The Best Chicken Marinade Recipe

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4.97 from 165 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 165 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.

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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.

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Recipe Review




752 Comments

  1. Brad Voigt says:

    l have used this marinade recipe several times now. Absolutely the best chicken ever on the Weber charcoal kettle !!!
    Thank you Robyn

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks, Brad, for your tip. I’m happy this marinade always works well with your chicken.

  2. Iby says:

    Hi Robyn.
    I would like to try out this marinade but before that , I would like to know if I could use packed apple juice instead of fresh apple juice?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Iby, I use bottled apple juice sometimes when I make this marinade so you don’t need fresh apple juice. I hope this helps.

  3. Betty Moore says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much! I did it with bone in chicken thighs and next I’m going to make wings with it! Soooo yummy! I bet it would also be great to marinate a pork tenderloin as well.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Betty, I have used this marinade with pork and it was delicious. Hope you enjoy it with the pork, too. Thanks!

  4. Bethany says:

    Do you think ginger beer would work?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I haven’t tried this with ginger beer, Bethany, but someone else commented that she did and her family loved it.

  5. Fathima Seedat says:

    Sound divine, am always looking out for new chicken marinades,,please advise what temperature oven to bake in and approximately the time in minutes, thanks

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      You’ll want to use the time and temperatures specific for the chicken recipe you are preparing. This recipe is simply for the marinade.

  6. Ruperto Treviño jr says:

    Ok. You said 1 1/2 of beer, apple cider and ginger ale. Is that half beer half ginger ale and half apple cider ??? Or 1 1/2 of each ??

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Ruperto, it’s 1 1/2 cups beer, ginger ale, apple cider, or apple juice. You just choose which one you want to use, not all of them. Hope you enjoy!

  7. Cici says:

    5 stars
    Tried it this weekend and everyone loved it. Will make this over and over again.

  8. jonathan says:

    Have just grabbed an idea that l had never thought of, using beer in marinade. I’m looking forward to try it soon

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Hope you enjoy the chicken, Jonathan!

  9. Susan Gruzinski says:

    This marinade was absolutely delicious! I will definitely use it again and again. I will pass it on to friends and family for sure. Hats off to the Chef!!

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      So glad this marinade worked so well for you, Susan. Thanks!

  10. AAnn says:

    Am I missing something? Checking the recipe several times I could not find any quantities listed for the I ingredients so I winged it and hope for the best. Please give us some quantities or tell me where I can find them. Ann

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Ann, I’m not sure where you are looking but the amount of each ingredient is listed under Ingredients in the recipe. Example: the first two ingredients – 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt.

    2. Sarah says:

      Key ingredient amount is missing…HOW MUCH CHICKE ???

    3. Robyn Stone says:

      Sarah, this recipe is just for the marinade. As stated in the Notes section, the recipe is best for about 5 pounds of chicken.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.