Delicious Grilled Greek Chicken. This recipe is quick and easy to put together and produce a healthy, fabulously flavored chicken. The hardest part of the recipe is planning ahead for the marinade time!
I love chicken.
I love it baked, grilled, fried, barbequed—whatever the moment calls for, chicken seems to be able to deliver. But the thing I love most about chicken? How easy it is to make.
Good chicken, even great chicken, just doesn’t take that much effort to put together. And this Greek Chicken recipe is no different. Whip up a simple, zesty marinade and grill to get a scrumptious evening dish with a huge array of possibilities. (Consider Greek chicken kabobs or Greek chicken and potatoes.)
Grilled Greek chicken is a light summer meal is perfect for those days when you want to spend more time outside than in the kitchen. Seriously—I can’t reiterate enough how easy this recipe is to make. Just mix the fresh lemon-and-herbs marinade the day before, let the chicken sit in it for 24 hours, and voila! You’re all set for a family grill-out. I recommend grilling up some fresh feta cheese and some garlic toast to perfectly compliment this Greek lemon chicken.
And, look, I love grilling burgers as much as anyone, but I get fed burgers all the time. Change is good, diversity is good. Try out this Greek chicken recipe and you’ll discover a really nice addition to your summer-time meal calendar. Plus, save the extra chicken and use it for the kind of quality leftovers burgers just can’t give.
I’ve been preparing this recipe for my family for decades. Now, I don’t know how things work in your house, but in mine it’s a rarity for any one recipe to be a favorite of absolutely everybody. Grilled Greek chicken, though? Definitely one of those recipes.
If you don’t have the time or energy to grill out (seriously, no judgment, we all get it), use your oven for an even easier meal: baked Greek chicken.
What’s so great about Greek recipes is that they are so versatile. Chicken not your thing? (Maybe you’re cooking vegetarian, or just don’t like chicken.) No problem. Marinate some potatoes and grill those up for awesome Greek potatoes! (Just don’t marinate the potatoes for as long as the chicken—only a few hours. Nobody likes soggy potatoes.) Or use the marinade as a vinaigrette on Greek salad.
- The only tricky part about this recipe is the timing. It’s important to marinade the chicken for 24 hours. That seems to be the “magic number” to impart the chicken with that deep, prominent lemon-and-herb flavor we all want. If you’re pressed for time (who isn’t!), you could marinade for a minimum of 12 hours, but any less than that and you’ll miss out on the zesty “Greek” part of Greek chicken.
- It’s also risky to marinade for any longer than 24 hours—the lemon juice can begin to affect the finished texture of the chicken, making it rubbery and not at all like the crisp, grilled chicken you were hoping for.
- This Greek chicken marinade is quick and easy to put together. You can make it up with fresh or dried herbs. Truthfully, it always seems that I have the dried oregano, rosemary, and dill on hand in my spice rack. So typically that’s what I use to make up the marinade. Plus, using these herbs in their dry form is a lot (That’s important, we get it.) The fresh herbs tend not to add enough extra flavor to warrant their extra expense.
- Instead, save any of those fresh herbs you may have to top of the finished chicken for a little extra flavor spike. You don’t have to use all three—I often use just one of the herbs and mix it with a little fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley.
- The recipe below calls for the chicken to be grilled, but baking it can be just as delicious. Here are the baking instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess. Discard the used marinade.
- Lay the chicken in a 9×13 baking dish (remember, darker dishes cook hotter) and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees.
- This recipe uses both lemon zest and lemon juice. There’s a good reason for it. Lemon zest contains high levels of the essential oils that give lemons all of their delicious flavor—we include the zest because it adds the kind of zesty (ha!), amazing flavor that simply can’t be achieved using only lemon juice.
- Removing lemon zest can be tricky. You don’t want to accidently get the bitter pith (the white part of the peel) in your delicious marinade. I use a microplaner (sort of like a really fine grater) and have been really happy with this handy kitchen tool.
- Don’t skip out on the sugar. It seems like such a small amount, and you may be tempted to just forget it entirely. But the sugar actually acts to enhance the flavor of the lemon. It tempers the acidity of the lemon a little bit which allows the flavor profile of the lemon to really shine.
- In lemon-based recipes, the question is always, “How many lemons will I need?” The trick is really the size of the lemons you buy. If you buy small lemons, you can expect four of them to produce about 1/3 cup of lemon juice. With larger lemons, you can probably get by with two or three.
- I’ve found that one and a half small lemons gives you about one tablespoon of zest. But, again, if you tend to buy large lemons you might only need one.
- And, of course, I love making good Tzatziki to go along with any Greek recipes. This tangy, yogurt-based sauce is really versatile. It’s a great companion to the Greek chicken in that way. Please don’t bother with store-bought Tzatziki, it doesn’t even. Need a good recipe for Tzatziki? I’ve Posted my favorite along with a photo below.
Looking for more Greek and Mediterranean flavor? How about these:
- Yield: Serves 6-8
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Trimmed of Any Fat - 6-8
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/2 Cup
- Fresh Lemon Juice - 1/3 Cup
- Fresh Lemon Zest - 1 Tablespoon
- Garlic Cloves, Minced - 1 Tablespoon
- Dried Dill - 1 Teaspoons
- Fresh Rosemary - 2 Teaspoons
- Dried Oregano, Crumbled - 2 Teaspoons
- Salt - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Black Pepper - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Granulated Sugar - 1/2 Teaspoon
- Fresh Parsley, Chopped - 1/4 Cup
Make the Marinade:
1. In a small bowl, whisk all the marinade ingredients together.
2. Place breasts in a 1 gallon Ziplock, pour marinade into bag, seal bag and lay flat in a rimmed baking dish and refrigerate for 24 hours.
3. Remove from marinade, shaking off any extra, and cook on preheated grill, about 8 minutes per side, depending on the temperature of your grill, or until cooked through.