This goes-with-anything Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken delivers the most tender, juicy results. It’s SO great for grilling or even baking in the oven (and the healthy marinade is a total breeze to throw together!).
⭐ Reasons to love this recipe
Today we’re gonna make THE juiciest and most tender grilled chicken with a quick & easy yogurt-based marinade.
It’s my favorite way to recreate the delicious flavor of takeout kebab-style chicken at home, (without requiring a lot of prep or fancy ingredients).
And it’s perfect for adding to easy healthy dinners throughout the week - think protein packed salads, nourishing grain bowls, or even lunch wraps!
All you have to do is mix some Greek inspired ingredients (dried herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, & Greek yogurt) and then pour it over your chicken, and let it marinate for a few hours.
The best part? You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge!
PS - If you're not in the mood for grilling, don't worry (I've got you covered!). The recipe card below includes easy directions for baking your marinated chicken, giving you more options to work with.
🍋 Ingredients you need to make it
Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you could also use chicken thighs, chicken tenders, or bone-in & skin-on cuts of chicken. Just adjust the cook time accordingly (shorter for chicken tenders, longer for bone-in cuts, etc).
Greek yogurt: This is the star ingredient of this marinade and not only helps to tenderize the chicken, but adds delicious flavor too. Full-fat or low-fat yogurt both work.
Lemon juice: The lemon juice adds nice lift and brightness to this recipe, and teams up with the Greek yogurt to tenderize the chicken.
Red wine vinegar: I like the extra flavor that red wine vinegar adds to this marinade, but you could use all lemon juice or substitute apple cider vinegar in its place.
Garlic powder: I love how convenient and concentrated in flavor granulated garlic powder is and find it’s easier to use in marinades than fresh garlic (which can burn on the grill).
Dried herbs & spices: I used a mix of dried parsley, basil, oregano, coriander, and red pepper flakes but you could also use a premade Greek seasoning blend as a shortcut. And if you prefer, you can omit the red pepper flakes.
Olive oil: Since this is a Mediterranean inspired recipe, I like to use extra virgin olive oil but you could use another neutral flavored oil like avocado oil or canola oil.
Salt: I used kosher salt but you could also use pink salt if you prefer.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free and refined sugar free. I have not tested this recipe using a dairy-free or paleo friendly yogurt. You’re welcome to try that substitution, but just note that it won’t tenderize the meat the same way as dairy yogurt will.
⏲️ Step by step instructions
Step 1: Make your healthy chicken marinade (mix in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken breasts, or shake up in a sealed zip top bag for easy clean up).
Step 2: Add your chicken, making sure each piece is well coated in the delicious marinade, and let marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
Step 3: Once the chicken has marinated, gently shake off any excess marinade and grill (or bake) until the internal temp reaches 165 F.
Step 4: Remove your cooked chicken from the grill (or oven) and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing or chopping.
Pro tip: Don’t skip that last step of letting the meat rest! It's quick & doesn’t require any extra effort, but is the secret to getting EXTRA juicy grilled or baked chicken.
💭 Top tips
This recipe is super simple to throw together, but here’s a few tips to help you get the most of it!
- It’s great for weekly meal prep, so you can easily double or triple the recipe if you want to marinate multiple bags of chicken at a time.
- If you want to make chicken kebabs, you can chop your chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces before marinating them. And then add them to soaked skewers before grilling (adjusting the cook time accordingly for the smaller pieces).
- While the olive oil is delicious for the actual marinade, I opt to use a high heat oil for greasing the actual grill grates (like avocado oil).
- Some chicken breasts will naturally be larger and thicker than others, so you may need to cook big pieces a bit longer (and vice versa for much smaller & thinner ones).
🥗 Ways to serve it
In my opinion, this Greek inspired grilled chicken goes with almost ANYTHING, but here’s a few ways we love adding it to our everyday meals:
- To add protein to a fresh salad like in these Mediterranean salad bowls (or even this avocado quinoa power salad or super citrus salad).
- Chopped inside a wrap with hummus, romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, thinly sliced red onion and some pickled red cabbage.
- Thinly sliced and stuffed into a pita pocket with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, pitted kalamata olives, lettuce and tzatziki sauce.
- As part of a savory bowl - simply serve with any cooked grain (like white or brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice), some drained & rinsed canned chickpeas, and any cooked vegetables (like this easy roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, or lemon pepper asparagus).
🧊 Storage & freezer tips
Once cooked, this chicken keeps well refrigerated in a tightly sealed container (or clean, zip top bag) for up to 3-4 days.
It also freezes well, in a freezer friendly container (like a large gallon zip top bag) for up to 2-3 months.
Since this is a dairy-based marinade, I don’t recommend freezing the marinade itself (since the yogurt can split as it thaws).
But if you wanted to marinate your chicken and then freeze it for 2-3 months (thawing before ready to cook), then that should work great. Be sure to let us know if you try this method!
🍴 More easy chicken recipes
Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken
- Mixing Bowl or Zip Top Bag
- Grill or Oven
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs
- avocado oil for greasing the grill
- ¾ c Greek yogurt
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tbs red wine vinegar or more lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ tbs dried oregano
- ½ tbs dried basil
- ½ tbs garlic powder
- ½ tbs dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Mix together all marinade ingredients in a large bowl until well combined (or add to a 1 gallon zip top bag, seal and shake until well combined).
- Place chicken breasts in the bowl (or zip top bag), and make sure the marinade coats each piece of chicken evenly. Cover bowl (or seal bag) and put into the fridge to marinate for at least 4-6 hours.
- Take out the chicken from the fridge, using tongs to remove each piece and carefully shake off any excess marinade before cooking (see either Grilling or Baking instructions below for next steps).
- To grill, preheat the barbecue and make sure the grates are clean. Greasing the grates lightly with some avocado oil or other high-heat friendly oil just before grilling.
- Then cook on one side for 5-6 minutes or until just browned, it should release easily from the grates.
- Turn over and cook for another 4-6 minutes. Flip and continue cooking as needed until internal temperature reads at least 165 F.
- Pull off the grill and let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Oven Baking Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a sheet tray lightly with more olive oil.
- Space out the chicken breasts on the sheet tray so they’re at least 1 inch apart & not touching.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reads at least 165 F.
Thought it may be a little dry, so made an accompanying dressing with the Greek yogurt, lemon juice and herbs. It was delicious, and so needed.
Lauren Kenson says
Hi Leigh, thanks for taking time to make and review this recipe! I'm so glad you found a tasty work-around (I also often add a sauce or dressing when I accidentally cook my chicken for longer than I meant to, it's SUCH a handy trick to bring dinner back-to-good!!!).
PS - The dressing you whipped up sounds delicious,really appreciate you sharing that yummy idea here for others to try too.
Why do you use skinless
Made similar last night using bone in skin on thighs , marinade under the skin and all over .
When done take skin off if you want , was the most tender & juiciest piece of chicken ever .
Lauren Kenson says
Like all things food related - it's really just a matter of preference and what ingredients I have on-hand & cook with most often.
Luckily, marinades like this work great with all sorts of cuts of meat including bone-in or skin-on chicken breast or chicken thighs etc - bet yours were delicious!
Coral Henney says
when you bake this in the oven, do you bake it in its marinade or just what is coating the piece of chicken? Thanks!
Lauren Kenson says
Hi Coral, great question!
I cook them the same as I do on the grill, so just in whatever is coating the piece of chicken. I shake off the excess before placing on the grill or in the oven. Hope that helps!!
Can I freeze this chicken in the marinade?
Lauren Kenson says
Hi Alison, great question!
I haven't personally tried freezing this marinade. Since marinades containing milk / dairy tend to separate when frozen (when I've tried to make DIY frozen yogurt the water content in the yogurt separated out and froze into icy clumps). So I can't say with 100% certainty that it wouldn't effect the quality and taste of the final dish.
But if you wanted to try it out - here are my recommendations. I would marinate the meat for the recommended time in the fridge, then shake off the excess marinade and transfer the chicken to another freezer bag with tongs. Press out as much air as possible before sealing the bag and then freeze it (discard the leftover marinade from other bag). This way you won't have a watered down marinade floating in the bag after you thaw it in the fridge later on, and you'll be sure that as much flavor as possible penetrated the chicken.
If you go this route, be sure to send me a message and let me know how it went!