I absolutely love grilled chicken. I could eat chicken for dinner every night of the week, and mouth watering marinated chicken is my first pick. This garlic marinade is so simple it’s almost embarrassing. With only four ingredients it gives the chicken an amazing flavor that you will love too.
Grilled Chicken in Garlic Marinade
Are you a garlic fan? I am. That’s why this simple garlic marinated grilled chicken recipe is my all-time favorite. There’s enough garlic to make a flavor impression but not overpower.
I make this recipe multiple times throughout the year, even in the winter. Yes, I’m among the snow-flying outdoor grilling crowd.
My grilled chicken marinade is really easy and only uses a few ingredients. A marinade consists of something acidic and an oil, plus herbs and flavorings. Mine uses white wine vinegar and olive oil.
You can use avocado oil or coconut oil if you like. Lemon juice and lime juice both make amazing acidics for marinades as well! I use lime juice in my Chile Lime Chicken. My easy chicken marinade recipe can be used for chicken thighs and legs too!
Tips for perfect grilled chicken breasts
- Instead of oiling the grates of my grill, which has melted a few brushes in the past, I brush a little olive oil on the dried chicken so it won’t stick. Alternatively, you can wad up some paper towel, grasp it with tongs and add some oil. Then rub the grill grates with the oiled paper towel.
- Pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness means they will all be done cooking at the same time. Place chicken between two sheets of waxed paper and pound with the flat side of a meat mallet or the back of a skillet. I make mine about an inch thick. If you make them too thin they cook too fast and may get dried out. You want juicy grilled chicken every time!
- Piercing the chicken with a fork will allow some of that marinade to seep into the meat.
- When marinating the chicken make sure you turn the breasts a few times to coat them. If you’ll be cooking the chicken right away, let the dish sit covered on the counter for 30 minutes. If you would like to marinate the chicken ahead, place the dish into the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but remove to the counter 30 minutes before placing on the grill.
- After cooking from Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I learned to pat meat dry with paper towels before cooking it. This is especially true if it is marinated. Wiping the excess marinade off before placing the breasts on the grill keeps it from burning.
- Place chicken on the grill and leave it undisturbed for 5-7 minutes before turning it over. This will give you beautiful grill marks.
- The safe internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F. Check the thickest part of the meat with a reliable meat thermometer.
Ingredients you will need:
- My recipe uses boneless skinless chicken breasts, but thighs or drumsticks will work as well.
- I use olive oil, but you can use any oil including avocado, coconut or canola.
- Fresh garlic cloves is my preference as they will be more fragrant and flavorful that the jarred type.
- White wine vinegar is the acidic that I use because it’s not as harsh as white or apple cider vinegar. Balsamic would be a fun substitution but a totally different flavor result!
- I grow fresh thyme in my garden because I use it so much. You can find it at the grocery store as well.
- Use Kosher salt or any coarse salt. If you must use table salt, use half of what the recipe directs.
- Freshly ground black pepper is so much better than “pepper dust”, which is what my dad called packaged pepper growing up!
Helpful kitchen tools:
How to Make Grilled Chicken in Garlic Marinade
- To make the marinade whisk together olive oil, garlic, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper in a 13×9 baking dish.
- Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to 1-inch thick.
- Pierce the chicken breasts with a fork and place into the marinade, turning several times to coat. Let marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat.
- Lift chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. This will keep the excess marinade from burning on the grill.
- Cook chicken undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes per side. Turn heat down to medium-low, move chicken to an area of the grill without flame. Close lid and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, about 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
- Remove from grill to a cutting board. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and Serve.
I know you are going to love this recipe! It’s my go-to grilled chicken recipe and perfect for summer, or any time of the year. You can cook this in a grill pan too!
Leftover ideas for grilled chicken
I will often double this recipe so I purposely have leftovers! Here are several ways that I enjoy this the next day and beyond:
- Key West Grilled Chicken Salad
- Chicken Salad with Grapes
- Mixed into this Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad, sliced thin on a sandwich with mayo and veggies, or tossed into a bowl of Sopa de Fideos.
If you’re dong more grilling this summer (who isn’t?) be sure to try my grilled shrimp too!
Grilled Chicken in Garlic Marinade
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- 24 ounces bonesless skinless chicken breasts about 4 breasts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for grates
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- To make the marinade whisk together olive oil, garlic, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper in a 13x9 baking dish.
- Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to 1-inch thick. Pierce the chicken breasts with a fork.
- Add the chicken to the marinade and turn several times to coat. Let marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat.
- Lift chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade.
- Cook chicken undisturbed for 5 to 7 minutes per side. Turn heat down to medium-low, move chicken to an area of the grill without flame. Close lid and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 165 F, about 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
- Remove from grill to a cutting board. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
This recipe was originally published here on November 3, 2009
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Jess K says
Love how simple, yet delish, this chicken sounds! Perfect for Summer, pinned!
That sounds good Kim! I have made chicken on a stick yes, so yummy!
Hi!Thank you for sharing all the recipes, everything looks really good. We use the grill in the winter too. I was wondering how if you cook a turkey then cut it up and slather some bbq on it and throw it on the grill with some cheddar muffins or potatoes like you did do you think that would be good? It sounds good. I havnt tried it yet. Have you made the chicken on the stick with veggies? sillshill.blogspot.com
Grilled potatoes sound yummy. Man, that snow scares me.
Oh goodness look at all that snow! We shovel a path to our grill too…but this is urging me to get out there while it is still "warm"!
You know what? I totally love grilling in the snow, too! Just something about standing over the grill with the delicious smokey smells all around and the chilly air and whit all around!! This sounds awesome.
MMmmm.. two of my favorite words.. Garlic and potatoes. Yum. It's 79 degrees here in CA, so BBQ sounds wonderful. I never thought about drying off the marinade. Thank you for the tip.
Grilling in the winter is great, cause then it's not so hot that you sweat just making dinner! This sounds yummy.
Tiffiny Felix says
Yay for year-round grilling!! :)
Nutmeg Nanny says
I love grilling in the winter! The best part about grill cooking is the easy cleanup. I'm a big fan of having to clean very little after stuffing my face :) Also this marinde looks great! What could be better than grilled chicken and potaotes…yum :)
Yummo! Looks delicious! Some of my happiest memories with my kids are of cooking Chinese food out on the grill in the snow together, because our power was off due to inclement weather!
Barbara Bakes says
I like to use my grill year round too! Luckily I have a covered patio! The recipe sounds great!
The recipe looks great and i love the tips…we also love your snow picture, we agree about the shovel.