Easy Lemon Chicken Marinade

My favorite lemon chicken marinade! If you’re looking for a simple chicken marinade, you’ve found it. This easy marinade combines lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes, and mustard. It’s honestly one of the best marinades ever. Use this for baked, skillet, or grilled chicken.

Watch the Video

Lemon Chicken Marinade Recipe Video

Related: We love using this marinade when we make grilled chicken.

This is the Best Chicken Marinade (and Can Be Used for Pork, Fish, and Vegetables)

This lemony marinade is perfect for all cuts of chicken. I use it when baking, grilling, and roasting. It’s also versatile enough to work with turkey, pork, seafood, and vegetables. Did I mention I love this marinade recipe?

Lemon Chicken Marinade

The lemon garlic flavor combination is one of our favorites — we’re big fans of the lemon-mustard combo. Just take a look at our Easy Lemon Chicken Thighs. We use lots of lemon juice, 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, then we grill them until tender and brown. They are seriously delicious.

The combination of lemon, garlic, and mustard is excellent with chicken, but you can use this marinade for much more. Any hearty white fish would love it — think mahi mahi or swordfish — and don’t get me started with how fantastic shrimp would be.

Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli would be great, too. Try tossing broccoli in the marinade, then grill it. Incredible!

Chicken Marinade Ingredients

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 like the idea of tossing it with roasted vegetables. We include tips in the recipe below for transforming the marinade into a dressing.

More: 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

Lemon Chicken Marinade

Easy Lemon Chicken Marinade

  • PREP

We love this lemon chicken marinade! It’s incredibly versatile. Use for marinating all cuts of chicken, as well as turkey, pork, fish, shrimp, tofu, and vegetables.

When marinating meats and poultry, marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight. When marinating something more delicate like fish, you only need 1 to 2 hours. You can also use this to baste while cooking or grilling. If you plan to do this, set aside a portion of the prepared marinade for basting.

**This makes enough to marinate 2 to 2 ½ pounds of chicken.

Makes approximately 1/2 cup

Watch Us Make the Recipe

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


    1Whisk 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.

    2To 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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/4 cup / Calories 138 / Protein 1 g / Carbohydrate 4 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 1 g / Total Fat 14 g / Saturated Fat 2 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher

More Lemon Chicken Recipes

Simple Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon
Simple Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon
Lemony Chicken Vegetable Soup
Lemony Chicken Vegetable Soup
Easy Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken Breasts
Easy Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken Breasts
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31 comments… Leave a Review
  • Rita Wickham April 13, 2023, 3:09 am

    As a very senior fan of your recipes, I wondered if you had considered producing a hardback book of your recipes. I would be the first to buy.. I love all your recipes and it gives me new ideas for cooking. I live in uk..

    • Joanne April 13, 2023, 1:56 pm

      Hi Rita, Thank you so much for reaching out. We do not have a cookbook yet, but it means a lot that you would be excited for one. We will keep everyone updated if this changes! Happy cooking.

  • Jada March 5, 2023, 4:07 pm

    Hi Joanne! Could I use the marinade as a sauce and make a skillet chicken when I didn’t find time to marinate? Thanks for your help. The marinade sounds delish and very versatile! Hope I can !!

    • Joanne March 5, 2023, 5:27 pm

      Hi Jada, Yes! This marinade can double as a sauce.

  • @EatRightMamaRD August 21, 2022, 10:09 pm

    I’ve used lots of citrus marinades, but what makes this THE BEST lemon marinade is the lemon rind! I grated mine and also added tarragon. A big hit with my guests! Thanks!

  • Carol August 14, 2022, 7:18 pm

    I made skinless bone-in chicken thighs tonight using this marinade. Followed the recipe exactly, used fresh herbs of cilantro, parsley and basil. So happy with the flavor!! Absolutely delicious marinade !!!

  • Gloria July 31, 2022, 11:42 am

    This is my first summer using this recipe, and I’ve recommended it to dozens of people! We live to grill during the summer, and this is such a lively, healthy taste!! Thank you!

  • Chris David April 26, 2022, 1:05 am

    Really delicious recipe. I love it yummy!!! It’s really awesome. Will surely try this.

  • Jean Marie Hansen March 15, 2022, 12:45 pm

    You did not mention how long to bake or cook the chicken for….can you provide some guidance on this? Thank you, Jean

  • Suzy July 5, 2021, 6:24 pm

    Absolutely yummy! The best marinade recipe I’ve ever tried. Chicken was flavorful and moist — can’t wait to try the other suggestions on to use this recipe. Love it! Thanks for sharing

  • Jan January 15, 2021, 6:55 pm

    5 star marinade! Used lemon oil too. Chicken was delicious. Can’t wait to try this as a dressing!

  • Luci January 12, 2021, 3:45 pm

    I don’t eat or prepare meats often (formerly a pescatarian) but I had all ingredients on hand and really needed to use some lemons and cilantro before they went bad. WOW! This was easy and so flavorful. I cooked a chicken breast on an electric grill for lunch and it was juicy and simply delicious. 10/10 will make again ASAP and trying with fish or shrimp.


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