This Balsamic Chicken Marinade is made with pantry staples that you probably already have on hand including olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil, and thyme! Whip the marinade up in just minutes and be on your way to an effortlessly amazing and tasty chicken dinner whether you bake, grill, or pan-fry the chicken!
Balsamic Chicken Marinade Recipe
As a huge fan of all things balsamic vinegar, I may be a bit biased when I say how immensely rich and savory your chicken will be! I love using this marinade!
In fact, I just thoroughly enjoyed my boneless, skinless balsamic chicken breast for dinner last night! My hubby and our daughter loved it too, but this is one of Mom's favorite flavors. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
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What You'll Need
In addition to some chicken, you will need some of these basic pantry items to make this easy balsamic chicken. Keeping it simple with just a few herbs will let your balsamic shine as the star of the marinade sauce!
- Olive Oil - use extra virgin olive oil to add flavor and keep the chicken moist while cooking. You can use your favorite cooking oil, but the EVOO pairs wonderfully with the balsamic vinegar!
- Balsamic Vinegar - use a better quality balsamic for best results! See below for notes on balsamic vinegar types.
- Garlic - use minced garlic or substitute a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder to add depth of flavor.
- Thyme - one of my favorite herbs to use with chicken! Just a bit of thyme will add some vibrant floral highlights to the chicken! If you have fresh thyme available, use approximately a ½ tablespoon for each ½ teaspoon of dried thyme.
- Basil - a classic Italian herb that adds a rich flavor with a touch of sweetness. This is one herb that can never get enough of! Use ½ tablespoon of fresh basil if you have it available. The freeze-dried basil or basil paste tubes in your produce section can also be used in ½ tablespoon portions.
- Salt & Pepper - the base spices that highlight all of your tasty ingredients!
Which Type of Balsamic Vinegar To Buy
If you don't already have balsamic vinegar stored in the cupboard, this is what you are looking for in the grocery store. For marinades, you'll want a mid-grade balsamic vinegar brand or quality.
You don't need the costly premium balsamic vinegar which includes traditional balsamic or balsamic condimento. You should be looking for a balsamic vinegar that is labeled as 'of Modena' or 'I.G.P.' or the reverse 'P.G.I.' which stands for protected geographical indication.
These are the types that you can find in your local grocery stores and large box stores like Target, Cub Foods, Aldi, and Wal-Mart. The generic brands available there should be avoided, as the flavor profile is not the same.
White balsamic vinegar is a great choice, even though I prefer to reserve mine for vinaigrettes. When purchasing a white balsamic vinegar, you are also looking for a higher-quality brand.
Overall, the price of a better quality white balsamic is lower than balsamic vinegar. This is due to the addition of white wine vinegar.
How To Make Balsamic Chicken Marinade
This is a super-easy marinade to mix up and get your bland chicken well on the way to tasty perfection! Do use a ziploc or zip-top plastic storage bag for marinating as it helps the marinade 'cling' to the chicken and do its 'thing' best!
- In a small combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic or garlic powder, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth.
- Place your chicken and marinade into a plastic storage bag then seal securely while squeezing out any excess air in the bag.
- Massage the marinade into the meat for a minute or two, squishing the marinade throughout the bag. Continue until all of the meat has been thoroughly coated with the marinade.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or for best results overnight ( between 8 -24 hours ). Freeze for up to 3 months.
If you will be grilling whole chicken breasts, it is best to flatten the chicken breasts for quick and even cooking. Place your chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic cling film and pound each out with a meat mallet or tenderizer ( the flat side ).
Start at the center of your chicken breast and work your way toward the edges until the piece is even in thickness.
Marinating the Chicken
Your chicken needs to marinate for at least 15 - 20 minutes before cooking. The longer you can let the chicken marinate, the more flavorful it will be!
I would usually recommend at least 4 hours, or overnight ( 8 - 24 hours ) for optimal marinating. However, you can marinate the chicken for up to 2 days refrigerated. This is the maximum amount of marinating time that I would leave the chicken in a vinegar-based marinade.
While frozen chicken pieces can usually be stored in the freezer for 6 months or more, I recommend a maximum of three months. Transfer your frozen marinated chicken to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight.
The marinade will slowly seep into your chicken while it thaws, making it wonderfully delicious!
Check out all of my ridiculously tasty and incredibly easy chicken marinades in one place! Each of the marinades are absolutely perfect for grilled, pan-fried, or oven-baked chicken breasts, thighs, wings, kabobs, and more!
Balsamic Chicken Marinade
- In a small bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper.
- Place chicken and marinade in a ziploc plastic storage bag, then squeeze out as much air as possible while sealing securely.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken by squishing the marinade around the bag. Coat all sides of the chicken thoroughly.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Freeze for up to 3 months.
If you will be grilling whole chicken breasts, it is best to flatten the chicken breasts for quick and even cooking. Place your chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic cling film and pound with a meat mallet or tenderizer ( the flat side ). Start at the center of the chicken breast and work your way toward the edges.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!