Made with white wine, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and a blend of Mediterranean spices this Greek Chicken marinade is so versatile, you will want to marinate everything in it. In sum, it’s a delicious blend of flavors that complement so much more than just chicken.
Greek Chicken Marinade
This Greek Chicken Marinade packs tons of flavor, but also makes your chicken extra juicy. Because you will definitely have plenty of this marinade to work with, you should take what is leftover and turn it into a sauce for your finished chicken (see instructions below for safely converting marinade to a reduced sauce). Follow the simple instructions below, and as a result, you will be left with a “lick-whatever-is-left-off-of-the-plate” good sauce. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to drizzle it all over everything else on the plate too. For example, I like to pour it over rice, potatoes, and roasted veggies too.
Greek Chicken Marinade Ingredients
- sea salt flakes
- fresh chopped rosemary
- fresh squeezed lemons
- minced garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- white wine
How long should you marinate your chicken?
You should marinate your chicken for at least 5 hours, but up to 24 hours. The longer the better, in my opinion, because the flavor continues to develop with time. I personally love to let it marinate as close to the 24 hours as possible. While there are sources that incorrectly state that marinating chicken with lemon (or acid, such as vinegar) can cause the protein in chicken to “break down and get mushy,” don’t be fooled. Because acids do not break down or tenderize meat, the longer you let it marinate, the longer it has time to absorb all the flavors from the marinade. If you’re still a little worried that you might mess up your chicken by letting it marinade for a while, check out this article from The Spruce Eats: https://www.thespruceeats.com/tips-for-marinating-chicken-482394
Can I use this Greek chicken marinade for sauce?
YES, you can absolutely use your marinade as a sauce! I often see recipes that suggest you should reserve marinade to use as sauce separately and throw out the marinade you used for the meat, however, that is not necessary. To clarify, marinade is totally safe to use as sauce, but because raw meat sat in it, you will need to cook it before you can use it over cooked food. USDA’s food safety guidelines state that the best way to do this is to boil the marinade.
Now, reduce your leftover marinade to use as as a sauce
In this step, most importantly, you’ll need to boil your marinade until it reaches a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit because it made contact with raw meat. Pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil the marinade aggressively for 5 minutes and remove from the heat, once it has reached 212 degrees. After it’s boiled, in addition to being safe to eat, your marinade will reduce and thicken. Now, you can serve the sauce over the cooked chicken and any other sides you are serving with it.
Preparing Your Greek Chicken
Greek chicken recipes are very flexible. You can grill it, pan sear it, or bake it and you will still end up with delicious results. I like to pan-sear the chicken to give it a “grilled effect,” and then I bake it through so it’s really juicy. Finally, I baste it with the reduced, lemon-herb, garlic marinade when it comes out of the oven. Check out my FAVORITE Homemade Naan to eat with this recipe!
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Greek Chicken Marinade
- 2 lemons, freshly squeezed
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine (*Pinot gris/pinot grigio, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc all work)
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thigh *You can use any cut of chicken for this recipe, but cooking times will differ
- 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
- First, whisk together the white wine, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, finely chopped rosemary, oregano and sea salt flakes until they are well combined .
- Next, pour the marinade over the chicken, make sure all pieces are well covered, and marinate in the fridge anywhere from 5-24 hours. You can marinate your chicken anywhere from 5-24 hours – The longer the better, because the flavor continues to develop with time.
- After the chicken has marinated for at least 5 hours, preheat the oven to 395°F and heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. When cast-iron skillet is hot, drizzle it with olive oil and begin placing chicken into the pan. Cook without moving the chicken for about 2 minutes to get a nice char. Once a nice golden skin and char begins to form, remove the chicken and place on a lined baking sheet. Spoon a little marinade over each piece and put it in the oven until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165° (time varies based on size and type of chicken). Temp check the chicken after about 15 minutes in the oven.
- Add the remainder of the lemon, garlic and herb marinade to a sauce pan and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. *It's critical that the marinade reaches a rolling boil at about 212°F because it made contact with raw chicken. Be sure that marinade aggressively boils for 5 minutes.
- Once sauce and chicken have reached the right temperature, remove the chicken from the oven and coat in sauce. Let it rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into it.