender, juicy, and flavourful, and was easy to make. Next time I’ll make a double or triple batch to have the leftovers throughout the week.

    • — Sandra Mary on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • This grilled chicken is simply the BEST! Easy and delicious. I use this grilled chicken to make Jenn’s Chicken Salad recipe. A huge favorite among family and friends!!

    • — Lynne on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    Can you cook these individual breasts ahead of time, freeze, and then serve the individual breasts as is (not cut-up)? And if so, how would you reheat them so they are not dried out? And can you cook these chicken breasts indoors on a grill pan- if so for how long?

    Many thanks!
    Marny

    • — Marny mccain on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Marny, Yes, you can freeze these after cooking. I would reheat, covered with foil, in a 325°F-oven until hot. And yes, you can cook these indoors. You can use a grill pan assuming it’s oven-safe as you’ll also need to turn on your oven; sear the chicken 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 May 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hello! I am sure this will be delicious as all your other recipes are and by looking at the reviews I know it will be a hit! My question is, I have a Trager wood fired grill & smoker. It doubles as a grill, however I don’t know how to do that just yet. Just curious as to if you would have any idea on temp and how long these can be smoked in a smoker? Thanks!

    • — Kim Motley on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Kim! Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about smokers to weigh in — I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on May 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • How long would I cook in a cast iron pan indoors?

    • — Cheryl on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, If you cook this on the stove in a cast iron pan, I’d sear the chicken over high heat (for a min or two per side until browned) then finish it in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic – simple, but incredibly flavorful. I also loved the tip about zesting the lemon rather than squeezing lemon juice into the marinade. Grilling times were perfect. Make extra breasts so you can have the dish cold the next day over salad.

    • — Catherine C. on May 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have tried this grilled chicken recipe and it is really easy to make and very delicious in taste. Also sharing here another easy hanan chicken recipe. Check out the recipe here: https://www.foodybud.com/easy-hunan-chicken-crunchy-creamy-sweet/

    • — Bhavesh on May 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • This grilled chicken is the best. Usually use this in a salad with Greek dressing and feta.

    • — Peggy on May 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • SO good, thank you so much!!!

    • — Lucy on May 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • My family loves this chicken! My boys are rather particular with their tastes, and they both agree that this chicken is better than the chicken at our favorite, authentic Greek restaurant! It is so juicy and flavorful! Even leftovers are juicy!

    • — Gretchen Sutton on May 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can you prep this and then freeze it? I had to buy chicken in bulk (it was the only way I could find it!) and now have to vacuum seal and freeze most of if. If I put the chicken with marinade in a vacuum sealed bag in the freezer, is there such a thing as “over-marinating?”
    Thanks!

    • — Sarah on May 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sarah, it should be fine. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2020
      • Reply
      • Late to the game but I froze like 10 times this recipe prior to having my baby and it tasted delicious each time. It’s my favorite chicken recipe and very versatile. Thank you for this recipe! I have been cooking it for almost 4 years now

        • — Lisseth on May 21, 2020
        • Reply
  • hi,
    I’d like to make these chicken breasts indoors… can you please let me know how to best cook them on the stove or oven and for how many minutes to insure a tender but properly cooked chicken breasts?

    • — JooJoo on April 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi JooJoo, 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. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • Great recipe so glad I tried it. My husband enjoyed it too even though that morning he was complaining about me making too many meat dishes. He prefers to only eat meat once a week. When I have time I will check out your meatless recipes. 🙂😋

    • — Elaine McMullen on April 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Had this chicken tonight for dinner with grilled asparagus and rice! I love your chicken, saved the recipe, will use again! Thank you!!!!!

    • — Keller Janet on April 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • I would like to use fresh herbs. What do you recommended?

      • — Beverly on May 30, 2020
      • Reply
      • That’s fine — you’ll need about 1 Tbsp. of fresh thyme and 1-1/2 tsp. fresh oregano. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on June 1, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I find myself living on your blog. You are my savior! Would this marinade also work for kabobs? Thx!

    • — Debbie on April 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the blog! ❤️ And, yes, this marinade would work for kebabs. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 15, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thx for your quick response! One more question. Is it ok to use fresh thyme?

        • — Debbie on April 15, 2020
        • Reply
        • Sure, but you’ll need to use more; I’d recommend 1 Tbsp.

          • — Jenn on April 15, 2020
          • Reply
  • I made this last night, it was amazing. Instead of pounding the chicken I just cut a breast in half and marinated it in a glass bowl. We don’t have a grill so, I seared it for 3 minutes on each side in an oven safe pan and then popped it in the oven at 350 for 6 minutes.

    • — Emily on April 8, 2020
    • Reply
  • Really amazing grilled chicken. I used this recipe for thighs and drums, they turned out amazing. Super juicy and tender. A+ recipe.

    • — Brian on March 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Such great flavor! I tried making a very similar recipe the other night that called for lemon juice instead, I marinated for 20 minutes and it was just so tough because of the acidity. I love how you use lemon zest instead. I made this recipe and marinated for 8 hours yesterday and it was just perfect. My fiancé raved about it. We also love your grilled fajita chicken with the lime zest!

    • — Kat on March 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is my husbands favorite!! Well not really fair because all of your recipes, Jenn, are his favorites. 🙂 This is so quick, simple and flavorful. I use it with thighs as we don’t like breast as much and it is delicious.

    • — Belinda on January 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • These are wonderful and have make them about a couple of times a month. Can the breasts be pounded, placed in some marinate and frozen individually? Then thawed in the refrigerator before grilling. Some days are very hectic and some days I have a family member who shows ups and only wants to eats chicken.
    Thanks.

    • — Sandy on January 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad you like this Sandy! And yes, you can definitely freeze the uncooked breasts in the marinade. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 6, 2020
      • Reply
  • Don’t ignore this because it looks too basic. The result is definitely more than the sum of its parts!

    • — Kay on December 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner last night using my Cuisinart grill/ griddler. Turned out great- very flavorful. This recipe will go into my dinner rotation, bigtime!

    • — nancy on November 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • So good! I add 1Tablespoon Worcestershire and 1 Tablespoon honey to the marinade, also halve the lemon zest. Made a chicken Caesar salad with this along with your Caesar dressing recipe! Yum! Will never get store bought Caesar again!

    • — Danielle on October 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • Once again, Jenn, a 5 star recipe. Every recipe I’ve tried of yours is a winner. So glad I found you!

    • — Geri on October 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • This had a bit too much thyme flavor for me (and I love thyme). The second time I cut the thyme in half and it came out perfect for me. The lemon and garlic flavor is delicious, and the chicken comes out tender and juicy every time. Another great recipe!

    • — Katie R. on September 16, 2019
    • Reply
  • Only had about an hour and half to marinade the chicken but it was delicious! Moist as promised and full of flavor with the handful of ingredients it had. Fast and easy and healthy!!
    Thanks!

    • — Naz S on September 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • WOW!!!

    Okay this was a HUGE surprise! Made it for a dinner party last night and when people asked for the recipe they were SURE I was leaving something out. WAY TOO EASY to be THAT GOOD. Nope. And NO LEMON JUICE didn’t make sense. I would never have guessed it would work but it’s the most moist, tender and best-tasting chicken breasts I have EVER had. Honestly. I am tossing out all my other grilled chicken recipes.

    In fact with your cookbook and the number of recipes you post I can barely keep up and every one is so wonderful it is all that I will ever need. Please keep them coming. And I appreciate SO MUCH that because you do the testing I know everything will turn out.

    BEST web site out there. Thanks!!!

    • — Judi on September 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • You made my day, Judi! So glad you enjoy the recipes. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2019
      • Reply
    • I totally agree Judi! EVERY SINGLE RECIPE I’ve made is 5 star! I never change a thing. I tell everyone about her and love gifting her cookbook. We hit the lottery with Jenn!!

      • — Noreen on January 19, 2020
      • Reply
      • ❤️ I have the best, most supportive readers!!

        • — Jenn on January 19, 2020
        • Reply
    • Could you use thin cut chicken breasts from the store rather than pounding regular chicken breasts?

      • — Rikki on May 28, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Rikki, I don’t recommend thin-cut breasts, as the pounding really does tenderize the meat. However, you could chicken tenderloins without pounding. Hope that helps!

        • — Jenn on May 28, 2020
        • Reply
  • Just made this last night. I sautéed over high heat in a nonstick pan and it came out great! Nicely browned on the outside and juicy on the inside. I have a few pieces left over and am wondering what is the best way to reheat them?

    • — Karen on August 30, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad they turned out, Karen! I would reheat, covered with foil, in a 325°F-oven until hot.

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is a keeper! The chicken is moist and delicious! We loved it! Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Colette Dryden on August 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • This was excellent cooked on a grill pan with a lid, which I never tried before. Incredibly juicy with great flavor. I used Diamond Crystal kosher salt.

    • — Lorrie on August 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • One word. Delicious!

    • — June on August 14, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have never been able to cook a nice piece of chicken breast, especially on the grill…until tonight. This recipe was fantastic, and so easy even for a terrible cook like me. Thank you (my family thanks you)!!

    • — Patricia on August 5, 2019
    • Reply
  • Really outstanding marinade. I cook them on a grill pan and get a nice crosshatch. I love serving these over olive oil/balsamic dressed greens and with a bit of shaved parmesan on top.

    • — Dulcie on July 18, 2019
    • Reply
  • 👍❤️

    • — Connie on July 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • This was outstanding! It might have been the moistest grilled chicken we’ve made 👍👍

      • — Margie Wamboldt on July 26, 2019
      • Reply
      • My kids loves this recepie, as easy as it can get.
        Happy mom! Happy child! Healthy and yum!

        • — SISCA, @SURABAYA on August 7, 2019
        • Reply
  • We just made this for a grill chicken salad for dinner. It was so delicious, moist and tender throughout! I’ll be saving this recipe, for sure! Thank you😁

    • — Lorraine Mazza on July 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • If using this chicken in a lettuce salad, would you use the chicken warm or chilled? BTW, I love your recipes and always go to you when wanting to serve something special.

    • — Carol on July 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I’d use the chicken warm — and so glad you love the recipes!

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2019
      • Reply
  • Great recipe! Can you freeze the marinated chicken?

    • — Selina on June 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yep!

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, this would be fine using all chicken parts right? Thank you!

        • — Noreen on October 29, 2019
        • Reply
        • Sure, Noreen — just keep in mind that the grilling time will be different with bone-in chicken. Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on October 30, 2019
          • Reply
  • Yet another fantastic recipe. Our go-to grilled chicken recipe now.
    Thank you

    • — Neil on June 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • Very good flavor and moist! My MIL loved it! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

    • — Denise on June 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • Best marinade I’ve ever tried. I now use this recipe exclusively and weekly. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • — Stephanie on June 10, 2019
    • Reply
  • These were fabulous. So moist and flavourful. Your recipes are so well tested that they all turn out perfectly. Thank you so much.

    • — Ellen S. on June 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • What kind of salt do you use in this recipe? This sounds like a lot of salt.
    I would like to make this and slice over a Cesar salad, it looks really delicious.

    • — Gran on May 24, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Gran, I use fine sea salt in all my recipes unless otherwise specified. You really need to salt for flavor here. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 24, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this tonight and it was so easy and amazing! I only had about an hour and half to marinate, but it was still so flavorful. This is the third recipe of yours, that I have made, and all have been terrific. The other one was your Beef Stew, which I make at every Passover now and the other is the Buttermilk Chicken Tenders. I only like to prepare chicken with boneless/skinless breasts, but I am anxious to try your Tandoori so we’ll see. Thank you for all you do for us moms who sometimes fall into a cooking rut.

    • — Mardi Lopez on May 22, 2019
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on May 22, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this tonight. Scaled it down for 2 chicken breasts. It was THE best BBQ’d chicken I’ve ever had. Easy and packed full of flavour. Can’t ask for more than that!

    • — Pat Berrigan on May 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • Another perfect recipe! thank you!

    • — Sandra Espinosa on May 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • These were absolutely amazing! We made them for dinner with veggies as a side dish and I used the leftovers to make a salad the next day. Staple recipe now!

    • — Touraya on May 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • An excellent marinade for chicken. Perfect for a main dish or adding to salads. The flavor is not over-powering but delicious.

    • — Darlene on May 5, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Every time I use extra virgin olive oil, the kind you recommend, it tastes bitter to both me and
    my husband. Is it suppose to taste that way and is there another type of olive oil I can use?

    Thank you.

    • — Carol Baran on May 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, Olive oil does have bitter undertones; you might be sensitive to it. I would suggest cutting it with vegetable oil (half/half). I think that will make a big difference for you. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 6, 2019
      • Reply
    • The Kirkland organic OO is delicious. Also won top ratings.

      • — Janet on May 23, 2019
      • Reply
  • I”d like to make this inside, in the oven, or on a griddle? Can you give me a guideline as to how long etc to cook? I hate when my chicken gets dry and it seems to happen a lot! Thanks!

    • — Helen on April 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Helen, 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. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is an excellent maraniaded chicken recipe! I’m a person who likes bold flavor, so if you tell me it’s lemon, garlic, chicken,I want to taste it. This recipe has great flavor and is super easy. I quadrupled it because we are a family of 10 and because some of us like dark meat I also used boneless skinless chicken thighs. Obviously, those just cooked longer. I did pair it with the recommended side dish, the peppers,feta,& pinenuts, delicious also! Thank you for a yummy,quick dinner 🙂

    • — JOANNE ADAMS on April 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • I’ve been searching for a great grilled chicken breast recipe, and I’m so happy I found this one! Finally a simple and delicious way to make plain old chicken breast super tasty. Kids gobbled it up and it’s amazing over a Caesar salad. Thank you!

    • — Alicia on March 21, 2019
    • Reply
  • This was delicious. Do you think I can use the same marinade with fish?

    • — Linda Shear on February 21, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Linda – it should work nicely with fish since there’s no acidity. Glad you enjoyed it!

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2019
      • Reply
    • If it was delicious, is there a reason for only one star?

      • — JE on March 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is my go-to chicken recipe! I make it almost weekly and use leftovers in salads. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Susan on February 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • Love it

    • — Stephanie on January 8, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe hundreds of times. My hungry teenager requests this on a weekly basis. You can purchase thin sliced chicken breasts or chicken tenders to skip the tenderizing step. And I marinate (in a baking dish to avoid using plastic) as little as thirty minutes when I’m short on time and the recipe still comes out very flavorful. I typically serve chicken over a bed of cauliflower rice, topped with blanched asparagus and drizzled with hollandaise sauce (simple Chicken Oscar) Left overs are great on their own, tossed in pasta or Cesar salad.

    • — Donna on October 16, 2018
    • Reply
    • This is my go to recipe for chicken to cut into salads. Marinade is delicious; chicken is moist and adds welcome flavor to any salad. Made it as described. Froze several breasts for use later in the month. Try it. You will be glad you did!!

      • — Barbara Goldman on April 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    Would you recommend bringing marinated chicken to room temperature before grilling ?
    Thanks
    Jo

    • — Jo on September 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • It’s not necessary, Jo – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 30, 2018
      • Reply
  • I’m not a huge chicken eater but this recipe is absolutely perfect…I’ve made it numerous times and it seems to be fool-proof. It’s so flavourful on its own but also versatile enough to go in pastas, on sandwiches, etc. If anyone is skeptical about grilling chicken breasts for fear of them drying out, this recipe is perfect.

    • — Sarah on September 15, 2018
    • Reply
  • How much olive oil, garlic, and lemon do I use for 15 people. I am going to make it for a party and it sounds delicious. As our chicken has always been to dry and tastless. Thank you so much

    • — Joan on August 22, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Joan, I’d multiply the ingredients in the marinade by 3 in order to have enough to serve 15. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 23, 2018
      • Reply
  • What was the pre-cooking weight of your chicken breasts? These look large, at least 7-8 oz each?

    • — Astrid on August 9, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes, Astrid, I’d estimate they were about 7 ounces each.

      • — Jenn on August 10, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi. Could I use an electric grill pan? Would I cover the pan while grilling? Thank you.

    • — Nan on August 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Nan, I think you could use an electric grill pan for these, but don’t need to cover it. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2018
      • Reply
  • Will this work with lime instead of lemon?

    • — Andrew on July 12, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure – it will obviously have a bit of a different flavor, but should still be good. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • This is the best marinade ever! We love it. My husband does all of the cooking and he absolutely loves making this for chicken.

    He now makes extra chicken breasts, cooks and freezes them. We take them out of the freezer and use the chicken for sandwiches or cut up in a salad.

  • Hi Jenn-
    First of all, your cookbook is awesome. Congratulations. You are incredibly deserving and I love that your family has been such a huge part of the story.
    We are celebrating my mom’s 80th B-Day in 2 weeks. My aunt and uncle are coming in town to celebrate which is very special. I want to make your perfect grilled chicken breasts, and I love the salad you selected as a “pair with”. Can you recommend a starch, or carb to go along with the meal? There will be 8 of us. Thanks a million. Mary

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Mary – happy that you enjoy the recipes! This focaccia or these smashed potatoes would pair nicely with the chicken. Happy 80th to your mom!

  • Hi Jenn,I plan on tripling this recipe; should I make two separate marinades, and marinate in two separate bags, or is it okay to make one marinade and put all in one ziplock bag?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Debbie, as long as there is room for all of it in one bag, there’s no reason you need to separate them into 2. Hope you enjoy!

  • This is exceptionally good chicken. It is now my all purpose marinade, and I am so grateful—Best grilled chicken I’ve ever made. Thank you, Jenn!!

  • I think I bought too large of chicken breasts. I really tore them up trying to get them to 1/2 inch. Still anxious to try them as the marinade smells delicious.

    • Hi Ruth, I didn’t get mine down to 1/2 inch. More like 3/4 and they were perfect. So freakin’ delicious!

      • — Pat Berrigan on May 21, 2019
      • Reply
  • How much fresh thyme and oregano should I use to replace the dried? Thank you!

    • Hi Margaret, The general rule of thumb when your substituting dry herbs is to use 1/3 of the amount of the fresh herbs called for. Hope you enjoy the chicken!

  • Sorry, when rereading your Perfectly Grilled Chicken Breast recipe again, I found the answer re the fat content. It included the marinade. I’m trying them this week. Thanks! Sue

  • YES RECIPE IS A WINNER _ WITH ONE ADJUSTMENT

    OK at a quick glance, we see 188 reviews averaging 5 stars and recognize quickly this recipe is a winner.

    I *love* salt and use it liberally. So for me to write this is a shocker but I truly think it was too salty. I’ll make again and simply use less salt.

    Fantastic presentation! Thanks Jen for the inspiration! I bought your cookbook & am happily making my way through that. it’s the least I can do given all the free recipes you’ve given us for years!!!

    Comments for others
    1. SHORTER TIME TO MARINATE WORKS GREAT TOO! 🙂 Only had about 4 hours to marinate and results were DELICIOUS
    2. WORKS GREAT WITH OTHER CHICKEN PARTS. In addition to boneless breasts – I tested this on full bone-in chicken drumsticks and full bone-in chicken thighs. FABULOUS!! Baked in oven
    3. GORGEOUS presentation!!! Oh my house smells amazing too!!!!

  • I have been using this recipe for years! Simply the most delicious, most forgiving recipe for flavorful grilled chicken. I have used this marinade for chicken breasts, cutlets and tenderloins. Monitor the cooking temp and time and it’s unbeatable.

    I have also achieved fantastic results by mass producing the marinade in individual gallon sized storage bags and marinating chicken breasts 1.5lbs at a time. Simply make the marinade, pop in the chicken, press the air from each bag, seal and freeze. When you are ready to grill, defrost in fridge, then grill.

    Perfect for busy families.

    Last tip: The marinade calls for 6tbs of olive oil. For quicker measuring, 6 tbs is just a touch over 1/3 of a cup.

    Make this! It’s simple, but full blown great!

    • — Smartchinchilla
    • Reply
  • Can you use the George Foreman grill for this recipe?

    • — Wintress Darby
    • Reply
    • Sure, I think that should work fine. Enjoy!

      • re: the question about using a George Foreman, I use my Cuisinart version of indoor grill and it works out beautifully. This recipe is my new favorite for indoor chicken grilling.

        • — nancy on February 28, 2020
        • Reply
  • We have made these several times and they are awesome. I think marinating about 8 hours is ideal. I would agree with some reviewers that they are a little salty, and I now use about 1/3 less of recommended salt. Love the lemon zest, garlic and herbs. Another “10”!!

  • Best grilled chicken breast EVER!! My hubby only likes chic breast, but I’ve always hated it for being so dry. This works like a charm!! I seriously crave it now! Thanks!!

  • We absolutely love this recipe! It is so simple yet amazingly delicious. We make it with breasts and boneless thighs. I usually double the herbs since we like it stronger. Our kids devour this. We like to eat it chopped up on a big bed of greens with sweet potato on the side!

    • We like to add BBQ sauce to grilled chicken sandwiches. Will the flavor profile of the marinade clash with BBQ sauce?

      • Hi Aaron, while I don’t think the barbeque sauce is really necessary here, I don’t think it will strongly clash; I’d suggest trying a few bites without it and then add if you think it’s necessary. Hope you enjoy!

  • Wonderful recipe but I used lemon juice instead of lemon zest and the chicken came out more tender!

  • This has become a staple in our house. We marinate chicken breasts every week with this marinade and they come out perfect every single time. Its great to have a protein ready to go in the fridge with this busy household. I am so grateful I found this blog a few years ago (first recipe I tried was the caesar dressing – Amazing). Whenever I meal plan I go straight to Once Upon a Chef. Thanks, Jenn! Can not wait for the cookbook. I pre-ordered!

  • These are possibly the best chicken breasts I have ever made! Flavorful and tender. This is my new ‘go to’ chicken breast recipe. Once, due to a change in plans I had to let them marinate much longer than the recipe states, and they were even better! I highly suggest you give this recipe a try.

  • I make this recipe every summer – it’s so delicious and healthy. I make it as is, and will serve it with a burrata and tomato and peach salad, with a balsamic reduction drizzle on top, and maldon sea salt. SO GOOD!

  • Delicious! Made extra so that I could it take to work for lunch. Put leftovers over a salad the next day and yum, again! I cut the lemon in half and grilled that too for a minute to squeeze on afterwards. So easy, and loved coming home knowing that dinner was already marinated and ready to cook. Might try next time with another oil like avocado oil.

  • Plan on trying this recipe soon. I have yet to try one of your dishes that didnt turn out wonderful. Question: If I cook in oven the 5-10 min range seems a lot so what temp should the chick read with thermometer?

    • Hi Janice, I’d remove the chicken from the oven when the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Enjoy!

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

  • 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.

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

    • — Suzanna Miller
    • Reply
  • 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!

  • 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.

    • Hi, I just noticed you wanted to skip the salt. However, the recipe sounds spot on regarding the amount of salt. I’m very excited to try this, and this is the amount of salt I use in all of my marinades. Which is typically three-quarters of a teaspoon per pound of meat.

      • — Angela on October 17, 2019
      • Reply
  • 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!

  • Can’t wait to try this! Would it also work with boneless, skinless thighs?

    • Sure, Rae.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

    • Definitely!

  • Really good. Really easy. Another great Jenn recipe.

  • Will this work on fish??

    • — Russell H Lunsford
    • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!

    • It does work.

  • Perfect every time!

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

    • 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.

  • how long should the breasts marinate?

    • Hi Marie, the chicken should marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. Enjoy!

      • Is it ok to marinate overnight? Why only up to 12 hours?

        • — Gwynne on September 7, 2018
        • Reply
        • Sure, Gwynne – that’s perfectly fine.

          • — Jenn on September 9, 2018
          • 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!

    • 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!

  • 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!

    • Sure Clara, that will work just fine. Enjoy!

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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!

    • 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!

  • 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.

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

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • Hi Jenn….in another comment you said you use fine sea salt in all your recipes

        • — Anne Farrer on May 29, 2020
        • Reply
        • That’s true, Anne, I happen to like fine sea salt because it’s slightly less processed than regular table salt, but table and fine sea salt have the same salty flavor and the same sized grains so they are totally interchangeable. Hope that clarifies!

          • — Jenn on June 2, 2020
          • 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.

    • 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!

  • How long do you marinade the chicken before grilling?

    • — Susan Blackadar
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, Let the chicken marinate at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.

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

  • 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.

  • 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!!!!

  • 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!!

    • 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.

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

  • Should the garlic be minced?

    • Yes, the garlic should be minced.

  • 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.

  • 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).

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

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

  • 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!!!

  • 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!

    • 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

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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!

  • This is an awesome marinade!

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

  • 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! 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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,.

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

  • 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

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Can you use boneless chicken cutlets — already thin — so you don’t need to pound them? Thanks!

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

  • These made my first catering gig a hit ..thanks 100

  • Would it taste better with a char. grill ? Please answer by 8am

    • Hi Jimi, Yes, I think everything tastes better on a char grill 🙂

  • The calorie count would be nice to put with the recipie!

  • Can I cook this on a “George Forman grill”?

    • Hi Janet, Yes that should work fine!

  • 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!:-))

  • 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.

    • 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! 🙂

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • Can we use an oven instead of a grill?! If so what are the directions for it?!

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • What if i couldnt mince the garlic but cut it in small/medium pieces will thay affect flavor.

    • Lily, No worries, it will be fine.

  • I had the chicken in the marinade for 24 hrs. Is it still okay to cook?

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

  • what can you substitute for olive oil?

    • Hi Jen, You could use vegetable oil or canola oil.

  • 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?

    • Hi Karen, It should be fine. Have a nice weekend 🙂

  • Made this dish for dinner last night…it was really tasty.

    Thanks!

  • Can you make the marinade a couple days ahead
    and keep on refrigerator?

    • Hi Carol, Yes, definitely.

  • 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.

  • this was AMAZING!!!!

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

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Jenn, is there anything you don’t do well? This recipe was superb, like everything else I’ve tried. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Pauline! I’m so glad you enjoyed!

  • Such a great tasty marinade made it on my George Forman came out great !

  • These were awesome!!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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).

  • 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!

  • Yum yum! LOVE grilled chicken!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • My new favorite go to chicken! Delicious!

  • This is one of my favorite recipes to make – its easy, delicious and full of yummy flavor!

  • 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!

  • Simple and delicious. Leftovers are great in a salad.

  • Jennifer!!!!!!!!!! Are you married? Awesome recipe. I have instanly become the king of grilled chicken amongst my friends and family!

  • 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!

  • Just as the title promises-perfect. Love your recipe and directions. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • 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.

  • This chicken recipe is terrific. Not only do I make it, but my sisters and friends do!

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • I’ve never tried it, Kris. But please let me know how it turns out if you do!

  • Have you ever tried this marinade on boneless pork chops? If so how did they turn out?

  • 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

  • Wonderful marinade! I found my new favorite 🙂 Lovely site too!

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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
    • 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

  • 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!

  • Made this chicken for our Father’s Day BBQ and it was a big hit. Keep the recipes coming…my family is loving them!!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • I love a simple moist chicken breast, and doing it on the grill makes it even more enticing!

  • We just cleaned up the grill for the season and I’ve been looking for great chicken breast marinades–perfect timing!

  • This sound fabulous! Love easy chicken recipes – will definitely try this!

    xxMK
    Delightful Bitefuls

  • 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!

  • What alterations would you suggest if we don’t own a grill and had to saute the chicken instead?

    • 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?

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.