Marinating Chicken: What You Need To Know + Recipes

Eating the same piece of chicken every day gets boring regardless of how much you may enjoy it at first. We’ve all been there when you can no longer handle the same taste of food, and you need a change no matter what.

These are the moments when people get off their diet and reach for the first box of fast food they can find. To avoid that, have you thought about marinating chicken and giving your meal plan a twist? Or, if you don’t have time to do this daily, maybe freezing marinated chicken is more convenient?

Preparing marinade for chicken meat is a great way to switch things up in your diet while still accomplishing your weight goals. 

On that note, we’re going to explain how long to marinate chicken, cook and freeze it and give you the ingredients to gems like our spicy chicken marinade.

Read on, and check out our recipes.

Ground Rules for Marinating Chicken

Before you run off to the fridge and start marinating chicken, check out our basic rules that everyone should follow:

  • Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do. Don’t leave the marinade at room temperature. Using the fridge is an absolute necessity because it will stop the chicken from spoiling.
  • Keep the rest of your fridge supplies away from the chicken. You don’t want to compromise the meat and possibly contaminate it.
  • Freezing marinated chicken will be a lot easier if you have more room in the freezer. Make sure the lid is sealed. It’s easiest to use a sealable plastic bag for this process. You can also use a bowl and plastic wrap as a quick solution.
  • The marinade for chicken, and any other meat, should be a combination of acid, oil, and spices.
  • If you want the final product to turn out perfectly, marinate the chicken the night before you plan on cooking it.
  • When you can’t get to it on time, or you notice you’ve made too much. Freezing marinated chicken is a better option than throwing away something you worked on for some time. Just make sure the meat hasn’t gone bad.

How Long to Marinate Chicken

Chicken is already pretty tender, so marinating it for too long won’t do the meat any good. That’s why most people aren’t sure how long to marinate the chicken before preparing it.

Saying a digit isn’t the right way to answer this question. Suppose you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to let the meat rest for a few hours. Even 30 minutes of marinating in the fridge will be enough to enhance the flavor. So, the first thing to keep in mind – something is better than nothing. 

Of course, marinating for half an hour won’t get the same result as a proper overnight marinade but will change the flavor enough for the consumer to notice it. 

To avoid marinating the meat and then having to wait for the spices to work:

  1. Try preparing your marinade the night before.
  2. Leave the meat in the fridge and let the juices work overnight.
  3. Do the work on time so you won’t have to wait the next day!

This way, the chicken will be ready for preparation and at your convenience.

Most experts recommend 4-6 hours as the perfect duration of marinating chicken meat. However, this depends on the size and the cut of the pieces and other influencing factors.

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast

Naturally, the duration of the cooking process is going to be influenced by the amount of meat you’re preparing. Still, there are guidelines you can follow.

If you want to stick with the official instructions, you can consider the meal done when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and the chicken will be undone and possibly dangerous to eat. On the other hand, let the temperature rise further, and the meat will be tasteless and dry.

If you plan on using a stovetop and a pan, about 5 minutes on each side will be enough to sauté the meat at medium heat. Or, if you prefer the oven, use it for 20 minutes at 425 degrees to prepare the chicken perfectly.

It’s a bit more challenging to plan ahead and stick to the rules if you’re using the grill. You’d have to account for the fire, the wind, the type of the grill, the thickness of the meat, and more relevant factors.

Usually, direct fire will cook the meat in about 6 minutes, while indirect heat will require 12 minutes to do the same job.

Top 3 Best Chicken Marinade Recipes

You’ve learned how to use marinades to prepare the tastiest meals with them. The only thing left to know is how to make the best marinade for chicken meat starting from scratch. 

Check out our top recipes and see which one fits your taste buds the most. Since no one can say no to it, our money is on the lemon chicken marinade.

Spicy Chicken Marinade


  • 1/4 cup red chili paste
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Two cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger


Once you know the ingredients, making our spicy chicken marinade won’t be that challenging, even for beginner chefs. To start, you need to put everything in a bowl or a bag and whisk the ingredients together.

Then, add the chicken, make sure the entire pieces are covered in marinade, and let it sit in the fridge. Always remember to seal the bag/bowl you’re using!

Lemon Chicken Marinade

Our lemon chicken marinade is made with no breading and no butter, so it’s healthier than most other recipes. Check out what it contains and how to make it.


  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Two garlic cloves


Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Then, if you’re using the same bowl for storage, add the meat and make sure every piece is covered in marinade. 

Or, if you are transferring the mixture into a bag, add the meat, pour the marinade, and seal the container. Keep everything in the fridge before it’s time to cook.

This recipe will give enough material for two chicken breasts. Adjust the numbers based on how much meat you wish to marinate.

Honey Garlic Chicken Marinade

Our honey garlic marinade recipe has only four ingredients. It’s simple to make, but its taste will leave you speechless. Check it out below.


  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • Two cloves garlic


Like with our recipes, making the honey garlic chicken marinade is a straightforward job.

Mix all the ingredients, stir them together, add the meat, and let it marinade. That’s all it takes!

If You’re Hungry in Miami

Sometimes there’s no time to wait for the meat to marinade, and you need a bite of something well prepared ASAP. When you find yourself hungry in Miami, visit Root & Bone restaurant.

We’ll serve you the best chicken you can find in Florida.