This Lemon Chicken Marinade is made with only 4 simple ingredients! It's the perfect blend of olive oil, Kosher salt, tangy dijon mustard, and fresh lemon juice. With only a short marinading time needed, you'll have juicy, lemony chicken in no time.
This lemon chicken marinade will give you juicy, delicious chicken every time😄
One of the best parts of this lemon marinade is that the chicken gets infused with lemony flavour after only 1 hour of marinading!
Now you can marinade the chicken for longer but from my tests, I've found this 1 hour minimum is the best way to get lemony, juicy chicken onto the table in the least amount of time.
(See below for more tips on marinating time because you could go too long.)
- 📝Lemon Chicken Marinade ingredients
- 🔪How to marinade chicken
- 🥡Storage and Leftovers
- 🍽️What to serve with lemon marinated chicken
- Is it OK to marinate chicken in lemon juice?
- 🍋 Can you marinate chicken too long in lemon?
- ⏲️How long does lemon marinated chicken last in the fridge?
- 🏅Top tip
- 😍More healthy chicken recipes
- Want more?
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Love marinades? Me TOO.
Check out these other recipes for flavour-infusing marinades and tasty spice rubs to bookmark them for later:
📝Lemon Chicken Marinade ingredients
With only a handful of simple ingredients, this lemon chicken marinade comes together in no time.
Here's what you'll need:
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Dijon mustard
- Lemons - you'll need 3-4
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs - you can also use chicken breasts instead of thighs here
See recipe card for quantities.
🔪How to marinade chicken
See below for more tips and different ways to change up the flavours of this easy marinade.
What to change it up? Here's a few ways you can change this lemon chicken marinade to add new tasty flavours.
Honestly, the possibilities are endless!
Here's a few ideas:
- 🍃Add fresh herbs: Try adding chopped fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano to your marinade. This will add a fresh element to the chicken.
- 🍊Use different citrus fruits: Yes, this is a lemon marinade for chicken but instead of using only lemon juice, why not try using a combination of different citrus fruits? Try lime, orange, or even grapefruit!
- 🧄Add garlic: Adding minced garlic to the marinade is never a bad idea. You'll get a slightly different flavour in the end and you won't regret it.
- 🍯Sweeten it up: Lemon is pretty tart so adding a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar to the marinade balances the acidity and is just plain delicious.
- 🔥Spice it up: Add some heat to your marinade by adding chili flakes or hot sauce.
- 🫒Use different oils: Try using different oils like sesame oil, olive oil, or avocado oil instead of your usual vegetable oil to change the taste of the marinade.
- 💃Make it Peppery! Go for a lemon pepper chicken marinade by adding a whack of fresh ground pepper to the marinade.
You don't need much to make the marinade itself. All you have to do is mix it up in a bowl and then get the chicken in there.
For cooking the chicken, you can use the BBQ to cook the chicken thighs. Or, you can also sear them in a cast iron skillet and then place the whole pan into the oven to finish cooking.
This way, the chicken breasts stay juicy and delicious while cooking.
Check out more cast iron skillet recipes here.
🥡Storage and Leftovers
You can make this marinade up to 2 days before you need it.
Discard any unused marinade.
After cooking the chicken in the marinade, that chicken will be good if kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can re-heat it if you like before eating or just eat it cold on a salad😋
🍽️What to serve with lemon marinated chicken
There's so many healthy dishes that you can serve with lemon marinated chicken.
Here's some ideas:
- 🌶️Grilled vegetables: Grilled zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and onions make great side dishes to go with lemon marinated chicken.
- 🍠Roasted sweet potatoes: Roasted sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and fiber, and their sweetness pairs well with the tanginess of the lemon marinade. Check out this recipe for Oven Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes (Cubed).
- 🥗Quinoa salad: A quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado is a healthy and refreshing side dish that goes well with lemon marinated chicken. Check out this recipe for Easy Quinoa Salad with Feta.
- 🥦Roasted broccoli and potatoes: Make it a complete meal in no time with this recipe for Simple Roasted Broccoli and Potatoes (one pan).
- 🍅Greek salad: A Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, and olives is a delicious and healthy side to go with lemon marinated chicken.
- 🍚Brown rice: With healthy carbs and extra vitamins and minerals, having brown rice with the lemon chicken is a no-brainer, awesome gluten-free choice.
- 🍃Spinach salad: Who says you can't win friends with salad?! A spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette is a yummy pairing with tangy, lemon chicken.
- 😋Roasted Brussels sprouts: Roasted Brussels sprouts are a healthy and delicious side dish. Check out this easy recipe for Cast Iron Skillet Brussel Sprouts with Lemon. No mushy sprouts here🚫
- 😄Cauliflower rice: Cauliflower rice can be a nice change from traditional rice and goes really well with the lemon chicken. Also naturally gluten-free like rice is.
Is it OK to marinate chicken in lemon juice?
Yes it's perfectly fine to marinate chicken in lemon juice. Lemon juice is a common ingredient in many chicken marinades. Lemon juice adds flavour and tenderizes the chicken meat. The acidity in the lemon juice helps to break down the proteins in the chicken, making it more tender.
But there's a catch: it's really important to not marinate the chicken for too long in the lemon juice as it can start to cook the meat and change its texture. A good rule of thumb is to marinate chicken in lemon juice for no more than 2 - 4 hours.
And you can get some good flavour in there after just 1 hour of marinading.
It's also important to handle raw chicken safely and to marinate it in the fridge so you don't get some icky bacteria growing.
🍋 Can you marinate chicken too long in lemon?
Yes, you can marinate chicken for too long in lemon juice.
While lemon juice tenderizes chicken and add that lovely lemony flavour, it's also SO acidic that it can start to "cook" the meat if it's marinated for too long.
If chicken is marinated in lemon juice for too long, it can become tough and have a mushy texture. Plus, the acidic environment created by the lemon juice can promote the growth of harmful bacteria if the chicken is left at room temperature for too long.
How to get around this? Marinade your chicken for no more than 2 - 4 hours in the fridge.
If you want to marinate the chicken for longer, it's best to use a marinade that contains less acidic ingredients, or to use a different type of acid such as vinegar or wine.
⏲️How long does lemon marinated chicken last in the fridge?
After it's cooked, leftover lemon marinated chicken will last up to 3 days in the fridge.
You can use it in lunches for the week ahead with some rice and an easy salad like this Chickpea Cucumber Salad with Feta🥗
Be sure to NOT over-marinate your chicken in this lemon marinade. At a minimum, marinade the chicken for 1 hour, up to 4 hours max.
😍More healthy chicken recipes
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- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Juice of 3 lemons
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs about 6-8 thighs
- Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Add chicken. Turn to coat all sides of the chicken.
- Cover bowl and place in fridge. Marinade for 1 hour.
- Remove from fridge and cook chicken on grill or BBQ for about 6 minutes each side or until chicken comes to 165F degrees on an instant read thermometer. Serve with rice and veggies for a complete meal.
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