Incredibly juicy, tender, flavor exploding Greek Chicken made with an EASY marinade will become one of your favorite go-to chicken recipes! Its’ my husband’s all-time favorite marinated chicken and perfect to have on hand for salads, gyros, chicken rice bowls, sandwiches, pasta, risotto, veggie etc. It just makes everything better (and easier)!
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Watch: How to make Greek Chicken
You will love this Greek Chicken Recipe
This marinated Greek Chicken is guaranteed to become a family favorite staple with its easy prep, pantry ingredients, and the fact you can make it ahead of time making dinner time a breeze. A wonderfully delicious, Greek breeze.
I love this marinated Greek chicken so much I’ve already shared recipes using it such as my Greek Chicken Gyros, Chicken Souvlaki, Beef Souvlvaki, Greek Gyro Pizza and One Pot BAKED Greek Chicken Risotto. With grilling season upon us, however, I wanted to highlight just this chicken, so you can grill it up, serve with some veggies/hummus/lemon rice/potatoes and call it a healthy, scrumptious meal or go Mediterranean style and serve with Greek pasta salad, flatbread, tomatoes, red onions, feta and either Tzatziki or yogurt and call it a delightful taste of Greece. But one of my favorite ways to serve this chicken is my Greek Chicken Salad with Pita Croutons and Tzatziki Dressing – heaven. Can you tell I’m in love with this chicken?
Greek Chicken marinade Ingredients
The Greek chicken marinade is made with a balance of tangy, bright ingredients, but what truly elevates it above the rest are the seasonings. The unique blend adds complex flavor without overpowering the subtleties of the oregano, lemon juice and balsamic. You will need:
- Olive oil: adds flavor and helps insulate the chicken so it doesn’t dry out while cooking. Use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Lemon juice: tenderizes the chicken by breaking down the muscle fibers and adds bright fresh flavor. Freshly squeezed is best but you may use bottled.
- Balsamic vinegar: its fruity tang, mellow tartness and rich, complex sweetness adds complexity and complements the lemon juice. Use quality balsamic vinegar for the best flavor.
- Sugar: just 1 teaspoon balances the tangy balsamic and lemon juice. You may also use honey.
- Seasonings: dried oregano, dried basil, onion powder, paprika ground cumin and salt inject the chicken with a rainbow of flavor. Dried seasonings are more potent than fresh so they work best in this Greek Chicken Marinade.
Greek Marinade variations
- Swap lemon juice: use red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice.
- Swap balsamic vinegar: use red wine vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar.
- Swap seasonings: add more or less of your favorite spices. You may swap the fresh garlic for 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a bind.
- Swap sugar: use equal amounts of honey instead.
- Make it spicy: Add ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes for a kick.
CAN I USE OTHER CUTS OF CHICKEN?
Absolutely! This Greek chicken marinade will work with any cut of chicken including chicken thighs, chicken tenderloins, chicken drumsticks, chicken legs or chicken wings. You will just need to adjust the cooking times if you swap out the cut of chicken, so keep that meat thermometer handy!
HOW MUCH CHICKEN WILL THIS MAKE?
This recipe will marinate 1 pound (16 oz.) of chicken, however, it is easy to scale up or down to suite your needs. 4 oz. of chicken is the recommended single serving portion of chicken, but this varies depending on the individual and what sides are being served. I would say 6-8 ounces is closer to realistic.
How to make Greek Marinade for Chicken
You are going to love how easy this Greek Chicken Marinade is to make! Simply whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and our hand picked herbs and seasonings of fresh garlic, dried oregano, basil, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper and paprika. Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-8 hours.
How does Greek Chicken Marinade work?
This Greek chicken marinade tenderizes and flavors the chicken so all you have to do is marinate and cook! In order for a marinade to be effective, it must contain acid, fat, salt, sweetener and flavor enhancers. The combination of these elements ensures that the protein is juicy, succulent and flavorful from the inside out. Here’s how it works:
- FAT: The olive oil dissolves fat-soluble flavor compounds from the seasonings and other flavorings and injects them into the chicken. Fat also adds moisture and helps produce tender, juicy chicken.
- ACID: Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice help tenderize the chicken by breaking down lean muscle fibers. They also boast layers of rich and tangy flavor.
- SALT: creates a brine, which increases the moisture capacity of the chicken, helping it become juicer and more flavorful. First, the salt hydrates the muscle tissues via osmosis; second, it changes the cells’ structure so that they can no longer contract when cooking. This means less water will be squeezed out and lost, resulting in juicier protein. Finally, the brine draws the aromatic flavor further down below the surface into the protein and enhances all of the flavors. You can pile on herbs and seasonings but if a marinade is missing salt – it will taste bland.
- SWEETENER: Sugar balances both the salt and the acid. It also promotes caramelization, quicker browning and beautiful grill marks.
- FLAVOR ENHANCERS: ingredients can vary, but this chicken marinade includes garlic, oregano, onion powder, basil, paprika and black pepper. These seasonings add the oomph and make it the “best” Greek chicken marinade!
WHAT IF I’M SHORT ON TIME?
This Greek chicken marinade is best if allowed to do its thing for at least four hours so the chicken can reap the benefits of the tenderizing properties. If you can only marinate for 30-60 minutes, then reserve some of the marinade and store it separately from the marinating chicken. Brush or drizzle the reserved marinade on the cooked chicken to add extra flavor.
HOW TO COOK MARINATED GREEK CHICKEN BREASTS
This Greek chicken marinade is so tasty and versatile, you’re going to want to serve it year-round! Here’s a few different cooking methods to meet your year-round needs:
TO GRILL CHICKEN BREASTS
- When ready to grill, remove chicken from the refrigerator and let rest 15-30 minutes ahead of time. Meanwhile, preheat grill to 375-400 degrees, clean and grease grates.
- Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F.)
TO COOK CHICKEN BREASTS ON THE STOVE
- When ready to cook, remove chicken from the refrigerator and let rest 15-30 minutes ahead of time.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 3-4 minutes, or until deeply golden on one side.
- Flip chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 4-6 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked to 165 degrees F.
TO BAKE CHICKEN IN THE OVEN
- When ready to cook, remove chicken from the refrigerator and let rest 15-30 minutes ahead of time.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray.
- Drain chicken from marinade and add to prepared baking dish. Bake, covered for 30-45 minutes (depending on thickness), or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY CHICKEN IS DONE?
Chicken breasts are done via any cooking method when they register 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. I highly recommend investing in a meat thermometer otherwise there is no accurate way to check and see when your chicken is cooked without slicing and loosing valuable juices.
TIPS FOR greek CHICKEN MARINADE
This Greek chicken marinade is very simple to make but here are some helpful tips:
- Pound chicken to an even thickness. Pound the thickest part of the chicken so it’s even with the thinnest part to ensure the chicken cooks evenly. You don’t want one side to be cooked perfectly and the other side to be raw or overcooked/dry.
- Tenderize chicken. Pounding the chicken also tenderizes it as well. If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use the side of a can or rolling pin.
- Marinate Chicken. You can get away with marinating the chicken for as little as 60 minutes if it is pounded thin, but the longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will become. I recommend at least 4 hours but closer to 8 hours is ideal.
- Reserve marinade. If you only have 60 minutes to marinate your chicken, reserve ¼ cup of marinade before adding the chicken and store separately. Brush the reserved marinade over the cooked chicken to make the flavor pop.
- Don’t over-marinate chicken. Don’t marinate the chicken longer than 8 hours because the acid (balsamic vinegar and lemon juice) can actually constrict the protein fibers and make your chicken tough and chewy.
- Bring chicken to room temperature before cooking. Transfer the marinating chicken to your kitchen counter 30 minutes before grilling. Room temperature chicken cooks more evenly and quickly which translates into juicier chicken because there is less time for moisture to be released while cooking.
- Clean grill. You should clean your grill grates before and after grilling with a wire grill brush to remove any residue. This will help create beautiful grill marks and help prevent the chicken from sticking.
- Use a hot grill. Heat up the grill with the lid closed cranked to the maximum temperature so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes. Once the grill is hot, you can adjust the temperature. Don’t add the chicken until the grill reaches temperature or you won’t get those beautiful grill marks.
- Flip only once using tongs. After you add the chicken breasts to the grill, don’t touch them for a full 5 minutes. You need enough time for the chicken to sear and then they will naturally release from the grill. Once you can easily move the chicken, then you can flip it over using tongs.
- Don’t overcook! Cook chicken breasts just to 165 degrees F. Chicken breasts are a lean protein and therefore can dry out if overcooked. Use a meat thermometer to eliminate all of the guess work to achieve succulent, juicy chicken every time.
- Let chicken rest. Let the cooked Greek chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This gives the juices that have pushed to the outside of the meat time to redistribute throughout the chicken. If you cut into the chicken immediately after cooking, valuable, moisture-giving juices will run out.
How to serve Greek Marinated Chicken
Here are more fun ways to use serve marinated Greek chicken (and leftovers!) from salads, to pizza, to pasta, to wraps!
- Greek Chicken Gyros: Greek chicken, creamy cucumber dill tzatziki, fresh crisp veggies, and tangy feta wrapped in warm pita bread is out of this world! These chicken gyros are excellent for meal prep, make ahead lunch/dinners, entertaining and leftovers – instructions included.
- Greek Chicken Bowls: Top your favorite grains (rice, couscous, quinoa, lentils, cauliflower rice, etc.) with chopped Greek chicken, roasted veggies, and your favorite toppings: shredded greens, pickled red onions, white beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, corn, hummus, tzatziki, feta, harissa, etc. See my Mediterranean Bowl recipe for all the details and how I roast my veggie!
- Greek Chicken Salad: slice or chop the chicken and serve it in a big green salad with Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, thinly sliced red onions, sliced almonds, feta etc. Make a simple lemon vinaigrette or my tzatziki Dressing.
- Greek Chicken Pasta: stir chopped Greek chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, artichoke and olives into your favorite pasta tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and pesto if you like. Add freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste.
- TikTok Feta Pasta: whip of a batch of this sensationally easy, viral pasta by baking a block of feta, tomatoes, pesto and olive oil together to create an irresistible, cheesy, creamy, tangy, tomato sauce then stirring in garlic, basil and cooked pasta. Now just stir in your chopped Greek chicken and a protein-packed dinner is served!
- Crockpot Greek Chicken: add the chicken coated in the marinade to a lightly greased slow cooker. Surround with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, roasted bell peppers and artichokes. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 ½ to 2 hours or 3 to 4 hours on LOW or until chicken is cooked through (an instant read thermometer should register 165 degrees). Garnish with feta and dig in!
- Greek Chicken Risotto: it might sound odd, but I LOVE this chicken in risotto! Use my Greek Chicken Risotto recipe as a guide and I promise you’ll be obsessed!
- Greek Chicken Soup: add this chopped chicken to Lemon Orzo Soup in place of the shredded chicken. You may need to adjust the seasonings in the original soup recipe because the chicken is so wonderfully flavorful.
- Greek Chicken Pizza or Flatbread: use my Gyro Pizza for a guide and top store-bought pizza dough, homemade pizza dough, flatbread or sliced French bread with a layer of sundried tomato basil humus mixed with a couple tablespoons Greek yogurt, then top with shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped Greek chicken, thinly sliced red onions and feta and bake until the mozzarella is melted (the feta will not melt). Top the baked pizza with chopped tomatoes and chopped lettuce and drizzle with tzatziki.
- Greek Chicken Baked Potatoes. bake potatoes until tender then slice open and top with mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven to melt. Top with chopped chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes and bell peppers and other desired toppings such as tzatziki or Greek yogurt, tomatoes, feta, chives, etc.
- Greek Chicken Sandwiches: Greek chicken is already incredibly flavorful and thinly sliced so it makes the ideal chicken for sandwiches. Place it between two toasted buns with all your favorite toppings: sun-dried tomatoes, pickled red onions, lettuce, bacon, fresh tomatoes, sprouts, etc. along with hummus and/or tzatziki.
- Greek Chicken Panini: spread tzatziki or Greek yogurt mixed with a little mayo on each side of sliced ciabatta bread then layer the bottom slice with mozzarella cheese, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, pickled red onions, feta, and sliced Greek Chicken. Top chicken with bread and grill in a greased grill pan, placing a heavy pan on top of the sandwich. Grill panini for 3 minutes per side or until cheese is melted.
- Creamy Greek Chicken Salad: chop up the chicken and the baked fixings along with feta, chopped red onion and pine nuts or almonds for some crunch and mix it with little Greek yogurt or mayo. Serve in sandwiches or in bib lettuce.
- Greek Chicken Wraps: spread a light layer of hummus down the middle of a tortilla and top with chopped chicken, tomatoes, artichokes, olives, thinly sliced red onion, fresh tomatoes, feta and lettuce and drizzle with tzatziki.
- Greek Chicken Veggie Skillet: Sauté veggies such as green beans, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, etc. with some garlic and stir in the chopped chicken and olives, etc. You can also mix and match a number of vegetables.
- Greek Chicken with Tomato Cucumber Salsa: I used this salsa in my Baked Greek Salmon recipe and it’s still a favorite! Its vibrant flavors and textures are intoxicating. If you go the salsa route, you can add it in addition to the baked add-ins or instead of. Here’s how to make it:
What to serve with this Greek Chicken Recipe
- Tzatziki: Is lusciously creamy, bright and flavorful made of Greek yogurt, cucumbers, fresh dill, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Greek yogurt: When I’m feeling lazy or don’t have all the ingredients for tzatziki, I’ll just add a big dollop of Greek yogurt to my plate instead. It’s also bright and creamy and refreshing paired with the Greek chicken.
- Hummus: is silky smooth, divinely creamy, nutty, tangy, smoky, bright, and garlicky. Go plain, roasted red pepper, or sun-dried tomato for a tantalizing creamy counterpart.
- Greek Lemon Rice: basmati rice infused with bright, fresh lemon and zippy dill laced with butter and feta for an easy, tantalizing side.
- Roasted veggies: I adore Greek chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and roasted cauliflower. You can also mix it up with roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, roasted broccoli, roasted butternut squash or roasted Brussels Sprouts.
- Simple Greek salad: toss your favorite greens with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and olives and drizzle with a lemon vinaigrette.
- Greek Pasta Salad: the pasta salad of your dreams made with pillows of cheese stuffed tortellini, juicy tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers, crisp cucumbers, sweet zippy red onions, tangy Kalamata, and salty creamy feta all enveloped in mouthwatering, flavor exploding Sun-Dried Tomato Feta Pesto. You can make this pasta salad 100% ahead of time for stress free prep and entertaining.
- Greek Orzo Pasta Salad: light yet filling pasta salad loaded with al dente orzo pasta, crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, crunchy bell peppers, charred, caramelized sweet corn, zippy red onions, tangy Kalamata olives, and salty creamy feta, all brightened by tangy, herb vinaigrette! Also make ahead friendly for the perfect stress-free win!
- Fruit: go as simple as grapes or as fresh and fabulous as Perfect Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette or Berry Salad.
How to store Greek Chicken
- Storage: store cooked Greek chicken in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Microwave: chop up or slice the chicken so it reheats more evenly then transfer a small portion to a microwave safe dish. Heat for one minute then at 30 second intervals as needed.
- Oven: transfer chicken to an oven-proof dish. Cover with foil and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.
How to freeze Greek Marinaded Chicken
You can freeze the uncooked chicken in the marinade or after it’s cooked.
- Freeze chicken in marinade: add the chicken to the marinade ingredients in a freezer safe bag, squeeze out excess air and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use, the chicken will marinate as you thaw the chicken in the refrigerator.
- Freeze chicken: after you have cooked the chicken, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
Can you freeze chicken in Greek Marinade?
Yes! If you can’t get to cooking your chicken within 8 hours, just pop it in the freezer – another perk of using sealable plastic bags. When it’s time to cook, just thaw and cook!
Can I make this Greek Chicken Marinade ahead of time?
- Marinade: whisk the marinade together in an airtight container up to 5 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator WITHOUT the chicken.
- Chicken: cooked Greek chicken makes fantastic meal prep or leftovers if not initially overcooked. If you are making the chicken specifically to reheat later then consider slightly under-cooking it because it will cook a little more when reheated.
Greek Chicken Marinade FAQs
Don’t marinate the chicken longer than 8 hours because the acid in the marinade can break down the muscle fibers too much and make your chicken mushy.
No, you should NOT poke holes in the chicken before marinating. This actually drains out the valuable juices and will result in less juicy chicken. You can cut slits in thick pieces of chicken like chicken legs to reach deeper into the protein, but never holes.
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- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/2″ thickness
- Whisk together all of the Greek Marinade ingredients in a large freezer bag and add chicken. Marinate 4-8 hours.
- Remove chicken from fridge and let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, drain chicken from marinade, pat dry and add to skillet.
- Cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 4-6 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450°F.
- Grill chicken undisturbed for for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 165 degrees F.) Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
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