Greek Grilled Chicken Breast
Grilled chicken with a fabulous Chicken marinade with olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Perfect for grilling any cut of chicken or for souvlaki. Also great with pork or lamb. This is really an all purpose marinade for meat. It’s one I use all the time and not only helps tenderize the meat but adds those signature Greek flavours to your meat. It’s simple to make and grilling really couldn’t be easier with a great marinade in hand. Grilled chicken is easy to make in bulk and freeze too, making it the perfect thing to make for meal prep. Juicy grilled chicken breast is great for quick lunches or serve them for dinner tonight. Throw the leftovers on pizza, in pastas, salads, tacos or burritos, casseroles, pasta bakes - the list goes on and on!
You guys wanted more chicken breast recipes on the blog and I thought I would start with a classic - Greek style grilled chicken breast. We are still grilling outside and inside with our grill pan and this recipe works perfect with both - so really your grilling season should never have to end. Boneless chicken breasts are very lean and can dry out easily if overcooked and they often turn out dry, rubbery, and bland. The key isn’t always in the marinade although a good marinade goes a long way. Sometimes if the marinade is too acidic it could affect the texture of the chicken. If you have lemon juice in the marinade I would recommend marinating for no longer than 1-3 hours - if you are doing a long over night marinade I recommend using the zest only. More details in recipe notes below about that.
How to make grilled Greek style chicken Breasts:
Grilled chicken breasts are easy to make - these are the steps.
- Marinate - Prep the marinade (per recipe below) and let chicken marinate about 30-60 minutes or so. This adds flavor and keeps it juicy. Even 15 minutes can make a major difference in results.
- Pound - Pounding the chicken to an even thickness helps it cook more evenly on the grill so that the ends don’t dry out before the center cooks through. I skip this if the breasts are on the smaller side but for larger ones this is a must.
- Grill - Preheat grill to medium-high heat and cook chicken about 6 min per side. This seals the juices in keeping your chicken breasts nice and moist. The higher heat gives a nice sear adding the char from the barbecue that we all love so much! Make sure to clean and grease the grates before grilling.
- Use a thermometer -No matter what other careful steps you take to keep your chicken from becoming dry, NOTHING saves you if you overcook it. The best way to make sure your chicken breast is not dry is to use a instant read thermometer to test the internal temperature. I usually remove my chicken around the 155 to 160°F mark. The carryover cooking while the chicken rests will bring it to temperature and ensure it is juicy, not dry.
- Rest - No matter what kind of meat you are grilling, allowing it to rest is mandatory. Resting allows the juices to reincorporate into the chicken breast. If you cut it right away, or poke it too much to check it’s doneness while on the grill - those delicious juices will escape onto the plate.
- Chicken Breast. Chicken breast becomes deliciously tender and smoky on the grill. Plus, it’s rich in protein, vitamins, and iron. If you are using large breasts make sure to pound them so that they are even.
- Chicken Marinade. No matter which marinade you choose to use, it’s critical for creating the juiciest and most flavorful chicken breast. This Greek one includes olive oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, lemon juice and red wine vinegar.
- Toppings. Finish your grilled chicken with any of your favorite toppings. For this Greek one I love to do a lemon parsley sauce with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper. It’s such a great way to finish off the chicken.
What to Serve With Greek Chicken to Make a Meal?
Do you have a favorite side to serve with Greek chicken? Leave your recipe idea in the comments below, or here are a few to think about making too:
- 1¼-1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts 4 pieces
For the marinade
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup of olive oil
- Zest and Juice of one lemon
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- ¼ teaspoon of paprika
- 3 cloves of garlic grated or minced
- 1 small red shallot chopped finely or grated (optional)
For the lemon parsley sauce
- ¼ cup fresh parley chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of half lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk all marinade ingredients together
- Place the chicken breasts in a dish or a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over them, turning them in the marinade to ensure that they are completely coated. Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30-60 min
- Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill or grill pan to medium high heat approx 450°F. Spray the grates with nonstick cooking spray if desired. Place the chicken breasts on the grill, discard any leftover marinade. Cook the chicken breasts with lid closed for 5-6 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF when checked with a digital thermometer.
- Remove from the grill, tent with foil and let the chicken breast rest 5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to draw back into the centre of the meat.
- Mix the dressing ingredients together and drizzle them over chicken before serving the serve with feta crumbled over it with tzatziki, greek salad, and potatoes
- If you are marinating your chicken for long periods of time like all day or overnight I recommend leaving out the lemon juice but leaving the zest in the marinade. The acidity from the lemon juice essentially cooks the chicken and potentially can create a mealy or leathery texture chicken.
- How to quicken your grill time? To quicken up the grilling time you could pound your chicken breast with a meat tenderizer until its and more even thickness all around. This will help to tenderize it and will ensure that it cooks through faster and more evenly and less chance of over cooking parts of it resulting in drier ends
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs can also be used in place of chicken breasts if desired. I have not tested this recipe with bone-in chicken thighs/breasts so please use your best judgment!
- How Long Do you Cook Marinated Chicken? Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 160-165°F, and allow to rest for the juices to set. Here’s some basic cooking times to do so, but always defer to a meat thermometer to be sure:
- Bake skinless, boneless chicken breasts at 400°F for 18-22 minutes
- Grill over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
- Pan fry (depending on thickness) over medium heat for 18-22 minutes.
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.