This Grilled Chicken is the best recipe for tender juicy BBQ chicken! It makes cooking chicken breasts or thighs easier than ever, and the flavorful marinade keeps the meat extra tender and juicy. Naturally gluten-free, low carb, keto, paleo and Whole30 friendly.
Updated August 2021
Easy and Juicy Grilled Chicken Recipe
Summer is peak grill season, and that means most of us are firing up fresh and flavorful meals on the barbecue. Although there are tons of tasty grilling recipes out there, nothing beats some juicy, smoky, tender chicken fresh off the grill. When it comes to this recipe, there’s no such thing as dry or tough chicken.
And it’s all thanks to a few pantry staples and a watchful eye on the grill. In addition to discussing the ultimate grilled chicken recipe, we’ll be going over some tips and tricks as well as pairing ideas I know you’ll love! So next time you’re planning a summer barbecue, you’ll be more than prepared to keep everyone’s tummy happy. And that’s what it’s all about!
Is Grilled Chicken Healthy?
Yes – the chicken itself is packed with protein and low in calories, and my signature seasoning blend keeps this dish nutritious in addition to making it delicious! The fool-proof marinade only requires a few pantry ingredients while maintaining gluten-free, sugar-free, grain-free, low-carb, keto, paleo and Whole30 compliance. And there are plenty of substitutions and additions you can make so that it’s perfect for you!
What You’ll Need
The combination of ingredients below never fails, but this chicken marinade recipe is super customizeable! Feel free to put your own spin on it.
- Chicken Breasts: Or thighs, boneless and skinless.
- Himalayan Pink Sea Salt: Or kosher salt.
- Black Pepper: Freshly ground.
- Garlic Powder: Or minced garlic.
- Onion Powder: This is one of my must-have seasonings for grilled chicken.
- Italian Seasoning: I love the earthy, piney flavor that Italian seasoning provides!
- Dijon Mustard: Just a tablespoon.
- Coconut Aminos: You can use tamari or soy sauce instead if you’re not paleo or Whole30.
- Olive Oil: Or avocado oil.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed is best!
- Heat Things Up: Try adding smoked paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes or hot sauce to introduce some heat!
- Sharpen the Flavor: Adding balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar is a great option if you want more of that acidic taste.
- Incorporate Fresh Herbs: Parsley, basil or cilantro would all taste great in this marinade.
- Make it Saucy: If desired, feel free to drizzle a compliant barbecue sauce over your grilled chicken.
How to Grill Chicken
Grilling chicken is a super simple process. You just have to marinate and cook!
- Pat Chicken Dry: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before marinating. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Make Marinade: Add the chicken and the rest of the marinade ingredients to a resealable plastic, silicon bag such as a Stasher Bag. Alternatively, you can marinate the chicken in a resealable dish.
- Marinate: Close the bag and gently massage it to coat the chicken pieces evenly. If you’re using a dish instead, just make sure the chicken is well coated. Marinate it for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
- Grill: Grill the marinated chicken for 6-8 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your chicken), or until it’s no longer pink inside. The internal temperature should reach 165°F.
- Let Rest: Use tongs to remove the chicken and transfer it to a platter to rest. Cover it with an aluminum foil tent. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.
Tips for Success
Want some quick words of advice for finessing this grilled chicken recipe? Read on!
- Dry Chicken Well: Be sure not to skip the step of patting dry your chicken. Wet chicken won’t soak up the marinade as well and it won’t get as crispy on the grill.
- No Time to Marinate? If you don’t have time to marinate your chicken for hours, I have a secret for making the juiciest chicken in way less time. Simply pound the chicken lightly with a meat tenderizer! Then, season and marinate it as usual for at least 15 minutes. This speeds up the marinating process while still allowing the chicken to absorb all those delicious flavors.
- Use a Meat Thermometer: In order to avoid overcooking your chicken, it’s best to check the doneness with an instant read meat thermometer. Chicken is fully cooked when its internal temperature reaches 165°F. However, it’s okay to remove your chicken from the heat when it’s 2 or 3 degrees below that, as it continues cooking for a bit once it’s off the grill.
- Let Rest for 10 Minutes: I know the smell is so so tempting, but trust me on this – you need to let your chicken sit for at least 10 minutes before enjoying it. The moisture will lock in, the flavors will intensify and it’ll become even more dreamy!
Now that we’ve covered how to make perfect grilled chicken, let’s talk about some fun ways to serve it! This dish really goes great with everything, but the following recipes are some of our favorite pairings.
- Serve with Roasted Veggies: Chicken and vegetables are a classic family dinner combo! But with chicken this good, not just any veggies will do. My Roasted Broccoli with Garlic and my Lemon Parmesan Roasted Asparagus are both worthy companions!
- Make Chicken Salad: Instead of serving veggies on the side, why not combine the chicken and vegetables into one big salad? This Cobb Grilled Chicken Salad will have everyone’s mouth watering as the table is set.
- Pair with Fried Rice: If you’re not following the keto or Whole30 diet, I highly recommend serving your chicken with this Fried Rice. You can serve it as a side dish or dice up the chicken and add it into the rice! You can’t go wrong either way.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Cooled chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat it, you’ll have to place it in a baking dish with some oil or water to keep it moist. Cook it in a 350°F oven until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Can I Freeze Cooked Chicken?
Yes! Grilled chicken freezes well. Just let it cool completely, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 4 months. Thaw out frozen chicken in the fridge before reheating.
More Chicken Dinner Ideas
You can never have too many chicken dinner recipes, am I right? Here are a couple more of our family favorites:
This is the best recipe for Grilled Chicken ever! It makes cooking chicken breasts or thighs easier than ever, and the flavorful marinade keeps the meat extra tender and juicy.
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts OR chicken thighs
- 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt OR kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder OR 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos , can also substitute with GF Tamari or soy sauce if not Whole30/Paleo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil OR avocado oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Pat the chicken dry. Season with salt and black pepper.
TO MARINATE USING A RESEALABLE BAG: Add the rest of the ingredients to a resealable plastic bag, silicon bag such as a Stasher Bag with chicken. Close the bag and gently massage to coat chicken pieces evenly. Marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
TO MARINATE USING A RESEALABLE CONTAINER: Whisk the rest of the marinade ingredients in a resealable dish and add the chicken. Be sure the chicken is coated well. Close the lid and marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
PREHEAT GRILL TO MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
GRILL CHICKEN: Grill marinated chicken for 6-8 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your chicken), or until no longer pink inside or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees.
REST CHICKEN: Use tongs to remove chicken and transfer to a platter to rest. Cover with an aluminum foil tent. Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Cooled chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat it, you'll have to place it in a baking dish with some oil or water to keep it moist. Cook it in a 350°F oven until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
How to Freeze
Let the cooked chicken cool completely, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 4 months. Thaw out frozen chicken in the fridge before reheating.