5 Flavourful Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

These simple-yet-flavourful marinades will ensure no one gets tired of white meat.

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Barbecue menus: Harissa yogurt grilled chicken recipe
Mix it up with chicken marinades, like Harissa yogurt with a hint of spice. Photo, Erik Putz.

Chicken marinades will make this always popular protein even more enticing, especially if you’re someone who turns to white meat multiple times per week. With these recipes, you can take a trip around the world to enjoy different flavours at dinnertime. While we recommend a specific cut for each marinade, you can always mix and match depending on what you have on hand. And if you’re up for meal prepping, let your chicken chill overnight in whichever marinade you choose—you won’t be disappointed with the tasty results. Here are five chicken marinades to add to your dinnertime roster.

Harissa yogurt grilled chicken

Use: Spatchcocked whole chicken

  • Stir 2 cups 3% plain yogurt, 5 garlic cloves, minced, 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp hot red chile flakes, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a resealable bag or large casserole dish.
  • Add chicken and press, turning to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hr, preferably overnight, turning over once.
  • Preheat barbecue to high. Oil grill. Remove chicken from marinade. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook chicken, skin-side down,lid closed, for 15 min. Flip chicken and continue to grill, lid closed, until chicken feels springy when pressed, 15 to 20 more min.
  • Kitchen Tip: To spatchcock a chicken, place, breast-side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove. Flip over and, using palm, press firmly on breastbone to flatten.

Lemon-Pepper Marinade

Use: Cut-up whole chicken or 6 chicken legs

  • Stir 1 cup canola oil, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp each garlic salt and hot pepper flakes in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 1 min. Stir in ¼ cup each lemon zest and white vinegar and 1 tbsp dried oregano.
  • Place cut-up whole chicken or 6 chicken legs with shallow slashes in a large resealable zip-top bag and pour in marinade. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Arrange in one layer in a 9×13-in. baking dish and bake in a 375F oven until cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Citrus-Sriracha Marinade

Use: Four skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 10 chicken drumsticks

  • Whisk 1/3 cup lemon juice, ¼ cup Sriracha hot sauce, 3 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp canola oil, 2 tsp lemon zest and 1 tsp salt in a bowl.
  • Place 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 10 chicken drumsticks with shallow slashes in a large resealable zip-top bag and pour in marinade. Let stand at least 20 minutes or refrigerate, preferably overnight.
  • Arrange in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 375F oven until cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.

Party-Size Herb Marinade

Use: 12 chicken legs, 16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or 12 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

  • Whisk 1 cup lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, 2 tbsp each garlic powder and dried oregano and 1 tbsp each dried basil, salt and pepper in a large glass measuring cup.
  • Make shallow slashes on 12 chicken legs and place in 2 large resealable zip-top bags. Instead of chicken legs, use 16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or 12 skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Divide marinade in half and pour into both bags. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
  • Barbecue over medium, covered, turning often, for 25 minutes per side. Or arrange in one layer in a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake, covered, in a 375F oven until cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.
Super Bowl Party Recipes: honey garlic chicken wings
Honey garlic wings! Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Honey-Garlic Marinade

Use: 16 wings (wing and drumettes separated)

  • Whisk 2 tbsp each honey and soy sauce, 1 tbsp each canola oil and garlic powder and ¼ tsp each salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Place 16 chicken wings (wings and drumettes separated) in a large resealable zip-top bag. Pour in marinade and let stand 10 minutes or refrigerate, preferably overnight.
  • Bake on a parchment-line baking sheet in a 425F oven, flipping halfway, for 25 minutes. Brush with 1 tbsp honey.