December 8, 2022

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Cooking Is My World

Italian Chicken Marinade – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

This tasty Italian Chicken Marinade is simple and loaded with fresh and vibrant flavors. Even a short marinade time rewards you with ultra-flavorful meat!

Love easy chicken marinades? Us too! Try our all-purpose grilled chicken marinade, this citrus chicken marinade, this grilled curry chicken, or this chicken taco marinade next.

This Italian Marinade For Chicken is part of our Back-To-School Lifesavers — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients, or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series!

An Easy Italian Chicken Marinade

I debated adding this recipe to the series since marinating meat takes time and isn’t typically something you throw together 20 or 30 minutes before calling everyone to the dinner table. However, I decided it deserved a spot in the series because ultimately even a short marinating time results in fabulously flavored chicken.

It also happens to be very quick to whip together (with minimal ingredients) and doesn’t require any veggie chopping. And I can’t forget to mention it’s been a huge hit with the whole family — kiddos and adults. So here we are; Italian Dressing Chicken Marinade FTW!

Since we slice the chicken in half before marinating, the meat gets more flavorful quicker and cooks very fast (under 10 minutes in a fully pre-heated grill). Additionally, the marinade can be prepared a few hours beforehand so dinner prep really just involves throwing the meat on the grill.

How To Make Italian Marinade For Chicken

This Italian marinade for chicken is easy — you’ll be amazed how quickly it comes together!

Simply whisk together the ingredients and pour this mixture over the prepared chicken. Stash it in the fridge until you’re ready to fire up the grill.

Italian Chicken Marinade For Grilling Tips:

  • Knead the marinade into chicken. Once you’ve combined marinade and chicken, seal the bag without air and knead the mixture to evenly coat every bit of chicken.
  • Flip chicken while marinating. If you remember throughout the marinating process, flip the bag of marinating chicken onto the other side. We don’t want just one side of the chicken getting flavorful!
  • Generously oil your grill grates. I do this by rolling up a few paper towels, drenching them in oil (canola or vegetable), and using tongs, rubbing the drenched paper towels along the grill grates. This will contribute to a beautiful sear, and ensure the chicken doesn’t stick to the grates and rip off when being flipped.
  • Let the chicken rest. Tent with foil and let the chicken stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting in. This allows the juices to redistribute inside the chicken; this means juicier meat!

VARIATIONS

Italian Chicken Marinade Variations

  • Make a Lemon Italian Chicken Marinade by adding a splash up lemon juice (2 tablespoons) to the marinade.
  • Create a Spicy Italian Chicken Marinade by adding 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the marinade
  • Prepare an Italian Marinade for Chicken Thighs by replacing the chicken breasts with boneless skinless chicken thighs.

How Long To Marinade Chicken In Italian Dressing

Since there is a good amount of acid (the vinegar) in this recipe, we don’t want to marinate it beyond 8 hours. The sweet spot is 4-6 hours of marinating time. But, on the flip side, even 30 minutes of marinating the chicken is effective.

QUICK TIP

When relying on a shorter marinating time, poke a few holes using the tines of a fork into the breasts or thighs. This will help the marinade penetrate the meat for the shorter marinating time.

Serve this Italian Chicken Alongside

This chicken pairs nicely with so many different sides; here are some of our favorites:

  • Pictured in this post: the famous Jennifer Anniston Salad (with quinoa)
  • A big garden salad: Olive Garden Salad, Garden Salad, Italian Salad
  • The quickest salad recipe (from this series!): Our favorite Everyday Salad Recipe
  • Roasted veggies: Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Green Beans, or Roasted Cauliflower
  • A cooked grain like quinoa, brown rice, white rice, cauliflower rice, couscous, etc. and a nice finishing sauce (like this Italian Dressing)

QUICK TIP

If you cook a lot of chicken breasts, it might be worth the investment in a meat mallet; I use it every-time I prepare chicken breasts!

More Easy Chicken Recipes:

Italian Chicken Marinade

This tasty Italian Chicken Marinade is simple and loaded with fresh and vibrant flavors. Even a short marinade time rewards you with ultra-flavorful meat!

Italian Chicken Marinade

This tasty Italian Chicken Marinade is simple and loaded with fresh and vibrant flavors. Even a short marinade time rewards you with ultra-flavorful meat!

Instructions

  • PREP: Trim the chicken breasts of fat and slice them evenly in half widthwise. Pound pieces to an even thickness (with a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan) to ensure even grilling. Place the prepared chicken in a large resealable bag and set aside. For thighs, trim excess fat and place in a large resealable bag.

  • MARINADE: In a bowl whisk together 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp Dijon, 1-1/2 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp honey, 1-1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning, plus salt and pepper to taste (I add 1-1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper). Whisk until smooth and remove 2 tablespoons of the mixture and set aside, reserving for later.

  • COAT CHICKEN: Add the rest of the marinade to the bag with the chicken. Seal the bag and then knead with your hands to ensure all of the chicken is well coated. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 30 minutes and preferably 4-6 hours. Don’t marinate longer than 8 hours (acid from vinegar starts to dry out chicken).

  • GRILL: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F.) Generously oil the grill (I drench a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rub it over the grill grates. Don’t skip this step.)

  • GRILL CONT.: Using tongs, pick up chicken from the bag, allowing excess marinade to drip off. Place chicken flat on the grill. Grill the chicken, turning only once halfway through grilling, about 3-5 minutes per side (until the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F. and the meat is nicely charred). When the chicken is ready to flip, it should come up off the grill grates easily. (I use a sharp metal turner to scrape up and flip the chicken to the other side.)
  • BASTE: Working quickly to keep the grill lid closed as much as possible, baste the chicken with the reserved marinade after flipping. (Timing will vary based on the size of the chicken and the actual heat of the grill.)

  • REST & ENJOY: Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Allow the chicken to rest 5-10 minutes so the juices can re-distribute. Thinly slice or chop. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Chicken: Breasts or thighs will work. If using breasts be sure to follow preparation in step 1 of the recipe (cutting them in half and pounding to even thickness). If you don’t have long to marinate, pierce the chicken a few times with the tines of a fork to get the marinade to penetrate quicker. If using less than 2 pounds of chicken, reduce the salt.

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.