Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

5 from 5 votes

Mediterranean chicken marinade is quick to make with a handful of pantry staples. Make this recipe to marinate chicken thighs or breasts.

overhead image: small glass bowl of Mediterranean chicken marinade

The purpose of marinating chicken is more about providing flavor than it is for tenderizing. Meats like beef and pork need a marinade to tenderize. However, a well made chicken marinade will add some flavor to the dish you’re making.

Mediterranean cuisine is known for its bright, fresh flavors, and my Mediterranean chicken marinade has plenty of that! 

closeup of marinated Greek chicken on the grill

Ingredients in Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

Generally speaking, there are a few components required for all marinades. Each ingredient plays a part in creating poultry that’s juicy and delicious.

  • Fat – Oil creates a non-stick surface which is great for grilling, but it also penetrates the chicken to keep it juicy
  • Acid – An acidic ingredient tenderizes the meat. For this recipe, we use lemon juice
  • Salt – Salt intensifies the flavors of the marinade. Just be sure not to use too much, as it can quickly dry out the meat
  • Seasonings – To create a Greek flavor, we use oregano, dill, lemon, and a few other basic spices. The flavor is fresh and bold
overhead image fresh dill, parsley, basil, and a lemon next to dish of Greek marinade

How to Use Leftover Marinade

With just a couple of extra very important steps, any marinade can be used as a sauce for dipping! Not only that, but Mediterranean chicken marinade makes an amazing vinaigrette for a Greek feta salad!

This being said, food safety is very important, because of something known as cross contamination. This is when harmful bacteria or contaminants are transferred to non-contaminated surfaces and/or foods.

Before using leftover marinade, it must first be boiled for at least 2 minutes. Not just heated up or brought to a simmer, but a full rolling boil, so that the temperature reaches 212°F or 100°C.

To use leftover Mediterranean chicken marinade as a salad dressing

Boil the marinade, then allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for a few minutes before transferring it to the fridge to completely chill. 

Mediterranean Chicken Marinade FAQ

Can you freeze chicken in marinade?

Freezing chicken in a marinade is easy to do, and it also makes for easier meal prep. Place raw chicken and marinade in a freezer safe zip top bag. 

Remove excess air and seal the bag. Then lay it flat in the freezer. It can be stored that way for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to make the meal, transfer the package to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw out before cooking.

Can I use marinade as a sauce?

To use leftover marinade as a dipping sauce, it must reach and be kept at a full, rolling boil for 2 minutes. A full rolling boil is when the temperature reaches 212°F or 100°C.

overhead: 2 chicken breasts on a grill pan covered in Mediterranean chicken marinade

How to Safely Grill Chicken

When precautions aren’t taken, grilling raw meat and poultry presents risks of food poisoning and/or illness from bacteria present in the raw meat.

For that reason, I recommend following the grilling guidelines outlined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

overhead image: small glass bowl of Mediterranean chicken marinade

Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

5 from 5 votes
Mediterranean chicken marinade is quick to make with a handful of pantry staples. Make this recipe to marinate chicken thighs or breasts.
Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Juice lemons to make 1/3 cup and transfer to a small bowl.
  • Finely mince the garlic cloves to make 1 tablespoon, add to bowl.
  • Finely chop the herbs and add to bowl with olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt. Whisk the marinade ingredients and scoop out 1/4 cup for basting chicken.
  • Pour remaining marinade over chicken in a plastic resealable bag. Squeeze the air out of bag and seal. Massage chicken with your hands and allow to marinate at room temperature for minimum 30 minutes. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight for maximum flavor.

Notes

For 1.5 – 2lbs chicken:
Heat your grill (350°F) or grill pan over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray and add chicken to cook.
For entire breasts, grill 2 minutes then move a quarter turn to create crosshatch grill marks and grill 2 more minutes. Baste with reserved marinade. Turn over repeat grilling to create grill marks and baste again before taking out of pan.
For really thick breasts: if sliced horizontally, cuts grilling time on each side down 2 minutes total SO 2 minutes each side, 4 minutes total time. Thighs 4 minutes each side. Allow to rest 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with warm pitas and Greek Feta Salad.

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 182mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 799IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Pantry Staples
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
Author: Kevin
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image shows dish of marinade for chicken thighs or breasts

Kevin

I was bitten by the cooking bug as a kid cooking and baking along side my mom. After an ROP restaurant course in high school, I went to work in restaurants and catering. My love of travel and food has led me across the world and I love to share those foods with family and friends.

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18 Comments

    1. It can, but I usually wouldn’t marinate any chicken past 12 hours tops if the marinade has an acid as the meat starts to break down and you chance it getting a mushy texture.

  1. 5 stars
    You’re my secret flavor weapon, my family has really complimented me since I started following you on recipes. Thanks Kevin!