The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe

Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite!


For years now, we’ve used a simple marinade that I quickly throw together for our grilled chicken. It uses ingredients that you’ll most likely have on hand. If not, I urge you to buy them the next time you are at the grocery store, along with your favorite cuts of chicken and make it! It makes the perfect way to start your grilling season! I think you’ll love it.

A few years ago, we made grilled chicken legs using this marinade when my sister-in-law Karen, her husband Todd, and their three boys were on an RV trip with us. I knew that our son loved it and hoped that their boys would as well. We won’t even talk about how much chicken we got all of the kids to eat, let’s just say they loved it as much if not even more than I’d hoped!

In all seriousness, I’ve not fed anyone chicken made with this marinade that hasn’t loved it.

I originally just included this marinade recipe in with my grilled chicken legs recipe that I shared a long time ago. However, I have requests for it so often, I thought it deserved it’s own little spot in the world. Ha!

Here’s how I make it.

You’ll grab a few spices that really kick up the smokey flavor of this grilled chicken marinade and another that adds a little kick, too.

Cumin, paprika, cayenne, and salt and pepper.


This spice blend just works beautifully and is one that is great to have on hand, too.


The other special ingredient in this chicken marinade is beer.

Now, I have to admit something to you. I rarely cook with beer, but it absolutely adds something to this chicken.


Once I’ve mixed up my spices and beer, along with a few other ingredients, I just pour it over the chicken legs that have been placed in a large zip top bag.


Seal up the bag and turn from side to side to make sure all the chicken is well coated.

Then, I place it on a half sheet pan and into the refrigerator for at least an hour, but hopefully overnight so the chicken has plenty of time to soak up all that goodness.

Every few hours, I’ll turn the bag from one side over to the other to keep the chicken coated with the marinade. Then, you’ll just grill your chicken according to your favorite grilled chicken recipe.


Here’s The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

4.9 from 7 reviews
The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite!
Serves: 2 cups
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ cups beer
  1. Pour olive oil into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.
  2. Mix together salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper and add to olive oil. Add garlic, onions, and parsley. Mix together well with a fork. Slowly add beer as it will cause the mixture to foam and bubble slightly.
  3. Pour marinade over the chicken in the zip top bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal. Turn the bag from side to side to make sure all chicken has been coated with the marinade.
  4. Place the bag flat on a small, rimmed kitchen sheet pan and into the refrigerator. Allow to sit up to 1 hour or overnight for best results, turning the bag over every few hours to keep the chicken coated.
Time does not include time to marinate chicken.

Robyn xo


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  1. 9

    JimRhino says

    Your recipe looks very good. The spice combination is very similar to the dry rub I have used in the past, but I have never combined it with beer. With so many ‘flavors’ and styles of beer out there, what is the beer you use to make this recipe pop?
    Jim Rhino

    • 10


      Hi Jim,
      I’ve primarily used Corona and Yeungling beers, but that isn’t to say another beer wouldn’t be just as good. We aren’t beer drinkers, so I generally just grab either of those when I’m prepping for grilling chicken. I wish I could say I was more scientific in my selection! I’ve also used gluten-free beer for my brother-in-law who is gluten intolerant.

  2. 11


    Looks like some great flavor. Every time I try to concoct a marinade, it never comes out like I expect. Maybe I’m missing the beer… Either way, thanks for the great recipe!

    • 12


      I hope you enjoy it, Mark. The beer definitely adds something to this marinade that we love – and we aren’t even beer drinkers!

  3. 13

    Maria says

    This sounds and looks great. Could I just ask how much chicken (pounds) would this recipe be good for? I love legs on the grill too!

  4. 14

    Lisa says

    Hi there, Any suggestions, for something other then beer. Due to family issues, I won’t even buy non-alcholic. Thanks for your time

    • 15

      Victoria Waite says

      As an alternative to beer, you could use any of the following: apple juice, Sprite. I believe the beer simply breaks down the meat so that the spices can be more fully absorbed. I have used Sprite for cooking chicken before and it came out fantastic! :)

  5. 16

    Saema says

    Hi Robyn,

    Any alternatives to beer, something non alcoholic, would fizzy water suffice ?

    Kind Regards

    • 17

      Victoria Waite says

      I think fizzy water would work. I’ve used Sprite before, but I’ve also used apple juice. :)

    • 18

      damian says

      the yeast is what makes this recipe work you could substitute with home made ginger beer.
      if you don’t want to use alcohol, I suggest you look for butter milk chicken or something else.

    • 21


      Hi Candace,
      If you are not wanting alcohol, there are a good many non-alcoholic beers you could use. If you’d rather not have beer for other reasons, you could use ginger ale.

  6. 22

    Grace says

    It was my first time hosting a BBQ and also my first time cooking chicken breasts! I came across this recipe while looking for different chicken recipes and thought it sounded interesting. It was a big hit with all my guests, including me. I even passed on the recipe to my Mother who can’t wait it try it.
    Thank you, from Ireland!

  7. 25

    Amy says

    Love this marinade! So easy and the depth of flavor is amazing! You KNOW it’s good when your neighbors ovver the fence keep saying:”Oh my God, that smells so GOOD!”

  8. 28

    Fran P says

    I made this today, but it didn’t look anything like your photo. Did you add any seasonings or BBQ sauce once you grilled the chicken? The flavor is very good!

  9. 29

    Gail says

    I followed your ingredients to a t. The only thing I did different is put a little Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce on them the last few minutes of grilling…OMG…to die for!

  10. 30

    Lisa Lafferty says

    Hello, I just made this marinade and it is sitting in the refrigerator with the chicken as I type this! It is the middle of the winter here and we just got this major snow storm and aren’t really up to standing outside with our grill as it snows and shiver to death. So I was just wondering what you recommend doing, instead of grilling? Should I bake it, or pan sear it, etc.?
    Thank you so much!

  11. 33

    kate clare says

    i absolutely love the sound of this – i was thinking of using chicken thighs as that’s all i have in the freezer – would i be able to cook the chicken in a pan and use all the marinade? it’s a shame to waste it. looking forward to hearing back from you. Kate :-)

  12. 36

    Chris says

    Delicious! I boiled up the marinade once the drumsticks were on the grill and basted the chicken as it cooked. Easy recipe to throw together with big results! Thanks!

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