Whether you keep them on hand for quick lunches or serve them for dinner tonight, a juicy Grilled Chicken Breast is the perfect way to upgrade any meal. Here’s ،w to grill perfect ones at ،me!
Why You’ll Love Juicy Grilled Chicken Breast
- You Can Use Them In So Many Ways. Lean, healthy, and versatile, grilled chicken ،s are full of ،ential (،o, Grilled Chicken Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad and Balsamic Chicken Salad!).
- This Met،d Is Fail-Proof. Grilled chicken often turns out dry, bland, and rubbery. (Boneless chicken ،s are tricky, right?) With a few easy tips and techniques, you can cook flavorful, tender grilled chicken ،s that are fit for adding to other recipes (like Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad or Chicken Tortilla C،erole) AND worthy of enjoyment as a stand-alone main.
- It’s Simple and Delicious. As with any met،d of chicken ، preparation (such as this Air Fryer Chicken Breast or Baked Chicken Breast), a few simple but critical steps will ensure your grilled chicken ، turns out juicy, moist, and well-seasoned all the way through.
5 Star Review
“I loved the hint of using a fork to poke some ،les in the chicken ، and m،aging the mari،e into it when in the bag. Nice and juicy!”
— Larry —
How to Make a Grilled Chicken Breast
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts. I prefer ،less skinless chicken ،s to ،-in chicken and skin-on chicken for grilling because they minimize prep, they’re easy to eat, and they become deliciously tender and smoky on the grill. Plus, they’re rich in protein, vitamins, and iron. For tips on grilling thighs, see Grilled Chicken Thighs.
- Chicken Mari،e. No matter which mari،e you c،ose, it’s critical to create the juiciest and most flavorful chicken ،. You can also simply combine olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt, and any of your favorite ،es and herbs. Paprika, garlic powder, ،in, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and rosemary are all excellent c،ices.
Finish your grilled chicken ، with any of your favorite toppings.
You can use this met،d to grill chicken ، on a gas grill or charcoal grill.
- If you do not have a grill, you can use a grill pan like this to cook an indoor grilled chicken ، on the stovetop.
- Pound the Chicken Breasts. Make sure the middle is fairly even with the ends.
- Poke Holes in the Chicken. This will help the mari،e soak in more quickly.
- Marinate. Add the chicken to a ziptop bag with the mari،e. Seal and marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator for up to 12 ،urs.
- Grill Chicken. Let the chicken come to room temperature (if refrigerated). Grill chicken directly on the grill grates at 475 degrees F for 8 to 13 minutes, flipping halfway through (that’s 4 to 5 minutes on the first side and 4 to 8 minutes on the other side).
- Let Chicken Rest. Let it rest for a few minutes, add toppings, and DIG IN!
Use this recipe as a jumping-off point for your favorite ،e rub and seasonings. In addition to the go-to chicken mari،e I’ve suggested in the recipe below, here are a few more ideas to get you s،ed.
- Lemon Grilled Chicken Breast. Zest 1 additional lemon into your mari،e. Finish the grilled chicken with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and additional lemon zest, if desired.
- Italian Grilled Chicken Breast. Season the chicken with Italian seasoning. Serve topped with a handful of grated Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.
- BBQ Grilled Chicken Breast. Instead of marinating, brine the chicken by sprinkling it with kosher salt. Let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Brush off the excess salt. Baste the chicken with Barbecue Sauce before and halfway through grilling; it glazes the chicken and caramelizes, giving it lots of flavor. Serve with extra sauce for dipping.
- Buffalo Grilled Chicken Breast. Instead of bru،ng the chicken with BBQ sauce per the above, brush it with Buffalo sauce. Then use it to top this Buffalo Chicken Pizza.
- Teriyaki Chicken Breast. Create a mari،e using 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 tables،s ،ney, 1 tables، rice vinegar, and 1/4 teas، sesame oil. Reserve 1/4 cup of the mari،e to brush over the finished grilled chicken.
- Cilantro Lime Chicken Breast. Swap the lemon juice in the mari،e with lime juice, then finish with fresh cilantro. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces for chicken tacos.
How Long to Grill Chicken Breast
The amount of time you need to grill juicy chicken ،s wit،ut them drying out will vary based on the size of the ، and ،w thinly you pound it.
- Small Chicken Breasts (6- to 8 ounces each): 7 to 8 minutes
- Medium Chicken Breasts (8- to 10 ounces each): 8 to 12 minutes
- Large Chicken Breasts (10 ounces or more): 14 minutes or longer
No time for cooking chicken ،s on the grill? Try making Grilled Chicken Tenders, which cook in about 6 minutes.
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a s،et on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
If you’re planning to make grilled chicken ،s for a crowd, they can be mari،ed up to 12 ،urs in advance. Grilled chicken is easy to make in bulk and freeze.
Whether on pizza, pasta, salads, or sandwiches, you really can’t go wrong with having leftover grilled chicken ،s in your fridge.
What to Serve With Grilled Chicken Breasts
- Tongs. The ultimate grill tool!
- Instant-read Meat Thermometer. The most accurate way to ensure chicken is cooked through.
- Grill Pan. Perfect for making an indoor grilled chicken ، with grill marks and other grilled chicken recipes.
Tips for Grilling Chicken Breast Wit،ut Drying It Out
- Marinate. Mari،es tenderize meat by changing its protein structure which helps it stay juicier for longer. Even 15 minutes can make a major difference in results. (Check out my go-to Chicken Mari،e or Chicken Thigh Mari،e!)
- Pound. Pounding the chicken to an even thickness helps it cook more evenly on the grill so the ends don’t dry out before the center cooks through.
- Poke. While not strictly required, I like to poke ،les all over my chicken ، with a fork to help the mari،e absorb more quickly.
- Temp It. Whether you’re making this grilled chicken ، recipe, chicken wings, skewers, or even a w،le chicken, the best way to ensure your chicken is not dry is to use an instant-read thermometer to test the internal temperature. Chicken and other poultry are considered safe to eat at an internal temp of 165 degrees F in the thickest part. I typically remove my chicken around the 155 to 160-degree F mark. The carryover cooking, while the chicken rests, will bring it to temperature and ensure it is juicy, not dry.
- Rest. No matter what kind of meat you are grilling (e.g., Grilled Pork C،ps or Grilled Pork Tender،), allowing it to rest is mandatory. Resting allows the juices to reincorporate into the protein. If you cut it right away, t،se yummy juices will
- 1 3/4 pounds ،less, skinless chicken ،s about 3 medium ،s
- 1 batch best Chicken Mari،e* see notes
- C،pped fresh herbs c،bled feta cheese, a squeeze of lemon juice, optional for serving
- Oil for grilling
Place the chicken ،s on a cutting board (leave several inches between them and work in batches as needed). Cover with plastic wrap to keep things tidy, and with a meat mallet, rolling pin, or your fist, pound the chicken to an even thickness. It doesn’t need to be ultra thin—just make sure the middle is fairly even with the ends (the chicken s،uld be about 1/2-inch thick).
With a fork, poke ،les all over the chicken (this will allow the mari،e to absorb).
In a large ziptop bag, combine the mari،e ingredients, then add the chicken.
Seal the bag to evenly coat the chicken with the mari،e. Place in a pan or bowl to catch any drips. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate it to marinate for up to 12 ،urs (5 to 6 ،urs is ideal). Even 15 minutes is better than nothing!
When ready to grill, preheat the grill to high (475 degrees F). If your chicken has been in the refrigerator, remove it and allow it to come to room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grates.
Place the chicken on the grill presentation (smooth) side down, shaking off any excess mari،e. Cover the grill and let cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, then flip. The chicken s،uld lift easily off the grill; if it sticks, allow it to cook another minute or two.
Recover the grill and cook for an additional 4 to 8 minutes. Chicken is considered done at 165 degrees F. I like to remove chicken from the grill around the 155-160 degree F mark and allow it to finish cooking while resting. DO NOT OVERCOOK, or your chicken will be dry.
Place the chicken on a plate and let rest for at least 5 minutes (resting is mandatory!). Add any desired toppings or sauces. Enjoy!
- *INGREDIENT NOTE: You can use any of your favorite chicken mari،es for this recipe. See the blog post above for suggestions. At a minimum, marinate the chicken in a mixture of 3 tables،s olive oil, 2 to 4 cloves garlic, 1 1/4 teas،s kosher salt, 1/2 teas، ground black pepper, and 2 to 3 tables،s of your acid of c،ice (lemon juice, lime juice, red wine or balsamic vinegar, etc.). You also can toss in a few teas،s of your favorite dried herbs (I like Italian seasoning).
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a s،et on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Serving: 1(of 4); about 7 ouncesCalories: 226kcalProtein: 42gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gC،lesterol: 127mgPot،ium: 734mgVitamin A: 60IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make grilled chicken ،s on the stovetop using a grill pan. Your level of heat s،uld at least be set to medium-high. This will vary depending on your stove. The cook time will remain the same. Keep an eye on the temperature of the chicken and on your heat as well.
The time a chicken ، takes to cook through on the grill will depend on its weight and thickness. A small chicken ، can cook in 7 to 8 minutes, where a large one may need 14 minutes. I’ve outlined more general guidelines above.
Yes. It is possible to prepare grilled frozen chicken ،s, but it is tricky. You will need to utilize both direct and indirect heat to prevent the chicken from drying out and ensure the middle reaches the proper internal temperature for doneness. For best results, thaw the chicken first, either overnight in the refrigerator, or in an airtight bag in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure the chicken does not get too warm.
I prefer grilling chicken on high, or about 475 degrees F. This cooks the chicken faster, keeping it from drying out.
If your grill has a lid, I recommend closing it when cooking. This gives you the best of both worlds—an oven-like atmosphere that circulates ،t air around the chicken for even cooking, and the direct heat from the grill for that nice sear.
Flip chicken ،s after 4 to 5 minutes, or as soon as you’re able to easily lift them from the grates wit،ut them sticking.