This is the best Balsamic Chicken Marinade you’ll ever make! Flavorful with balsamic vinegar, garlic and Italian season, it’s perfect for BBQs and healthy dinners!
This is my favorite Balsamic Chicken Marinade with the best flavor depth from olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and, of course, balsamic vinegar.
It’s an essential recipe not only for summer, but all year long for us (it makes for a great Baked Caprese Chicken)! Whenever I buy chicken breast in bulk, I freeze some of it right in the marinade for extra quick dinner prep.
Having marinated chicken on the ready makes dinner time easier on busy weeknights – and you only need a few simple ingredients to pull it together, too!
Ingredients you’ll need
Here is a visual overview of the ingredients in the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for quantities!
- Chicken: Use any chicken cut – chicken breast is my favourite, but boneless thighs or even wings work great here, too.
- Brown sugar: Feel free to replace the brown sugar with honey or maple syrup for a natural sweetener. You can also leave out the sugar if you prefer, the marinade will be a little more tart.
- Garlic: If you don’t have any fresh garlic on hand, feel free to use ¼ teaspoon dried garlic powder instead.
- Dijon mustard: I love Dijon mustard in this recipe; but a simple yellow mustard or a whole grain mustard are great, too.
How to make Balsamic Chicken Marinade
1. Start by combining all marinade ingredients in a large measuring jug.
2. Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over it. Remove as much air from the bag as possible, then zip it closed.
As a little tip, I like to massage the marinade lightly into the chicken to make sure it’s completely covered.
3. Refrigerate the sealed bag or container for at least 15 minutes, and up to overnight.
4. Once ready to cook, remove the chicken from the bag. Discard the bag and any excess marinade. Cook the chicken your preferred way until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Rest the chicken 5 minutes before serving.
Short recipe video
- 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!
- 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.
How to 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 the bag on a plate to catch any drips and thaw in the fridge overnight.
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 ?
- Cooked pasta tossed in a little olive oil
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes
- Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad
- No Knead Homemade French Bread
- Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Caprese Cherry Tomato Salad
- Diced Tomatoes with Balsamic Vinaigrette
If you have another favorite side dish, let me know in the comments so I can try it out!
PS If you try this recipe, please leave a review in the comment section and add a star rating in the recipe card – I appreciate your feedback! Follow along on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
Balsamic Chicken Marinade
- ½ 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 (I use 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of regular table salt)
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Make marinade: Place all marinade ingredients in a measuring jug and whisk very well.
- Marinate chicken: Place chicken in a ziploc bag (or alternatively in a shallow 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 bag and any excess marinade. Cook chicken your preferred way, until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F.Grill: Place chicken on a hot grill and grill 6-8 minutes on either side, or until chicken is done.Skillet: Heat oil in a skillet. Add chicken and cook around 8-10 minutes on either side, or until chicken is done.Oven: Place chicken in a baking dish and bake at 410°F for 15-25 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 (if you’re using defrosted chicken, it is not recommend to re-freeze it).
- Leftover chicken keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days, add it to salads for easy lunches.
More recipe information
Recipe first posted in July 2019. Post first updated with new text on 01/05/2021. Updated with new photos on 05/24/2022. The recipe has always remained the same.
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