Say no to boring chicken with these Healthy Chicken Marinades! Quick, easy and made with minimal ingredients – they’re paleo, keto, Whole30 and delicious!
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Do you ever meal prep something and after 2 days of eating it feel SO bored with whatever you’ve made? Yea, me too.
That’s why I came up with these 5 Healthy Chicken Marinades! These easy chicken marinade recipes will make your meal prep a breeze, and give you something new + exciting to have for lunch or dinner every day.
From Lemon Garlic to Soy Ginger, the marinades are loaded with flavor and super easy to make on the grill, air fryer, or oven.
Why you should use Marinades for Chicken
- Adds flavor- On its own, chicken breasts can be pretty bland. A chicken marinade can add SO much flavor!
- Can help keep the chicken moist- Marinating chicken helps lock in moisture so you’ll have juicy chicken breasts!
- Keeps chicken tender- Acids like lemon juice or vinegar can actually make your chicken breasts more tender!
Supplies needed for a Healthy Chicken Marinade
The base of these chicken marinades are:
It will also be helpful to have:
We love this meat thermometer for checking the temp to make sure your meat is cooked thoroughly!
My favorite chicken marinade is probably this Cilantro Lime chicken marinade, it’s got a little zip from the lime juice/zest and the smooth cilantro is delicious with it.
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade:
Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade:
You can’t go wrong with this Basil Balsamic chicken marinade either… if you aren’t paleo/whole30 you can even add a little honey to this which really amps up the flavor!
Basil Balsamic Chicken Marinade:
Sesame Ginger Chicken Marinade:
Last, but certainly not least – this Italian Herb chicken marinade is super light and fresh. The fresh basil + parsley give it so much flavor!
Italian Herb Chicken Marinade:
How long do you marinate chicken breasts?
It’s best to marinate chicken breasts for at least 30 minutes. This is the perfect amount of time for the chicken to soak up the flavor. You can marinate chicken breasts for up to 24 hours but I wouldn’t recommend marinating for any longer.
Chicken Marinade Recipes: The healthiest way to cook marinated chicken breast
In order to cook the chicken, allow the chicken a minimum of 30 minutes to marinate (overnight is best for the most flavorful chicken).
Oven: Preheat oven to 425 + prepare a lined baking sheet. Lay chicken on the sheet side by side. Bake for 20 minutes.
Grill Heat grill over medium high heat (about 400 degrees). Cook chicken for about 7-8 minutes on each side.
Air Fryer: Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cook at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Slow cooker: We don’t recommend cooking these chicken breasts in the slow cooker but you can cook them for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Cook time may vary depending on how hot your crock pot is.
When ready to store: Allow the chicken to cool and store in containers with veggies/side for meal prep.
Easy Chicken Marinade substitutions
Ginger: You can substitute ground ginger with 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Coconut Aminos – You can sub coconut aminos with soy sauce or bragg’s liquid aminos – but the recipe will no longer be paleo. If using Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, use HALF the amount – bragg’s is much saltier.
What to serve with Chicken Marinade Recipes
The options are really endless for these healthy chicken marinades – they will go with just about anything! Here are some recipes you can pair them with:
- Salad of your choice: We love this Spinach Strawberry Salad
- Vegetables: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad, Lemon Parmesan Asparagus, Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Potatoes: Smashed Potatoes, Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Grains: Brown Rice or Quinoa, Quinoa and Brown Rice Salad
Regardless of what you pair the chicken marinade with – you will love having each of them for lunch or dinner! They’re sure to make your meal prep quick and easy!
Marinades for Chicken FAQs
No! Marinating chicken is totally healthy. It can add flavor and moisture to chicken, all good things!
You can marinate chicken in pretty much anything. The best marinade for chicken starts with olive oil, salt and pepper. From there you can add lemon, lime, vinegar, honey, maple syrup or dried spices. There are hundreds of marinade combinations out there!
It’s best to marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes. You can marinate chicken anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. Certain things break chicken down like lemon juice or pineapple juice, so we don’t recommend marinating for more than 24 hours.
No, don’t wash chicken before marinating. There is no reason to wash chicken before marinating it. Washing chicken can just spread potential bacteria around your cooking surface. When you cook chicken to an appropriate temperature it kills the bacteria that may be living on the surface of it.
It’s best to marinate chicken in the fridge. Chicken should really only be left at room temp for 2 hours. If chicken is left out for any longer than 2 hours it can lead to a food safety issue and bacteria can grow.
Storing/Serving Healthy Grilled Chicken:
Storing: Marinated chicken will last in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. We don’t recommend marinating for more than that. Cooked chicken will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
Can you freeze Marinated Chicken?
Yes! You can easily freeze marinated chicken in a safe freezer bag.
Freezing: You can freeze raw chicken in the marinades but we wouldn’t recommend freezing cooked chicken that has been grilled as it can give it a poor texture.
Reheating: You can reheat this chicken in a pan or in the microwave/toaster oven.
Other healthy chicken recipes:
More Popular Recipes From The Clean Eating Couple
Want more marinades? Check out this post on 4 Healthy Salmon Marinades! You can use them on chicken too!
5 Healthy Chicken Marinade Recipes
- 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- In separate bowls, whisk together marinades. Pour into individual ziploc bags. Place 1 large chicken breast (about 6-8oz chicken) with each marinade. Carefully try to squeeze out air from the bag.
- If cooking immediately: Allow the chicken a minimum of 30 minutes to marinate (overnight is best for maximum flavor). Preheat oven to 425 + prepare a lined baking sheet. Lay chicken on the sheet side by side. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes + store in containers with veggies/side for meal prepping
- If grilling: Allow the chicken a minimum of 30 minutes to marinate (overnight is best for maximum flavor). Heat grill over medium high heat (about 400 degrees). Cook chicken for about 7-8 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate, allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes + store in containers with veggies/side for meal prepping.
- If freezing: Transfer the individual bags to the freezer. Lay flat in freezer. To defrost, remove from freezer 24 hours in advance + place in refrigerator. Allow to defrost + cook per directions above.