How to Marinate Chicken

Plus, delicious marinades for chicken and rubs for chicken.

Take a look in your pantry (go ahead—we'll wait!): If you have ingredients like soy sauce, garlic powder, paprika, balsamic vinegar and garlic, you can throw together a flavorful rub or marinade in minutes. That's all you need to take chicken breast from flat to bodacious, upping its juiciness without sacrificing its lean profile. Even better when you opt for homemade over store-bought, you're in charge of the ingredients. You can skip the preservatives, colorings and additives, keep sodium and sugar in check and choose olive oil (high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats) over the less-healthy oils used in many commercial marinades. Want a break from chicken? Try other meats, fish or tofu. Download a FREE Cookbook with Our Best Chicken Recipes!


Step 1: Start with Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Step 1: Start with Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Start with boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1-1 1/4 pounds for 4 servings. Choose a rub or marinade of your choice.

Recipes to Try: Mouthwatering BBQ Sauces, Marinades & Rubs »


Step 2: Marinate or Rub

Pictured Recipe: Pirate Marinade

Step 2: Marinate or Rub

For marinated chicken: Place chicken in a shallow dish or 1-gallon sealable plastic bag. Add the marinade of your choice and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours. (The longer it marinates, the more intense the flavor.) Remove from the marinade and pat dry before grilling or broiling.

For dry-rubbed chicken: Coat chicken with the dry rub of your choice up to 30 minutes before grilling or broiling.

Get the Recipe: Pirate Marinade »


Step 3: Grill or Broil

To grill: Preheat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the chicken, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 4 to 8 minutes per side.

To broil: Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Line a broiler pan (or baking sheet) with foil and coat with cooking spray. Place the chicken on foil. Broil, watching carefully and turning at least once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes total.

Tip: Oiling a grill rack before grilling helps ensure that food won't stick. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Get the Recipe: Butterflied Grilled Chicken with a Chile-Lime Rub »


Teriyaki Marinade

Pictured Recipe: Teriyaki Marinade

Teriyaki Marinade

Soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, garlic and ginger combine in this teriyaki-inspired marinade for grilled chicken or pork chops.

Get the Recipe: Teriyaki Marinade »


Sweet & Savory Dry Rub

Pictured Recipe: Sweet & Savory Dry Rub

Sweet & Savory Dry Rub

This sweet and savory rub relies on ingredients you most likely have on hand already—brown sugar, dry mustard and onion powder—making it a quick recipe for a night when you’re not sure what you’re making for dinner.

Get the Recipe: Sweet & Savory Dry Rub »


Balsamic Marinade

Pictured Recipe: Balsamic Marinade

Balsamic Marinade

Sweet-tart balsamic vinegar spiked with garlic and Italian seasoning makes a fast and flavorful marinade for just about anything you’re inspired to grill for dinner.

Get the Recipe: Balsamic Marinade »


Paprika-Herb Rub

Pictured Recipe: Paprika-Herb Rub

Paprika-Herb Rub

A simple combination of herbes de Provence, paprika, salt and pepper makes a flavorful rub for chicken, or try it with steak or tofu.

Get the Recipe: Paprika-Herb Rub »


Indian-Spiced Marinade

Pictured Recipe: Indian-Spiced Marinade

Indian-Spiced Marinade

This tangy marinade, spiked with the Indian spice blend garam masala, is a terrific way to enliven chicken, tofu or pork chops.

Get the Recipe: Indian-Spiced Marinade »


Spicy Tunisian Rub

Pictured Recipe: Spicy Tunisian Rub

Spicy Tunisian Rub

This spicy rub of coriander, caraway and hot pepper is lovely on chicken, pork tenderloin or salmon. If you prefer your food less spicy, reduce the amount of crushed red pepper.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Tunisian Rub »