Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

May 18, 2021 | 4 comments

The most juicy, tender chicken with the easiest marinade. The best combination of Garlic, lemon, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and basil. Lemon garlic grilled chicken is my weekly staple. Honestly, I make up this chicken pretty much every week!

staple marinated chicken, lemon garlic basil chicken

With just a simple garlic lemon marinade, this should take under 5 minutes to prep. And you’ll be so surprised as to how killer these chicken tenders are. They get marinated for 2-4 hours, then thrown on the grill.  A perfect dinner along with roasted broccoli and orzo or really any variety of sides.  Or a perfect thing to meal prep and have on hand throughout the week.

Who is with me and think that lunch is just the worst sometimes?! I want to have something so I don’t just snack all day, but taking the time to make lunch every day is just not my favorite. Having something prepped that I can just pull out and heat up quick is a lifesaver. I love having it on hand and ready to add on salads, flatbreads, sandwiches, you name it.

lemon garlic basil marinated grilled chicken

What is in the Marinade?

  • Olive oil:  The oil keeps the chicken moist and juicy.  This recipe calls for 1/4 cup, not a lot but just enough to impart flavor and keep the chicken juicy.
  • Apple cider vinegar:  The vinegar is very acidic.  Acid breaks down the chicken’s surface and allows the marinade to penetrate into more of the chicken.  Because of this do not let the chicken marinade for more than 6 hours as it will start to effect the chicken negatively.
  • Lemon:  Lemon is also an acid so it is helping tenderize the chicken but more than that it is giving it the best flavor.  In this marinade there is the juice and zest of a lemon.  It makes the chicken taste so bright and fresh.
  • Garlic:  This recipe calls for a fair amount of garlic.  Which really makes the flavor amazing.  Now, mincing garlic is not one of my favorite things so I always have on hand and use these Dorot frozen crushed garlic cubes.  They are little frozen cubes of crushed/minced garlic, each cube is equal to 1 clove of garlic. Trust me when I say that these are game changers!  I first found them at Trader Joes but since have always seen them fully stocked at Wallmart,Target and Smiths
  • Basil, salt, and pepper:  Major flavor enhancers, don’t forget them.

 

How long to marinate the chicken for?

I’ve tried all different kinds of marinating times and around 3-4 hours yields the best end product.  Honestly though, even 30 minutes of marinating will give you deliciously flavored chicken! I don’t recommend marinating for more than 5-6 hours because the acid (lemon and vinegar) begins to break down the chicken too much.

Grilling Tips:

Make sure the grill grates are clean and oiled before putting the chicken on.  I do this by rolling up a few paper towels, soak them in oil (canola or olive), and using tongs, rub the oiled paper towels along the grill grates. Doing this will help with a beautiful sear, and ensure the chicken doesn’t stick to the grates.

When grilling be sure to not overcook it, especially if you plan on re-heating it later. You want it to be cooked but be tender. Like the feeling if you press on the palm of your hand by your thumb.

Grill the chicken until completely cooked through. This takes about 1-3 minutes per side depending on the heat of the grill and thickness. Chicken should register 155-160 degrees F at its thickest part. As it is resting it will continue to cook and the carry-over heat will bring it to 165 degrees.  If you don’t own a thermometer, they are so useful!  This is the one I have and love, it is only $10.00 and so easy to use. Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer 

Let the cooked chicken rest, tented with foil, for several minutes before slicing. This allows a redistribution of the juices inside the meat.

lemon garlic grilled chicken

lemon garlic grilled chicken

Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken

Alli Taylor
The most juicy, tender chicken with the easiest marinade. The best combination of Garlic, lemon, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and basil. Lemon garlic grilled chicken is a weekly staple. Perfect for a meal or made for meal prep.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Marinate 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Servings 10
Calories 130 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 lbs chicken breast tenders
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely minced

  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • pinch black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place chicken in a large bowl or gallon resealable bag. Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, basil, and pepper.
  • Stir to coat chicken evenly. If using resealable bag toss around and massage into chicken. Marinate for at least 30 minutes to 6 hours. The chicken is best at 3-5 hours. Too much longer and it tends to get mushy from the vinegar and lemon.
  • Make sure your grill grates are clean and greased. To grease, dredge a paper towel in vegetable oil and holding it with tongs, rub it all over the grate. Heat grill to a high heat, about 375-450 degrees F. Don't go hotter than 450 to avoid drying out the chicken.
  • Place chicken in a single layer on the grill. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through. This takes about 4-6 minutes per side depending on the heat of the grill and thickness. Chicken should register 155-160 degrees F at its thickest part. As it is resting it will continue to cook and the carry-over heat will bring it to 165 degrees.
  • Remove from grill tent with foil and let rest for several minutes before cutting into.

NOTES

  • Store leftovers in fridge for up to a week.
  • I have used chicken breast tenders, chicken breasts, and boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe and all turn out fantastic. If using chicken breasts make sure to either butterfly them or pound to an even thickness.
  • This recipe calls for a fair amount of garlic.  Which really makes the flavor amazing.  Now, mincing garlic is not one of my favorite things so I always have on hand and use these Dorot frozen crushed garlic cubes.  They are little frozen cubes of crushed/minced garlic, each cube is equal to 1 clove of garlic. Trust me when I say that these are game changers!  I first found them at Trader Joes but since have always seen them fully stocked at Wallmart,Target and Smiths
Keyword healthy

 

4 Comments

  1. Taylor Schulte

    5 stars
    So good! It’s always hard to hit my protein goal but this marinated was the perfect combination of light, but still flavorful which allowed me to put down an extra severing!

    Reply
  2. Kristin

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was great! Easy to make and so fresh and vibrant.

    Reply
    • Jen Ward

      5 stars
      I made a large quantity so I could eat this delicious chicken all week. I used it on salads and in pitas.

      Reply
  3. Cindy

    5 stars
    We just had this chicken for a luncheon with friends and it was a big hit!!
    So easy to cook and perfect taste!

    Reply

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