This is the best Balsamic Chicken Marinade you’ll ever make! Flavorful with lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and herbs, it’s an essential recipe for summer. Freeze the chicken in the marinade for extra quick dinner prep!
Chicken marinade adds so much extra flavor to your grilled poultry. Just throw the marinated chicken on the hot grill and dinner will be ready in a flash. Or bake it or cook it in the skillet! For other easy marinade recipes, see my Greek Chicken Marinade or my Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken Marinade.
We LOVE chicken for dinner around here, and especially grilled in the summer.
Now there’s no way grilled chicken turns out well unless it’s been seasoned really well. And my favorite way to season chicken is definitely with a good marinade!
Throwing some chicken on the grill and making a few salads on the side is SO easy, it absolutely makes summer dinners a breeze. Thankfully, this balsamic marinated chicken can be cooked in plenty of other ways too – in the skillet, oven or Instant Pot, just to name a few.
Marinating chicken only takes a few extra minutes, but it adds SO much extra flavor to your dinner. And the best thing: Chicken only needs to marinate for 15-30 minutes, so you don’t even need to think too far ahead.
This Balsamic Chicken Marinade
- is quick and easy to make
- can be frozen for even faster dinner prep!
- adds a ton of extra flavor to your chicken without taking a lot of extra time!
Cooking on the grill is one of our favorite things to do for easy summer meals.
But because you maybe don’t want to make a bruschetta topping every single time you want those delicious balsamic flavors… I thought I’d share the marinade recipe by itself for your dinner-making convenience 😉
How to Make a Balsamic Chicken Marinade:
Marinating chicken is the easiest thing ever!
Read on for the detailed steps, or scroll down for which chicken cuts this marinade is best for, how to freeze it and more tips to make this recipe foolproof.
► 1 Prep: Grab a freezer bag (or a glass container if you’re avoiding plastic), a measuring jug (and a pair of rubber gloves, if you’re like me and refuse to touch raw chicken 😁)
► 2 Mince Garlic: First, I like to get all knife work out of the way – which is only a clove of garlic here! I like to peel the garlic, then crush it with the side of my chef knife’s blade, then chop it up.
This is one of the chef’s knives I have! (This is an affiliate link and I earn a commission for purchases made after clicking through.)
► 3 Whisk together marinade: Add all marinade ingredients to a measuring jug, along with the garlic you just minced. Whisk it really well to combine the oil and vinegar as much as possible.
► 4 Place chicken in marinade: I will be honest, I pretty much never have the headspace (or time… or free hands, for that matter) to do anything to the chicken before marinating. I don’t puncture it, I don’t pound it, I don’t do anything. At most, I’ll cut it into strips or cubes if I’m making something like kabobs or chicken bites.
I prefer using zip-top bags to marinate chicken, or small glass containers. Just place the chicken in your dish and pour the marinade over it, then either toss the chicken pieces in the dish or close the zip log bag and shake the chicken around.
Whatever you’re using, make sure your chicken pieces are completely coated in marinate. Also make sure there’s marinade between the chicken pieces, where they stick together.
► 5 Marinate chicken: Chicken doesn’t need to marinate for long, because it generally doesn’t need any tenderizing. 15-30 minutes are enough, or you can do up to overnight.
Make sure to always cover (or zip the bag close) and refrigerate your chicken while marinating.
You can also freeze the chicken at this point (scroll down for more info!).
► 6 Cook the chicken: Remove the chicken from the marinade. Discard any excess and cook the chicken your preferred way.
Tips for this Balsamic Chicken Marinade:
- use about 2 pounds of chicken with this amount of marinade for best texture and flavor
- If you want to avoid single-use plastic, you can also marinate the chicken in a glass or stainless steel container with a lid. Just make sure the chicken is covered in marinade! You may need to double the marinade depending on the size of your container.
- You should always discard used marinade for food safety reasons, do not reuse it.
- If you’re using defrosted chicken, it is recommended you do not re-freeze it.
Which chicken cuts is this marinade for?
We mostly use this marinade for skinless, boneless chicken breast.
But it also works great on chicken thighs, wings and drumsticks.
How do you freeze marinated chicken?
Simply place the chicken in the marinade in a freezer-friendly bag or container that seals well, making sure the chicken is evenly coated.
Label your container with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months) and place in the freezer.
To defrost, place on a soup plate to catch any drips and thaw in the fridge overnight.
What to serve with balsamic marinated chicken:
We love this balsamic chicken so many ways! We mostly eat it during the summer from the grill, so my side dish ideas might reflect this a little 😉
If you have another favorite side dish, let me know in the comments so I can try it out!
Balsamic Chicken Marinade
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar optional to offset the acidity from the vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced (or more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Salt + pepper to taste
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Ziploc Bags
- Make marinade: Place all marinade ingredients in a measuring jug and whisk very well.
- Marinate chicken: Place chicken in a ziploc bag or small glass dish. Pour marinade on top, making sure all chicken pieces are covered all over. Seal dish or bag well and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to overnight.
- Cook chicken: Remove chicken from marinade, discarding any excess. Cook chicken your preferred way.Grill: Place chicken on a hot grill and grill 6-8 minutes on either sides, or until chicken is done.Skillet: Heat oil in a skillet. Add chicken and cook around minutes on either side, or until chicken is done.Oven: Place chicken in a baking dish and bake at 410°F for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is done.
- use any chicken cut – boneless thighs or wings work especially great here, too
- you can cut the chicken in strips or in pieces, or pound it, before marinating
- freeze the freshly marinated chicken for up to 3 months – defrost in the fridge overnight before using
- leftover chicken keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days, add it to salads for easy lunches!