THE BEST Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled Chicken

This Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled chicken breast is flavorful, juicy, and the perfect meal for any backyard barbecue!
15 minutes
This Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled chicken breast is flavorful, juicy, and the perfect meal perfect for any backyard barbecue!

Nothing beats a perfectly grilled chicken when it comes to a simple, flavorful, and healthy meal.

Grilled chicken is one of the easiest wins in our house. Our kids love grilled chicken chopped up and doused with lemon, so going all out with a lemon garlic chicken marinade is a no-brainer! 

I love using it for wraps, bowls, burritos, nachos, and on top of a salad. So I always double-batch this recipe and vacuum-seal the leftovers to store in the freezer for quick weeknight meals! 

This Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken recipe is a crowd-pleaser. It combines the zesty tang of lemon with the savory depth of garlic. This is the best chicken marinade recipe for summer barbecues or a quick weeknight dinner. This dish is both easy to prepare and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients for Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): Opt for a high-quality extra virgin olive oil. A good EVOO’s richness and fruitiness enhance the flavor and help the marinade penetrate the chicken better.
  • 1/2 cup pure lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is A MUST for the best flavor. Bottled juice just doesn’t compare – it’s got a weird flavor to it. Plus, you can use the zest for an extra burst of lemon flavor.
  • 1 head garlic, minced: The more garlic, the better, friend. Fresh garlic cloves deliver a robust and sharp flavor that infuses beautifully into the chicken. Avoid pre-minced garlic, as it often lacks the same punch. But I am a fan of the pre-peeled packs (use about 12 cloves if you go that route)
  • 1 tablespoon salt: Use kosher salt for its pure, clean taste. Or, if you prefer, substitute with pink Himalayan or sea salt in equal amounts for a slightly different flavor profile and added minerals.
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is key here. Grinding your own ensures a vibrant and strong peppery kick.
  • 1 tablespoon oregano: Dried oregano has a classic, earthy flavor that perfectly complements the lemon and garlic. If you have fresh oregano, chop it finely for a more potent taste!


  • 2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts: Go for organic or free-range chicken if possible. The quality of the meat makes a big difference in flavor and texture. Also, pounding the breasts to an even thickness ensures they cook evenly and remain juicy.


  • Fresh Italian parsley, chopped: Fresh herbs adds a bright, herby finish that complements the grilled chicken perfectly. It also adds a nice pop of color to the dish.
  • Fresh lemon slices: These aren’t just for looks! Squeeze a bit more fresh lemon juice over the top for an extra zing right before serving.

Equipment needed for Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken 

To make the most out of your Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken, having the right equipment can make a world of difference. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Grill: Whether you use a gas grill or charcoal grill (Like a Weber Kettle), make sure it’s clean and well-maintained. For those looking to upgrade, I recommend the Weber Genesis Gas Grill. Its consistent heat distribution and durable build make it a fantastic investment for any home cook.
  2. Garlic Press: There is A LOT of garlic in this recipe. Don’t waste your effort mincing by hand. I LOVE my DreamFarm Garject Garlic Press and I use it daily.
  3. Instant-Read Thermometer: Achieving the perfect internal temperature of 160°F is crucial for juicy, fully-cooked chicken. An instant-read thermometer like the ThermoPro TP19H is a must-have. It’s fast and super accurate and makes sure your chicken is cooked to perfection every time.
  4. Ziploc Bags: Marinating your chicken in a Ziploc bag ensures even coverage and makes cleanup a breeze. I prefer using Ziploc Gallon Storage Bags for their durability and reliable seal.
  5. Tongs: For safe and easy handling of the chicken on the grill, a good pair of tongs is essential. The Weber Precision Tongs provide excellent grip and are long enough to keep your hands safe from the heat.
  6. Basting Brush: Applying extra marinade or brushing on additional olive oil while grilling is the key to juicy chicken. The RWM Silicone Basting Brush is heat-resistant and easy to clean, making it perfect for the job.
  7. Cutting Board and Knife: Ensuring the chicken breasts are trimmed and prepped properly is crucial. A sturdy cutting board like the John Boos Maple Wood Cutting Board and a sharp chef’s knife such as the Dalstrong Chef’s Knife are great additions.

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How to Make Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled Chicken 

This is an easy lemon garlic chicken recipe that you’re going to want to make over and over again. Here’s how to put it together:

1. Prepare the Marinade:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) (vegetable oil works too if in a bind), 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 head garlic (minced), 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or pink Himalayan salt), 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 tablespoon dried oregano. Mix well to ensure all marinade ingredients are thoroughly combined. This lemon garlic chicken marinade will infuse the chicken with a zesty, aromatic flavor perfect for grilling.

2. Marinate the Chicken:

Place the chicken into a large Ziploc bag. Pour the lemon garlic marinade over the chicken, ensuring each piece is well coated. Seal the bag, remove as much air as possible, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. For best results, marinate for 2-4 hours to allow the lemon flavor and garlic to penetrate the meat thoroughly. Marinating overnight is also an option for an even deeper flavor.

3. Preheat the Grill:

Heat your gas grill to medium-high heat, approximately 350-400°F (175-200°C). Ensuring your grill is at the right temperature is crucial for achieving juicy chicken with a beautifully seared exterior. If using a charcoal grill, arrange the coals to create even heat distribution. Make sure your grill grates are clean and lightly oiled to prevent sticking.

4. Grill the Chicken:

Remove the chicken breasts from the Ziploc bag, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. Place the chicken on the hot grill grates (if skin-on, place it skin-side down), making sure not to move it too much to get nice grill marks.

Grill over medium-high heat for 4-6 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked through but still juicy. Avoid pressing down on the chicken with your tongs, as this can release the juices and dry out the meat.

5. Garnish and Serve:

Transfer the grilled chicken to a serving platter. Garnish with freshly chopped Italian parsley and fresh lemon slices for added flavor and a pop of color. If desired, squeeze a bit more fresh lemon juice over the top.

Tips for Perfect Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

  • Uniform Thickness: Pound those chicken breasts to an even thickness before marinating. This way, they cook evenly on the grill, and you won’t have some pieces overcooked while others are undercooked.
  • Marinade Time: The longer you marinate, the better the flavor. But keep it under 24 hours—lemon juice can start to break down the meat fibers and make it mushy if left too long.
  • Grill Preparation: Make sure your grill is hot before you throw the chicken on. A properly preheated grill will sear the chicken, locking in all those delicious juices and giving you a perfect crust.
  • Resting the Chicken: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after grilling before you slice it up. This lets the juices redistribute, so every bite is nice and juicy.
  • Flavor Variations: Looking to snazz things up a bit? Add some lemon zest to the marinade for an extra citrus kick. You can also sprinkle on some Italian seasoning or dried herbs before grilling to boost the flavor even more.
This Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled chicken breast is flavorful, juicy, and the perfect meal for any backyard barbecue!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other cuts of chicken for this lemon garlic grilled chicken recipe?

Absolutely! Lemon garlic chicken marinades work wonderfully with chicken thighs, drumsticks, and even wings. Just adjust the grilling time accordingly.

For bone-in cuts, you may need to extend the cooking time so that they reach the safe internal temperature of 160°F.

How long should I marinate the chicken?

For the best flavor, marinate the chicken for at least 2-4 hours. This allows the lemon and garlic to penetrate the meat thoroughly.

You can also marinate overnight for an even deeper flavor. However, avoid marinating for more than 24 hours, as the lemon juice can start to break down the chicken fibers, leading to a mushy texture.

What’s the best way to get nice grill marks on my chicken?

To achieve those beautiful grill marks, preheat your grill to medium-high heat (350-400°F) and make sure the grill grates are clean and lightly oiled.

Place the chicken on the grill, avoiding moving it too much. Depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts, let it sear for 4-6 minutes per side.

How do I know when my chicken is cooked through?

Use an instant-read thermometer to check the chicken’s internal temperature. It should reach 160°F for safe consumption. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast for the most accurate reading.

Can I cook this chicken indoors if I don’t have a grill?

Yes, you can cook this lemon garlic chicken indoors using a grill pan or a broiler. For the grill pan, follow the same cooking times and instructions as an outdoor grill.

If using a broiler, set it to high and cook the chicken on a broiler pan, flipping halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Can I freeze marinated chicken for later use?

Yes, you can freeze the marinated chicken. Place the chicken and marinade in a Ziploc bag, remove as much air as possible, and store freezer for 6 months. For longer storage, I’d recommend a vacuum sealer.
When ready to use, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator overnight and grill as directed. This is a great way to have a quick and flavorful meal ready for busy weeknights.

How do I prevent my chicken from sticking to the grill?

To prevent sticking, make sure your grill grates are clean and well-oiled. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, and lightly oil the chicken breasts before placing them on the grill. Avoid moving the chicken too much during the initial searing phase.

This Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled chicken breast is flavorful, juicy, and the perfect meal for any backyard barbecue!

Creative Ways to Use Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

 This Lemon chicken recipe is not just a main dish served up with some grilled veggies and some potatoes. Here are some easy weeknight ideas to give you a quick win: 

Chicken Wraps: Slice the grilled chicken and wrap it in a tortilla with fresh veggies, avocado, and your favorite dressing for a quick and tasty lunch.

Chicken BowlsBuild a nutritious bowl with a base of quinoa or rice, add the sliced chicken, and top with roasted veggies, black beans, and a drizzle of lime crema.

Chicken Burritos: Roll the chicken with rice, beans, cheese, and salsa in a large tortilla for a hearty burrito. This recipe is perfect for meal prep and freezing for later.

Chicken NachosTop a tray of tortilla chips with diced chicken, shredded cheese, jalapeños, and bake until the cheese melts. Finish with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

Chicken Salad: Grilled chicken is a great addition to a fresh garden salad or a Caesar salad. The lemon garlic flavor pairs well with a variety of dressings.

This is one of my favorite marinade recipes, and I hope you give this one a whirl. It’s super versatile, easy to prep, and one of the best lemon chicken marinade recipes in my arsenal!

This Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled chicken breast is flavorful, juicy, and the perfect meal perfect for any backyard barbecue!

Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled Chicken

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: barbecue
Keyword: bbq, chicken, weekend
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinade Time: 2 hours
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 525kcal
This Lemon Garlic Marinated Grilled chicken breast is flavorful, juicy, and the perfect meal for any backyard barbecue!
Print Recipe


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice about 6 lemons
  • 2 tsp lemon zest zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 head garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt more to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 lbs chicken breast can marinate up to 4 lbs
  • 1 bunch italian parsley for garnish


Prepare the Marinade

  • In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Whisk until well incorporated

Marinate the Chicken

  • Add the chicken breasts to a ziplock bag and pour the marinade into the bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2-4 hours.

Grill the Chicken

  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the marinated chicken breasts directly on the grill grates. Optionally, baste with any leftover marinade.
  • Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes after grilling.


  • Garnish the grilled chicken with chopped Italian parsley and serve with a lemon wedge. Enjoy!


Note on the nutritional facts: this is based on the listed ingredients and amount. Keep in mind, this is a marinade, some of it may be discarded.
If you’re concerned about the sodium, you can always omit the marinade and season the chicken to taste before serving! 


Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 2018mg | Potassium: 1004mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1296IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg

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