An Easy Lemon Chicken Marinade that is great for grilling or baking in the oven! This chicken marinade is quick to make with basic ingredients.
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We absolutely love healthy chicken recipes because they are easy to make and chicken is so versatile and can take on so many flavors!
Marinating is one of our favorite ways to get the most flavorful chicken!
This lemon garlic chicken marinade is so fresh and has such a bright flavor that pairs well with basically any side dish (our favorite pairings are below).
If you love this recipe, you also should try our Baked Boneless Chicken Breast!
why we love this Zesty Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade Recipe
There are so many reasons to love this lemon marinade recipe. Here are some of the reasons it’s a favorite for us:
- Perfect for Meal Prep – This chicken lasts for 3-4 days in the fridge, so it’s a perfect protein to prep for a balanced lunch or dinner!
- Easy to Make – The marinade is only 4 ingredients and some spices for a super flavorful chicken breast that takes 15 minutes or less to cook!
- So Versatile – You can totally substitute the spices in this lemon garlic marinade depending on what you have in your pantry or your personal preferences.
Lemon Chicken Marinade Recipe Ingredients
To make this lemon chicken marinade you’ll need:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- olive oil
- lemon zest, lemon juice
- minced garlic, onion powder, dried parsley, pepper, salt
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded substitutions box.
We love this meat thermometer for checking the temp to make sure your meat is cooked thoroughly!
How to Make Lemon Chicken Marinade
- Whisk together marinade.
- Add chicken to a ziploc bag with the marinade and allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Place chicken on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 15 min.
How long can chicken stay in a lemon marinade? Chicken should only stay in a lemon marinade for up to 3 hours. Citrus juice can break down chicken and shouldn’t be left on chicken for more than 3 hours for this reason.
Lemon Marinade for Grilled Chicken
You can grill or bake this chicken. If you’re grilling the chicken:
Heat grill on high and cook on each side for 7-9 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly (internal temp should be 165). The best way to test if chicken is cooked is to use a meat thermometer! This is a great thing to have in your kitchen and it’s less than $10.
SUBSTITUTIONS FOR LEMON CHICKEN MARINADE
Chicken Breasts: We haven’t tried this recipe with boneless chicken thighs or chicken tenders so can’t report on an exact cook time, but the marinade can be used on anything!
Spices: Any spices will work in this recipe. Feel free to substitute whatever seasonings you like!
How to Store and Freeze Lemon Marinade for Chicken
Refrigerating Cooked Chicken: Cooked Chicken Breasts will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Anything beyond that is questionable.
Refrigerating Marinade: This Lemon Marinade for Chicken can stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you have mixed the marinade with chicken, do not keep it on the chicken for more than 3 hours. Citrus can/will break down chicken and result in an odd texture on the chicken.
Freezing: We don’t recommend freezing this cooked chicken or the marinade, it’s best eaten fresh.
Reheating: You can reheat cooked chicken in the oven or on the stove top in a pan. You can also microwave the chicken but we don’t ever recommend microwaving chicken as it can give it a rubbery texture.
What to Serve with Chicken Marinated with Lemon and Garlic
This lemon garlic chicken goes well with so many things! Here are some of our favorite side dishes:
- Sheet Pan Roasted Potatoes
- Green Beans Almondine
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Garlic Brussels Sprouts
- Balsamic Mushrooms
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Honey Thyme Garlic Carrots
Lemon Marinade for Chicken FAQ
Yes, it is ok to marinate chicken in lemon juice. Don’t marinate chicken in lemon or other citrus juices for more than 3 hours as it can break down the chicken.
Yes, lemon juice does soften chicken a little bit. Most marinades, especially those with an acidic component will soften chicken so that it is more tender.
Soaking chicken in lemon juice adds a bright citrus flavor and also helps make the chicken much more tender. It’s a delicious addition to chicken!
If you marinate chicken in lemon juice for too long it can result in the chicken breaking down. Lemon juice can make chicken too soft and almost give it a mushy texture. It’s best to only keep chicken in lemon juice for no more than 3 hours.
Other healthy chicken recipes:
Looking for other easy meals? Check out these 40+ Healthy Chicken Breast Recipes. Click here to grab our free healthy 30 minute dinners cookbook.
Lemon Chicken Marinade
- Clean excess fat off of chicken breasts using kitchen scissors.
- Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken until it reaches about 1 inch thickness. You can wrap the chicken in saran wrap or use a large ziploc bag to keep your kitchen clean.
- Whisk together marinade.
- Pour marinade into a ziploc bag.
- Add chicken to marinade and allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes. (No more than 2 hours is best!)
- For Grilling: When ready to cook, heat grill on high and cook on each side for 7-9 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly (internal temp should be 165)