The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade

A grey circle with KF
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Calories
273

Get ready to bite into the best-grilled chicken you’ve ever tasted. This tangy, herby, garlicky Balsamic Marinade packs your chicken with a mouthwatering flavor and makes it explode with juicy goodness!

Some of our favorite things to serve with this chicken recipe are my Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Refreshing Watermelon Feta Salad with Cucumber or my Grilled Sweet Potato Salad.

Ultra-Tender and Juicy Balsamic Marinated Chicken

Grilled chicken always hits the spot when it’s prepared with the help of a good old marinade. The marination process doesn’t just infuse the meat with flavor – it also helps the chicken come out insanely tender and juicy! There are tons of tasty chicken marinades out there, but this tangy balsamic herb version totally reigns supreme.

It’s made with a modest ingredient lineup that certainly doesn’t skimp on flavor. Once the chicken is seared on the grill, it’s bound to go wonderfully with all sorts of side dishes. I also love cutting it up and adding it to salads, tacos, sandwiches and more!

Three balsamic grilled chicken breasts on a white plate with a raised rim

What Makes This Chicken Marinade the Best?

It’s a bold statement, I know. Hear me out:

  • It’s Super Easy to Make: You just have to whisk the ingredients together and soak the chicken.
  • The Chicken Only Has to Marinate for 30 Minutes: In only half an hour, this marinade makes your chicken juicy, tender, flavorful and all-around divine. Of course you can soak it for longer if you’d like.
  • You Can Freeze It: With this recipe, you have the option of storing your chicken and marinade together in the freezer! I call that a meal prep miracle.
  • The Flavor Speaks for Itself: I know we’ve gone over this already, but you simply can’t beat the savory, zesty, herbaceous tang of this marinade. It’s definitely a key selling point for me!
Balsamic vinegar, fresh rosemary, dijon mustard and the rest of the ingredients for the best chicken marinade on a marble countertop

Ingredients You’ll Need

Without further ado, let’s get into our trusty ingredient lineup. All of the amounts can be found in the recipe card near the bottom of this post.

  • Garlic: Freshly minced.
  • Fresh Thyme & Rosemary: I don’t recommend swapping these out for their dried counterparts.
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Honey: This adds a nice touch of sweetness.
  • Tamari Sauce: You can use low-sodium soy sauce instead if you’re not gluten-free.
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper: Added to taste.
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: If you want to use boneless, skinless thighs instead, you’ll have to increase the cook time.
Raw chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag along with the best balsamic marinade

How to Make Perfect Grilled Chicken

Making flawless grilled chicken isn’t complicated. Here’s the step-by-step process:

  1. Make Marinade: Add the garlic, fresh thyme, rosemary, dijon mustard, honey, tamari, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk until emulsified, or until the oil and vinegar no longer look separate.
  2. Soak Chicken: Add the chicken breasts to a large ziplock bag, then pour in the marinade. Close the bag, removing as much air as you can. Move the chicken breasts around in the bag to coat them. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes. For the best results, soak it for 4 hours or overnight (no longer than 24 hours).
  3. Heat Grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, approximately 350-400°F.
  4. Cook Chicken: Remove your chicken breasts from the bag and discard the extra marinade. Place the chicken directly onto grill grates. Grill it for 4-6 minutes per side. If the chicken does not release from the grill, it’s not ready to be flipped – wait another minute or two.
  5. Let Rest: Remove your chicken from the grill when its internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let it rest for 5 minutes before you slice and serve it.
Pieces of balsamic grilled chicken on a platte with chopped parsley sprinkled on top

Can I Freeze Chicken Breasts in Marinade?

Yes, feel free to freeze your chicken in this marinade for up to 3 months. Just make sure it’s in a freezer-safe storage bag and try to lay it down as flat as possible. Defrost the mixture in the fridge overnight before you grill the chicken.

Alternative Cooking Methods

This marinade is a fail-proof option no matter how you choose to cook your chicken. If you want to sear it over the stove, follow the same process in the recipe using your stovetop grill pan.

If you want to bake your chicken breasts, spread them out on a lightly greased baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until its internal temperature registers at 165°F.

A close-up shot of a grilled chicken breast on a plate with another grilled chicken breast on either side of it

Tips for Success

This dish is really straightforward, so I don’t have many notes to share. The following tips just about sum it up.

  • Let It Soak: Even if you only soak your chicken in the marinade for 30 minutes, you’re going to get great results. But if you have some extra time on your hands, definitely let it marinate for longer. I’ve found that 4-12 hours is the golden window.
  • Use Tongs to Flip the Chicken: Handle your chicken with tongs while you’re grilling it. This helps you get a better grip on it without having to put your fingers near the open flame.
  • The Resting Time is Key: Don’t cut into that chicken until it’s had a chance to rest for at least 5 minutes. While it sits, the juices will redistribute and make the meat as juicy as can be.
A grilled chicken breast sliced into eight pieces on a plate with chopped herbs on top

Serving Suggestions

Whether you serve this chicken with something on the side or add it right into another dish, the options are pretty much endless.

A marinated chicken breast with char marks on a plate beside a second breast

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Once your chicken has cooled, refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Don’t leave it out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If you’d like, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil and freeze it in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

Reheat the chicken over medium-low heat until it’s warmed through. You could also warm it up in a 250°F oven for about 25 minutes. If your chicken is frozen, thaw it out in the fridge before you reheat it.

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A plate full of balsamic grilled chicken on top of a marble kitchen counter

The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 55 minutes
  • yield Yield: 5 1x
  • category Category: Dinner
  • method Method: Grill
  • cuisine Cuisine: American

Description

Get ready to bite into the best grilled chicken you’ve ever tasted. This tangy, herby, garlicky Balsamic Marinade packs your chicken with mouthwatering flavor and makes it explode with juicy goodness!

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon tamari sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Instructions

  1. To a small bowl add garlic, fresh thyme, rosemary, dijon mustard, honey, tamari, balsamic vinegar, olive oil salt and pepper. Whisk until emulsified, or until the oil and vinegar no longer separate.
  2. Add chicken breast to a large ziplock bag. Pour marinade over top. Close the ziplock bag, trying to remove as much air as possible. Move the chicken breasts around in the bag to try to coat them. 
  3. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes. (best results are 4 hours to overnight) 
  4. Heat grill to medium-high heat, approximately 350°F-400°F. 
  5. Remove chicken breasts from the marinade bag and place on directly on grill grates. 
  6. Grill for 4-6 minutes then flip and grill another 4-6 minutes on the other side. If the chicken does not release from the grill it is not ready to flip, wait an additional 1-2 minutes. 
  7. Remove from grill when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
  8. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serve.

Notes

  • To Freeze Chicken in Marinade: Make sure chicken and marinade are in a freezer-safe storage bag. Lay it down in the freezer as flat as possible. Defrost in the fridge overnight before grilling chicken.
  • To Store & Reheat: Refrigerate cooled chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat over medium-low heat until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in a 250°F oven for about 25 minutes.
  • To Freeze Leftovers: Wrap chicken tightly in plastic wrap or foil and freeze in an airtight container for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 chicken breast
  • Calories: 273
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 581 mg
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 40 g
  • Cholesterol: 99 mg

Keywords: chicken breast marinade, balsamic marinated chicken, quick chicken marinade

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Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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4 Responses
  1. Sam Visser

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!! My family loved it so much that they can’t stop talking about it. All because of you 🙂

  2. Vicki

    This was absolutely delicious!! Moist, tender chicken! Thanks for sharing all of your fabulous recipes with us!

    1. Krista

      This is music to my ears! I am so happy you loved this recipe, and thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

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