Grilled Island Chicken

Let’s welcome in the weekend with perhaps one of the simplest and most delicious chicken recipes I’ve tried in awhile.

Marinaded in a flavorful concoction of lemon, oregano, soy sauce and garlic, this recipe is similar to the tasty lemon and garlic grilled chicken that I have waxed poetic about in the past. The difference with the Island Chicken is that it is a bit more subtle on the robust fresh lemon juice and garlic flavors which allows the soy sauce and oregano to really shine, as well.

After marinating, I grilled the chicken and don’t know if I’ll try it any other way now (the original recipe states to bake). This is definitely some of the juiciest, most flavorful chicken around and is perfect for those warm months that are creeping up when I want to avoid turning on my oven. Since making it the first time, I’ve also marinaded the chicken in large chunks and grilled them on skewers with red peppers and onions. Heavenly. And oh, so easy.

Grilled Island Chicken

What To ServeI have served it with everything from these sweet potato skewers (also grilled) and corn on the cob, to this Zucchini Mozzarella Medley, to this Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad, to this stuffed zucchini. You can serve just about anything with this chicken.

One Year Ago: Samoas Bars
Also One Year Ago: Raspberry Lime Rickey

Grilled Island Chicken

Yield: Serves 2-4, depending on how many chicken breasts are marinaded

Grilled Island Chicken


  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-4 chicken breasts


  1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag. Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade. If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours (I would suggest marinading for at least 3 hours at the minimum).
  2. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (depending on how thick the chicken breasts are), until the chicken is no longer pink in the center (if you have a meat thermometer, the chicken should register 165 degrees). Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for about five minutes before serving.
  3. Alternately, the chicken can be baked using the following directions:
  4. When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact baking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Annie’s Eats

87 Responses to Grilled Island Chicken

  1. Kelly says:

    This was amazing Mel!! Thanks so much for the recipe. My husband couldn’t believe how much I ate! I actually cleared my plate! The chicken was so awesome and moist and I got a charred piece! I like the lady’s idea with having pineapple with it! Next time!
    Blessings to you!

  2. Aileen Cooks says:

    I made this along side grilled pineapple on a really hot day and it was SO good!

  3. Mary Ann says:

    I have been making this recipe for several years and thought I should tell you how much we enjoy it. I don’t make chicken any other way! Sometimes I grill a large package of breasts and freeze some of them. They are great for tacos, quesadillas, salads and many other recipes. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  4. Melody Mitchell says:

    Hi Mel! My name is Mel too! I’ve always been an edible dinner cook but not much more. I find your blog about a year ago and have eagerly tried and loved so many recipes. My family would say, “where’d you get this recipe?” I’d answer “Mel’s Kitchen Cafe” didn’t think anything of it until recently I showed one of them and they said, “oh! All this time I thought you were just being clever and referring to our kitchen!” 🙂

  5. Helena says:

    This is actually not a comment for this chicken only, but to all the recipes I tried from this website.
    Thank you. I have the most picky dad. But your recipes really works, and he now eats without complaining. It’s not always easy, to get the recipes translated to danish, but it works. So thanks for making my “cooking-day” a lot easier. 5 stars from me

  6. Cookie47 says:

    Will try this recipe for an upcoming party. Any tips for cooking ahead and keeping warm until crowd arrives? Thinking about starting on the grill in the morning and then finishing in the oven just before serving. What are your thoughts? Thank you.

  7. LeeAnne says:

    I don’t have a grill and have a tendency to over-cook chicken in the oven, so I cooked it in a skillet with a little oil and it turned out fantastic! Simple, easy and delicious! 🙂

  8. Gail says:

    Another winner recipe! This chicken was so good!
    I actually got a “That was REALLY good chicken” from my tween son. A compliment…from a tween. You KNOW this recipe is a winner.

  9. Marie says:

    Hi Mel. So. I would like to use this or one of your other grilled chicken recipes as a freezer meal. Do you know if the chicken and marinade would freeze well to be thawed and used at a later date?

    • Mel says:

      Marie – I haven’t tried it that way but I know a lot of people do that – freeze the marinated chicken to use later so I’d say it is definitely worth a try. My only hesitation is that there is quite a bit of acidity in this marinade which can sometimes “cook” the chicken and I’m not sure if it would cause the outside of the chicken to get those white streaks and change texture. Good luck if you try it!

  10. […] Grilled Island Chicken from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  11. FAB says:

    I just try this recipe for the first time the other day and I must say it was really good, juicy flavorful and very tender definitely a winner in our table….

  12. Katie says:

    yum..yum! Fresh and juicy, and ingredients for marinade are pantry staples, always a plus! Perfect dish to enjoy on an island, or, in my case, wish I was on one!

  13. Katie says:

    This chicken is so good. It is incredibly moist and flavorful, not to mention so easy. I’m looking forward to making this chicken all summer long! Yum!

  14. Melissa says:

    This recipe is so good! We’ve made it multiple times for people and everyone loves it.

  15. Meal Planning Monday: When life gives you lemons, lemonade shouldn’t be automatic | Our Smart Money says:

    […] and haven’t had it since.) It’s also a great addition to green tea or plain water.   Grilled Island Chicken – Since our grill is broken and we need to buy a new one, I broiled the chicken after letting it […]

  16. […] recipe contributed by Page Strong and Mels Kitchen Cafe. It was really good, but the lemon overpowered it a bit. I didn't have soy sauce, so I used […]

  17. Mel says:

    Ty – I always just whisk really fast and it comes together. You could always pop the marinade in a blender and give it a whirl, too.

  18. kyle says:

    i cant seem to get the oil to blend into the other items, the oil stays sperate , any ideas ? or what am i doing wrong

    ty 🙂

  19. Kathy says:

    I only had time to marinate for 2 hours but it was still very good, and so easy:))

  20. […] Grilled Island Chicken from Be sure to substitute gluten free soy sauce or tamari. Serve with […]

  21. shelly says:

    made this tonite and I got a “Damn! that is good” from my husband. This is a keeper recipe.

  22. Carey Greene says:

    Adding to next weeks gluten free meal plan on 🙂

  23. Grilled Island Chicken Lettuce Wraps | Lets Talk Fitness says:

    […] original grilled island chicken recipe is from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe — thanks to Mel for the inspiration! Category: Recipes — Tags: Chicken, Chicken […]

  24. Hannah says:

    Love the recipe. It is now my go to for chicken. I have marinated for just a few hrs or over night all works very well for me. I did use olive oil instead of vegi oil, healthier and it is great. If reminds me of the way outback used to do their chicken

  25. Lisa says:

    Lisa, how long did you marinate it for? I find I have the best results if I let it marinate for almost a whole day!

  26. Lisa says:

    I made this marinade for dinner tonight for my husband and guests. Will never make it again! Chicken was do bland, I ended up just passing around BBQ sauce I was so embarassed!! I followed the recipie step by step too. Don’t know how it’s getting such good reviews..

  27. Tiffani says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and everyone loved it! Even my picky 8 year old, who normally hates all things chicken!! We had it with a spinach and pear salad and baked potatoes. It made for THE perfect summer meal. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

  28. Mindy says:

    Mine is marinating in the fridge right now! Can’t wait to try it!

  29. Lady Fromage says:

    I am SO glad I found this on Pintrest! Made it for supper tonight and my husband absolutely loved it! After his first bite, he had to pause the movie we had on to rave about how wonderful the chicken was! Thanks so much for sharing, we’ll be enjoying this often at our house!

  30. Mel says:

    Anna- I always use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in this recipe.

  31. Anna says:

    Is this for bone-in chicken breast?

  32. Mel says:

    Missy – I’ve never tried it as a wing marinade but it’s probably worth a try!

  33. missy says:

    This looks great! Can this be used as a chicken wing marinade?

  34. Mel says:

    Andrea – sure, it will impart a different flavor but it should work just fine to sub the olive oil.

  35. Andrea says:

    Can olive oil be substituted for the vegetable oil?

  36. Krista says:

    It’s was delish!! Loved the flavor, super moist. Best part, low calorie and easy!! Paired with grilled pineapple and rice. Thanks Mel!

  37. April H says:

    This is marinating in the fridge right now! Looks delicious!

  38. […] Grilled Island Chicken, Honey Citrus Glazed Carrots and Sauteed Broccoli […]

  39. […] Grilled Island Chicken (haven’t made yet but looks awesome) […]

  40. auntiepatch says:

    The only thing I changed was adding the zest of the lemons & it was WONDERFUL! Love your site! Thanks –

  41. Deb says:

    I have a 6 year old who despises chicken. Served this tonight and he says “is this a new kind of chicken?” Me: “Yes, why did you like it?” Him: “Yeah, it’s pretty good” That’s high praise from him! Oh, and the rest of us really liked it too 🙂 Served with your Simple Orzo Pilaf and corn on the cob – perfect summer bbq dinner. Thanks!

  42. Barb says:

    Hi Mel! I finally tried this recipe (took a long time, bc I was admittedly skeptical that it would ever compare to your divine Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken which has been my go-to for a long time!). Let me just say to those of you who might be hesitating simply bc you have found another recipe that you love…you will LOVE LOVE LOVE this Island Grilled Chicken! I won’t wait so long to try new stuff from Mel again! I pan-seared the chicken breasts (which were cut in half horizontally to help marinate & stretch the chicken servings). I can’t wait to grill these next time, but it’s been so hot here in the midwest. Pan-searing worked great! P.S. Love your site!

  43. Stephanie P says:

    Hi! I made this recipe on Saturday–It was SO tasty. Everyone kept asking, “what’s in the marinade?!” I have sent a large handful of my friends to your site.. I’ve had awesome luck with all of your foods! And you are my go-to website usually when it comes to the question, “hmmm, what’s a good recipe for this?” Thanks!!

  44. Kim in MD says:

    Hi Melanie- I wanted to check in once again regarding this recipe. I am hosting a Luau themed party in less than two weeks and I have been driving myself nuts about what chicken recipe to serve. I had a “duh” moment, and remembered your fabulous Grilled Island Chicken recipe today! I made it again tonight, and it was so darn amazingly delicious that I had to comment again! I marinated it for about 6 hours, and grilled until 165 degrees (and rested for 10 minutes). I can’t tell you with words how amazing this is! I am serving this to 35+ people at my party and I can’t wait! Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy life to share your passion for cooking with the world! 🙂

  45. Bobbi M. says:

    Sorry but this chicken didn’t work out for me or my family.
    I marinated boneless chicken breasts for 8 hours and baked them….they weren’t dry but didn’t have much flavor, tasted bland….I love your recipe for the breaded garlic chicken in lemon butter sauce so I guess I’ll stick to that one!

  46. Kim says:

    I forgot to mention that we paired ours with some grilled pineapple…yummy!

  47. Kim says:

    I was looking for a new grilled chicken marinade and came across this one on your website. Thankfully, I had all of the ingredients in my fridge and pantry so I didn’t even need to make an extra trip to the store. I marinated my chicken for approximately 5 hours. It was delicious. It was very tastey for my husband and I, but not too strong for our two girls, ages 4 and 2. Thanks for this recipe and so many others as well!

  48. Sarah says:

    Yet another hit recipe from your blog! My husband and I loved this tonight. Our 21 month old daughter generally won’t eat chicken, but I made a big deal over squeezing the juice and showing her how I made the marinade. When it was time to eat I reminded her about the lemon juice “sauce” we made, and she gobbled the chicken right up!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Sarah! I’m thrilled your little daughter had fun helping you make the marinade – and then ended up loving the finished result!

  49. Liz says:

    Do you by any chance have the nutritional facts on this chicken marinade?
    My friend made it last week and had my husband and I over for dinner and it was fantastic! I would love the nutritional facts if you have them. Calories/fat/carbs etc.

    • Mel says:

      Liz – I don’t have the nutritional facts on this marinade. I know there are several sites online where you can put ingredients in and come out with nut. facts but I don’t do that on a regular basis.

  50. Celia says:

    We had this tonight. Simple. Delicious. I only marinated it for an hour and it was good! (half of the hour it was vacuum sealed, so that helps. Thanks so much. This is by far my favorite food blog I follow.

  51. Amy says:

    This is such a delicious recipe! I served this to our dinner guests a couple of nights ago and it was a huge hit… Easy to prepare and DELICIOUS!

  52. Rhonda says:

    Tried this tonight family love it thanks again.

  53. Cammee says:

    I made this over the weekend and it was as good as it looks. Definitely going in our summer rotation!

  54. Kim in MD says:

    Hi Mel-

    I made this on Saturday (for out of town guests), and OMG…we could not believe how moist and delicious this chicken was! I marinated the chicken for about 6 hours, and it was better than brining (my usual method to ensure moist chicken). This recipe will definately be my new “go to” recipe for chicken breasts!

    Thanks for sharing your love for cooking with us! 🙂

  55. TrishInFL says:

    Yum! We made this on Saturday with grilled pineapple, wild rice and beans. What an awesome meal, thank you 🙂

    • Mel says:

      TrishInFL – just the thought of grilled pineapple has my mouth watering. I bet it was delicious with the Island Chicken. Thanks for checking in!

  56. Kim says:

    Yum..this is on the menu for the week.

  57. Sook says:

    The chicken looks perfect, Melanie, for a warm day like this. 🙂

  58. Julianne says:

    YAY! This stuff is so ridiculously good. Congrats on having a successful chicken grilling experience. What would it be like to have a grill…I can only imagine.

  59. grace says:

    bravo on achieving grill-mark perfection! this is a great way to prepare bird, melanie. 🙂

  60. Annie says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! This is definitely a staple in our house. We love this grilled but I promise, it is also super moist and tender even when baked. I prefer that in the winter when I want island chicken but don’t want to grill.

  61. Cammee says:

    Perfect for warmer grilling weather…if that would ever come!

  62. Sara says:

    Yum! I’m going to try this next week. Sounds delicious.

  63. chrissy says:

    Gonna try this.. I bet its the lemon juice that tenderizes it.. Sounds good!

  64. Too funny.. I just made this the other day too! I’ll won’t post mine till next week, though!! LOL Wasn’t it wonderful??

  65. Give me some pineapple and I’m good to go! Your chicken looks delicious. 🙂

  66. Alisha O says:

    I am in desperate need of some healthful, easy recipes to help me get this baby weight off! Can’t wait to try it! Oh and thanks for the tip about the button!

  67. Kim in MD says:

    Oh…this looks SO good! Your photos are gorgeous, Mel, and always draw me in,

    I have out of town guests this weekend, and I will definately make this on Saturday! I’m going to search your recipes for fabulous side dishes to serve with it. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

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