This Greek Chicken Marinade is super easy, delicious and takes only 30 minutes to infuse the meat with flavors of the Mediterranean! Then bake, pan fry, or grill chicken for a fuss free healthy meal.
Table of contents
I am obsessed with a “quick marinade”!
I do not love boring chicken and often I do not plan meals enough ahead. This 30 minute Greek chicken marinade comes quite handy!
Once you take a bite into the tender, flavorful chicken with classic Greek flavors, you’ll be practically transported to the Mediterranean! And all of this without hours and hours of marinating.
It’s perfect to include in your healthy grill recipes during summer, and then pan fry or bake year round.
Also chili lime chicken and oven baked chicken breast are on repeat in my busy mom repertoire.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This easy Greek chicken marinade needs 5 simple ingredients, most of which are probably sitting in your pantry right now!
- Olive oil: Usually, I’d offer substitutions but this is Greek chicken! So quality extra virgin olive oil really is the best option for flavor and authenticity.
- Lemon: Will tenderize the meat quickly due to the acid, which is why a long marinade isn’t necessary. Use fresh lemon juice and optionally add zest to really amp up the flavor.
- Rosemary and oregano: I use dried herbs as they’re more concentrated in flavor and work well at coating the chicken pieces.
- Fresh garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves, not pre-packaged minced, for the best results.
- Salt and pepper: To season.
- Chicken: I recommend using chicken breast or chicken thighs for this Greek chicken marinade as these cuts have plenty of meat on to absorb it. You can use bone-in or boneless skinless chicken breasts, or use skin-on or skinless.
How to Make a Greek Chicken Marinade
This recipe plus my other easy chicken marinade recipes are all super versatile. Here is a quick run down how to make it!
Make the marinade: In a medium bowl, add chicken marinade ingredients of olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork.
Marinate the chicken: In the Greek marinade. You can do this in a shallow dish or within a Ziplock bag.
Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes up to 48 hours. The longer it marinates, the more flavorful it will be, but it tastes delicious at just 30 minutes.
Cook chicken: Remove chicken from Greek chicken marinade and discard the excess. Proceed with cooking chicken using your preferred method following the recommended cooking times.
Let chicken rest: For all methods, after cook time has elapsed, place cooked chicken into a baking dish and cover with tin foil, silicone lid or paper towel. Let rest for 5 minutes.
This step helps juices settle back into the meat and the internal temp should rise to 165 degrees F in the middle of the thickest part.
Grill, Stove, or Oven Instructions
Remember that the size of your chicken pieces, whether it includes the skin and or bone, will all affect the cooking time. For that reason, all the below methods are just guidelines and will differ.
Grill: You can use an outdoor BBQ or indoor grill to grill chicken. Preheat grill on medium-high heat (450-500 degrees F) and rub grates with oiled paper towel.
Place chicken on the grill, close the lid and grill for 8-10 minutes turning once. Do not overcook.
Bake: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rub bottom of large baking dish with oil and lay chicken breasts in a single layer.
Bake uncovered for 25 minutes for thinner pieces to 35 minutes for 2 inches thick and thicker. Or just until 150 degrees F internal temperature. Note that temperature will rise to 165 degrees F as it rests.
Stove: Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet over medium heat and swirl a bit of oil to coat. Add chicken, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until the thickest part juices run clear when poked with a knife or fork.
- Don’t reuse the marinade: Unless you boil it first. Once it’s been used to marinate any raw chicken, it will contain harmful bacteria, so it needs to be boiled if you plan to use it again.
- Don’t skip the lemon: The acid breaks down the connective tissue in meat and provides a tender bite. If you are out of lemon, try vinegar or wine.
- Containers for marinating: I prefer to marinate meat in a bowl or a shallow baking dish and cover it with plastic wrap, silicone lid or a plate. I try to stay away from Ziploc bags for environmental reasons unless I am freezing the chicken.
- All the cooking methods are for guidance only: As this recipe works well with several different chicken cuts the cooking times will vary. Just make sure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F before consuming.
What to Serve With Greek Marinated Chicken?
For a Greek inspired meal, serve with pita and my garlic hummus. Here are just a few other grain or veggie dishes that also pair well with this marinated Greek chicken.
As a freezer meal, combine the raw chicken and marinade and freeze immediately. A day before you wish to eat it, defrost the chicken in the fridge. This can take up to 24 hours and during this time, it will marinate and can be cooked once fully thawed.
- Over the grain of your choice: Such as quinoa, brown rice, cauliflower rice, buckwheat kasha, or couscous.
- With pasta: Like this tomato pasta salad or even zucchini noodles.
- Alongside vegetable sides: Like grilled zucchini.
- Enjoy it cold with salad: Like this simple traditional Greek salad.
How to Store Leftovers
Storing: Allow the chicken to cool entirely before transferring it to an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freezer: Store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before eating or reheating.
Make Ahead Freezer Tips
This dish is perfect for making ahead and meal prep! Once cooked, it can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Once prepared and mixed, the marinade will last in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Really it depends on how much time you have! For as little as 30 minutes up to 48 hours.
Yes! Adding Greek yogurt not only tenderizes the chicken practically within minutes, but it also holds the flavors of the marinade well and yields really tender chicken every single time! Use 3/4 cup to 1 cup of plain yogurt.
Yes. I have not air fried this particular chicken recipe, but it should work. Times will vary based on the size of the chicken and will need to be cooked in batches. For thighs, follow this method for air fryer chicken thighs. For chicken breasts, use this air fryer chicken breast recipe.
This amount is enough for 3 lbs. of chicken. But you can use it on 1 lb of chicken for lots of flavor.
More Easy Marinades
- Greek chicken kabobs
- Grilled lemon rosemary chicken
- Grilled chicken breast
- Cilantro lime chicken
- Chimichurri chicken
Need more ideas for chicken? Browse my collection of healthy chicken recipes for tons more ideas!
Greek Chicken Marinade
- 3 lbs chicken thighs or breasts boneless & skinless
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large lemon juice of
- 1 tbsp oregano dried
- 1 tbsp rosemary dried or fresh
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- In a medium bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork.
- Add chicken to the bowl, poking and tossing with a fork. This will allow marinade to penetrate the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 48 hours. The longer you marinate, the deeper the flavor.
- To pan fry: Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat and swirl a bit of oil to coat. Add chicken, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until the thickest part juices run clear when poked with a knife or fork.
- To grill: Preheat grill on medium-high (450-500 degrees F) and rub with oiled paper towel. Place chicken on the grill, close the lid and grill for 8-10 minutes turning once. Do not overcook.
- To bake: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rub bottom of large baking dish with oil and lay chicken breasts in a single layer. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes for thinner pieces to 35 minutes for 2 inches plus, or until 150 degrees F internal temperature.
- For all methods: Discard marinade. Make sure you let chicken rest. Place cooked chicken into a baking dish, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. This step helps juices settle back into the meat.
- Store marinade: Once prepared and mixed, the marinade will last, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Store chicken leftovers: Cool chicken and refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Freezer meal prep: Combine the raw chicken and marinade and freeze immediately. A day before you wish to eat it, defrost the chicken in the fridge. During this time, it will marinate and can be cooked once fully thawed.
- Don’t re-use the marinade: Unless you boil it first.
This chicken is soooooo good! Had it tonight with Mediterranean Quinoa Salad and some Greek yogurt, the perfect combination!
I agree! Those two recipes are brilliant together!
This was delicious! I loved the texture of the chicken; I have never baked it at such a high temperature before, and it was perfect! I didn’t know where to add the chilli flakes, so I just threw them in the marinade. Next time I would decrease the oregano and rosemary just slightly (used to plain flavours). This will be my new “go to” chicken recipe! Thank you!
That’s awesome Monique 🙂
Quick and easy. Tasty and not dry. I don’t love chicken but will make this recipe again.
Delish! Forgot to add the red pepper flakes, but still, oh, so yummy & juicy!! Thank you for sharing your awesome recipe!!!! 🙂
You are welcome Louise!
I am making this for a second time tonight. My family loved it and it was so easy!
This marinade looks and smells fantastic. I’m using a cut-up whole chicken which is now marinating in the fridge. Would you please tell me how long you think it should cook in the oven?
For 40-45 minutes. Maybe you want to remove breasts after 35 minutes and cook the rest a bit longer.:)
It came out wonderful and the 30 minutes did get that wonderful flavor! Thank you for sharing.
That is so amazing to hear! Glad you enjoyed my recipe, Dina!
Fantastic! Glad you enjoyed the recipe, Joan!
Made this today… delicious flavor & tenderness was there! Thanks Olena!
Yay. You are welcome!
This Greek chicken was so good!