Mediterranean marinated grilled chicken – infused with olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, Dijon and herbs – is a go-to in our family. Delicious in a sandwich, salad, soup or over couscous.
I’ve been using variations of this chicken forever. The flavors are very similar to those you’ll find in a Greek or Middle Eastern restaurant. If you live in Toronto, think Me Va Me or Mezes. I prefer to grill the chicken – even in winter – but the broiler is a good alternative. This marinated chicken recipe is great hot or cold.
Tips for Marinated Grilled Chicken
- If you choose to marinate for a longer time to deepen flavors, stick to the lemon zest (not lemon juice). If you’re marinating for 30 minutes, feel free to substitute the zest with a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice.
- For the juiciest and most flavorful chicken, boneless thighs, with or without the skin, are best, but breasts are delicious too with the marinade.
- See mayo tip under Shortcut below.
- Most importantly, don’t overcook the chicken! An instant thermometer should read 160-165F. And let it rest for 5 minutes after cooking for super juicy chicken.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Make Kabobs: cut the raw chicken into 2 inch pieces and thread onto skewers;
- Fill a pita sandwich or salad: After cooking and resting the chicken (or even chilling), cut into smaller pieces.
- Use bone-in chicken: Marinate and grill bone-in pieces. Or bake at 400F for 35-45 minutes or until chicken registers 160-165F with an instant read thermometer.
- Add to soup: grilled marinated chicken in soup like a Vietnamese Pho or a Vegetable Wonton Soup is fantastic.
- Herbs: I use rosemary, thyme and oregano (fresh or dried). You can also try chives or green onion. Check out our Herbs – The Bare Essentials for cooking with and storing herbs.
- Toppings: Lemon wedges, tzatziki, garlic aioli, fresh chopped tomato salad, parsley or cilantro.
- I often use 1/4 cup light mayonnaise instead of the olive oil, and skip the marinating altogether. Then the whole dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes.
- This chicken can be made up to 2 days ahead. Bring to room temperature, serve cold or warm for a minute or two in the microwave.
- Alternatively, marinate the chicken a day ahead and grill just before serving.
Mediterranean-Style Marinated Chicken Recipe
- 2 lb skinless, boneless chicken (breasts or thighs) thighs are juicier/more flavorful; breast are lower fat and calories
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- garnish: lemon wedges
- 1/4 cup olive oil (mayonnaise can be used instead)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1/2 tbsp fresh)
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1/2 tbsp fresh)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1/2 tbsp fresh)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- MARINATE CHICKEN: Place thighs flat on a cutting board. With the heel of your hand, pound chicken to and even thickness (for even cooking). Put all marinade ingredients in a plastic ziploc bag or other container. Mix well to combine. Add chicken pieces. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Or marinate it for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- GRILL OR BROIL CHICKEN: Sprinkle chicken with salt. TO GRILL: Heat grill to medium high. Place chicken on grill. Grill 4-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness of the chicken. TO BROIL: Place chicken on pan lined with foil. Broil 6 inches from the broiler at the top of the oven for about 4-6 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through. An instant thermometer should read 160F. Cover loosely and let rest for 5-7 minutes before serving.
- SERVE: Serve with lemon couscous or rice if desired. I pour the juices, accumulated on the plate while chicken is resting, over the couscous (or rice) for added flavor. Squeeze some lemon juice over the chicken if desired.
Other grilled marinated chicken recipes you might like: