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
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?
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!
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
Easy Lemon Chicken Marinade
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.
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.