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. 
4.81 from 121 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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613 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. ThIs was so good, my 9 year old raved about it to Grandma! I cook a lot so she’s not very picky but this chicken she loved. Used Founders Lager, and have a second dinner marinating now with ginger ale for tonight. Question, though, when you grill have you added BBQ sauce too? I didn’t but was wondering if it would be good or not? And, leftovers were dry, daughter didn’t like so I reserved some marinade this morning to use on leftovers heating.

    1. Hi Denise,
      I’m so happy you and your daughter enjoyed this! It’s one of our family favorites! I’ve not used it and added other bbq sauce just because we love the flavor the marinade gives it. Thanks so much! xo

    1. Hi Holly,
      I give a couple of substitutions in the recipe notes that have worked well for me – ginger ale or apple cider (not apple cider vinegar).

  2. The recipe sounds delicious. Thanks. The apple cider version appeals to me. I love barbecued foods, but at age 56, I now love quickly and easy more! So I don’t have a grill. I used to cook all my chicken recipes by baking chicken thighs in a 9×9 pan half way through, pouring off the fat/juices, then pouring on a homemade sauce or marinade recipe directly into the pan, over thea chicken. Then finish baking it and serving over Brown rice with a green vegetable. Saves the time and steps of marinating in a bag. The only problem was having to clean the oven! Due to back pain, I need to make cooking even easier and faster, so now I microwave the chicken thighs in a covered Corningware casserole, pour off the grease, then pour a marinade over the chicken and microwave a few more minutes. It comes out so moist and delicious. From the time I open the chicken package and remove the chicken with a fork into the casserole dish, until done, it’s 15 – 20 minutes, and only a fork and the casserole dish to wash. Plus the rice/veg pot, and my plate and utensils.
    I’m going to try your marinade. I bet it will be delicious. Thank you.

  3. I’ve made your recipe 3 times now. Seems to work well with whatever I pop open 😊. So far Hard Cider, belgain ale, and tonight sprite! Awesome every time. Thanks

  4. Absolutely w/o a doubt, the best Grilled Chicken Marinade I’ve ever tried! I allowed the chicken to marinade a Min of 8hrs. The seasoning was flat out perfect! This will always be my GO TO MARINDE for Grilled Chicken!!!
    Thx a lot,

    1. I added 2 bay leaves to the marinade, and used some fancy apple juice from Kroger. This recipe is excellent. I definitely thought I had overcooked the chicken because I was trying to do too much at once but this recipe made the chicken so forgiving and tender. My girlfriend said it is her favorite!

      I’m going to experiment with different combos of apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and sparkling or hard apple cider and I will report back.

  5. Hi, when you say chopped onion, do you mean an actual onion chopped up? Or would it be minced onion or onion powder that you get in the spice aisle?

    Thank you

      1. Hi Tumi,
        If you can start over before adding to your chicken, I would do that. I’m not sure of the results using apple cider vinegar. I do use apple cider sometimes instead of the beer. Hope this helps. Thanks!

  6. I made this marinade tonight and marinated the chicken strips in it for an hour. It was delicious but overnight would have been even better!

  7. I use this recipe for my chicken pieces I use in my chicken wraps – the best ever. Making some tonight for Friday night wraps 😁

  8. Wonderful recipe Robyn, your marinade is simple and fun to make. I’m 63 years old and really enjoy grilling year round.  While looking for a new marinade to try I saw yours and I must say I’m very glad I did, it’s so delicious! I have made this recipe lots of times and wanted to thank you for sharing it.  My family and friends never turn down a cookout invite when I tell them it’s chicken:-)

  9. Could you bake this recipe? I need to get around 8 whole chickens done that will be served rewarmed so grilling isn’t really an option

  10. Thank you for posting. Family challenged me to do grilled chicken breast strips for wraps through the week. This recipe is a hit, alcohol cooks off of course but what it does for the flavour…! I use a potent Craft India Pale Ale to help penetrate the meat. Grilled over charcoal, it’s amazing. 🍻

    1. Must add I’ve started using cilantro instead of parsley and a snap of fresh lemon juice or lemon pepper seasoning, so yummy. 🍻

  11. I am making this recipe today, but not grilling it how long would i need to bake it for and what temperature please ? 
    thank you. 

  12. I made this grilled chicken last night.. It was the BEST chicken I have ever tried… I ran out of beer at home, so I skipped that ingredient… My husband and son just loved it & have asked me to make this again next week! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Wish you all the best!

  13. Hi,I don’t have a grill but I would love to bake it using your marinade recipe.

    Any idea,How would I bake it in the oven?

  14. This marinade was absolutely delicious!!  We only were able to marinade the chicken for probably 3-4 hours and it came out delicious!  My thoughts on this recipe is that you should patent it and then dry your onions and garlic, add the other dry ingredients and market it.  All you would need to do is add the olive oil and beer!  I know fresh is best, but if you are in a hurry, you could use this in a ‘PINCH’!!😘

  15. Have this marinating in the fridge! I’ve used chicken fillets instead. Can I cook it in the sauce in the oven??… I’m going to serve with fluffy rice.

  16. I have my chicken in your marinade for tonight’s dinner. I was wondering if you have ever tried putting honey or maple syrup in your marinade? I almost did it but wanted to try your exact recipe the first time at least. Just curious. Can’t wait to eat the chicken tonight.


    1. I am excited you are giving this recipe a try, Carla! It’s a definite favorite in our house! I always make it according to my recipe and have fantastic results. I hope you enjoy it too! xo

  17. Crazy question but I am wondering if I’m misreading. That seems like a very small amount of spices/seasoning in a large amount of liquid. I’m not a very experienced cooker- am I nuts?

      1. Sounds good – I didn’t mean any disrespect. If you were going to sub onion powder for the diced onions, do you have an amount you’d recommend?

  18. Hi Robyn,

    Thank you for posting this! I added this marinade to a double match of wings, and I can’t wait to cook them tonight for dinner! They’ve been marinating since yesterday at 6pm.

    Question, and I may have just missed it, do you have a specific grill temp range to cook these at?

  19. This recipe is amazing! I’ve made it tons of times. Sometimes I also add cilantro/lime/chili powder/chopped jalapeno. I almost always add citrus – lemon or lime. Add any beer that has been sitting in your fridge!

    When prepping all the products for it I’ll often double/triple the recipe and toss and freeze until a later date. It works really well.

    10/10 recommend!

    1. Hi Jackie,
      The alcohol from the beer cooks off when cooking the chicken, but if you’d rather not use beer, I give other substitutes you can use. All make this delicious – hope you enjoy it! xo

  20. I love every recipe of yours I have tried and I have tried a bunch. I have looked, but I cannot find an app for Add A Pinch. I would like to have your recipes in one place and not have to save to PinIt. I lose track of them and spend too much time trying to remember where I saved it.

    1. Hi Marypat,
      After following the chicken marinade recipe and instructions, you can then grill as you normally grill your chicken.
      If you decide to bake the chicken, you can certainly do so after using this marinade. My Simple Chicken Breast recipe instructions will tell you how long and what temp to bake it. But if you use this to bake the chicken breasts after using the marinade recipe, don’t add the ingredients (olive oil, salt, pepper, etc) from the Simple Baked Chicken Breasts recipe – just use the time and temp.
      I hope you enjoy the marinade! It’s so delicious! Thanks! xo

  21. Made it tonight exactly as written, but with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice – right off our tree – instead of apple juice. Added a little sugar to offset the tangy grapefruit. Whole family loved it! Great recipe – thank you!!

  22. I can’t wait to try this now that it’s getting warmer. I do have a question, will I be able to substitute kosher salt instead of the sea salt? 

  23. great recipe! I marinated chicken over night for the grill and the flavor was mellow and the chicken was so juicy. Have given out the recipe twice already. TY

    1. Quinn,
      If you are asking if you can marinate chicken in this marinade and then cook the chicken in the air fryer, yes, you can. Hope you enjoy the marinade!

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