The Best Chicken Marinade Recipe

Best Chicken Marinade Recipe – Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy chicken marinade comes together in minutes for juicy, tender chicken every time.

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 chicken marinade! I think you’ll love it.


Best Chicken Marinade Recipe

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! //

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.

How to Make Chicken Marinade

For this chicken marinade, you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Cumin
  • paprika
  • cayenne
  • garlic
  • onion
  • fresh parsley
  • beer, ginger ale, apple cider, or apple juice

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

I rarely cook with beer, but it definitely 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.

  • Ginger Ale
  • Apple Cider
  • Apple Juice

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

Stir. Stir together all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Pour. Pour the marinade over the chicken in a large zip top or other airtight container.  If using a zip top bag, press as much air as possible out of the bag as you seal.

Chill. Make sure that all of the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Arrange in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour.

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

How Long to Marinate Chicken:

  • At least 1 hour
  • No longer than 2 days

If I’m using a ziptop bag, I place it on a half sheet pan in 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.

Can I Freeze Chicken in this Marinade:

Package. Place chicken into freezer-safe container and pour over the marinade. Make sure that all of the chicken is well coated. Remove as much air as possible as you’re seal. Label the container with the contents and date.

Freeze. Arrange in the freezer so that the container is as flat as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw. Remove from the freezer and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Cook the chicken according to your favorite chicken recipe.

What Chicken Recipes Can I Use this Marinade?

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


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

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

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4.79 from 108 votes

The Best Chicken Marinade Recipe

Best Chicken Marinade Recipe - Chicken recipes are always a crowd-pleaser. This easy  chicken marinade comes together in minutes for juicy, tender chicken every time. 
Prep Time10 mins
Chilling Time1 hr
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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


  • 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.


Marinade works best for about 5 pounds of chicken.
Tried this recipe?Share a photo on Instagram and tag me with @addapinch and #addapinch!

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! //

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

511 comments on “The Best Chicken Marinade Recipe”

  1. How well do you think this marinade would work with a Hawaiian bbq baste?

  2. What a great spice blend! So simple, yet so delicious. Oh goodness, I love grilled chicken! I’ve never tried marinating my chicken in beer – never thought of it! Thanks for the tip and the idea!

  3. Would it be okay to let the chicken marinade for about a week or is that too long?

    • Hi Caitlin,
      I’ve never marinated this that long – and I think it may be too long. You’d want to check the amount of time chicken remains fresh in the refrigerator.
      But you can freeze the chicken in the marinade if you want to use it later than the next day.
      I hope you enjoy the marinade – it makes the most delicious, juicy grilled chicken! Thanks!

  4. Is this recipe for one chicken or approximately 3 lbs

  5. Can you suggest something other than beer?

  6. Hi this recipe looks great. I will try it out tommorow.
    I was wondering how many drumsticks are used for this recipe since i am planning to use just chicken drumsticks. And for the olive oil is it 2 cups or 1/2 cup?

    • Hi Lani,
      The recipe works great for about 5 pounds of chicken. You’ll use 1/2 cup of olive oil for this marinade – the instructions just call for mixing it in a 2 cup measuring cup. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

  7. Can you taste the beer at all once the chicken is cooked?

    • Hi Katie,
      I don’t taste the beer once it’s cooked – and I don’t care for beer. If you wish to substitute for it, you can use apple cider or ginger ale. Like I said, I don’t like beer at all, but this marinade makes some amazing chicken! Enjoy! Thanks!

  8. Is this marinade solely for grilled chicken? Can I also bread the chicken afterward for frying? Would an egg soak be too much/clash or flavors? Thanks

  9. Hello I was wondering how this would be for grilled chicken on a stick, or is it more of a grilled chicken with bone in type marinate? Or do you have another marinade recipe for chicken on a stick or chicken kabobs?

  10. No grill–can I bake the chicken instead of grilling it? Using this recipe all the way in China today! Thanks!

  11. Hi Robyn, I’ve added the marinate in a oven bag, how do you feel it will go cooking in the marinate ?

    • Hi Lee,
      I hope you enjoy the marinade. I’ve never cooked it in an oven bag, so I can’t say exactly. I have marinated in this and then cooked in the oven and it was juicy and delicious – I’ve just not used the oven bag.

  12. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much!

  13. Is there a certin beer that goes better with this recipe?

    • Hollie,
      Just use whatever favorite beer you like. I usually use Corona or Yeungling. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

    • I’d pick a honey brown beer for chicken. I bet a Reds apple ale would work great as well! Add smoked paprika to that spice blend. A hint of brown sugar and dash if spicy works well here as well. But use what you have on hand if you don’t have to go to the store already.

  14. What temperature and length of time in oven. I usually bake my chicken breast at 400 for 20 minutes.

    • Hi Christine,
      Just bake your chicken as you normally would. This is written for grilled chicken, but it’s equally as delicious when cooking chicken in the oven or on the stove.
      Enjoy! Thanks!

  15. Robyn,

    Would marinating the chicken in a plastic container be ok?? Also, if baked…. what would you recommend for temp and time in oven?

    • Hi Adrian,
      It will be fine to use. You may want to turn the chicken a bit after a while in the container so that all sides get good and marinated. 😉
      If you bake in the oven, just bake at the time and temperature you normally do for your chicken.
      Thanks! Enjoy it!

      • Thanks Robyn….

        One more question…. you said Apple Cider or Ginger Ale are good substitutes…which brands would you recommend to acquire the best taste?

      • Any of your favorite, good quality apple ciders or ginger ales should be delicious as well. Thanks!

  16. This is my new “go to” recipe for barbequed chicken in our house. My husband loves it. I use a bit more cumin, one more fat clove of garlic, and I add some soy sauce and a bit of grated ginger. I cook it on the Big Green Egg and it is fabulous. Pairs great with a Riesling from Piemonte such as Ca’ del Baio or Ettore Germano’s “Herzu.”

  17. Excellent idea! I’d like to prep chicken breasts, add this marinade, then place it in the freezer for future use. How do you think the marinade will hold up? I’m not sure about freezing it with beer included.

  18. Thank you for the recipe. I made slight modifications – slightly less salt, twice as much garlic, and used chervil instead of parsley. I marinated the chicken for a grill party, and the popular opinion was that this, indeed, is the best grilled chicken marinade recipe!

    • I’m so glad that the grilled chicken marinade was a hit for your party, Omar! It’s such a favorite in my family too! So happy to know that you and your guests think it’s the best too! Thanks! 🙂

  19. can i use white wine as we have no beer.

    • Hi Dereld,
      I’ve not used white wine and I’m not sure how it will work with this recipe. You can use the substitutes I list at the bottom of the recipe if you don’t have beer….apple cider or ginger ale.
      I hope you enjoy the marinade! Thanks!

  20. Want to try this, corona sounds fabulous for the beer, yum. Can i use skinless boneless chicken for kabobs using this marinade? Do you think I can reserve the marinade, boil it and use it for a basting sauce for grilling the kabobs? Thanks.

  21. No cumin….?…..but I do have everything else!!!!
    Will it make that much of a difference??

  22. The marinade was great, your instructions are spot on. I don’t understand the purpose of the other questions. Plastic Bag, plastic container, it doesn’t matter. What kind of beer??? Really-OMG You must have a lot of patience.

  23. Do you BBQ the chicken while grilling?

  24. I had very low expectations for this recipe but i was bored and decided to try it with boneless, skinless thighs and was amazed by how good they turned out. The only regret i have is buying skinless chicken by mistake as the skin takes grilled chicken to the next level atleast for me.

  25. I have already made this once and it was amazing to say The least.. I want to make it again tonight but the only ingredient I’m missing is fresh parsley, I do have dry parsley though. Would that be okay?? And if so would I use the same measurement??

  26. Why only 3 stars for “mind bobbling”?

  27. Made it this past weekend on the grill for the last BBQ of the year. It was spicy (like Asian BBQ) and everyone loved it. Thanks…I will definitely add this to my grilling arsenal.

  28. When I added the beer at the end, the ingredients became very hard and clustered together… is this normal? did I mess up? I also used coconut oil instead

  29. Looks great!but what are the measurements?

    • Hi Lorena,
      Thanks! I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I’m able to answer your question. Can you tell me what measurements your are needing? The recipe includes all of the measurements for the ingredients as well as the resulting measurement in the finished marinade. Thanks! xo

  30. Hi there! I’ve got my chicken quarters…do you think I could use this to pour over the chicken in the crock pot? Sounds yummy!! Thanks so much.

  31. Please I am Chating you up from Nigeria and I love you recipe but most of the ingredients are not common over hear if there is any thing that works best as to replace some items like the commi it will be fine and will also ask if any beer can work perfect for it thanks

    • Hi Eric,
      I’m not sure what ingredients make good substitutes – except the substitute for beer like I give in the recipe. If you are using beer, I prefer using a pale color beer such as Corona or Yuengling. I hope you can make this and enjoy it – it’s really delicious! Thanks!

    • I bet it would work great with Star beer and suya spices, Eric!

    • All the ingredients are in Nigeria. Just go to ay big mall. U will get all

    • Hello Eric. Black cumin is available in Nigeria, but is popular among the northerners. In the North, it is known by its Arabic name, Habatus Sauda. It comes in form of oil and seed, so you just have to tell the buyer you need the seed. If he doesn’t understand English, ask him for KWALLON HABATUS SAUDA.

  32. HI Robyn,
    Your recipe looks really interesting I am trying it out tomorrow. I had two questions
    1. Do you bake this in the oven with the bag
    Or can I just place it in the oven tray without any bag.
    2. At what temperature and for how long do I have to cook.

  33. How many pieces is this recipe for? Says serves 2 cups. Probably meant 2 persons? Awesome recipe!!

  34. I have the chicken marinating tonight and plan on making it tomorrow, but I don’t have a grill. Is it okay to bake or pan fry? If so, what temp and how long?

  35. Wiring this as my chicken marinates. Changes I made were I used white pepper instead of black; increased the onion and garlic (we love garlic!); used old bay seasoning instead of paprika, cayenne and cumin; added roasted garlic and bell pepper seasoning, a pinch of sugar and squeeze of lemon juice. Oh and I used a red amber ale for the beer. Putting the chicken with sliced potatoes in foil packs on the grill. I’ll let you know how it turns out tomorrow!

    • I hope you enjoy it – I haven’t it made with those changes, so I’ll be interested to hear how it tastes. We love this marinade – so good! And foil packs on the grill are delicious aren’t they?!

  36. Everyone loved this. Lots of marinade recipes say they are the best but this one really is.

  37. Chicken is marinading right now! Can’t wait to throw it on the grill! Thanks for the recipe! 

  38. Robyn,

    I Was looking online for a great chicken recipe. I’m definitely looking forward to trying yours out. My question is, can I use the measurements you provide for marinating a 6 pound whole chicken? I noticed most people use it for legs or thighs. Please advise. Thank you
    Perla Kempenaar

    • The recipe works best for about 5 pounds of chicken, Perla. It could be enough for your chicken, but I can’t be sure and you may need a bit more marinade. Hope you enjoy it!

  39. Hi Robyn,

    I just prepared the marinade and I have vacum packed with the chicken breasts. I plan to souve the chicken. Will it be OK to souve in the marinade or would it be best to remove the chicken, then souve?

    I’m looking forward to tasting this once cooked.


  40. I have roughly 10 lbs of thighs marinating, they will end up marinating for about 4 -4 1/2 hours, the only thing I did different was dry parsley since I had no fresh on hand. I added all ingredients to my blender and gave it a couple of pulses too, that got it all mixed really well ????

    I doubled the recipe and used an oven bag to marinate in, this is Easter dinner ????????

  41. You suggested ginger ale or apple cider as an alternative to beer, Would apple cider vinegar work as well? Also, what was the results using the alternative? Any difference in taste?

    • I’ve not tried apple cider vinegar and am not sure it would taste as it should, Willie. I believe you will have better results using one of the substitutes I list if you don’t want to use beer. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

  42. Had some friends coming for dinner rather last minute. My buddy is a gril master and always makes the best chicken and ribs on the bbq. I didnt want to just make some plane burgers as i tend to do so i looked up this marinade to make some chicken. Well it was awesome. Chicken was so juicy and tender. Along with some double backed bacon and cheese potatoes my last minute dinner was a hit

  43. Can I use this marinade on ribs?

  44. Really easy recipe. It’s my go to for sure. For the beer, I used Abita Big Easy IPA and it turned out great. May try a darker ale next time. 

  45. Can, may I deep fry the chicken?

  46. I tried this recipe the other night and it was phenomenal! It will definitely become a regular favourite. As we like it hot, added a bit more spice, marinaded for two hours, the chicken breasts were fantastic. I have already shared with others. Thank you so much Robyn!

  47. I’ve marinated and grilled a LOT of chicken in my life, and this is absolutely the BEST!! I used chicken breasts, which often are dry and tasteless when grilled, but this was wonderful – no need to add a thing when removed from the grill. The flavor goes well with any side dish, and it’s delicious in a salad with any additions. My favorite is feta, cranberries, toasted almonds and a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. Also, with wasabi soy walnuts, crispy noodles and sesame ginger dressing.

  48. I don’t like the taste of beer,so i would try the gingerale,will the taste be as good as using beer?

  49. Will sprite work as a substitute?

    • I’ve not used Sprite before in this recipe, so I am not sure how it tastes in it. I’m wondering if it might be a tad to sweet, but haven’t tried it. If you try, let me know how it tastes. Thanks!

  50. Thank you so much for sharing this grilling-mate recipe! I can’t see myself grilling chicken without it!

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