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. Love it. I accidentally used apple cider vinegar the first time I tried this and it turned out fine . I have started using a mixture  of vinegar and white wine. Today I added a sliced fresh jalapeño pepper to part of the mix to spice it up for my nephews’ first visit back to the Southwest after 18 months in Oregon.

  2. Thanks for publishing. BBQ chicken is my favorite so I will be using this marinade. Just me at home and I mostly scratch cook, so I may have time to make the marinade & then be delighted what I find at a Farmers Market,

    A few questions:

    1. How much marinade does this recipe make?
    2. What is the nutrition info? Didn’t see it on this recipe. Thanks.
    3. On what other meats might this go well?
    4. How long might the marinade last in the fridge BEFORE using?

    1. Hi Leslie,
      BBQ chicken is a favorite around my house, too. This makes 2 cups of marinade. I didn’t do nutritional value for this marinade since I don’t know how much of the marinade is being absorbed into the meat and it might differ with different types and amounts of meat. I have used this marinade also with pork and it was delicious. You should be able to keep this in the refrigerator up to about 4 days before using. Hope this helps and you enjoy this marinade. Thanks

  3. Going to try making this. I need clarification first. Do you use 1 1/2 cup each of all ingredients beer, ginger ale, Apple cider and apple juice? Or do you pick one from that list?

      1. Have you ever used this marinade to make grilled chicken breast? Wondering if any adjustments should be made to the marinade?

      2. Hi Ilana,
        Yes, I have used this marinade with chicken breasts. I didn’t make any adjustments to the recipe. It works best for about 5 pounds of chicken so if you have more, you might want to increase the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

  4. I’ve made this 4 times and it’s always a hit in my house. I’m marinating some for 4th of July tomorrow and am sure it will be another home run! Thanks for sharing. 

    1. Hi Jonina,
      This recipe works best with about 5 pounds of chicken. The recipe is just for the marinade. You can use it with your favorite chicken recipe. Enjoy!

    2. This is just what I was looking for. I left out the cumin and cayenne and I use a ginger ale lemonade drink. I grilled with a honey BBQ sauce at end. It was the best grilled chicken I have ever had. So moist and the mild flavor complemented the Sweet BBQ sauce. I cut the breast crosswise in hearty slices to serve. I loosely wrapped leftover breast in foil and reheated at 350. It was just as moist and tender as the day before and didn’t have that reheated meat flavor. I think it would be a good prepare ahead dish for a busy day. The grilled meat could be put in a 9×13 and heated while the remainder of the meal was being put on the table. Thank you!

  5. I am marinading my chicken right now, I used apple cider vinegar so hopefully it turns out good. Fingers crossed.

    1. Hi Colin,
      I’ve never tried basting the chicken with this marinade. I just leave the chicken in the marinade from one hour to overnight and then discard the marinade.

  6. I will be baking the chicken. so do I cover it at first and then take off the cover half way and how long to bake or grill?

  7. Trying this recipe today! Love it when I have all the ingredients on hand. Our BBQ season is short up here in southern Ontario, so I’m making the most of it! I even have fresh parsley ready in the garden 🙂

  8. Just used this recipe a few days ago for some chicken thighs and drumsticks which we grilled on the bbq grill, and my boyfriend said it was the best chicken he’s ever had IN HIS LIFE!

    So glad I found your recipe!

  9. Am I missing the part of the marinade recipe with how much of each ingredient to use? Also is it fresh garlic and onion? 

  10. Thanks! This was great! Didn’t have parsley and used Prosecco instead of beer, etc., as I had some open, and it turned out wonderfully! Will save this recipe and make again for sure!

    1. Many years ago as a new bride I tried a recipe which called for marinating pork chops in an orange juice marinade, neither my husband, our sag (who never turned up her nose at anything), or I cared for it. It was very sour! I hope this helps!

  11. I made it with beer the first time and loved it but my girlfriend can’t have wheat so I’m thinking of trying it with Somersby apple cider. Any thoughts?

  12. I was looking for an all purpose marinade and ran across your recipe. In a word….it’s AWESOME!  Moist flavorful chicken that was great for sandwiches, salads or anything else.  I typically do meal prep for the week and I am happy to have this recipe as a part of my rotation!  Thanks!  

  13. Excellent! Followed the instructions and used a white ale beer. I also sprinkled them with the sauce once on the grill. Tasty and juicy.

    1. Hi Dianne,
      This recipe is just for the marinade you put on the chicken. You will need to follow your grilled chicken recipe for the temp and how long to cook. Happy Grilling!

  14. This may be a silly question, but I often grill a whole chicken with one of the grill pans that is similar to doing “beer can chicken”—do you think I could marinate the entire chicken, and get the same flavor results, as long as I make enough marinade for the chicken?  Thanks very much.

  15. I ran out of onion so I left it out, but somehow it still came out great! I’m sure it’ll be perfect with onion. I should also mention I’m rather picky and had yet to find a chicken recipe that made me feel Wow *until now*. Thank you for sharing this! I can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  16. Hi, the recipe look amazing! I’m planning on marinading overnight for my sons birthday BBQ tomorrow.

    We’re in the UK and don’t use cups as measurements, I would normally use grams or ounces then fluid ounces for liquids, I don’t suppose you’ve got any idea what the conversion would look like? (I’m always making mistakes when trying to convert weight!). 
    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Karen,
      This recipe is just for the marinade you would use on your chicken. You will need to follow your grilled chicken or oven baked chicken recipe for the temp and how long to cook. Enjoy!

  17. Very easy and delicious! I had to substitute the cayenne pepper with 3 Tbsp mustard as our tummies can’t handle that spice. My son basted the marinade I had set aside (1/4 cu) on the chicken as it was grilling.

  18. Went bravely ahead and made this for a bbq this weekend, trusting the reviews that it would be a hit – and it sure was! The only change was I realized too late I didn’t have beer or apple juice but I did have a mango IPA. It added a nice subtle sweetness.
    The only thing I would do different next time is make more! No leftovers on this one 🙂 Thanks for sharing Robyn!

  19. This marinade recipe is the bomb!!!. I BBQ’d chicken after marinating it for 2 hours and it was the best tasting BBQ chicken I have ever had in my life… Thank you so much for sharing it

  20. is this for oven cooking or barbecue? some marinades stick to grill and flare up, and are better suited for the oven, have you tried both methods?

  21. Thanks for the recipe. I followed it to the letter with the exception of the onion and garlic in which I used my heart ( about a cup and a half of onion and 7 large cloves of garlic) for 5 pounds of spare legs i had taking up freezer space. I’ll let them get happy for 18-36 hours then sous vide for another 12 hours then finish on the hardwood grill. Wish me luck, and thanks again !!!

  22. I wish I had made more. Best, juiciest, most flavorful chicken breasts I’ve ever made. I lightly browned mine in a little butter and oil first, then convection baked at 375 for about 20 minutes. They were even juicy the next day!

  23. Have some chicken thighs in this marinade and going to smoke them tomorrow. Wanted to try something different and this recipe sounds great! Might try this as a mop sauce on a pork butt as well. Bet it goes great with pork.

    1. Sally, This recipe is just for the marinade you put on the chicken. You will need to follow whatever chicken recipe you are using for the temp and how long to cook. Hope you enjoy!

  24. I rarely cook meat (more plant-based) and was so happy to find your recipe for a camping trip tonight. I’m in charge of the chicken (kinda ironic) and wanted to make sure it’s marinated well— and this looks amazing. Appreciate it so much Robyn!

  25. Amazing! Didn’t change a thing and used a Revolver Blood & Honey for the beer portion. My new go-to chicken marinade. Thank you Robyn!

  26. Made it tonight. Used a winter ale beer. Didnt have cumin so used chili powder. Used Skinless bone in chicken thighs. Marinated for 4 hours flipping the bag per hour. This was deadly delicious. Other then the chili powder I didnt deviate and it was incredibly moist and the marinade permeated right into the meat. Winner winner chicken dinner!! Sorry

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