This Greek chicken marinade combines lemon, olive oil, Greek yogurt, and oregano for a tasty Mediterranean flavor and super tender chicken! It takes just minutes to mix up and only requires a handful of common ingredients! From salads to sandwiches, Greek marinated chicken tastes great on anything!
Best Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade
If you love super-fresh, super-tasty chicken, then you'll love the flavors of this quick and easy Greek chicken marinade! It's a family favorite in our household, and it's REALLY easy to understand why!
One of the best parts of this marinade, other than its incredibly delicious flavor, is that it uses only a few ingredients. Not only are the base ingredients everyday staple items, but they're also easily substituted or swapped for what you have in the fridge!
This homemade Greek marinade is just one of my many delicious chicken marinade recipes! Try different marinades for your favorite chicken dishes to make them even more flavorful!
These are really basic ingredients that combine to create truly flavorful chicken. With only 5 ingredients other than your standard salt and pepper seasoning, this marinade is quick, easy, and packs a whopping punch of flavor!
- Lemon - ½ cup of lemon juice is part of this classic combination that adds delightfully bright and tangy flavor! Zest your lemons before juicing and use both the fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest for an addictive 'WOW' chicken marinade!
- Yogurt - I'm using ¼ cup of Greek yogurt for its amazingly tangy and rich flavor. You can use plain yogurt as well and any level of fat percentage that you prefer.
- Olive Oil - ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil helps to distribute the marinade ingredients evenly over the chicken and helps it coat the chicken for a great marinade flavor! The oil also adds that wonderful Mediterranean flavor and keeps the chicken moist!
- Oregano - 2 tablespoons of oregano. Oregano is one of the classic Greek flavors that makes this marinade so super! Use 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons of dried oregano. Add more herbs like thyme, rosemary, and/or parsley if desired!
- Lemon Zest - 1 tablespoon of lemon zest really heightens the bright citrus flavor.
- Garlic - 1 tablespoon of fresh minced garlic is a great addition and adds depth of flavor to this fresh, vibrant marinade! If you need to use garlic powder, a generous teaspoon will substitute for the fresh garlic.
- Salt & Pepper - ½ teaspoon each of salt & pepper, the basic spices for all seasoning! Salt and pepper highlight all of your tasty Greek marinade ingredients, bringing out their very best flavors. Freshly ground coarse black pepper is best!
*Be sure to see the free printable recipe card below for ingredients, exact amounts & instructions with tips!*
🔪 How To Make Greek Chicken Marinade
You can mix the marinade in a bowl and add the chicken to marinate. However, using a plastic storage or freezer bag will help the marinade cling to all surfaces of the chicken.
This will distribute your marinade flavor evenly and yield the best marinated Greek chicken. So, I highly recommend this method if you can marinate your chicken for more than a few minutes!
1 batch (about 1 cup) of this Greek marinade can be used for up to 2 pounds of chicken.
- Combine the ingredients. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup of lemon juice, ¼ cup of Greek yogurt, ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic or (½ tablespoon of garlic powder), and ¼ teaspoon each of salt & pepper until smooth.
- Add chicken. Place the chicken and marinade in a Ziploc plastic storage bag or freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air while sealing securely.
- Coat the meat. Rub the marinade into the chicken by squishing the marinade throughout the bag until the chicken has been evenly coated.
- Marinate. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to marinate. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Add some of the cooked marinated chicken to some Greek pasta salad for a quick and easy lunch! Marinate chicken breast, legs, quarters, and thighs. You can also use the meat in wraps, sandwiches, and traditional lettuce salads. Enjoy!
How To Marinate Chicken
Typically, I recommend refrigerating any meat in marinade for at least 4 hours up to overnight. You could actually leave the chicken in the marinade for up to 2 days, even longer if you freeze it!
Don't leave your chicken refrigerated in the marinade for more than 48 hours, though. The acid in the citrus will start to break down the fibers in the meat, giving it a less-than-savory texture.
💭 Tips & Notes
- Chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and/or parsley would all make wonderful additions to this marinade.
- At a minimum, the chicken needs to be left in the marinade for 15-20 minutes before you cook it. Just remember, the longer the meat is in the marinade, the more flavor it absorbs!
- If you plan on grilling whole chicken breasts, use the flat side of a meat tenderizer or a meat mallet to pound them thinner before cooking. I recommend placing the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap beforehand to keep everything clean. Always start in the center of the chicken breast and work your way out toward the edges.
The marinade (with no meat) can be kept refrigerated in a Ziploc bag or airtight container for up to 1 week.
You may also freeze the chicken in the marinade in a Ziploc bag for up to 3 months. When ready, transfer the frozen chicken to the fridge to defrost overnight before cooking.
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I recommend using at least ½ cup of marinade per pound of chicken. For even more flavor, try using a whole cup of marinade per pound!
Absolutely! I recommend freezing chicken in the marinade for up to 3 months. This gives the meat loads of flavor because the marinade is soaked up as it defrosts in the fridge!
Yes, absolutely. Especially with marinades that contain acids like vinegar or citrus. After about 48 hours, the acid in the marinade will begin to break down the meat. Then it gets a mushy texture that is less than pleasant.
🐔 More Chicken Marinades
- Japanese Steakhouse Chicken Marinade - Japanese steakhouse-marinated chicken makes for the best hibachi dinners!
- Fajita Chicken Marinade - You can use this marinade for more than fajitas, it also makes tasty tacos and burritos!
- Italian Chicken Marinade - Your chicken pasta dishes will have never tasted better!
- Honey Mustard Chicken Marinade - This honey mustard marinade makes for the most delicious fried chicken and chicken tenders!
- BBQ Chicken Marinade - The perfect marinade for your next backyard BBQ or BBQ family dinner!
- Lemon Rosemary Chicken Marinade - Lemon rosemary chicken marinade is incredibly versatile and can be used in just about any chicken recipe!
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📖 Recipe Card
Greek Chicken Marinade
- In a small bowl, combine the ½ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup Greek yogurt, ¼ cup olive oil, 2 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon garlic, ½ teaspoon each, salt & pepper. Mix until smooth.
- Transfer the chicken and marinade into a plastic storage bag or freezer bag. Close and seal the bag securely while squeezing out excess air.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken by squishing the contents around the chicken.
- Refrigerate and marinate 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!