Grilled chicken breast stays tender and juicy with this easy recipe! A garlicky Italian marinade and a few easy tricks turn basic chicken breast into an exciting and delicious dinner.

Three chicken breasts in a tray
Photo Credits: Bella Karragiannidis

This grilled chicken breast recipe features a simple yet bold marinade with Italian seasoning, fresh lemon juice, and a healthy dose of minced garlic.

Unlike chicken thighs, chicken breast is much thicker on one side. This difference makes it challenging to grill, as one side turns rubbery by the time the other is cooked through. Pounding the chicken to an even thickness solves this problem! It also tenderizes the meat and gives you a head start. It’s the same technique I use for my juicy Baked Chicken Breast and Pan-Seared Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is a leaner meat, so it’s prone to overcooking. The final tip is to pull it off the heat just before it’s done and tent it in foil. While it rests, the chicken will finish cooking and stay juicy! It’s a trick I learned from my friend Adam, who is my resident grilling expert. 

Whether you’re looking to add lean protein to your diet or just for something delicious to make any night of the week, this grilled chicken breast recipe will give you juicy, flavorful chicken every time!

Serve it with a fresh salad like Tabouli or Panzanella and you'll have a healthy meal you're actually excited to eat in under an hour. 

a grilled chicken breast with a salad on a plate.
Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Breast
  2. How to Grill Chicken Breasts
  3. What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Breast
  4. Juicy Chicken Breast Recipes You'll Love
  5. Try our Nocellara-Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  6. Grilled Chicken Breast Recipe
ingredients for grilled chicken breast including chicken, olive oil, garlic, italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and lemons.

Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Breast

This grilled chicken breast recipe calls for easy-to-find ingredients that are available year round. So don't be afraid to light up your outdoor grill in the summer and heat a grill pan indoors when it gets cold.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: A lean meat, chicken breasts are filling yet lower in fat than any other cuts. Look for breasts with a light pink color and a smooth texture, with no signs of graying or discoloration. 
  • Italian seasoning: A good Italian seasoning is a handy trick for adding flavor quickly. Make your own Homemade Italian Seasoning with dried basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes (optional), and garlic powder. Or, save some time and pick up a jar in the spice section of your grocery store.
  • Paprika: Gives this grilled chicken a pop of color and very mild heat. Go for smoked paprika for a bolder flavor, or keep it easy with sweet paprika
  • Red pepper flakes: While optional, red pepper flakes give the perfect kick to this recipe. You can substitute with Aleppo pepper or black pepper for a milder heat. Or, if heat isn't your thing, skip it entirely. 
  • Garlic: A healthy dose of garlic gives the marinade its power. You can adjust to taste. 
  • Lemon: Zest flavors the marinade. A quick soak in lemon juice in the final 30 minutes tenderizes the meat and adds brightness to balance the savory flavor. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil: A good drizzle of olive oil enrichens the marinade. Use a smooth, buttery variety, like our Italian Nocellara.  
  • Kosher salt: Draws out the flavor of both the chicken and the marinade. 
  • Parsley: A final sprinkle of parsley adds freshness. 

How to Grill Chicken Breasts

A few simple techniques make grilling chicken breast easy and quick. Just be sure to take it off your grill right before it’s fully cooked! It will finish cooking in the foil, guaranteeing it won’t dry out.

  • Pound the chicken breasts: Place one chicken breast in a large zip-top bag. Push out any air and fasten the bag shut at the top. Use a kitchen mallet to pound the chicken until it’s evenly flattened to about ½-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts, pounding one at a time. a raw chicken breast in a plastic bag with a rolling pin sitting on top.
  • Make the marinade: In a mixing bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, and ½ teaspoon each of paprika and red pepper flakes (if using). Add 5 minced garlic cloves. lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the ⅓ cup olive oil and whisk to combine. If you want to marinate the chicken for more than 30 minutes, wait and add the lemon juice to the marinade 30 minutes before you plan to grill it.marinade being mixed in a bowl with a whisk.
  • Marinate the chicken: Season the chicken all over with kosher salt. Add it to the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. raw chicken breasts marinading in a bowl.
  • Grill: Lightly oil your grill grates and preheat to medium. Once hot, arrange the chicken in one single layer over the heated surface. Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches somewhere between 155°F and 160°F. 
  • Cover and rest. Transfer to a large plate and immediately tent a large piece of foil loosely over the chicken. Allow to rest, covered, until its internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 5 minutes. 
  • Garnish and serve: Sprinkle with ¼ cup of chopped parsley leaves and serve. 
3 chicken breasts grilling on a grill.

What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Breast

Grilled chicken breast is famously versatile: you can add it as a lean protein to just about anything savory. This grilled chicken breast is not different. It’s a great way to get ahead for the week.

The Italian seasoning and garlicky lemony marinade goes especially well with Ladolemono Greek Salad Dressing. Grab fresh greens, ready your chicken and Greek dressing, and maybe throw in some seasonal vegetables like snap peas or radishes if you’re feeling fancy. You’ll have a 5-minute healthy lunch at the ready all week long! 

For a more substantial salad, go for something with a grain, legume, or carb. Tabouli Salad with bulgar, Piyaz: Turkish Salad with white beans, or Mediterranean Orzo Salad topped with grilled chicken would satisfy even the strongest of appetites!

Finally, you can shred or slice it to add protein to vegetarian pasta like Pasta Primavera or Sun Dried Tomato Pasta.

A grilled chicken breast with a side salad.

Juicy Chicken Breast Recipes You'll Love

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Try our Nocellara-Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This EVOO is produced from hand-picked, cold-extracted Nocellara olives. High in polyphenols with aromas of fresh tomatoes and vegetables with a mildly spicy finish.

4.90 from 19 votes

Grilled Chicken Breast

Suzy Karadsheh
a grilled chicken breast with a piece of it on a fork and a salad on a plate.
This simple recipe keeps grilled chicken breast tender and juicy! With a few easy techniques and a garlicky Italian marinade, you can transform plain chicken breast into a tasty and satisfying dinner option that’s perfect for any night of the week.
Prep – 5 minutes
Cook – 5 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total – 40 minutes
Cuisine:
Italian/Mediterranean
Serves – 4 people, as a side
Course:
Dinner, Entree or Side Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Pound the chicken breasts: Place one chicken breast in a large zip-top bag. Push out any air and fasten the bag shut. Use a kitchen mallet to pound the chicken until it’s evenly flattened to about ½-inch. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts, pounding one at a time.
  • Make the marinade: In a mixing bowl, combine the Italian seasoning, paprika, red pepper flakes (if using), garlic, lemon zest and juice. Add the olive oil and whisk to combine.
  • Marinate the chicken: Season the chicken well all over with salt. Add it to the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Grill the chicken: Lightly oil the grates and preheat your gas grill or an indoor griddle to medium. Arrange the chicken in one single layer over the heated surface. Grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches somewhere between 155°F and 160°F.
  • Cover and rest: Transfer to a large plate and immediately tent a large piece of foil loosely over the chicken. Allow to rest, covered, until its internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish and serve: Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Video

Notes

  • If you want to marinate the chicken for longer than 30 minutes, combine the marinade ingredients together, but leave out the lemon juice. Add the salted chicken to the marinade, cover and refrigerate the chicken for up to 4 hours or overnight. When you're ready, remove the chicken from the fridge add the lemon juice to chicken marinade, and let the chicken marinate for and additional 30 minutes at room temperature. Lemon juice is acidic, and letting the chicken sit in it for an extended period of time can make it rubbery, which is why I liked to wait and add it later.
  • Chicken breast tends to dry out and get very tough when overcooked. Make sure to remove it from the grill and tent before it hits the 165°F mark. The foil will capture the steam and finish cooking the chicken.
  • Store leftovers, sealed in an airtight container in your refrigerator, for up to four days.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oilshoneyjams and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 379.7kcalCarbohydrates: 7.5gProtein: 37.2gFat: 22.7gSaturated Fat: 3.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 14.5gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 108.9mgSodium: 206mgPotassium: 763mgFiber: 2.3gSugar: 1.5gVitamin A: 593.4IUVitamin C: 36.8mgCalcium: 52.1mgIron: 1.8mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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4.90 from 19 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Susan Graham says:

    5 stars
    Fabulous recipe Suzy!! We loved it!! It was so easy to make on the grill!!! Can’t wait for your new cookbook to come out!

  2. Jesse Martinez says:

    5 stars
    I will never cook Chicken Breast another way again! Absolutely delicious and so quick!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Yay! Love that! Thanks, Jesse!

  3. Jabir says:

    5 stars
    Can you cook it in the oven and what temp

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Jabir! Sure! If you want to try making this in the oven, you can use our Baked Chicken Breast recipe as a guide. Enjoy!

  4. Andy says:

    5 stars
    I made this last night on the grill and the boneless breasts came out so juicy and moist. I marinated them for longer (at least an hour) so not sure if that made extra good. But this recipe is a keeper! Thanks

  5. Judith A Kelly says:

    4 for sure now! Can't wait to try!!!

  6. Michelle says:

    3 stars
    I made this tonight. I love most of the recipes here. Not sure about this one. It was a bit bland. I followed the directions to the T as always. I even added a bit more red pepper flakes. I loved the sound of the ingredients when I looked at the recipe. Some jive and some do not.

  7. Michelle says:

    Hi Suzy. Just made the marinade now. any reason why you leave it out at room temp instead of marinating in the fridge for 30min to an hour? Thank you

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Michelle! It is just a bit of personal preference. You can marinade it in the refrigerator if you'd like.

    2. Grampa JD says:

      5 stars
      Cold meats stick to grill grates and cast iron/stainless steel pans. When you try flip them, you will tear the meat. Eventually, meats char and release from grate and grill pans, but with cold meats the cooking time will be longer before the release. With refrigerated chicken, you're going from 37° to 150° for chicken vs room temperature of where it is more like 72° to 150°. I'm suggesting removing at 150° because the chicken will continue to cook in the foil tent. Sure, you can prevent the sticking with olive oil rubbed on the grates but you will likely get flare us from the oil. In a cast iron or stainless steel pan, you won't get the sticking if use enough oil, but it is more Sautéed than grilled. May not matter to you but the visual presentation it often as important as the aroma and taste. For steak, starting from room temperature is more than just visual, because the difference between a warm pink center and cold pink center is affected by starting temperature (BTW, I never "grill" meats in a non-stick pan).

      1. TMD Team says:

        Thanks for the helpful tips!

  8. Lynda says:

    5 stars
    Really enjoy this! Have made it a couple times now. A good flavorful marinade that can be made in minutes for those busy weeknights. I keep your Italian seasoning on hand for this and some of your other recipes.

  9. Parag says:

    5 stars
    Thanks Suzy for this wonderful recipe; I have never managed such tender chicken breast. Your tip of covering it in foil is awesome. Does the trick. The marinade is also very flavourful.

    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad you found the tips helpful, Parag!

  10. Susan says:

    A super easy dish. All ingredients where in the cupboard so no additional shopping. I will do this again.

  11. Karen frame says:

    5 stars
    Suzy , I have loved every recipe I’ve made groom your web site . So I’m a huge fan !! I prepared the chicken breast as exactly as you directed . I thought they were extremely tender but actually lacked flavor ! Considering the spices garlic lemon zest etc . Ps : from not groom , couldn’t correct that . Still a huge fan !

  12. Victoria says:

    5 stars
    This is the best grilled chicken breast recipe that I have ever made, honestly. So flavorful, so tender-- thank you!

  13. Kathleen Sutton says:

    5 stars
    Another winner! I did use skinless boneless thighs because I didn’t have breasts. It was so moist, juicy and delicious! Your seasonings are spot on! And we loved the marinade flavor!

  14. Laura says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely spectacular! It is really hard to grill chicken breast and not dry it out. Not anymore!!! Very yummy, juicy, and perfect. I live alone and cooked four. The other three will go into salads or other uses next week. Thank you for the recipe!!! The marinade is the key!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Awesome! This recipe is definitely great for meal prep :). So many uses, so little time!

  15. Danny Banyard says:

    Absolutely every recipe I have tried from your lovely selves has been fantastic xx keep up the fantastic work and thank you

  16. Catherine A Dempsey says:

    5 stars
    Looks delicious! Does the minced garlic burn? I usually smash the garlic cloves, add to the marinade and then remove it before cooking the chicken in a similar recipe. Love your recipes!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Catherine. We use minced garlic quite a bit in marinades and have not had issues with it burning. Hope you give this recipe a try!