Your Basic Balsamic Grilled Chicken Marinade is a staple, must make recipe. A simple marinade that calls for basic pantry ingredients like balsamic vinegar, dijon, dried spices and fresh rosemary. The perfect balance of savory with just a touch of sweetness. Serves 4 but can easily be doubled.
Sick of boring old grilled chicken? I’ve got you.
Because this is my go-to recipe for perfectly moist and flavorful grilled chicken. And it’s filed under the “Your Basic Recipe” section of this blog because everyone needs a basic grilled chicken recipe amiright?
The recipe itself is so simple to throw together and I usually always have these ingredients on hand. Especially in the summer months when I grow rosemary in my garden. I love that I can step outside on my porch to snip off a sprig or two.
So the second the weather is about 50° I start grilling. And I make this chicken all. the time. For dinner, for meal prep, for life. It’s saucy, moist and unbelievably delicious.
To Make Your Basic Balsamic Chicken Marinade You Will Need:
- dark brown sugar – Adds flavor and a touch of sweetness that balances the vinegar.
- rosemary – Adds a pine-like or woodsy flavor.
- garlic powder – Gives a garlic flavor that’s sweeter yet milder than fresh garlic.
- ground black pepper – This will give a little extra peppery flavor.
- paprika – Lends color and subtle flavor.
- balsamic vinegar – Lends delicious tang and acidity.
- extra light olive oil – Helps to carry the flavors of the spices throughout the marinade.
- light soy sauce – Adds saltiness, umami and a hint of sweetness to the sauce. Use low-sodium tamari if gluten free.
- worcestershire sauce – Adds a mixture of sour, sweet and subtly spicy flavors.
- dijon mustard – The vinegar in this works as a tenderizer, which is great for tougher cuts of meat, and also gives the meat a nice tanginess.
- chicken – Use boneless skinless breasts or thighs.
In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, measure and add; 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (1-1/2 teaspoon if using dried rosemary), 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon both ground black pepper and paprika.
Next, measure and pour in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil, 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or tamari if gluten free), 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce (store-bought or homemade) and 1 tablespoon dijon mustard.
Because soy sauce is salty, you do not need to season the chicken nor add any salt to the marinade.
Whisk well to combine.
Lastly, place 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts (I cut 2 large breasts in half horizontally) and place them into a gallon size resealable bag.
Pour the marinade over top.
Toss the chicken in the marinade. Press or squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible, seal and let marinade for 2 to 6 hours. I like to place the bag on a tray just to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
Remove the chicken from the fridge. Use paper towel dipped in a bowl of a little extra light olive oil and wipe your grill grates.
Preheat your outdoor grill to 500-550°.
Once hot, place the chicken onto the hot grates, cover and grill for 3 to 4 minutes. Of course the timing will depend on how thick your chicken breasts or thighs are.
To be honest, this chicken really likes to stick to the grill (even when oiled), so be patient and use the tongs to really scrape and get under the chicken. Turn and continue to grill for 3 to 4 more minutes OR until the internal temperature is 165°. An instant read thermometer is great for this!
Transfer the grilled chicken breast to a carving board and allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.
This super moist chicken is delicious as is, served with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes. But I also like to make a batch and enjoy it in my salads all week long.
Your Basic Balsamic Chicken Marinade
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil, or avocado oil (plus more for greasing grill grates)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce,
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness (about 2½ pounds)
- In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, measure and add; brown sugar, rosemary, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire and djion.Whisk well to combine.
- Working in batches, place 2 chicken breasts in a large resealable bag and use the flat side of a meat tenderizer to pound the thickest part until the chicken is an even thickness. Remove and repeat with remaining 2 chicken breasts.Place chicken in resealable bag.
- Toss the chicken in the marinade. Press or squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible, seal and let marinade for 2 to 6 hours. I like to place the bag on a tray just to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
- Once you're ready to grill, remove the chicken from the fridge so it can come up to room temperature. Use paper towel dipped in a bowl of a little extra light olive oil and wipe your grill grates.
- Close the lid and preheat your grill to 500-550°.
- Once preheated, remove the chicken from the marinade and place the chicken onto the hot grates, cover and grill for 3 to 4 minutes. Discard the leftover marinade. You may need to adjust the heat to avoid burning.
- Turn and continue to grill for 4 to 5 more minutes OR until the internal temperature is 165°. An instant read thermometer is great for this!This chicken really likes to stick to the grill (even when oiled), so be patient and use the tongs to really scrape and get under the chicken.
- Of course the timing will depend on how thick your chicken breasts or thighs are.
- Transfer grilled chicken to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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