This Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken is tender, juicy, and packed with flavor with as little as 30 minutes of marinating. Best of all, this can be baked, too, for delicious grilled rosemary chicken breast year-round! Plus, it’s gluten-free and low-carb!
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Flavorful Grilled Lemon Rosemary Chicken
My mom and grandma have always said that chicken breast was the driest part of the chicken. But, when cooked properly, it can be lean, tender, and juicy- like this oven-baked chicken breast, chicken breast with tomatoes and garlic, Instant Pot chicken breast from raw (or frozen!), air fryer chicken breast, and, of course, this grilled lemon rosemary chicken.
Let’s be honest, a good marinade and the right cooking method make all the difference! I mean, just try coconut lime grilled chicken thighs. In fact, I love marinated chicken so much that I’ve shared a list of my top 5 simple chicken marinades – so you’ll have flavor-packed, juicy results every single time!
Getting back to the lemon rosemary marinade for grilled chicken, though, it requires just 30 minutes of marinating time but can be left for up to 24 hours for super flavorful results. The results are so delicious, too – fresh, bright, and super moist.
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.
There are several ways to enjoy the grilled rosemary chicken breast, too. While I love serving it up with a leafy salad, pita, and tzatziki for a light lunch, you can also enjoy it with other healthy grilled sides like this grilled zucchini, green beans, or asparagus. Read below for more serving suggestions!
Why This Simple Recipe Works?
- The lemon rosemary chicken marinade recipe contains just 6 ingredients (including the salt and pepper!) and is made up of largely pantry basics!
- When grilled, the lemon becomes caramelized and sweet. When combined with the rosemary and garlic marinade, you have a refreshing, herby, bright, and flavorful grilled chicken!
- You can marinate this lemon rosemary chicken for as little as 30 minutes or overnight, based on how much time you have!
- This chicken dish is low-carb, gluten-free, and keto-friendly!
- If it’s not grilling weather, no problem! You can also pan-fry or bake the chicken too!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken: You can use chicken breast or thighs. When using chicken breasts, use 3-4 medium-to-large breasts cut in half. I used boneless and skinless. You could also use boneless skinless chicken thighs (no need to cut them in half).
- Lemons: This is a recipe where you need fresh, real lemons (not bottled lemon juice)- preferably organic and unwaxed. We’ll be using the juice and zest of one and slicing the second 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 tbsp dried rosemary instead for the grilled 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 & Pepper: To season. Feel free to adjust this to your liking.
I also used some cooking spray (Misto) for the grill. Though you could use a little extra oil instead.
Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on recipe add-ins and variations!
How to Make Lemon and Rosemary Chicken
- 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 container, add the chicken, lemon juice and 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 – up to 24 hours. Make sure to discard any of the leftover lemon rosemary marinade for food safety reasons!
You could make a little extra lemon rosemary marinade for the grilled chicken or save some of it to one side to baste the chicken with while grilling.
- 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 the chicken over and place one of the grilled lemon slices over each chicken piece. Cover and grill for a further 5-6 minutes.
If you want to grill green beans at the same time, you can add them to a grill vegetable basket and grill for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
- Allow it to rest: Once cooked, serve the healthy 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 make sure the chicken is cooked through, you can use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature has reached 165F. However, note that barbecue grills may all vary slightly based on the age and model. For that reason, the cooking time may vary.
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. This is editable tip block. Add content here
- Marinating the chicken: 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/ cooking it like shrimp ceviche).
- Allow it 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 Recipe Variations
- For heat: Feel free to add a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes to the marinade for some spice.
- Paprika: A little bit of smoked paprika will enhance the flavors in the lemon rosemary 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 as a side like grilled green beans, zucchini, lettuce salad, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, leek, etc.
- 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.
You sure can – there’s no reason to have to rely on good weather to enjoy this healthy rosemary chicken dish.
To Bake: Place the chicken, marinade, and lemon slices in a large, lightly oiled baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 450F/230C for between 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 pre-heated skillet with a bit of oil over medium-high heat and cook for 4-6 minutes per side until cooked through with the lid on.
You sure can, this lemon rosemary chicken marinade recipe tastes delicious with turkey meat, too, though the cooking times and methods will vary.
I love to serve this lemon rosemary chicken with pita, veggie kebabs, and Green yogurt tzatziki sauce, pictured above. However, there are several dishes you can pair it with, including:
- Salad: The grilled lemon and rosemary chicken breast pairs wonderfully with leafy salads like a healthy Caesar salad or this lemon kale salad.
- Grains/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 barbeque rosemary chicken pairs wonderfully with smashed, mashed, and roasted 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 grilled veggies (mentioned above) or other veggie sides—for example, roasted asparagus, baked butternut squash, or baked zucchini sticks.
- Wraps/bread: You can also serve the chicken within a lettuce wrap, pita, sandwich, etc.
Making This Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breast in Advance
Make ahead: There are a couple of ways you can prepare this rosemary lemon chicken ahead. First, you can allow the chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can add the chicken and marinade to a large Ziploc/silicone bag and freeze for up to three months (no need to marinate first as it will marinate while it thaws).
Storing: Refrigerate the lemon garlic rosemary chicken in an airtight container for up to five days. Aim to have it in the fridge within two hours!
Freeze: Cool completely before transferring to a freezer-safe container and freezing for up to 3 months. Allow thawing in the refrigerator before eating/re-heating.
More Grilled Chicken Recipes to Try
- Grilled chicken thighs
- Grilled chicken salad
- Grilled chicken
- Greek chicken kabobs
- Grilled chimichurri chicken
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 (Greek yogurt 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 freezing 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.
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