The Best Chicken Marinade Recipe

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4.97 from 166 votes
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The Best Chicken Marinade recipe is easy, delicious, and comes together in minutes for the best grilled chicken and baked chicken you’ve ever tasted!

We’ve used this simple yet scrumptious chicken marinade for many years, especially when making grilled chicken (and my son’s favorite grilled chicken legs). It is quick to make and uses common ingredients that you most likely have on hand. But the beauty of this recipe is that it is just as delicious as a marinade for baked chicken, so there’s no need to save this only for warm weather grilling season!

Chicken legs with grill marks, and coleslaw on a blue plate // addapinch.com

Use this chicken marinade recipe year-round on your favorite cuts of chicken, and enjoy! It makes the perfect marinade and results in some of the most juicy, delicious, and flavorful chicken ever! Everyone always loves the chicken I’ve marinated with this. I think you will enjoy it too!

Colorful measuring bowl with dry spices and pewter measuring spoon // addapinch.com

How to Make the BEST Chicken Marinade

I originally just included this marinade recipe with my grilled chicken legs recipe many years ago. Since this recipe was requested so often, I thought it only fitting that the BEST Chicken Marinade got its own spot in the world. Here’s how you make it.

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

Ingredients

This marinade recipe works best for about 5 pounds of chicken. To make this delicious marinade, you’ll need the following:

  • Olive oil – Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Spices – salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and cayenne
  • Garlic – fresh garlic cloves, chopped
  • Onion – chopped
  • Fresh parsley – chopped
  • Beer – Use the beer of your choice. If you don’t want to use beer, you can substitute ginger ale, apple cider (not apple cider vinegar), or apple juice.
Beer being poured into a glass measuring cup with marinade ingredients// addapinch.com

I rarely cook with beer, but it definitely adds something to this chicken. Use whichever brand you prefer – I usually use Corona or Yeungling, but any beer will work. If you can’t use beer or prefer not to, one of the substitutes listed taste delicious as well.

View inside a plastic zip bag with chicken legs in marinade  // addapinch.com

Step-by-Step Instructions

Combine the ingredients. In a medium to large-sized mixing bowl, stir together all of the spices with the olive oil. Mix in the chopped onion, garlic, and fresh parsley. Slowly pour in the beer (or substitute if using one), as it may foam over if poured too quickly. Mix all ingredients together until combined.

Pour mixture over chicken. Place the chicken you plan to marinate in either a large, sturdy zip-top bag or another airtight container. Pour the marinade over the chicken in your zip bag or container. If using a zip-top bag, press as much air as possible out of the bag as you seal it.

Chill the marinade-covered chicken. If using a zip-top bag, place it on a baking sheet. If in a container, make sure the lid is secure and airtight. Make sure that all of the chicken is well coated with the marinade and place in the refrigerator to chill.

How Long to Marinate Chicken in Refrigerator:

  • At least 1 hour
  • Preferably overnight for best results
  • No longer than 2 days

Every few hours, turn the bag from one side over to the other to keep the chicken coated with the marinade.

Baking pan holds plastic bag with chicken and marinade // addapinch.com

Freezer Instructions for Chicken in Marinade

You can freeze the raw chicken in this marinade. Here are the steps.

Package in a freezer-safe container. Place the chicken into a freezer-safe container and pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure all of the raw chicken is well coated. Remove as much air as possible as you seal the container. If using a zip-top bag, place the bag on a baking sheet to freeze. Label the container with the contents and date.

Freeze chicken with marinade. Place the container in the freezer. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw, then cook as desired. Remove from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. After the chicken is thawed, then remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Then cook the chicken according to your favorite chicken recipe.

What Chicken Recipes Can I Use With This Marinade?

You can use this recipe with many of your favorite chicken recipes! We love it for our grilled chicken as well as for our simple baked chicken!

Grilled chicken legs with slaw on a blue plate // addapinch.com

More Delicious Marinades and Sauces

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

Homemade Balsamic Glaze

Comeback Sauce

Mama’s Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce

Southern Pepper Sauce

Caramel Sauce

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

The Best Chicken Marinade Recipe

4.97 from 166 votes
Best Chicken Marinade Recipe – The Best Chicken Marinade recipe is easy, delicious, and comes together in minutes for the best grilled chicken and baked chicken you've ever tasted! It makes juicy, tender chicken every time. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups beer, ginger ale, apple cider, or apple juice

Instructions 

  • Pour olive oil into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Makes about 2 cups.
Marinade works best for about 5 pounds of chicken.

Freezer Instructions

You can freeze the raw chicken in this marinade. Here are the steps.
Package in a freezer-safe container. Place the chicken into a freezer-safe container and pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure all of the raw chicken is well coated. Remove as much air as possible as you seal the container. If using a zip-top bag, place the bag on a baking sheet to freeze. Label the container with the contents and date.
Freeze chicken with marinade. Place the container in the freezer. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw, then cook as desired. Remove from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. After the chicken is thawed, then remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Then cook the chicken according to your favorite chicken recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1.5g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Sodium: 886mg | Potassium: 148mg | Vitamin A: 3247IU | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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.

Welcome to Add A Pinch

About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

4.97 from 166 votes (29 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Review




757 Comments

  1. kc says:

    5 stars
    great recipe. i’ve used it a few times and it’s always a hit except i’ve always wondered:

    is it 1.5 cups of beer AND ginger ale AND apple juice/cider?

    thanks

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      KC, the recipe is for 1 1/2 cups beer, ginger ale, apple cider, or apple juice so it would be beer OR ginger ale OR apple cider OR apple juice.

  2. Ben I. says:

    5 stars
    Made it last week and it was some of the best grilled chicken I’ve ever had and the whole family loved it too. I left out cumin because I was out and used ginger ale. I also let it marinade overnight before putting on the grill. Will definitely use this again!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks, Ben. I’m so glad you liked this marinade.

  3. Penny says:

    Hi Robyn, I’m trying your recipe out this evening. We are in New Orleans, LA and just had Hurricane Ida blow through. Currently, we have no electricity and the heat is almost unbearable. Living moment to moment, I’m hoping your recipe will bring us a little reprieve from the situation. If it works for me I’m going to offer to cook for volunteers and residents. I will let you know how it turns out. I’m excited and can’t wait to taste this recipe!!!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Penny, It’s so kind of you to cook for your neighbors and volunteers. I hope this recipe helps. My prayers are with you and everyone affected by this storm.

  4. Jay says:

    Can I just bake this instead or cook it off of a cast iron pan? Or best results would be to grill? I also used Apple cider since I didn’t have ginger ale or beer. Would it still be okay? Your reviews are amazing on this chicken!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      You can use this marinade and bake your chicken, Jay. Apple cider works great in this recipe.

  5. Gloria Hamilton says:

    5 stars
    I am so happy I found your recipe for the marinade! I have been using it for about the last six months, and it is delicious every time

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks so much, Gloria.

  6. Molly says:

    How much would I cut the recipe if I literally only have 9 drumsticks lmao ?? NOT 5 lbs OF CHICKEN HAHA

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Molly, the amount to adjust this recipe would depend on the weight of your 9 drumsticks. 9 average size drumsticks should weigh about 2.25 pounds so you would make half the recipe.

  7. JCB says:

    I am in charge for Saturday dinner at the cottage. Bringing chicken parts, skin on drums, boneless, skinless thighs and wings. When should I put them in the marinade? We are leaving Thursday a.m.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      JCB, the chicken should marinate at least 1 hour but no longer than 2 days. I would put them in the marinade on Saturday.

  8. Martie says:

    EXCELLENT! I used ginger ale and it turned out great. My whole family loved it, including one picky eater grandson. I’ve already added it to my electronic recipe book, and will definitely make it again. THANK YOU!

  9. Annie Harmon says:

    5 stars
    It was my turn to make dinner and I chose this. My husband, the marinade master, asked what I did. He was VERY impressed. I’ve never impressed him with marinades before!
    Thanks for that!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Annie, don’t you just love it when you impress your husband with a recipe? I’m so glad you both loved this marinade.

  10. Richard Viau says:

    Hey Robyn, your recipes reach a lot of people. I’m a French Canadian from Montreal and I grilled 4 huge chicken breasts tonight with your marinade. I made it for my son, his girlfriend and myself and it was to die for. His girlfriend doesn’t like spicyness so after marinating the chicken, I removed most of the marinade before grilling. I had doubled your marinade recipe and went heavy on the spices. So I had quite a bit of marinade left to make a nice spicy sauce, just added 2 tbs of cornstarch and boiled the marinade for 2 to 3 minutes to be on the safe side. His girlfriend ate the chicken without the sauce and my son and I with the sauce. My son loved it so much that he went back to get sauce to pour over his rice. He already prepared the last chicken breast with the sauce for his lunch at work tomorrow. This is the first time I’ve been on your web site and I would just like to say thank you!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Richard, thank you. I’m so happy this marinade worked so well for you and that everyone loved your chicken. I hope you find many more recipes here that you enjoy!