Italian Chicken Marinade

This Italian Chicken Marinade is the most delicious marinade recipe! It uses pantry ingredients and comes together in less than 5 minutes – you’ll never purchase storebought Italian marinade again! Make this easy Italian grilled chicken ahead of time to use in everything from salads to wraps.

italian chicken marinade recipe

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Before learning to cook, one of my go-to summer recipes was to marinate chicken breasts in store-bought Italian dressing and then, after a couple of hours, throw it on the grill. It was easy, and everyone loved it.

But then I read the salad dressing label and found out that the store-bought Italian dressing I was using was filled with processed sugar and many ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce. So, I started to make homemade Italian dressing to use as a chicken marinade. I don’t want to brag, but this might be the tastiest Italian chicken marinade you’ll ever try.

Reasons you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy marinade – All you need to do is put all of the ingredients into a mason jar, place the lid on, and shake. Of course, you can whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl too.
  • Clean ingredients – No processed ingredients in this Italian dressing chicken marinade recipe! This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and can work for the keto, Whole30, and Paleo lifestyle if you leave the honey out. 
  • It doubles as a salad dressing – I use this marinade on salads all the time.
  • It can be made ahead of time – There are a few different ways to have this marinade or the chicken ready in advance for quick meals. I’ll go over these meal prep tips below.

Ingredients

The ingredients to make an italian marinade for grilled chicken

Extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar – the foundation to an Italian marinade. Just like with all recipes, the higher quality the ingredients, the better tasting the finished product.

Garlic cloves – you can also use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, but I love the fresh garlic. 

Italian seasoning – You can also use a mix of dried oregano and basil if you’re out.

Onion powder – this adds more flavor to the marinade.

Honey – Many homemade Italian chicken marinade recipes don’t call for a sweetener. Still, I feel the touch of honey balances out the acidity of the vinegar and brings together the rest of the ingredients. 

Red pepper flakes – this gives the marinade a zesty Italian vibe. If you want it spicier, then add more red pepper flakes.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts – Any chicken cut will work, but I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts to keep the saturated fat low.

FAQs

How long do you marinate chicken?

I recommend marinating the chicken breast for at least 2-3 hours, preferably 8-12 hours but no longer than 24 hours for the best flavor.

What is the shortest time to marinate chicken?

The minimum amount of time I recommend to marinate chicken is 30 minutes. However, I highly recommend a minimum time of 2-3 hours to experience the best flavor. So, it’s best to plan ahead when making any grilled chicken recipe.

Do you salt chicken before marinating?

No, this marinade includes salt and provides plenty of flavor to the chicken.

What happens if you marinate the chicken too long?

I try not to marinate the chicken longer than 24 hours, especially when it has a vinegar base or uses lemon juice. The acidity can change the muscle fibers and cause them to get rubbery and tough. 

Chicken can also get mushy if it sits in the marinade for too long.

How long to grill chicken for?

The amount of time to grill a boneless skinless chicken breast depends on the thickness. In general, I grill a chicken breast on high heat for 5-6 minutes on each side. The chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

two pieces of grilled chicken on a plate

Cooking Tips

You can bake the Italian marinated chicken breasts in the oven – Bake in a 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Keep in mind that you won’t get the same grill flavor or grill marks, but the chicken will still be delicious.

You can use bone-in chicken breasts or chicken thighs – Any cut of chicken will work with this marinade; just adjust the cooking time depending on the amount. Bone-in chicken may or may not take a little longer to reach temperature.

Pound out the chicken breasts to ½ inch thickness – You can do this using a meat mallet or rolling pin. This helps the chicken to cook evenly and in less time.

Leave out the sugar – if you want this Italian dressing chicken marinade to be Whole30, keto, or paleo compliant, then leave out the honey. The flavor will be more acidic but still tasty.

Use white or red vinegar – You can use these kinds of vinegar interchangeably in this marinade.

Don’t push down on the chicken as it cooks – Pushing down on the chicken forces the juices out, resulting in dry chicken. Along that same line, let the chicken rest for 3-5 minutes before cutting it; this helps seal the juices to create a juicy grilled chicken breast.

Supplies

How to make Italian Chicken Marinade

step by step collage showing you exactly how to make italian chicken marinade and how to grill the chicken breasts.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the Italian dressing chicken marinade into a 16-ounce mason jar and shake to mix. You can also whisk everything together in a medium bowl.
  • Place chicken into a large Ziploc bag or glass meal prep container, and pour the marinade on top. Let the chicken marinate for at least an 30 minutes but if you can try to marinate it at least 2-3 hours or, even better, overnight.
  • Cook the chicken on a hot grill over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165º. Discard the marinade.

What to serve with it?

Honestly, this grilled chicken recipe goes great with just about anything.

These are my favorite summer salads to serve with it.

You can also enjoy this grilled chicken:

  • In a wrap or on a sandwich.
  • On top of a bowl of pasta.
  • With a side of rice or roasted potatoes and veggies
strips of grilled chicken on top of a salad.

How to Store the Recipe

There are three ways to store and make ahead grilled chicken in Italian marinade.

  1. You can marinate the chicken twenty-four hours ahead of time. Just put the chicken in a ziplock bag or glass container and stick it in the refrigerator.
  2. You can freeze the chicken in the marinade ahead of time. Take it out about 1-2 days before you’re going to cook it on the grill and let it thaw in the refrigerator.
  3. You can grill a bunch of this chicken ahead of time and use it on salads all week. Or freeze the grilled chicken into strips to throw on salads or use in wraps.
Italian chicken marinade recipe

Italian Chicken Marinade

This Italian Chicken Marinade is the most delicious marinade recipe! It uses pantry ingredients and comes together in less than 5 minutes – you’ll never purchase storebought Italian marinade again! Make this easy Italian grilled chicken ahead of time to use in everything from salads to wraps.

Print Pin Rate

Course: dinner, dinner recipe, Grill recipes

Cuisine: American, Italian

Keyword: Italian chicken marinade, italian dressing chicken marinade

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Calories: 336kcal

Author: Organize Yourself Skinny

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 teaspoons melted honey
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts 3-4 chicken breasts

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, or mason jar, combine olive oil through honey and mix well.

  • Using a meat mallot or rolling pin pound out the chicken breasts until they are about 1/2 inch thickness.

  • Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag or glass container and pour on the marinade. Store any unused marinade in a glass container or mason jar.

  • Cook the chicken on a hot grill over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165º. Discard unused marinade.

  • Serve with your favorite salad, vegetables, or potatoes.

Notes

How to Store the Recipe There are three ways to store and make ahead grilled chicken in Italian marinade.

  1. You can marinate the chicken twenty-four hours ahead of time. Just put the chicken in a ziplock bag or glass container and stick it in the refrigerator.
  2. You can freeze the chicken in the marinade ahead of time. Take it out about 1-2 days before you’re going to cook it on the grill and let it thaw in the refrigerator.
  3. You can grill a bunch of this chicken ahead of time and use it on salads all week. Or freeze the grilled chicken into strips to throw on salads or use in wraps.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 259mg | Sugar: 4g

Other Grilled Chicken Marinades

Have you tried this Italian Chicken Marinade recipe yet? If so, I’d love for you to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. We all learn from each other’s experiences. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture on Instagram and tag it #organizeyourselfskinny. I can’t wait to see it.

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