The Best Easy Chicken Marinades

August 04, 2023

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To some people, chicken breasts are a household staple and the heart of delicious family meals. Others end up with a bone-dry bird that looks like it hit the beach without a drop of sunblock or an ounce of hydration. Before you close the book on flavorless fowl, rest assured that even lower-fat white meat like chicken breasts can be juicy and full of flavor.  

There are two secrets to cooking perfectly moist chicken. First, you want to make sure to cook your bird until it reaches a safe internal temperature (165° for breast meat), but not longer. Cooking it any more than that can result in dry, chewy chicken. Second, use a marinade before cooking to add flavor and seal in the juices.  Chicken marinades typically contain some form of oil, salt and pepper, vinegar or citrus juice, fresh or dried herbs, seasonings, and a sweetener (examples: honey, sugar, maple syrup). 

How to Marinate Chicken Breasts

Simply combine your marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir well. You can also put the marinade ingredients in a mason jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake up the mason jar. Here are the basic steps for a stress-free marinade process: 

  • First, lightly pound your chicken breasts into an even thickness with a rolling pin or mallet. This helps break up some of the muscle fibers and makes your chicken more tender.
  • Put the chicken breast in a glass container with an airtight lid, or in a resealable bag, and pour the marinade into the container.
  • Place the container in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours (the sweet spot for us is about 2-3 hours). You don’t want to leave your chicken in the marinade longer than that, or it will take on a mushy texture.

Meal prep can be time-consuming, so we've cut the chopping and shopping down by using Primal Kitchen dressings as the supporting main ingredient in our three mouthwatering chicken marinade recipes. With five ingredients or less, these simple DIY marinades come together in just a few minutes. It's that easy!

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