Newsletter Signup

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

Lemon Chicken Marinade

This is the Best Chicken Marinade (and 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.

Chicken Marinade

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!

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 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

  • PREP

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.

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


    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.

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

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter with easy, delicious, and fresh recipes and receive our eCookbook with 16 of our most loved recipes for free! Click Go to signup for free!

27 comments… Leave a Comment
  • @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.


Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our Comment Guidelines. You must be at least 16 years old to post a comment. All comments are governed by our Privacy Policy & Terms.

* Required fields (Email address will not be published)

Did you make it? How was it?:


Previous Post: Next Post: