This Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken is tender, juicy, and packed with flavor with as little as 30 minutes of marinating.
Grilled lemon rosemary chicken requires just 30 minutes of marinating time. The results are delicious, fresh, bright, and super moist grilled chicken breasts.
Plus, if you’ve never tried grilled lemon before, you are missing out! Not only does the grill lightly caramelize and sweeten the lemon. But once placed over the grilled chicken, the juices from the lemon run down the meat, moisturizing it further and enhancing the lemon and rosemary flavors even more.
Ingredients You Will Need
This grilled lemon rosemary chicken marinade contains just 6 simple ingredients including the salt and pepper. Plus chicken breasts!
- Chicken: You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. When using chicken breasts, use 3-4 large chicken breasts cut in half. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs and no need to cut them in half.
- Lemons: This is a chicken recipe where you need fresh, real lemons and not bottled lemon juice. We’ll be using the juice and zest of one lemon and slicing the second lemon for the lemon rosemary marinade for grilled chicken.
- Rosemary: Use fresh rosemary sprigs and mince the leaves for the best results. However, you could also use 2 tablespoons dried rosemary instead for the grilled lemon rosemary chicken breast.
- Garlic: Feel free to adjust the amount to personal taste.
- Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil. You could use another neutral cooking oil.
- Salt and Pepper: To season. Feel free to adjust this to your liking.
How to Make Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Here is how to make grilled lemon rosemary chicken. You can marinate the chicken for as little as 30 minutes or overnight, based on how much time you have.
Prepare the chicken: Cut each chicken breast in half to make 6-8 thinner chicken cutlets. If you use chicken thighs, there’s no need to cut them in half.
Marinate it: In a large bowl, add the chicken, lemon juice and lemon zest, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
Stir well to coat the chicken evenly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Make sure to discard any of the leftover lemon rosemary marinade for food safety reasons!
Grill the lemon rosemary chicken: Preheat your grill over medium heat (around 500F) and spray liberally with cooking spray. Add the chicken and lemon slices in a single layer to the grill and grill for 5-6 minutes, covered.
Then turn grilled lemon rosemary chicken breasts over and place one of the grilled lemon slices over each chicken piece. Cover and grill for a further 5-6 minutes.
Allow it to rest: Once cooked, serve the lemon rosemary chicken breast with the lemon slices and then enjoy with the sides of your choice!
Recipe Notes and Tips
- To avoid overcooked chicken: To avoid overcooked chicken, I recommend removing it from the heat when the internal temperature reaches 155-160F. It will increase to 165F while the chicken rests. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of chicken breast.
- Do not marinate too long: Avoid allowing the chicken to marinate for more than 24 hours. Due to the lemon in the marinade, the acid will begin to break down the meat and negatively impact the results, making it tough.
- Allow chicken to rest: Remove the grilled lemon rosemary chicken from the grill and allow it to rest on a platter, covered, for 5 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute. Then, serve and enjoy!
- If the chicken is uneven in thickness: You can use a meat mallet to lightly pound them to an even thickness.
Add-ins and Variations
- For heat: Feel free to add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the chicken marinade for some spice.
- Paprika: A little bit of smoked paprika will enhance the flavors in the lemon rosemary chicken marinade and the smokiness of the grilling method.
- Grilled vegetables: While you’re grilling the chicken, it’s the perfect time to whip up this marinade for grilled vegetables and grill some veggies with it after grilled chicken is done.
- Other extras: If you’re looking for other ingredients to pair with the lemon and rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes or kalamata olives could also work well. You could also combine the rosemary with a bit of parsley.
I love to serve this grilled lemon rosemary chicken with pita, veggie kebabs, and tzatziki sauce. However, there are several dishes you can pair it with, including:
- Salad: It pairs wonderfully with leafy salads like a Caesar salad or this lemon kale salad.
- Grains or mash: Serve with a side of quinoa, brown rice, or other grains. You could also serve it alongside quinoa salads like this Mediterranean quinoa salad.
- Potatoes: Chicken and potatoes are a classic combination. This grilled lemon chicken pairs wonderfully with mashed potatoes.
- Pasta: You can serve this chicken with warm pasta, spaghetti or as part of a tomato pasta salad. Orzo or couscous would also pair well.
- Veggie sides: Serve the chicken alongside roasted asparagus recipe or Mediterranean zucchini.
- Wraps and bread: You can also serve the chicken within healthy lettuce wraps, pita, sandwich, etc.
How to Store Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Store: Refrigerate grilled lemon rosemary chicken leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Aim to have it in the fridge within two hours!
Freeze: Cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow chicken to thaw in the refrigerator before eating or reheating.
Yes. To bake, place the chicken and lemon slices in a large baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 450F for 25-30 minutes. You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached 165F.
To pan fry, cook the chicken and lemon slices in a large preheated skillet over medium-high heat for 4-6 minutes per side, until cooked through and with the lid on.
Yes. This lemon rosemary chicken marinade recipe tastes delicious with turkey meat too though the cooking times and methods will vary.
Yes. There are a couple of ways to do so. First, you can allow the chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can add the chicken and marinade to a large Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months. No need to marinate it first as it will marinate while it thaws.
More Grilled Chicken Recipes to Try
- Greek chicken
- Grilled chicken burger
- Grilled chicken thighs
- Cilantro lime chicken
- Greek chicken kabobs
- Grilled chimichurri chicken
- Grilled chicken salad
- Chicken street tacos
- Grilled BBQ chicken breast
Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken
- Cut each chicken breast in half to make 6-8 thinner chicken cutlets.
- In a large bowl, add chicken, lemon juice + zest, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir with tongs to coat evenly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat grill on medium heat around 500 degrees F and spray with cooking spray. Add chicken and lemon slices in single layer to the grill. Discard the marinade.
- Grill for 5 – 6 minutes covered, turn chicken over and place a lemon slice grilled side up on top. Cover and grill for another 5 – 6 minutes.*
- Remove chicken from the grill onto a platter, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot, with pita, veggie kebabs and tzatziki, if desired
- Make ahead: Allow chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Freezer meal: Add the chicken and marinade to a large Ziploc/silicone bag and freeze for up to three months (will marinate while it thaws).
- Store: Refrigerate chicken covered for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Cool completely, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Chicken thighs: You can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. No need to cut them in halves though.
- Dried rosemary: Replace fresh rosemary with 2 tbsp minced dried rosemary.
- Do not marinate past 24 hours: Main ingredient in this lemon rosemary marinade is lemon juice. Acid will start breaking down the meat after a full day.
- *Grills vary: Cooking time will vary depending on the age and make/model of your grill. Use your judgement and experience with your grill.