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.

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Recipe Review




757 Comments

  1. DIANNE YRIGOLLEN says:

    I am going to try this marinade this weekend. I will substitute the parsley with cilantro.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I hope you enjoy, Dianne.

  2. Eileen says:

    5 stars
    We love this recipe. It is a hit everywhere we take it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lidia says:

    Can I substitute basil for the parsley?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I haven’t tried that substitution, Lidia, but if you try it, let me know how you like it.

  4. Danielle williams says:

    with the beer substitute was apple juice okay to use

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Danielle, apple juice is great in this marinade. Hope you enjoy!

  5. Amanda says:

    What are the baking instructions? Cook time and temperature? Covered? I’m sorry, I didn’t see it here.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Amanda, 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.

  6. Alice says:

    Hi, Can i substitute granulated onion instead of fresh onion? Thanks.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Alice, I use chopped onion but you definitely can use granulated onion if you prefer. I hope you enjoy!

  7. Patrick says:

    Great recipe. Sadly, I only print out recipes that can fit on one page. Your format waste a lot of space causing two or more pages. Please look into a space saving format. ~Patrick.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback, Patrick. Our technical team is working on that now and the update should be ready by mid-June.

  8. cathy says:

    I’m going to try this tomorrow. when you make it with your chicken legs, do you also use a regular BBQ sauce at the end of the grilling?

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      Cathy, I don’t add BBQ sauce. Here is my Grilled Chicken Legs Recipe using the marinade. I hope you enjoy!