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This Greek Chicken marinade brings the flavors of the Mediterranean to your home kitchen! Tender chicken breast is marinated in olive oil, bright lemon, zesty garlic, and Greek spices for an easy, satisfying dinner.
Flavorful Grilled Greek Chicken
Easy to make, ultra flavorful, and so tender and juicy, this grilled Greek chicken recipe is in regular rotation in my house. Chicken is a reliable staple and I love to find new ways to prepare it. In this method, I whisk up a tangy, Greek-inspired marinade that’s loaded with Mediterranean flavors like dried thyme and oregano, fresh lemon juice, and lots of garlic. Then I marinate chicken breasts overnight and have them ready to throw on the grill for the next day’s dinner.
I love this Greek chicken recipe for its versatility – you can serve it with American classics like mashed potatoes or a gluten-free baguette and a salad. Or see my suggestions below for more Greek-inspired dishes that make a perfect complement to this savory chicken. I love whipping up a batch of homemade hummus, pita bread, and more to make a meze (or appetizer) platter along with this chicken. Let your mind wander to the warm sands of the islands while you enjoy this wonderful grilled Greek chicken.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Nothing beats an al fresco meal of chicken enjoyed by the Mediterranean on a hot afternoon. This is the next best thing to a trip to Greece. Here’s why you’ll love this Greek chicken recipe:
- So flavorful. The Greeks really know how to take simple ingredients and turn them into something special! Though the list of what you’ll need is short, the final dish is anything but boring. Use the grill to give the chicken a touch of smokiness as it cooks to perfection.
- Healthy. This is a healthy grilled Greek chicken recipe because it’s cooked on the grill, with no frying required. Plus, the marinade contains heart-healthy olive oil and no other added fats.
- Naturally gluten-free. I love this Greek chicken recipe for its punch of flavors but also because it’s naturally gluten-free. None of the ingredients needed to make this dish contain gluten, so it’s a completely worry-free meal if you’re gluten-sensitive.
- Easy! It takes just 5 minutes to prep this chicken, then you’ll let the fridge do most of the work of infusing the chicken with spices and lemon. I love to make this Greek chicken on the grill during the summer so I don’t need to bother with using my oven on a hot night.
What Does Greek Chicken Marinade Taste Like?
Greek chicken marinade takes chicken and bathes it in a wonderfully flavorful blend of dried Greek spices including oregano and thyme, plus fresh garlic and lemon juice for kicky flavor. Each bite delivers Greek-inspired flavors that go perfectly with a variety of side dishes.
Here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need to make Greek chicken. Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts.
- Chicken Breasts: I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Olive Oil: I use extra virgin olive oil in this recipe.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is the best, but if you need to use bottled lemon juice it will also work.
- Garlic: For spice.
- Dried Spices: Oregano and thyme, for authentic Greek flavor.
- Salt: I like to use fine sea salt or table salt.
- Black Pepper: You can use freshly cracked pepper or ground pepper.
- Optional garnish: Lemon wedges, fresh oregano, tzatziki
How to Make Grilled Greek Chicken
Follow along with my simple method below to make the most flavorful Greek chicken marinade:
- Prepare the chicken. Add the chicken to a zip-top plastic storage bag.
- Make the marinade and pour it over the chicken. Stir the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl and pour it over the chicken in the storage bag.
- Make sure the chicken is fully coated with the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal it tightly. Make sure the chicken is fully coated with the marinade and place the bag in a dish just in case it leaks.
- Place in the fridge and let marinate. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8-10 hours.
- When ready to cook, preheat the grill. Preheat your grill on high heat.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade.
- Grill the chicken. Place the chicken on the grill, close the cover, and reduce to medium heat.
- Grill the chicken on one side then flip. Grill on the first side for 4-6 minutes, then flip. Chicken should release easily from the grates when the first side is done
- Grill on the second side until done. Grill on the second side for another 4-6 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. It should reach 165°F on an instant-read thermometer and the juices should run clear.
- Rest the chicken, then serve. Remove from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes for slicing and serving.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips to help you make this Greek chicken marinade recipe turn out perfectly:
- Fully marinate the chicken. Try not to shorten the marinating time. The longer you can let the chicken sit in the marinade the more flavorful the end result will be.
- Add more garlic. If you love garlic, definitely throw in some more. This recipe calls for 2 cloves of garlic, but you can double or triple the amount if you wish for even more flavor.
- Make it a little spicier. Add red pepper flakes to the spice mix if you want a little bit of heat.
- Use a clean and oiled grill. Before cooking the chicken, make sure to clean your grill well and then grease it with olive oil. This will help the chicken release easily after it’s cooked.
- Use a meat thermometer to tell when the grilled chicken is done. The easiest way to tell when your chicken is thoroughly cooked is to use an instant-read meat thermometer. Take the chicken’s temperature at the thickest part of the breast. Your Greek chicken is ready to come off the grill when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- The chicken should release easily from the grill grates. When the chicken is ready to flip sides it should easily come off the grill. This takes about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on the size of your chicken breasts (thinner breasts will cook faster).
Make It A Meal
Greek chicken marinade makes a wonderful centerpiece for a Greek-inspired meal. Here are a few options that will go perfectly with a main dish of Greek chicken:
- Serve with tzatziki. Tzatziki is a traditional Greek dip made with tangy Greek yogurt whipped with garlic and cucumbers. Try my recipe for Easy Homemade Greek Tzatziki Sauce for a treat. You could also turn leftover Greek chicken into my Greek Tzatziki Chicken Salad.
- A bowl of hummus. Hummus is wonderful with Greek grilled chicken! You can buy it at the store or make homemade hummus, like my Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Hummus.
- With a pile of pita. Pita bread is a great side for chicken. My Gluten-Free Pita Bread recipe delivers soft, pillowy pita pockets just waiting to be stuffed with chicken and tzatziki.
- Make a Greek salad. For a lighter meal, serve this grilled chicken with a Greek salad. My Easy Greek Salad is loaded with cherry tomatoes, juicy cucumber slices, and feta cheese for extra flavor.
- Try a Greek zoodles salad. Or make a Greek salad with zoodles! Zoodles are raw zucchini noodles that are truly refreshing. Packed with Greek flavor, my Greek Zoodles Salad recipe is sure to satisfy.
- Add a vegetable side. To continue with the flavors featured in this dish, you can serve my Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes with Greek chicken. This is also a great option if you are expecting any vegetarians at the table because the quinoa-stuffed tomatoes can make a complete vegetarian meal.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Store leftover Greek grilled chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place on a baking sheet and place in the oven on low heat until heated through.
The Key to Perfectly Juicy Chicken
While a marinade is an important step to moist grilled chicken, the most important tool is an instant-read thermometer. Using one when you grill chicken ensures that you cook it to a temperature that’s safe to eat, but not too long to dry it out. I used on every single time I fire up the grill!
Greek Grilled Chicken Marinade
- 1-1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4 breasts)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Optional garnish: Lemon wedges, fresh oregano, tzatziki
- Add the chicken to a zip top plastic storage bag.
- Stir the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl and pour it over the chicken in the storage bag.
- Press the air out of the bag and seal it tightly. Make sure the chicken is fully coated with the marinade and place the bag in a dish just in case it leaks.
- Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8-10 hours.
- Preheat your grill on high heat.
- Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade.
- Place the chicken on the grill, close the cover, and reduce to medium heat.
- Grill on the first side for 4-6 minutes, then flip. Chicken should release easily from the grates when the first side is done
- Grill on the second side for another 4-6 minutes, or until chicken is cookedthrough. It should reach 165°F on an instant-read thermometer and the juices should run clear.
- Remove from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes for slicing and serving.