Fresh, light, and tasty, my recipe for Greek yogurt chicken is easy to prepare and even easier to eat! Tender chicken is marinated in a sauce made from Greek yogurt, garlic, herbs and plenty of lemon, then baked to perfection.
There’s just something special about Mediterranean food! It’s filled with light and refreshing flavors, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and yummy proteins. This Greek-inspired chicken recipe is the epitome of Mediterranean cooking. It’s so simple to make and is so versatile — you have a wide choice of side dishes that can go with it! I like the idea of pairing it with rice or seafood and some roasted veggies. It’s a well-balanced meal that will fill you up without weighing you down.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself! I know you’re all here for my Greek yogurt chicken recipe. It involves marinating chicken in a yogurt-based sauce filled with citrus and herbs and spices. Then, all you have to do is pop it in the oven for a while, and before you know it, dinner (or lunch) is served!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Chicken - You can use boneless chicken thighs or breasts, whatever is your preference. You can also choose between skin on or off — it doesn’t matter for this recipe! If using chicken breasts that are on the thicker side, you can cut them in half horizontally and pound them out so that they become thinner.
- Greek Yogurt - This is the base of your marinade! I love the subtle flavor of this type of yogurt.
- Olive Oil - You also need a bit of oil in your marinade.
- Garlic - Use 6 cloves here! The garlic flavor marries wonderfully with the yogurt, lemon, and other herbs and spices.
- Lemon - You’ll use both the juice and zest for a bold citrus taste.
- Red Pepper Flakes - For just a touch of heat.
- Oregano & Parsley - Use fresh for the best results!
- Salt & Pepper - For the finishing touches of flavor!
HOW TO MAKE GREEK YOGURT CHICKEN
- Make The Marinade. Whisk together all of your marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized plastic bag or a large food-safe plastic container. Pour the marinade on top and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. Don’t let it sit any longer as the proteins in the Greek yogurt may start to affect the texture of the chicken.
- Bake The Chicken. Preheat your oven to 375° F and coat the inside of a baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the marinade, making sure to shake off any excess. Place the chicken in the dish in a single layer and bake uncovered for 45 minutes. You want your chicken to be golden brown and to have an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Garnish & Serve. If desired, sprinkle a bit of extra lemon juice over the yogurt chicken once it has finished baking. Serve with couscous and warm pita so that you can soak up all of those extra yummy juices!
- Leftovers? Whenever I make a big batch of this I do so with the intent of making my Greek chicken orzo soup the next evening. Go ahead and save yourself some time for another meal!
What Does Greek Yogurt Do To Chicken?
Not only do I love Greek yogurt’s flavor, but it’s also a very powerful food item. When you use it in a marinade, it helps to tenderize whatever protein you pair it with. Chicken is naturally more tender than, say, beef, which is why you shouldn’t let the marinade sit for longer than 1 hour. The citrus from the lemon also helps to ensure a perfectly tender baked Greek yogurt chicken!
Do You Rinse Yogurt Marinade Off?
With all of this talk about not letting your marinade sit for too long, you may be wondering if it’s necessary to rinse your yogurt chicken before baking it. Don’t worry — you don’t have to for this recipe! You simply need to shake off any excess yogurt-based marinade before you pop the chicken in the oven. If you rinse it completely, you’ll get rid of some of that delicious flavor that you worked so hard to develop with your marinade!
Should I Poke Holes In Chicken Before Marinating?
It’s up to you! Typically referred to as scoring, poking holes in the meat before marinating is known to help the protein soak up the flavors a bit better. I find that chicken soaks up a marinade a lot easier than beef, so scoring isn’t necessarily required. That said, if you’re concerned that the flavors won’t be strong enough, score it up!
Greek Yogurt Chicken
- 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs or breasts (skin on or off)
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice + zest from lemon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients.
- Place chicken into gallon size plastic food storage bag or large plastic container. Pour marinade over chicken pieces, close bag or cover container with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes (See Note 1).
- Use cooking spray or olive oil to coat the inside of a baking dish. Shake excess marinade from chicken and place the pieces in a single layer into dish. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until golden brown and chicken reaches 165°F internal temperature (See Note 2).
- Serve with couscous and warm pita to soak up juices.
- Marinating chicken for longer than an hour may result in the proteins breaking down, leading to an unpleasant consistency.
- If boneless chicken breasts are very thick or weigh more than 6 ounces, slice them in half horizontally, place between sheets of plastic wrap, and use flat side of meat mallet to gently pound them to an even thickness.
For best results, use an instant read thermometer. The chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.