Greek Chicken Marinade {with Greek yogurt}

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This easy and delicious Greek Chicken Marinade is a perfect balance of lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs and takes just minutes to mix together. The chicken is incredibly juicy and has become one of my favorite go-to chicken recipes!  

Greek Chicken Marinade Pinterest

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Greek chicken is versatile too. Try serving it on salads, gyros, sandwiches, pasta, and pizza. This chicken makes an amazing topping for this Greek Flatbread Pizza. The Greek marinade also does double duty as a delicious salad dressing.

Greek chicken marinade ingredients

Greek Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • Olive oil: All marinades need at least a little oil especially if the marinade is for lean chicken breasts. Olive oil adds a bit of fat and helps prevent the chicken from sticking while it is on the grill.
  • Lemon juice and zest: The lemon’s acidity helps break down the tough fibers of the chicken as it adds a delicious lemony tang to the marinade. Adding lemon zest multiplies the lemon flavor without adding more liquid.
  • Balsamic vinegar: By using both lemon juice and balsamic vinegar we can add multiple layers of flavor.
  • Greek yogurt: The yogurt also helps to tenderize the chicken.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a common ingredient in most cuisines.
  • Fresh herbs: I love fresh herbs in my marinades! If you don’t have fresh herbs you can substitute dried. Dried herbs have a stronger flavor so reduce the amounts in half. In this marinade, I have used thyme, oregano, rosemary, and parsley. Here is some helpful information about buying and storing fresh herbs.
  • Salt and pepper: Salt and pepper seem to be mandatory additions to most savory dishes. Salt intensifies flavors and black pepper adds a bit of heat.
Greek chicken marinade ingredients in a clear glass bowl

Marinade Basics

Marinades are a great way to add flavor to any meat or vegetable. But you should feel tied to store-bought marinates. Preparing your own marinade is as simple as whisking together a few ingredients. Here are a few simple tips to help you prepare this and other marinades.

Most marinades follow a simple formula of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid plus herbs and other flavors. For example, this marinade uses 1/2 cup oil to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

1. Choose your oil based on the type of marinade you are making. Depending on the type of cuisine, choose an oil with a complementary flavor. For example:

  • Try Sesame oil for Asian dishes.
  • Use Olive oil for Greek, Italian, or Mediterranean dishes.
  • Canola or vegetable oil works best for Mexican or American dishes because of its neutral flavor.

2. Add acid to your marinade. Acids such as vinegar, wine, yogurt, buttermilk, or citrus juices like lemon, lime, or orange juice, help break down the connective tissue in the meat while adding flavor and creating more tender meat.

3. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Stick with fresh herbs, garlic, and freshly squeezed juices and zests for the most flavor.

4. Do not reuse marinade that has been used on raw meat or poultry unless you boil it first. Reusing marinade without boiling it first is just like licking raw meat. YUCK! Boil any used marinade first to kill any harmful bacteria or set aside a portion of the marinade to use later before adding raw meat or poultry into it.

Close up of grilled Greek marinated chicken

How long should you maridade chicken

The longer you marinade something the more intense the flavor will become and the more tender the meat or poultry will be. But you want to be careful to not marinade something for too long or the acids in the marinade will break down the meat into mush.

Chicken can be marinated for as little as 30 minutes or up to overnight.

How to cook Greek marinated chicken

When cooking chicken you want to be sure the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees Farenheight. The most accurate way to determine when a piece of chicken is fully cooked is to use a thermometer. This one from ThermoWorks is my favorite. After cooking you should allow the chicken to rest so that the juices have time to redistribute.

TIP: If you are making kabobs using wooden skewers, you need to make sure to soak them for 15 minutes before cooking. I always forget to presoak my skewers so I bought these reusable metal cable skewers that I absolutely love. They are flexible which makes them easy to arrange on the grill to maximize the space. They are also super easy to clean.

Cooking times and methods

Oven Baked

  1. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees Farenheight.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest tented with foil for 5 minutes before serving. 
Cut of ChickenCooking Time at 400 degrees
Chicken Breast Bone-In30 to 40 minutes
Chicken Breast Boneless20 to 30 minutes
Chicken Thigh Bone-In30 to 45 minutes
Chicken Thigh Boneless25 to 40 minutes
Chicken Drumstick30 to 40 minutes
Kabobs20 to 25 minutes flipping halfway
Greek marinated chicken on grill

Grilled

  1. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Lightly oil the grates and grill over medium heat starting with the skin side down and turning half-way through the cooking time.
  3. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow it to rest tented with foil for 5 minutes before serving. 
Cut of ChickenCooking Time grilled over medium heat
Chicken Breast Bone-In10 to 15 minutes per side
Chicken Breast Boneless6 to 8 minutes per side
Chicken Thigh Bone-In5 to 7 minutes per side
Chicken Thigh Boneless4 to 6 minutes per side
Chicken Drumstick4 to 6 minutes per all four sides
Kabobs2-3 minutes per all four sides

Pan Fried

  1. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of a non-stick skillet. Cast iron is a great option. Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes.
  3. Fry the chicken starting with the skin side down and turning half-way through the cooking time.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow it to rest tented with foil for 5 minutes before serving. 
Cut of ChickenCooking Time pan-fried over medium heat
Chicken Breast Bone-In8 to 10 minutes per side
Chicken Breast Boneless5 to 7 minutes per side
Chicken Thigh Bone-In7 to 9 minutes per side
Chicken Thigh Boneless5 to 7 minutes per side
Chicken Drumstick5 to 7 minutes per all four sides
Kabobs2-3 minutes per all four sides
Greek marinated chicken on a white plate with flatbread, marinated cucumbers and tomatoes, black olives, and feta cheese

Serving ideas

There are so many delicious ways to serve this Greek marinated chicken. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Serve with flatbread, hummus, feta cheese, and your favorite chopped veggies like cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, red onions, and olives.
  • Add to your favorite cold pasta salad.
  • Top lettuce with the marinated chicken, olives, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, pepperoncini, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce.
Close up of Greek marinated chicken

Greek Chicken Marinade {with Greek yogurt}

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This easy and delicious Greek Chicken Marinade is a perfect balance of lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs and takes just minutes to mix together.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme - chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano - chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley - chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary - chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4 large breasts), cut into 1-inch chunks

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, paprika, and onion powder.
  2. Add the chicken to a gallon-sized zip-top bag or large container. Pour in the marinade. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 15 minutes. Thread the chicken onto the skewers.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate with vegetable oil or cooking spray and set the temperature to medium-high heat.
  5. Add the skewers to the grill, and grill, turning occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees Farenheight.

Notes

  • If you don't have fresh herbs you can substitute dried. Dried herbs have a stronger flavor so reduce the amounts in half.
  • The chicken can be marinated for as little as 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  • Do not reuse marinade that has been used on raw chicken unless you boil it first. Boil any used marinade first to kill any harmful bacteria or set aside a portion of the marinade to use later before adding the chicken to it.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving:Calories: 646Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 1342mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 73g

    This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from an online calculator. Although raspberriesandkohlrabi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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