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As is characteristic of most Greek dishes, this marinade really is greater than the sum of its parts. Made with simple Greek flavours - garlic, lemon, parsley, thyme, oregano and rosemary - you may well have everything that you need at home to make it.

If you've ever eaten the grilled chicken at a Greek restaurant - this is that chicken! It's packed with flavour and is extremely healthy to boot. Greek restaurants will often cook the chicken over charcoal - which does yield a superior flavour - but you are able to get a great result from a pan or BBQ at home.

This is one of my go-to weeknight chicken breast recipes - you can pull it together in about 5 minutes - and the marinade is effective after 30 minutes or so. Make it a complete meal by combining it with a salad and optionally some grains or potato.

What is Greek chicken marinade?

This Greek marinated chicken captures the flavours of Greece. It's made by marinating chicken pieces in a mixture of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and thyme. This marinade tenderises the meat and gives it a rich flavour.

What you need to make Greek Marinated Chicken?

Strictly speaking it's not required, but given how easy it is to overcook chicken breast, I'd suggest purchasing an instant read thermometer if you don't have one. It will allow you to accurately measure the internal temperature of the chicken and make sure it's cooked properly without being overcooked.

Greek Marinated chicken ingredients

  • Chicken breast is what this recipe calls for, however if you prefer you can make it with chicken thigh.
  • Fresh herbs - parsley, rosemary and thyme.
  • Garlic
  • Dried oregano - use Greek oregano if you're able to get it.
  • Lemon - we make use of both the zest and juice for the recipe.
  • Olive oil - don't use extra virgin - just plain old olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

How to make Greek Marinated chicken

  1. Prepare herbs and garlic - pick the leaves from the rosemary and thyme. Finely slice the rosemary and parsley. Mince the garlic using a garlic press or your knife.

  2. Flatten chicken - the thickness of chicken breast tapers from end to end. To flatten a chicken breast, place it between two sheets of plastic wrap or baking paper. Use a meat mallet or heavy pot or pan to gently pound the chicken until it's an even thickness, about 1-2cm thick. Start from the centre and work outward to ensure even flattening. Be careful not to pound too hard to avoid tearing the meat.

  3. Marinate the chicken - add the chicken to a container, along with the rosemary, oregano, thyme, oil, salt & pepper, garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest (1). Stir well to combine (2). Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours.

  4. Cook - cook your chicken on a BBQ or grill to an internal temperature of 74C (165F).

  5. Serve with salad and optionally a grain or potato for a complete meal.

Tips

  • Flatten the chicken breast (see below) to a uniform thickness to help the breast to cook evenly.
  • You'll get a reasonable result with only 30 minutes marination time, but don't exceed 3 hours - the acid in the lemon juice will denature the protein of the chicken breast.
  • Don't use a metal container to marinate your chicken. The acid in the lemon juice can react with it.
  • If you have a charcoal cooker, use it - this will give the best taste.

Can I use dried herbs for the marinade?

Yes, although you will get a superior result using fresh herbs. Check the recipe card for details about using dried herbs.

I find dried parsley completely devoid of flavour, so I wouldn't bother if you don't want to use fresh parsley.

Pan, BBQ or charcoal?

The most traditional way of cooking this chicken, and indeed any grilled Greek food is over charcoal, for example using a Weber kettle. You'll still get a great result cooking it in a pan or on a BBQ or electric grill, but if you have the time and ability to cook it over charcoal you should.

How long to marinate?

Because of the lemon juice in the marinate, you need to make sure the chicken is not marinated too long. Best results come after about 1.5 hours so if you have that amount of time use it, but the result is still good after 30 minutes. If you exceed about 3 hours you will start to notice the chicken texture changes due to the acid in the lemon denaturing the protein.

Thighs?

Absolutely! Marinate thighs for at least 1 hour though, up to a maximum of 3. Thighs should be flattened the same way as the breasts - see above or in the recipe card for information on flattening.

What to serve with the Greek marinated chicken

  • A Greek salad is a classic pairing for a reason.
  • Serve in flatbreads along with tomato, lettuce, red onion, grated cheese and tzatziki for a great souvlaki.
  • Greek baked lemon potatoes.
  • Grilled vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and capsicum.
  • A side salad of your choice.

Greek marinated chicken

5 from 1 votes
Prep Cook Total
5 mins 15 mins 80 mins
Serves 3-4
Lean & healthy chicken breast in a fragrant marinade made with Mediterranean herbs - perfect for a quick weeknight dinner when served with a salad.
  • 700g chicken breasts breasts need to be flattened for the best result - see note 1 for details
  • 7g rosemary, leaves picked and finely sliced 1-2 sprigs, about 2 tsp
  • 7g thyme, leaves picked 4-5 sprigs, about 2 tsp
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 62.5ml (1/4 cup) cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4g parsley, finely sliced optional, to serve - 2-3 stems
For dried herbs
  • 1 tsp dried thyme see note 2
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves see note 2
Steps
  1. Marinate chicken - add the chicken breast, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon juice and zest, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to a container. Mix well and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours.
  2. Cook chicken - ideally over a charcoal grill, but a BBQ, electric grill or pan will also work well. Cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 74C (165F).
  3. Serve with a side salad or in a flat bread with lettuce, red onion, tomato and tzatziki.
Notes
  1. Chicken - the recipe uses chicken breasts, but use thighs if you'd prefer. To ensure even cooking, the chicken breast needs to be flattened so it is a consistent thickness. To flatten a chicken breast, place it between two sheets of plastic wrap or baking paper. Use a meat mallet or heavy pot or pan to gently pound the chicken until it's an even thickness, about 1-2cm thick. Start from the centre and work outward to ensure even flattening. Be careful not to pound too hard to avoid tearing the meat.
  2. Dried herbs - replace the fresh rosemary and thyme with dried herbs if you prefer. Dried parsley has no taste so if you don't want to use fresh parsley I would just leave it out.

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I created The Aproneer to share the recipes that my family and friends love to eat.

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