This Greek Chicken Marinade is a simple, fast recipe that results in juicy, succulent chicken every single time!

Cooked chicken pieces on pretty blue platter with herbs and lemons slices.

You will love this Greek Chicken Marinade

Hey there, happy September! It still feels like summer in my neck of the woods, even as everybody’s thoughts are turning to fall.

Our menu still has grilled recipes in heavy rotation, with a sprinkling of comfort fair like instant pot lentil soup and Greek yogurt pasta on cooler days.

Sometimes there’s nothing so simple and satisfying for dinner as a piece of chicken and some veggies. When we grill chicken, we almost always marinate it, and buttermilk chicken marinade and this Greek Chicken Marinade are our favorites.

 Greek Lemon Chicken Marinade ingredients

You should be able to find all of the ingredients for this marinade at any grocery store, if they’re not already in your kitchen:

  • olive oil – the base of the marinade, and what will help the chicken not stick to the grill or pan when it is cooked.
  • lemon – we’ll be using both lemon zest and lemon juice to add a bright and zesty flavor to the marinade.
  • parsley – this adds some herbal freshness to the marinade.
  • garlic – an indispensable ingredient in Greek cuisine, so of course have to add it here!
  • oregano – I use dried oregano because I don’t normally have fresh oregano on hand, but either one would work here.
  • paprika – this adds a a vibrant red color and depth of flavor to the marinade.
  • salt and pepper – essentials in any great marinade.

Raw chicken breasts in bowl of Greek chicken marinade. Blue and white napkin, cut lemon, herbs and garlic cloves on table near bowl.

How to make Greek Marinated Chicken

Here’s my secret for making THE FASTEST MARINADES EVER – I don’t measure anything. Ever. Life’s too short, and it’s just a marinade (I feel pretty much the same way about my dry rub for ribs).

When I follow other marinade recipes, I look at the recipe to get a general sense of the amount of each ingredient, and then I just eyeball it.

I’ve given you ingredient amounts below, but honestly, don’t get all your measuring cups and spoons dirty. It won’t matter if you have a little “too much” lemon juice or a little less oregano.

Just eyeball everything into a ziploc bag, throw the chicken in, and move on with your day. It’ll taste great, I promise. Same story with my flat iron steak marinade.

How to serve Greek Marinated Chicken

You can serve this Greek lemon chicken with a couple of sides like acini de pepe pasta salad and balsamic green beans.

You can also serve it sliced up and stuffed into a pita, similar to a chicken shawarma.

Or, serve it as part of a Mediterranean bowl, with other ingredients like quinoa or couscous, olives, artichoke hearts, tzatziki and crumbled feta cheese.

Sliced grilled chicken breasts with lemon slices and parsley.

How to store this Greek Chicken Marinade

Only store unused marinade that has NOT touched raw chicken. Once it’s been used for chicken once, it should be discarded.

To make a batch of marinade in advance and then store it for later, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Greek Lemon Chicken Marinade FAQs

What does marinade do to chicken?

Many people think that a marinade simply adds flavor to meat (which it does!), but it’s also an important tool for tenderizing meat.

Personally, I think that chicken breast can sometimes get dry and somewhat tough (which is why I really prefer thighs for my orange glazed chicken and almond crusted chicken). But the acid (lemon juice) in this marinade will help tenderize the chicken, making it, well, tender.

The herbs and spices add lots of flavor. And the olive oil will coat the meat and keep it moist as it cooks.

 Can this Greek Marinade be used for chicken kabobs?

This marinade is SO versatile. While I’ve shown it here used for grilled chicken breast, it can be used for any cut of chicken and any cooking method.

Have some chicken thighs you want to sauté? Do it. Chicken drumsticks you want to roast and serve with Dr. Pepper baked beans? Also great. Kabobs? Yes!

This versatile marinade is also lovely with steak or shrimp.

What is the best length to marinate chicken?

Ideally, I think chicken is best when it is marinated overnight, so anywhere from 8 to 16 hours or so. Avoid marinating longer than 24 hours, as the texture of the chicken can break down and become mushy.

What does putting lemon on chicken do?

Lemon acts as a natural tenderizer, as the citric acid in lemon helps break down the proteins in meat. It also adds a bright and tangy flavor to the chicken!

Grilled chicken breasts on blue platter with lemon slices and fresh parsley.

Greek Chicken Marinade Recipe

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This Greek Chicken Marinade is a simple, fast recipe that results in juicy, succulent chicken every single time!


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  1. In medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Makes about 1 cup marinade, which is enough for 1 pound of chicken.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 532mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

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