This Greek chicken marinade contains savory flavors of oregano, fresh garlic, parsley, and lemon. It produces the most flavorful and tender chicken you'll ever taste! And, it only takes 5 minutes to prep!
This Greek chicken marinade is out-of-this world delicious! Full of mediterranean ingredients, this Greek chicken marinade is made with Greek yogurt which aids in tenderizing the meat. It's nice and thick so it does a good job coating each piece.
Similar to my steak marinade, this is my "go-to" chicken marinade because it's super tasty, easy to make, and produces incredibly tender chicken! Every bite is packed with flavor!
And while I have some other amazing recipes like my air fryer chicken thighs and this brown sugar garlic chicken, this Greek chicken marinade is perfect for when you want juicy and flavorful chicken on the grill!
🛒 Ingredients You'll Need
- Chicken - use pieces such as breasts, thighs, and drumsticks.
- Olive Oil - a key ingredient in the marinade that also has a high smoke point which helps when grilling.
- Oregano - adds that Greek flavor to the marinade.
- Greek Yogurt - a thick coating that helps tenderize the meat and adds moisture. Use plain Greek yogurt.
- Garlic - pairs well with the oregano and to the Greek flavor. It also helps tenderize the meat.
- Lemon - fresh squeezed lemon juice helps break down the fibers in the meat by allowing the oil and herbs to penetrate giving it intense flavor and moisture. The zest also adds a lot of extra flavor to the marinade.
- Parsley - has a fresh and mildly peppery flavor
- Salt - use a coarse salt such as kosher or sea salt. It's a flavor enhancer.
- Pepper - use coarse ground pepper. It's also a flavor enhancer.
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!
- Types of Chicken - this Greek chicken marinade works great with chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. I find that using either boneless skinless or bone-in skin on thighs or drumsticks work best because the dark meat provides so much flavor.
- Olive Oil - using a flavored olive oil adds a depth of flavor. Any kind of flavored olive oil, such as lemon, rosemary, or garlic infused olive oil work great. The flavor really makes the flavor "pop" when it's going through the marinating process. It makes the flavor that much more intense. Avoid using extra virgin olive oil as it has a robust flavor and a lower smoke point. Avocado oil can also be used as a substitute.
- Salt and Pepper - while any salt and pepper work well, try using a coarse version. It helps enhance the flavor and texture. White pepper also works well.
- Additional Herbs & Seasonings - try adding in dry basil and dill to bring out more Greek flavors in this marinade.
🔪 Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Start by mincing the garlic cloves and finely chopping the fresh parsley. Step 2: Put the garlic, plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, chopped parsley, dried oregano, and olive oil into a big mixing bowl. Using a spatula, mix until well combined.
Step 3: Put each piece of meat in a large gallon Ziplock bag. Pour the marinade into the bag so that it covers each piece. The marinade should be thick and full of amazing flavor! Make sure to get ALL of it into the baggie by scraping the bowl with a spatula.
Step 4: Seal the bag and move the pieces around so that each piece is well coated with the marinade. Place the Ziplock baggie onto a plate and put it in the refrigerator. Marinate for a minimum of 6 hours, preferably 24.
Step 5: Remove each piece of chicken from the Ziplock bag after it has had enough time to marinate. Discard the bag of marinade and place each piece on a large plate.
Step 6: Start the grill and let it get very hot, around 400°F. Once hot, put each piece of chicken directly on the grill racks. Sear on one side for 3-5 minutes before flipping it over.
When you flip the meat over, you'll see those gorgeous grill marks on each piece. FLAVOR I tell you...FULL of amazing flavor!
Once done, remove the chicken from the grill and serve immediately. This Greek chicken marinade makes the most delicious chicken that's perfect for any weeknight dinner!
🙋 Recipe FAQs
Yes! If you don't have access to an outdoor grill, you can easily oven grill the chicken by using the broiler in your oven. Drumsticks and thighs take about 40 to 50 minutes to oven grill. Breasts take around 25-30 minutes. You can also oven bake the chicken in the oven on 350°F for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the meat.
For best results, marinate the meat for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
💭 Expert Tips
- Avoid reusing marinade that has been used to marinate chicken. It contains bacteria that can cause health issues.
- When grilling drumsticks, it's recommended to grill them for 8-12 minutes on each side. When the drumsticks are done, the meat will start to slightly pull back from the bone.
- I always top my grilled Greek chicken with fresh lemon zest. It helps intensify the flavor in every bite and let me tell you, every bite is FULL of garlic and just the right amount of lemon flavor. It's just beyond delicious!
- Want those grill marks and char? Turn up the fire toward the end of the grill and turn each piece of chicken over once. Watch it closely so it doesn't burn or overcook. To get those char marks, it's all in your grilling technique. Just like smoking meat, grilling also has an art to it.
- Store any leftovers in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 300°F until warmed all the way through.
🍗 More Chicken Recipes
Greek Chicken Marinade
- 1 5.3 ounce tub of plain Greek Yogurt, (I use Chobani)
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (if you have a flavored olive oil, use it!)
- 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 lemon, (juice and zest)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- 4 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks
- To make the marinade, combine 1 container of Greek yogurt, 6 minced garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon of dried oregano, juice of 1 lemon, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, ¼ cup of chopped parsley in a large bowl. Stir well.
- Use a cheese grater or zester to scrape a thin layer of lemon zest from half the lemon. Add lemon zest to the bowl of marinade ingredients.
- Add the chicken pieces and marinade to a large plastic baggie or glass dish. Move each piece around to ensure all are well coated.
- Refrigerate the the meat in the marinade for at least 6 hours.Expert Tip: I like to marinate it overnight. The longer the marinade, the more flavorful!
- Start the grill and let it get very hot, around 400°F. Once hot, put each piece of chicken directly on the grill racks. Sear on one side for 3-5 minutes before flipping it over. The meat will be done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Once done, remove the chicken from the grill. Top with fresh grated lemon zest and serve immediately.
- If you don't have access to an outdoor grill, you can easily make this in the oven. However, it does taste best grilled. Bake in the oven on 350°F for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the meat.
- When grilling drumsticks, it's recommended to grill the them for 8-12 minutes on each side. When the drumsticks are done, the meat will start to slightly pull back from the bone.
- I always top the chicken with fresh lemon zest. It helps intensify the flavor in every bite and let me tell you, every bite is FULL of garlic and just the right amount of lemon flavor. It's just beyond delicious!
- Want those grill marks and char? Turn up the fire toward the end of the grill and turn each piece over once. Watch it closely so it doesn't burn or overcook. To get those char marks, it's all in your grilling technique.