Marinades for Chicken

marinade ingredients

Lots of different marinades for chicken are all you need to ring the changes for your barbecue so that you and the family never get bored of the same old thing, whenever it's chicken on the menu.

Of course you can buy prepared jars of various kinds - but if you want to save money and be able to adjust the flavor, then make your own.   It's so easy and usually healthier too.

You’ll see that the basis for all the recipes below is an acid such as vinegar, wine or lemon juice, which acts as a tenderiser.  Then some oil adds moisture, while herbs or spices add the flavor.

Knowing this, it’s a doddle to make up your own marinades from whatever you have available!


On the whole, I’ve found it easier to use boned chicken on a barbecue, because, if you leave the bones in, it’s more difficult for the heat to penetrate the meat. You then run the risk of having a very burnt exterior by the time the interior part is properly cooked.

I recommend boned chicken thighs as they have lots of flavour and are juicier and cheaper than the breast meat.

However, I often use chicken breasts, especially if they are on special offer! They don't often taste of much themselves but add a marinade for chicken and you can turn them into a really scrumptious barbecue recipe!

Prepare boneless, skinless, chicken breasts by slicing each one in half horizontally, leaving it joined on one side so that it opens like a butterfly wing.   Put in a large, non-metallic dish and cover with a marinade.  Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours but preferably much longer, before transporting in a cooler to your picnic site to barbecue.


All these marinades make enough for 4 servings of chicken but remember they are not set in stone. As I said above, it’s a very simple matter to vary any of these without doing any harm to the chicken!

Mix together all the ingredients of any of the marinades for chicken and spread/pour over the meat in a non-metallic container or put in a polythene bag, tied well at the top.

This is a very good way of marinading as you can make sure the marinade reaches all parts of the meat simply by turning the bag over.

Leave in the fridge and/or cool-box until just before you are ready to cook –  for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

Teriyaki marinade for chicken

  • 8 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons of groundnut oil
  • 4 tablespoons of dry sherry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed


  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • half a teaspoon of ground turmeric

Lemon and Thyme

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • a level teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed


  • 6 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 8 tablespoons of a mild French mustard, like Dijon
  • 8 tablespoons of olive oil


  • 50 g of soft brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • large pinch of salt


  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper


  • 2 tablespoons of dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
  • half a teaspoon of chilli powder

Sour Cream

  • 150 ml carton of sour cream or crème fraiche
  • a tablespoon of lemon juice
  • a garlic clove, crushed
  • a stick of celery, thinly sliced
  • half a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • a large pinch of paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper

One of my favorite marinades for chicken

  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • a clove of crushed garlic
  • half a teaspoon of ground cumin
  • half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • a tablespoon of lemon juice
  • a teaspoon of tomato purée
  • salt and pepper

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