Easy No-Fail Lemon Chicken Marinade
If you’re on the lookout for a simple, no-fail chicken marinade recipe, you’ve found it. This easy (and healthy) chicken marinade has a tangy combination of lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes and mustard. This just might be one of the best marinades, ever. Use this for baked or grilled chicken. Jump to the Chicken Marinade Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how to make it.
Watch us make the recipe
This is the best chicken marinade! Bonus: It can be used for pork, fish, and vegetables!
This marinade is perfect for roasted, baked, or grilled chicken and works well for chicken breasts or thighs. In fact, if you scroll down a little, you’ll see it’s versatile enough to work with turkey, pork, seafood, and vegetables.
This flavor combination is one of our favorites — we’re clearly big fans of the lemon-mustard combo, just take a look at our Easy Lemon Chicken Thighs. We use lots of lemon juice, some garlic, and mustard with the chicken thighs. It was that easy recipe that inspired us to share this marinade. One we’ve used lots of times since then.
Here’s another way we love using the marinade: Our Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings marinate for at least an hour, and then we grill them until tender and brown. They are seriously delicious.
The combination of lemon, garlic and mustard is killer with chicken, but this can be used for so much more. Any hearty white fish would love it — think mahi mahi or swordfish — and don’t get me started with how amazing shrimp would be.
Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli would be great, too. Try tossing broccoli in the marinade then grill it. Incredible!
You can even turn this into a tangy salad dressing. By reducing the mustard a little and increasing the olive oil, you would have a homemade dressing ready for salad or veggies — we really like the idea of tossing it with some roasted vegetables. Check out our recipe below for how to transform the marinade into a dressing.
You May Also Like: Try our Lemony Chicken Breasts paired with a Cucumber and Feta Salad. It’s very similar to this chicken marinade, but without the mustard. The salad is also incredibly good!
Recipe updated, originally posted June 2015. Since posting this in 2015, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Easy No-Fail Lemon Chicken Marinade
This just might be the best chicken marinade, ever. It’s incredibly versatile. Use for marinating chicken, turkey, pork, fish, shrimp, tofu or vegetables. When marinating meats and poultry, marinate at least 1 hour or overnight. When marinating something more delicate like fish, you only need to marinate 1 to 2 hours. You can also use this to baste while cooking or grilling, if you plan to do this, simply set a portion of the prepared marinade aside for basting.
**This makes enough to marinate 2 to 2 ½ pounds of chicken.
You Will Need
Zest of 1 lemon, peeled or finely grated
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 to 2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like things
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a large knife or minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, parsley, cilantro, basil or a combination, optional
Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper together until the salt has dissolved. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest and herbs (if using). Refrigerate and use within 1 to 2 hours.
To marinate chicken, add the marinade and chicken to a resealable food-safe bag or container and marinate in the refrigerator. Since this is so flavorful, even 20 minutes will work wonders. We don’t recommend marinating more than a day in advance since the lemon in the marinade can cause the chicken to toughen.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- To transform into a salad dressing: To turn this into a tangy dressing, perfect for roasted or raw vegetables, increase the olive oil to 1/4 cup and whisk until blended. Refrigerate for 1 hour then discard garlic and lemon zest. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt or add a sprinkle of sugar or a little honey to balance acidity and the mustard.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.