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.
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.
Table of Contents
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.
- 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.
- Marinate the chicken: Season the chicken all over with kosher salt. Add it to the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat.
- 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.
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!
Meat and Poultry
Meat and Poultry
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.
Grilled Chicken Breast
- 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
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley leaves, for garnish
- 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.
- 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 oils, honey, jams and spices.