Rating: 4.5 stars
2 Ratings
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This easy grilled chicken recipe owes its tenderness to an overnight soak in a yogurt-lemon juice marinade and its soulful flavor to saffron and onion. A healthy drizzle of saffron-infused butter before serving adds an extra layer of richness. Serve with aromatic rice with pistachios and torshi, Central Asian pickles available at Persian and Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, July/August 2017


Recipe Summary

12 hrs 50 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine 1/2 teaspoon saffron and water in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in yogurt, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

  • If using any chicken breasts, cut into 2 equal portions. Add chicken to the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours, turning the chicken a couple times, if possible.

  • When ready to cook, build a medium-hot, multi-zone fire (see Tips) or preheat one section of a gas grill to medium.

  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain well. (Discard the marinade.)

  • Oil the grill rack. Grill the chicken, turning once or twice, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 16 to 24 minutes total. Move the chicken to a cooler spot, as needed, to dodge any flare-ups.

  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Crumble the remaining 1/4 teaspoon saffron into the pan and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle with the saffron butter. Garnish with cilantro (or dill), if desired.


To make ahead: Marinate chicken (Steps 1-2) for up to 24 hours.

Tips: To prepare for multi-zone cooking in a charcoal grill, light coals and let them burn down until they're glowing red. Rake out the coals so you have a hot zone (double layer of coals), a medium zone (single layer of coals) and a coal-free safety zone. For gas, if you have three or more burners, set one or two burners on high; one or two burners on medium; and leave one or two burners off for the safety zone.

Nutrition Facts

about 2 pieces chicken
368 calories; protein 41.9g; carbohydrates 3.2g; dietary fiber 0.3g; sugars 1.9g; fat 19.9g; saturated fat 7.2g; cholesterol 170mg; vitamin a iu 303.6IU; vitamin c 5.9mg; folate 12.9mcg; calcium 53.9mg; iron 1.7mg; magnesium 43.2mg; potassium 448.5mg; sodium 363.2mg.

6 medium-fat protein, 1 fat