This easy, zesty Italian Chicken Marinade is 100% homemade with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Italian seasoning, basil, and red pepper flakes! Just 6 ingredients for this simple chicken marinade that is sure to be a new family favorite!
Italian Chicken Marinade
It’s hard to say you have a favorite marinade flavor when you really love the variety and have so many great recipes to choose from! But I do seriously love the flavor combination of basil and lemon, which just shines in this Italian chicken marinade!!
Marinade Ingredients You’ll Need
Six simple ingredients combine to make an incredibly tasty marinade that features traditional Italian flavors! Stick with the staple jarred garlic, bottled lemon, and dried herbs, or use their fresh counterparts for an even bigger punch of flavor!
- Olive Oil – is a classic Italian favorite! Use EVOO ( extra virgin olive oil ) for best flavor, or substitute with your preferred cooking oil.
- Lemon Juice – fresh lemon juice adds amazing flavor to this super easy marinade, add some zest for an even more delicious kick! Bottled lemon juice will work adequately for marinades, but I recommend fresh for the best flavors.
- Basil – adds its distinctive sweet but peppery taste that works so well in combination with all of the Italian marinade ingredients! Fresh basil is always wonderful, but the tube of basil or freeze-dried basil that can be found in the produce aisle are also great! Sometimes you can find the small packs of basil in the freezer as well. Or dried herbs work in a pinch.
- Italian Seasoning – your dried Italian seasoning in the spice rack or cabinet is fantastic in this marinade! If you want a slightly better version, the produce aisle also has an Italian herb blend offered in the freeze-dried herbs section.
- Garlic – fresh minced garlic or the jarred minced garlic are both equally wonderful in marinades! If you don’t have garlic on hand, use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Red Pepper Flakes – for just a touch of tangy flavor without making this herb marinade spicy!
How To Make Italian Marinade for Chicken
In addition to the ingredients above, I do recommend marinating your chicken in a ziploc or zip-top style plastic storage bag. It helps the marinade cling to the chicken best, which results in a better flavor!
- In a small bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, and dried red pepper flakes. Whisk until well combined.
- Transfer the chicken and marinade into a ziploc plastic storage bag and seal securely while forcing out the excess air.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken to make sure that it is evenly coated. Squish the marinade throughout the bag until all of the herbs are distributed around the chicken.
- Refrigerate and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 4 hours. Freeze for up to 3 months.
If you will be grilling boneless, skinless 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. Continue until the chicken is even in thickness.
Marinating the Chicken
Your chicken should be marinated for at least 15 – 20 minutes before cooking. The longer you can let the chicken marinate, the more flavorful it will be!
I 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 time that I would marinate chicken in a citrus-based marinade.
While frozen chicken pieces can be stored in the freezer for 6 months or more, I recommend freezing marinated chicken for no more than three months. Transfer your frozen chicken to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight.
The marinade will slowly seep into your chicken while it’s thawing, making your chicken juicy and delicious!
Check out all of my fantastic, tasty, and oh-so-easy chicken marinades in one place! The marinades are absolutely perfect for grilled, pan-fried, or oven-baked chicken breasts, thighs, wings, skewers, and much more!
Italian Chicken Marinade
- 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp basil
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 Tbsp garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, Italian seasoning, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl, then whisk them together.
- Place the chicken and marinade to a ziploc plastic storage bag, then squeeze out the excess air while securely sealing the bag.
- Massage the marinade into the chicken by squishing the marinade throughout the bag. Make sure that the chicken is evenly coated with marinade.
- For best results, refrigerate for at least 4 hours before use. 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. Continue until the chicken is even in thickness.
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!