The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe

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

Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

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!

Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

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.

Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

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

Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

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. For the beer, I would recommend using whatever beer you prefer. I usually use Corona or Yeungling, but any beer that you prefer will work. If you can’t use beer or prefer not to, I’ve included a couple of other options that I’ve tested in the recipe below for you.

Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

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.

Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

Carefully, remove as much air from the bag as possible and then seal the bag. Then, turn the bag from side to side to make sure all the chicken is well coated with the chicken marinade.

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. We love it so much that I’ll pull out my grill pan in the dead of winter!

Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

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

4.7 from 63 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!
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
Time does not include time to marinate chicken.
Marinade works best for about 5 pounds of chicken.
If you prefer not to use beer, you can replace with apple cider or ginger ale.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

 Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe - Grilled Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy grilled chicken marinade recipe will become a favorite! // addapinch.com

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2012.

312 comments on “The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade Recipe”

  1. Has anyone baked this instead of grill it?

  2. Great recipe and I baked them too. I just let the thighs drip dry a little and put them on a rack in a baking pan. Baked at 375* for about 40 minutes (165*) in a toaster oven they were perfect including nicely browned skin.

  3. Can this be recommended with other foods like steak or pork chops?

  4. Is this recipe good for chicken breasts?

    • Hi Justin,
      Yes – I use this marinade for chicken breasts all the time. It’s delicious for any cut of chicken I’ve tried. Thanks so much! Enjoy the marinade!

  5. after this marinates could I dry it off and coat with a cornstarch/flour/bp mixture for a thin crispy crust??

    • Hi Amy,
      I haven’t done this, but it should be fine. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much!

      • I am not so savvy in the kitchen but the man wants a crust. In your opinion would it be crispy just fine without the dry stuff. I am just looking at it marinating in the fridge and feel it is perfect already. Smells so good even already! I can’t wait for him to finally say “mmm good” haha
        I appreciate the quick response and will be by more often I think ^_^

      • Hi Amy,
        I love the way this tastes cooked like this, and think it has an amazing flavor on the outside as well. I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you if you decide to make a floured crust.
        Thanks so much! xo

  6. Hi,

    Instead of Baking and Grilling, can I cook this on a non-stick pan, by searing it on low flame?

    • Hi Aakriti – You can use this marinade for delicious chicken for a number of ways of cooking it. You should be fine cooking this in a pan as well. Enjoy! Thanks!

  7. The only beer I currently have in the house is Ginger Beer. It’s sweet though. How do you think it would go with the rest of the ingredients?

  8. Nice! Was looking for a marinade for chicken thighs and came across this one. I didn’t think of a beer marinade for chicken for some reason. Have used beer for beef and pork marinades though.
    Really glad I found this one and tried it!
    Will definitely be using it again. Thanks.

  9. Hi Robyn, what type of beer do you use/ what type would you recommend? Perhaps something light like an IPA or would something darker like a Porter or Stout work well?

    Cheers,
    Pete

    • Hi Pete,
      We don’t drink beer, but I use Yuenling or Corona for this marinade and we love it. I think those make a great flavor, but you can try any beer that you like if you have a favorite.
      I hope you enjoy it!
      Thanks!

  10. Can you use white wine instead of beer

    • Hi Christal,
      I’ve not used white wine, so I can’t say how it will taste. The recipe does work well with apple cider or ginger ale if don’t want to use beer.
      Hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

  11. HI
    Can i use it without beer, ginger ale ,or apple cider? we dont take beer.

    • Hi Grace,
      We don’t drink beer either, but I like to use it in this marinade. You can definitely use ginger ale or apple cider as I give at the end of the recipe. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

      • Hi
        i luckily got ginger ale at the stores, now you dint tell how to grill? Temperatures, time ,settings, i just got an oven,i therefore need details,my chicken is marinating in the refrigerator,it will be ready in a few hours,need to know how to grill asap

  12. what Branf of beer did you used in the ingredients? Can you suggest? Thanks!

    • Hi Grace,
      We aren’t beer drinkers, so I’ve relied on the guys at the grocery store in the past to help me. I’ve used Corona, Yuengling, and classic Bud. But, if you have a favorite beer that you or your family prefer, I’d use that one! Whatever you have or like should work just fine. I hope that helps!

  13. Hi Can you taste the beer on the chicken after grilling?

    • Hi Keshanna,
      I can’t taste the beer after the chicken is grilled. We don’t drink beer, but I love how the chicken tastes marinated in this recipe! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much!

  14. Does it work as well with skinless/boneless pieces?

    • I tried this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts but it didn’t turn out. I substituted apple cider vinegar for the beer as noted in the recipe notes but the vinegar completely took over. We couldn’t taste anything else. I did not rate the recipe because I did not follow the original recipe and I think if you use the beer or ginger ale it would turn out a lot better.

      • Hi Ashley,
        I think the problem was that you used apple cider vinegar rather than apple cider as listed in the recipe’s notes as a substitution idea for the beer.

      • Apple Cider is not the same as Apple Cider Vinegar!

  15. Thanks for the marinade recipe. I am definitely going to try this. I have heard many people using beer in their marinades and say it just does that little magical something to the meat. I have done ribs with it and they were wonderful. So I am looking forward to this one. Seems I never get the seasonings quite right. When it ever gets warmer for grilling this will be my first thing to try. Thanks…..Claudia

  16. Does the recipe work for boneless and/or skinless chicken?

  17. can i ask what kind of flavour the beer brings out in the chicken, i’ve never tried using beer before. Also is it possible to bake this?haha thanks~

    • It doesn’t taste like beer at all! It has an earthy taste that I think comes from the hops grain that is used in fermenting the beer. It is a very mild flavor, even more mild than cumin if you have ever used that in a recipe.

  18. Sorry but I don’t use beer or would like to, anything else I can use in replace of beer

    • Hi Jamie,
      We don’t drink it personally, but like it in this marinade. You can most definitely use something else. I give other options in the recipe – like apple cider or ginger ale. Both of those work deliciously!
      Thanks!

    • Most any beverage that is fermented or non-fermented will help and give a unique flavor. Water would simply wet the ingredients but might actually re-hydrate the spices and help them soak into meat along with any salt, sugar, or other ingredient that absorbs into water.

  19. Made this tonight for our first grilled meal of 2017! Was delicious! So flavorful and moist!

  20. How many pieces of chicken did you use with recipe?

  21. Hi Robyn,
    Can I use this marinade for baking chicken breast? Have you tried that? Is it good?

  22. This sounds delish! Would it work with boneless skinless breasts on grill? How would you modify?

  23. How much chicken will this marinate? I have 2kg of chicken drumsticks and thighs
    Thanks

  24. This is my all time favorite marinade for chicken breasts! I have been making this weekly at my house. Thank you for sharing. ?

  25. Hi Robyn,

    Is it okay if i do this marinade and leave it on the fridge for 24 hours? Will it affect the meat? Thanks

    • Hi Lester,
      I often make it a day ahead and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours or even in the freezer for longer. I hope that you enjoy it!

  26. I normally don’t bother rating any of the recipes I find online, but WOW. I just had to rate this one. Best chicken marinade I’ve ever tried!!

    • Oh I’m so tickled that you enjoyed it Taylor! It’s a regular favorite in our house and it does make some fantastic grilled chicken! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you liked it! xo

  27. What would be the alternative for beer?

  28. Hi robyn, i have just finished making this ( i forgot to put garlic and onion, plus i did not have parsley) i marinated for 15 mins or so because i am a type of person who would cook according to what i have in the kitchwn and would look online for new ways to cook and try the r cipes. I also have never ever leave any comment, but i think u deserve to know, that this is FANTASTIC, and the kind that my kid would love ! Thank you!

    • Sorry, ive been meaning to rate it 5 stars!

    • Wow, Diana!
      I’m just thrilled to read this – thank you! I’m glad that you enjoyed it so much – it’s a regular recipe in my house because it just makes such delicious grilled chicken!
      I’m honored that you took a minute to leave me a comment with your thoughts! Thank you so much – it’s wonderful to have you here! xo

  29. Made this for the 1st time for my wife’s birthday yesterday and it was awesome. Didn’t have paprika, so I used chili powder instead. Gave it a little bite that maybe wouldn’t have otherwise; the spicier the better….Great recipe….!

  30. What kind of beer do you use?

    • Hi Eric,
      We aren’t beer drinkers, so I buy usually just buy Corona, Yuengling or something similar – but feel free to use your favorite beer in the marinade. Hope you enjoy it!
      Thanks!

  31. Can I grill chicken breasts in the afternoon and then use the oven to keep them warm for serving to guests later that evening?

  32. Would it be okay to bake this in the oven? I don’t have a grill at home. Do you have a temperature and time you recommend for boneless chicken breast

  33. I absolutely do not like beer. What can I sub for that?

    • Hi Cheryl,
      I’m not a beer drinker either but it does taste good in this marinade. However, I list substitutes at the bottom of recipe. Apple cider or ginger ale work great too! Thanks!

    • I do not have a grill, because I live in a condo complex. But I purchased a George foreman electric bbq grill and use it in my terrace This Receipe was Amazing.

  34. I’ve always had a problem with making sure my chicken (bone-in) is done fully on the grill so, I like to bake my chicken before putting it on the grill: Will this alter or ruin the recipe any?

  35. Followed the recipe to the letter and found it very bland. In fact I had to spice up the left over marinade after I’d grilled the chicken just to,keep my guest’s interested. Safe to say won’t be making again.

  36. What would you normally serve with this? My daughter can’t decide.

    • Hi Jodi,
      I serve many different dishes with this – anything from a potato salad, or a baked potato or spicy roasted sweet potato wedges with a favorite green salad…favorite vegetables…and maybe a dessert. 😉
      Take a look at some of my Weekly Meal Plans on my site where I’ve made this and see some of the sides I’ve made with it if you wish.
      I hope this helps and you enjoy these ideas! Thanks so much!

  37. I absolutely loved this recipe. I like beer, but you do not taste beer in the chicken at all. I did bake in the oven. I also used boneless breast, about 8 of them. This makes a large amount of marinade. May husband and son loved it and can’t wait till I make it again!

    • Hi Lori,
      You are right – there is no beer taste at all once you cook the chicken. I’m so glad your family enjoyed this and you describe that you used it in the oven. I love using it for chicken breasts in the oven as well – so juicy and delicious!
      Thanks so much! xo

  38. We tried this tonight and it was AMAZING! used apple juice instead of beer since that’s all we had. Next time we’ll try beer or apple cider. It was so delicious!

  39. Can this marinade be used with skinless boneless chicken breast on the grill too?

  40. What do you think about substituting with white wine? Yay or Nay?

  41. Can’t wait to try! Do/ have you basted with BBQ during grilling?

  42. Making it today and marinating for grilling tonight

  43. Ginger Ale????
    That sounds marvelous. I like to marinade meats in beer but I think ginger ale would add a whole new dimension of flavor! Thanks for a great spice blend!

  44. I am a long established chef. This was a good recipe that my daughter marinted before I bbqed

    • Could you freeze this? I am looking to make some marinades to freeze with chicken to make some easy summer grill packs, but I’m not sure how well this would freeze with the beer. Any advice?

      • Yes, Amanda. You can freeze this. I do this sometimes myself. Just follow the recipe, seal in freezer bags and place in the freezer. Delicious!
        I hope you enjoy them! Thanks!

  45. Ok, Robyn!
    The chicken wings are now marinating away. I’ll grill them tomorrow after work and report back.
    The best part of this recipe so far? Enjoying the extra beer I had on hand after using one in the recipe!
    Be back tomorrow night!

  46. Looks delicious! What kind of beer do you use?

  47. I’m sorry you didn’t care for it, Cam. You are correct that this does not have a “barbecue chicken” flavor – but this particular recipe is not intended to.
    It’s one of my family’s favorite marinades and makes the chicken so flavorful and juicy, but if you are looking for BBQ flavor, there are several BBQ recipes on my site you might want to check out.
    I hope you find some you enjoy! Thanks so much!

  48. I tasted the marinade after I made it and before I put the chicken in it. The flavors were really good. I was a little skeptical because there are not many spices in this recipe, but the flavors were definitely there. My chicken is happily marinating in the fridge but I will post again after I have cooked it!

  49. for those who do not have a grill at home like me because I live in a condo complex. But I purchased a George foreman electric bbq grill and use it in my terrace This Receipe was Amazing. You will not be disappointed with this recipe.

  50. Must have did something wrong because my chicken had no flavor. 🙁

    • I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it, LeAnn. It is possible that something was left out by mistake or possibly didn’t marinate long enough – this always has a lot of flavor when I use it. Thanks!

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