Best Chicken Marinade Recipe – An easy chicken marinade that comes together in minutes for the best grilled chicken or baked chicken you’ve ever tasted!

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 this simple grilled chicken marinade that I quickly throw together when grilling 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 marinade for the best grilled chicken I’ve ever had!

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…so 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 recipe in with my grilled chicken legs recipe that I shared a long time ago. It makes such juicy, delicious grilled chicken breasts and works for baked chicken too! Since I have requests for this recipe so often, I thought it deserved it’s own little spot in the world.

How to Make It

To make this, you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Cumin
  • paprika
  • cayenne
  • garlic
  • onion
  • fresh parsley
  • beer, ginger ale, apple cider (not apple cider vinegar), 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. Then 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?

Yes! Here are the steps.

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 seal the container. 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. After it’s thawed, then remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Finally, 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!

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!

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. 
4.82 from 123 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time10 mins
Chilling Time1 hr
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 2 cups
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
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.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #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.

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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630 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. I use this site a lot great recipes. I pulled a chocolate cake and chocolate butter cream frosting recipe that is really good. I also pulled a white cake and butter cream frosting recipe that is also great. I copied this chicken marinade recipe to try I am sure it will be great.

    1. The chocolate cake is beyond wonderful. I eat gluten free due to allergies, but have taken it to 4-5 events. Most of the time alcohol is involved. The boiling water makes it a very moist cake. At first I wasn’t as convinced, due to some drinking. However, took it to a birthday party last week. 5 people ate half that cake. Also use the butter cream frosting – it was a last minute party, so I didn’t have time to soften the butter. Using the microwave melted it a bit more than I’d like and i needed to add a little more powder sugar. still tasted great. =) Can’t wait to try the chicken tonight. No time to grill it, but going to bake it and hope it’s as awesome.

  2. This is now my default recipe for grilling chicken! I bought a small grill to fool around with, and this was my second receipe. I do add all little extra garlic and salt because I don’t use sauce on it, but the way it melts in your mouth should be a sin. Thanks so much

      1. Hi Nadia,
        I would not suggest using apple cider vinegar as a substitute in this recipe. I’ve tested apple cider as a substitute for the beer in the recipe and it tastes delicious! Thanks!

  3. Outstanding! I used shocktop Belgian wheat and it was so good!! I could literally drink this marinade. Bravo.

  4. Hi there, sorry if this is a stupid question but what do you do with the marinade juices? Do you throw then away or cook them with the chicken? Thanks. 

  5. I want to try this. Can you make it with boneless chicken thighs? I dont like bone in chicken. Also can i eliminate the cumin. I dont like it

  6. I did make the recipe altho i used Cidar Vinegar. Instead of beer and it came out marvelous Thank you for sharing

    1. One of the beers she suggested was Corona. We sometimes have Redds Apple Ale on hand and I think we’ll try it with that! 

    1. im pretty sure she said corona but maybe even a rich stout or porter might go really niceley giving a dark caramel cook to it, Its not rocket science at the end of the day

  7. Just made this marinade, it’s in the fridge waiting to be grilled later. I followed the recipe exactly but it looks a lot lighter in color than in your pictures. Did I do something wrong? Well I hope it still tastes as good first time trying it and grilling for friends tonight. So we will see. I did use ginger ale instead of beer. But beer and g ale are similar in color so I’m not sure what happened. Anyone else have this happen to them? Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I am having the same issue. It’s lighter in colour and also is very watery looking, not thick like the pictures. How did yours turn out?

    2. Hi Jessica,
      It may be a bit lighter from the ginger ale as some beers are deeper in color. We aren’t beer drinkers, but do like it for this marinade, but some of them are darker than others and make the marinade a shade different.
      It should still be delicious. I hope you enjoyed it! xo

  8. Tried the recipe but air fried instead and the taste is awesome with the chicken skin as crispy as the pork skin.

  9. This chicken came out amazing!!!!! I added some curry powder and turmeric because we love those two spices in our house, but I followed everything else exactly as the recipe stated. My 3 year old is so picky and she devoured the chicken. It was so relieving watching her ea5 with such joy. Thank you for that!!! I did marinate for 48 hourse and I’m so glad I did because the chicken was off the bone tender. 

     I used split chicken breast because it was on sale for super cheap! I cooked it covered for an hour at 350, then uncovered and toasted/broiled to crisp up the skin for 5-10 minutes.

    This recipe is such a hit and so easy.

    I have strip steaks marinating in the same recipe and I’m dying to see how it turns out. 

  10. I prefer to use fresh ingredients but I made this recipe last minute and I didn’t have fresh parsley so I used dried. I was also only able to marinate the chicken for a little over an hour. I was amazed at how good it was! I can’t imagine how good it will be when I’m able to follow the directions completely. I will definitely be making this again!

  11. Great marinade! Made it for boneless chicken breasts…forgot to add the avocado last minute, but it was great! Compliments from guests about how tender the chicken was!

  12. I just made this marinade and feel that it’s very thin, not like the picture at all……it’s not sticking to the chicken. Is this normal? I used 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup Corona. I’m worried it’s not going to work.

    1. Hi Jenn,
      I’m sorry your marinade didn’t turn out – but the issue is most likely that you mistakenly used an ingredient not in the recipe. The substitutes for beer are apple cider or ginger ale – not apple cider vinegar as you mentioned using. I’ve not tried it with ACV and I’m sure the taste will be different. I hope you try it again as it is truly delicious! Thanks!

      1. Actually I followed the recipe exactly and mine is just as thin and watery. I wonder if it’s the type of olive oil. I used extra light. 

  13. My boys loved it, too. My husband called it “awesome” and “restaurant-worthy.” I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half or thirds for more marinade-penetration) and had a few hours to marinate. I will definitely make this again, trying to plan ahead for overnight marinating. Thanks for a great recipe!

  14. Absalutly excellent chicken. It came of the grill moist and tender. Beer made it sweet but it had a nice kick in there as well definetly makin this again.

  15. Omg! This was a delicious marinade, I used a smoked paprika and corona-as Rachel Ray would say YUM -O! Will use this again and again and again.

  16. Thanks for an awesome recipe!  I’ve tried it at least 7 times since last summer.  
    I’m trying recipe with chicken wings for a Church event tomorrow.  I’m using extra cayenne pepper for spicy wings.

  17. This is the best marinade I have found for BBQ chicken breasts. We had to cater for a gluten free person so GF beer used. Easy to make, but due to lack of Cayenne pepper in cupboard I substituted chilli flakes. Guests loved it. I made sure the chicken breasts were submerged in fridge container for 24 hours, them drained off liquid before cooking. Big thank you Robyn

    1. Hi Jean,
      I haven’t tried those in this marinade Jean. I don’t personally think I would add them to this particular marinade recipe and I’ve not tested them to know how it tastes. Thanks so much!

  18. It looks delicious, only thing I left out was the parsley. Have you tried to lightly smoke the chicken with the marinade? Was just curious. Think I will try that next time. Thanks for sharing with us.

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