Four Go-to Chicken Marinades to upgrade your chicken



"I don't like chicken, it's just so bland," (Have you ever said this?? I know you know someone who has!)

I've got a mindset switch for you: we can think of it as bland OR as the most versatile meat because it can become anything you want it to! MAGIC, I tell you. Especially when you use a marinade! Marinades come together in minutes and easily TRANSFORM your chicken!


Today I want to share with you not one, but FOUR of my favorite chicken marinades for flavorful chicken, every time!


1) Jerk chicken: a little sweet, a whole lot of spice (but not the burn-your-face-off kind).


2) Greek chicken: tender and garlicky, with a hint of lemon.


3) Teriyaki: mostly sweet with a little kick of ginger


4) Fajita Chicken: Make fajitas even easier by throwing this one in the instant pot for shredded fajitas (or my favorite- bowls!).


How to make the marinades:


Each recipe is designed for 2 lbs chicken breast or thighs.

For all recipes:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and/or food processor (jerk is best processed, first) before coating chicken and marinating 2 hours to overnight.




Jerk Chicken Marinade:

  • 2 green onions, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1/2 tsp allspice

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp fresh or dried thyme

  • 1 habanero pepper, chopped

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp neutral oil




Greek Chicken Marinade (Gyro-style):

  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

  • 1/2 tsp dried or fresh thyme

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt



Fajita Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (I like avocado)

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/2 tsp oregano

  • 1/2 tsp coriander

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro



Teriyaki Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 2" ginger, minced

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar



How to use marinated chicken:


1) Grill or sear

Heat a grill pan or grill to medium-high. Spray well with a nonstick spray. Grill for 4-6 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through (the thinner the chicken, the faster it will cook). Chicken needs to be cooked to 165F in the thickest part.


2) Sear

Heat 1-2 tbsp of high heat oil (avocado oil is my go-to) in a cast-iron or oven safe skillet to medium-high heat. Sear for 4-5 minutes, flip and finish in the oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.


3) Slow Cooker

Add chicken and marinade ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred or use as-is.


4) Instant Pot (marinated shredded chicken)

The instant pot needs more liquid than the slow cooker, so add an additional 3/4-1 cup of liquid (water or broth works) to the chicken and marinade. Cook on manual for 20 minutes, let naturally release for 10 minutes before releasing pressure and shredding.



Tips:

  • The longer you can marinate, the better. Two hours minimum- 8-24 hours (refrigerated) is even better!)

  • Store marinated chicken in the fridge and cook marinated chicken within 2 days (unless freezing).

  • Did you know you can freeze chicken directly in the marinade?! Yes- prepare as directed, freeze as airtight as you can and freeze. Defrost and use as you would fresh!

  • Safety tip: do not re-use marinade; if you want to use leftover marinade as a sauce, bring to a boil and simmer at least 5 minutes to remove bacteria, simmer until desired consistency.

I don't want to hear your excuses for bland chicken, again! 😉




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Kristin Dovbniak

Welcome!

I'm Kris! Founder of Healthy Balanced Mama, I'm a holistic health coach, certified intuitive eating counselor, trained chef, and mama of two, and I'm here to guide busy moms like you in stressing less and finding freedom with food through balanced eating and simplified routines around meal planning, meal prep, grocery shopping and cooking with confidence.

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