Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken

This grilled chicken will rock your world. It is amazing. My sister-in-law, Erin, who posts over at The Sister’s Cafe, gave the recipe to me years ago. I loved it the minute I tried it but haven’t made it in a while until my brother reminded me about it a few weeks ago. I’m so glad to be back in the saddle with this recipe again! I forgot how much I loved it.

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken

What To ServeThe chicken marinates overnight in a combination of lemon and garlic and the resulting combination makes for an intensely flavorful, tender chicken that can be used in so many dishes (which I’ll be posting about in the next couple of days) or served simply with a side of rice or a baked potato. As a sidenote: if you don’t have a grill, simply use an indoor grill pan or you can cook the chicken in a frying pan over medium heat, being careful not to turn too often so it can brown nicely on each side.

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken

Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken


  • Juice of 1 lemon, approximately 3 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (I usually cut really thick chicken breasts down to thin them out and make the pieces a little smaller so they absorb the marinade better)


  1. Combine all marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Seal bag and place in fridge overnight. Grill (or cook in frying pan). Serve with sides of your choice or cut into bite sized pieces and add to desired recipe (I’ll be sharing a few with you soon). Note: If you cut your chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces and then marinate it, you can get away with only letting it marinate for 5 or 6 hours instead of overnight.
  2. Often, I will double the marinade and chicken and grill it all up and freeze the extras to use later.

Recipe Source: adapted from Erin W.

91 Responses to Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken

  1. Jen says:

    This as well as your grilled coconut lime curry chicken are my 2 favorite ways to make chicken! I love serving this with your orzo salad with tomatoes, basil, and feta – it’s the perfect summer combo!

  2. Stacey says:

    This is absolutely the very best grilled chicken I have ever tasted…ever!!! SOOO delicious!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I had to comment again on this recipe. This has become a staple in our home. It’s so good. My latest concoction with this recipe included baby romaine, argula, fresh dill, feta and kalamata olives. Since the chicken was so flavorful, no dressing was needed. Simply yummy! LOVE this recipe.

  4. Janine says:

    Hi Mel!
    My husbands name is Melchiore, we call him Mel and he does not like lemon chicken. Well, he LOVED this and so did I. I made extra, could eat it alone it is so good. Thank you!

  5. Leann says:

    BEST new dairy-free recipe I’ve tried in the 7 months that I’ve been dairy-free for the sake of my dairy-intolerant infant. I made this with your skillet potatoes, and it was restaurant quality! I’ve really been in a rut eating the same so-so dairy-free dinners over and over and over. It makes me hate dinner time. But now I’m super excited for your dairy-free recipes because you make YUMMY food! Thank you for taking the time to organize your allergy-free sections of this blog.

    • Mel says:

      I am so happy this recipe and the potatoes worked out so well for you, Leann! Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know!

  6. AnnieK says:

    This has been my “go to” marinade ever since you posted it. Made it again for like the 50th time last nite! Always a hit with everyone i.e. family / company. Leftovers make a wonderful chicken salad, green salad, etc. Thank you & thanks to Erin! Love your site & sisters cafe…both are the first ones when I need a recipe 🙂

  7. […] 10. Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken […]

  8. shel says:

    Tried the lemon garlic recipe last night. My 2 year old nephew wanted more than what would be his regular serving of meat. As I was eating, I imagined numerous leftover ideas. I quartered a while chicken, after about 12 hours of marinating, I broiled each side for about 20 minutes, then covered the pan and baked at 350 degree for 30 minutes, added the juice to the liquid for brown rice! Umph! Umph! Umph! This is the dish I will take to our next family gathering. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. […] always amazed that I can find and love new chicken marinades. I mean, how many variations can you really have and call it good? Clearly, I still feel the need for growth in this […]

  10. Joan says:

    I posted back in November after trying this recipe for the first time, and it has become a regular staple in our home. My husband is STILL not burned out on it, despite having it at least once a week! I finally started tripling the recipe, so had to trade in my tablespoon for an actual measuring cup.
    Also, got really brave and substituted the chicken with shrimp one evening, and it too is too die for. And, the plus is, with the shrimp, it is not necessary to marinate it over night. As with the chicken, I throw extra garlic in as it’s cooking!! (Can you ever get too much garlic! 🙂
    My family is convinced, this is the best recipe we have ever tried and I’m so thankful you shared it!

  11. Stephanie B says:

    I’ve made this several times as chicken kabobs, but this was my first time marinating it overnight and just grilling the chicken breasts. I served them with roasted potatoes and asparagus; it was a hit with everyone, except my 4 year old who was only in the mood to eat rolls anyway. My husband especially liked it and would’ve eaten more if it had been available. Next time I’ll have to double the recipe!

  12. willowsprite says:

    This is pretty much a chicken souvlaki recipe. You could serve it on a pita with lettuce and tzatziki!

  13. Jillian says:

    Mel, this chicken is phenomenal! When my husband and I are having company over that we want to impress, especially during barbecue season, this is our go to recipe! Thank you so much for sharing. Many times we will serve a red and white meat together at the events and I’m going to include our go to red meat marinade for you to try if interested. It’s easy and delicious! 2-3 lbs steak tips, 1 bottle Italian dressing, 1 bottle creamy Italian dressing, 1 bottle barbecue sauce, 1 can beer (like Budweiser, Heineken, etc.) and 3-4 garlic cloves smashed or chopped. Blend together in a ziplock bag and allow to marinate in fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight! Let me know what you think!

  14. Stefan says:

    Heh, one of the “best of’s” is surprisingly close to my “go-to” recipe for grilling chicken. I substitute the oregano for rosemary (love me some rosemary and it’s superb with the lemon/garlic!) while adding lemon peel and a few drops of honey to taste. Oh, and I also use lemon pepper in place of normal pepper.

    Love this blog too! Discovered it about a month ago. Browse it all the time when I get bored and next thing I know I’m in the kitchen.

  15. Shannon says:

    This is my “go to” chicken marinade. I’m not good at grilling so I use my grill pan, and this recipe is fantastic every time! As you’ve mentioned, the chicken is amazing in other things and as leftovers as well. Thank you for making my chicken taste so good!

  16. Joan says:

    Since discovering this recipe a couple of weeks ago, I have made it THREE times. My family loves it! The first time, I grilled it on the barbecue, then my barbecue went tits up, forcing me to skillet fry it the next two times. We actually liked it better than grilled. Pan frying seemed to keep the moisture in, but it was NOT soggy! Also, I dumped the marinade in the pan with the chicken, knowing I would cook it long enough and hot enough to prevent getting sick, and that too I think, added to its moistness. Next time I cook it, I’m going to throw some extra garlic in the pan, just because we LOVE garlic.
    Awesome recipe, and I thank you for taking the time to share it! I’m paying it forward!

  17. Ashley says:

    Doubled the recipe, marinated 24 hours, cooked in cast iron on stove, chicken turned out WONDERFUL. Served with steamed potatoes, corn , carrots. Kids devoured. THANKS!

  18. Sheena says:

    Amazing! That’s all i can say about this recipe. I cutted the chicken into small pieces and it turned out to be absolutely amazing. There’s one thing that i would add: a 1/2 teaspoon of honey! It doesn’t change the lemony flavor of the chicken but it adds a special taste to the dish. Thank you!

  19. Jennifer A says:

    This is an EXCELLENT marinade. My whole family loved this! I pounded the chicken to even the thickness, marinaded 7 hours and grilled. Will definitely make again!

  20. venetta sanders says:

    i coordinate a block party every friday night i will try this .it looks good

  21. Mel says:

    Dee – this is a pretty adaptable recipe so yes, I think it could be baked or broiled. I like broiling my chicken (about 5-6 minutes per side). Good luck!

  22. DEE says:

    Hi Mel…I had a question. Can this be baked or broiled? I don’t have a grill and this spatters all over my stove when I try and cook it in a pan. Any suggestions?

  23. Rebecca says:

    I just want to say I am totally IN LOVE with your blog! I stumbled across it about a month ago and have tried a number of your recipes. You have become my weekly go to before planning meals for my family. My husband and I agree that not even one has disappointed! I am mother working PT outside the home, FT inside the home and am an aspiring cook 🙂 Thank you for the amazing posts and pictures!

  24. Jessica says:

    I have made this several times now, and have never yet marinated it. Maybe one day I will have the forethought to do so, but so far it’s been delicious just cooked in a frying pan right in the marinade! Thanks for another great recipe 🙂

  25. Meagan says:

    I made this last night and only had a few hours to marinate it… My boyfriend was impressed! I can’t imagine how good it would be if I had marinated it overnight! 🙂 It was really good!!

  26. Stacy says:

    This recipe was great and the twice baked potatoes were even better! I am looking forward to trying many many more! Thank you for sharing.

  27. Nicole says:

    This is amazing! It was so juicy and tender. My husband told me it tasted like it was from a restaurant, and I wish I could have taken the credit. I doubled the marinade and cooked it on the stove instead of our George Foreman simply due to the fact my husband forgot to clean it last time he used it (…again!). I will definitely use this again, and am happily giving everyone the recipe!

  28. Jolie says:

    I made this for dinner last night alongside rice. I marinated it overnight and grilled it on our George Foreman grill because that is all we have as far as grills go. It was a little on the salty side for me, maybe next time I will decrease the salt and marinate for only 5 hours instead of overnight. Overall, it was tasty, just a tad too much sodium. Thanks for the recipe, Mel!

  29. Shannon says:

    I made this recipe this week and it was wonderful! I’ve marinated before and not been impressed. I forgot the garlic and this was still out-of-this-world! I cut the chicken breasts in half, marinated overnight, and cooked in the grill pan. I will definitely make this one again! Thanks for another great recipe!

  30. Tazia says:

    Made this and loved it!!!! I make it often now !! Thanks!

  31. Anita says:

    Tried this recipe….one word…divine! Thanks so much!

  32. […] Haystacks, fruit Crockpot Barbecue Chicken, Bread Machine Bread Sticks, green salad, fruit Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken, fruit, Bread Machine Bread Sticks, green salad Hamburgers, Oven Baked Parmesan Seasoned Fries, […]

  33. […] behind on pretty much everything all week long!), but I did make the Bread Machine Bread Sticks, Lemon Garlic Marinated Chicken, and All Natural No Bake Energy Bites (as evidenced from the photo […]

  34. […] behind on pretty much everything all week long!), but I did make the Bread Machine Bread Sticks, Lemon Garlic Marinated Chicken, and All Natural No Bake Energy Bites (as evidenced from the photo […]

  35. […] A recipe for lemon garlic grilled chicken […]

  36. Hilary says:

    I just found your blog and am eager to try many of the recipes. I made this last night and everyone loved it including my 6 yo very picky son; he loved it and ate an entire chicken breast himself (usually I can hardly get him to eat one slice). Have you tried freezing raw chicken in the marinade to use later? I have been looking for a good marinade for some freezer meal prep.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Hilary – I usually don’t freeze the meat in the marinade, especially if the marinade is really acidic, like this one. The chicken tends to get a burned look to it and doesn’t taste as good. You might try marinading the chicken, then discarding the marinade and freezing the raw chicken that had been sitting in the marinade. I would probably recommend that versus letting the chicken sit in the marinade through freezing and defrosting.

  37. […] steamed veggies, fruit salad Italian Pasta Bake, Bread Machine Bread Sticks, edemame, fruit Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken, fruit, Bread Machine Bread Sticks Steak, fruit, tossed salad, baked potatoes Dinner with extended […]

  38. […] (Jesse’s working late, so I’m making a simple dinner for the children and me.) Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken, fruit, Bread Machine Bread Sticks Steak, fruit, tossed salad, Oven Baked Parmesan […]

  39. Aimee says:

    This sounds divine! I love lemon and chicken together. I featured it here. YUM!

  40. Melanie says:

    Other than the garlic chicken pasta, what other uses you do use the chicken for? I made a ton today and the flavor was really great but I need to put it in something else.

    • Mel says:

      Melanie – I use this in almost any recipe that calls for cooked, cubed (or shredded) chicken. I also serve it just the way it is alongside a baked potato or with some rice pilaf. Hope that helps!

  41. Christiana says:

    I tried this recipe last night and it was amazing! I cut the breasts up and marinated it for 5 hours before grilling-it was great. Thanks for the great recipe!

  42. Jessica says:

    This is the best chicken marinade ever! So flavorful!

  43. Sally says:

    We made this on skewers for Mother’s Day. They were awesome. A small deli that has gone out of business sold premade kabobs with a similar marinade. I asked my husband if they compared and he said he liked them much more. Grilled nicely.

    • Mel says:

      Sally – this chicken is delicious on skewers and I’m glad you enjoyed it that way! Great compliment from your husband…I’m thrilled they were such a hit.

  44. Melanie says:

    bebemamakalei – I’ve never tried this on pork so I’m not sure how it would work. Let me know if you try it!

  45. bebemamakalei says:

    Hmmm… I made this chicken the other day & it tasted great.. tasted even better the next day. i wonder if this would work on pork?

  46. Leslie says:

    Chicken is my favorite.This looks yummy and fresh!

  47. Melanie says:

    Nicole – you are so sweet. Thanks for your comment. I doubt that it was me that taught you to cook – you obviously have the desire and talent – but I’m glad you’ve liked the recipes. Thanks for letting me know!

  48. Marci says:

    We just tried this tonight and I LOVED it!!! Actually, I have loved pretty much every recipe of yours I have tried! Keep them coming!

  49. Erin says:

    Hey, that’s a great way to describe this recipe – It will ROCK YOUR WORLD! 🙂 I couldn’t agree more! So glad I was able to introduce you to a yummy recipe like you have introduced me to so many! 🙂

  50. Nicole says:

    Tried this last night with the pasta recipe, I thought it turned out great. Tried your fajita marinade recipe which my husband has placed up around his top 2 dinner faves. We also loved your sugar cookie recipe. Can you tell I love your blog? You’ve basically taught me to cook, thanks so much, I’ve been having lots more fun (and success) in the kitchen.

  51. Frieda says:

    I LOVE anything chicken…the lemon/garlic combo sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  52. Maris says:

    This sounds like a great, healthy meal! I can’t wait for grilling season.

  53. Melanie says:

    Hi Yvonne – thanks for taking the time to let me know that you liked the marinated chicken and the pasta!

  54. Melanie says:

    Jenny – thanks for your comment! And I love knowing you are a mom of three boys – it means you must be my soulmate. 🙂 Moms of boys have a bond like no other. Thanks for letting me know you’ve liked the recipes so far!

  55. Jo says:

    I must say that this chicken recipe looks devine and will be trying it this week. It will be perfect on the BBQ and with all the heat we have been having here in Australia I would prefer to be cooking outside rather than in the kitchen.Love the blog by the way.Take care – Jo

  56. Melanie says:

    Bobbie – hmmm…I haven’t found the same to be true, although, I usually use the frozen chicken in a dish with other ingredients so maybe that masks the changes to texture. As for what I do – I usually only freeze chicken that has been marinated and then cooked (like this garlic lemon chicken) so that it retains a lot of flavor. Maybe that is what makes the difference, I’m not sure. If any other commenters have tips, chime in and give us feedback on freezing cooked chicken!

  57. Chelsea says:

    Oooh, I was just complaining about how tired I am of my chicken recipes, this one has me excited!

  58. Colleen says:

    MMM you can’t go wrong with lemon and garlic on chicken!

  59. heddomarie says:

    That looks so yummy. You and I seem to have the same taste in food. I want to make EVERYTHING on your blog hehe.

  60. Michele says:

    I just came across your blog and the first recipe I see (this one lol) looks fabulous! I took out chicken breasts tonight so I won’t have time to marinate them but I think I’ll give this a try next time! Congrats on your new addition! 🙂

  61. Shirley says:

    I’m definitely trying this…sounds delicious. And it’s healthy.

  62. Bobbie says:

    I find that when I freeze cooked chicken it becomes rubbery and taste less. Do you find this to be true and/or what do you do to prevent?

  63. Sara says:

    This sounds really good, you can’t go wrong with lemon chicken!

  64. KA says:

    We had this last night and loved the flavor. The only problem is that it was a little on the salty side for my taste. Not sure if anyone else will have that problem….but when I make it again, I’ll reduce the salt. Thanks for a great new marinade!

  65. Melanie says:

    Norah – I saw your blog post on this. I’m so glad you liked it! I could wax poetic about this chicken, it is that good!

  66. Netts Nook says:

    Sounds great you have some good recipes. Thanks

  67. grace says:

    well, i didn’t think it was possible, but this makes me look forward to summer and lots of grilling even more than i was. is it june yet? 🙂

  68. Melanie says:

    Danielle – I LOVE getting comments from moms who say their kids ate the meal. I know how hard it is to please kiddos, so I’m so glad this was a hit!

  69. mikky says:

    a definite must try for me… 🙂

  70. Joie de vivre says:

    How could I not bookmark this when you say it’s going to rock my world!?

  71. Melanie says:

    KA – thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you liked this – I’ve never noticed it being too salty but it’s good to know it may be too salty for some taste buds! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  72. Donna-FFW says:

    This looks sooo delicious. I am sining up to receive your feeds. I so love your blog and choice of recipes!

  73. Danielle says:

    I made this last night and it was a huge hit. Even my couldn’t-be-pickier two-year-old loved it. THAT is saying something. Thanks!

  74. Melanie says:

    Lorie – I’m glad you liked the chicken and pasta! Those are the main recipes I have for the marinated chicken on my blog but it can be used in so many ways. Once it is marinated, you could also definitely use it in the Garlic Chicken Pasta: http://mykitchencafe.blogspot.com/2009/04/garlic-chicken-pasta-with-spinach.html

  75. Melanie says:

    Marci – thanks for letting me know you liked this. Your comment was so sweet – it made me feel great. Thank you!

  76. HoneyB says:

    I totally agree, that looks like it would be wonderful in a salad!!

  77. Abby says:

    It would be so good in a salad! A perfect summer meal for guests, too. And I love to grill – less mess to clean!

  78. Melanie says:

    Jan – thanks for making my day. Your comment was so nice and I am especially glad you like this recipe. It is hands down one of my favorite ways to make chicken!

  79. Norah says:

    Loved this chicken. I usually do not like fruity chicken but this one was great. It was the main dish in my Greek inspired dinner Saturday. Thanks for sharing. I added it to my blog.

  80. Yvonne Todd says:

    This was great, and the Lemon cream pasta made with the leftovers was an even bigger hit. Thank you!

  81. Lynda says:

    This looks so good! I love lemon and garlic chicken.

  82. Anonymous says:

    I am loving your blog. I have made 4 recipes in the last week. Made the chicken last night. Some of the best grilled chicken I’ve ever had and it was so yummy with the pasta. I loved it. I am a mom to 3 boys which make me like you even more. I only wish they would like something other than hot dogs and chicken nuggets.

  83. Leigh Anne says:

    Yum, yum! We eat tons of chicken at our house so I am always looking for new ways to fix it – can’t wait to try this one when we get home from Utah!

  84. [email protected] says:

    lemon, garlik on chikenn is fantastic.. yumm!!!! Thanks for the round up of yummies!

  85. Anonymous says:

    Hi! What other recipes do you have posted for this chicken? I made the Lemon cream sauce pasta with this chicken and it was DELISH!


  86. Jan says:

    Your recipes never disappoint! We made this chicken on the grill last night and I cannot believe how flavorful the marinade was! Totally DELICIOUS! Tonight I am going to use the leftovers to make the lemon cream pasta and I can’t wait! The lemony/garlic combo is so perfect for Summer IMO – yummm!!! These few ingredients really packed a punch, I am thrilled to have a go-to marinade for chicken for all the grilling nights ahead – thank you!!!

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