7 Chicken Marinade Recipes You Can Freeze. Get a head start on dinner prep by getting your chicken into a marinade! Seven flavors so you'll never get bored.

The ULTIMATE chicken marinade post!  Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about making your marinades ahead and freezing, plus seven chicken marinade recipes to stock your freezer.

I’m back with one of my favorite posts…and today it’s all about the chicken marinades.

Each month, I pick a type of meal prep recipe and share seven different varieties with you.  I get bored easily, and I know you do too, so it’s always good to have a bunch of flavors to pick from.

Check out: 7 Easy Stir Fry Sauce Recipes You Can Prep Ahead, Healthy Baked Turkey Meatballs 7 Ways, and No Bake Energy Bites 7 Ways.

This month it’s all about the chicken marinades.  The concept: after picking up some chicken from the store, you may be in the habit of portioning it out and freezing it.  But…what if you portioned it out in a marinade?  Then, as you thaw your chicken, it absorbs so much incredible flavor from the marinade and you get one seriously flavorful piece of chicken.

chicken breast sizes copy

In the process of testing all of these freezer marinades, it became increasingly obvious that not all chicken breasts are equivalent.  In fact some of them weigh twice as much as others!

A serving size of chicken is 3-4 oz, about the size of the palm of your hand.  So splitting a chicken breast between two people is normally a good bet, however if you get Big Bertha over on the right there, you are getting more than you need.

For these recipes, I am only showing one chicken breast (because of my tiny family), however I have also provided quantities for 1 lb (16 oz, so 4 servings) of chicken, which should be appropriate for the average sized family.

Cook time: Obviously, the cook time will vary depending on the size of your chicken.  I bake at 425°F.  18- 20 minutes for the small 5 oz chicken breast and 25-28 minutes for the larger 10.5 oz chicken breast.

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Equipment: all you really need for these recipes is a quart sized heavy-duty freezer bag and a sharpie.  I am constantly looking for ways to reduce my kitchen waste, but I haven’t found a suitable alternative to freezer bags when it comes to marinades.  Glass containers require substantially more marinade to coat the meat.

If you have a more environmentally-friendly alternative, let me know in the comments!

Advanced: check out my baggie holder!  They are totally unnecessary, but also totally fun.  They make it a bit easier to get the chicken into the bags without getting raw chicken all over the seal.

7 Chicken Marinades You Can Make Ahead and Freeze-2

Marinating ‘rules’:  OK, I’ve read up on chicken marinades quite a bit this month and there is quite a bit of contradictory advice out there.  Some people say that marinating in citrus or acid-based marinades leads to mealy chicken but that was not the case for any of these marinades (possibly because they are balanced with oils and other ingredients).

Aside from that, I’ve tried to answer any questions you might have about these recipes below:

  1. Can I use these marinades without freezing them?  Yes, absolutely.  Pop them in the fridge for 2 hours all the way up to 24 hours.  I don’t recommend marinating longer than that without freezing.
  2. How long can these be frozen?  Up to 3 months.  As everything freezes, the marinating process stops, and starts up again as the chicken thaws.
  3. What if my chicken is already frozen?  Do not thaw your chicken if you are going to freeze again.  Add the marinades to already frozen chicken, and you will still get a ton of flavor from marinating while it thaws.
  4. How to thaw the chicken?  The safest bet is in the fridge overnight, but you can do a rapid-thaw process in cold water for a few hours.  Just make sure your freezer bag is heavy duty so you don’t have any leakage!
  5. Can these marinades be used on other types of meat?  Probably but I’ve only tested with chicken.  I would not freeze fish in these marinades but they may be good for a quick 30 minute marinade.
  6. Can I grill or pan-fry the chicken? I have only tested these recipes in the oven but they should be transferable to the grill and frying pan.  You may wish to shake off excess marinade prior to grilling to prevent flare-ups and/or brush more marinade on while grilling for extra flavor.
  7. One more thing- don’t forget to let your chicken rest after you bake it.  Resting 5-10 minutes at room temperature before slicing will help seal in the juices.

Are you ready to check out these chicken marinades?  Let’s go!

1. Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

cilantro lime marinade text

cilantro lime marinade-2

A little lime, a little honey, and a lot of cilantro!  This straight forward chicken marinade has the perfect balance of these flavors, and goes great with Mexican and Asian flavors.

Serve this Cilantro Lime Chicken with:

4.8 from 6 reviews
Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Per chicken breast (serves 2):
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
For 1 lb of chicken (serves 4):
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty freezer bag. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat in marinade.
Fridge
  1. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
Freezer
  1. If freezing, place in the freezer immediately. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or by immersing the bag in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
To bake
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Bake chicken in a shallow baking dish for 10 minutes, flip over, then bake for another 10-20 minutes.
  2. For 5-7 oz chicken breasts, bake for 20 minutes total. For 10 oz and larger chicken breasts, bake for at least 25 minutes.
  3. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

2. Sweet Chili Chicken Marinade

sweet chili marinade text

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I have been obsessed with the magical combination of soy + sweet chili sauce this past year.  Check out this Sweet Chili Salmon Recipe and this Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken for more recipes.  This recipe is full of flavor, and even ends up with a sauce to spoon over the chicken and any sides you prepare to go with it!

Serve this Sweet Chili Chicken with:

4.8 from 6 reviews
Sweet Chili Chicken Marinade
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For one chicken breast (serves 2):
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water (add just before baking)
For 1 lb chicken breast (serves 4):
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • ¼ cup water (add just before baking)
Instructions
  1. Combine the soy sauce and sweet chili sauce in a heavy duty freezer bag. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat in marinade.
Fridge
  1. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
Freezer
  1. If freezing, place in the freezer immediately. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or by immersing the bag in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
To bake:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Add the chicken and marinade to shallow baking dish. Add water (amounts indicated above) to the marinade and mix with a spoon.
  2. Bake chicken for 10 minutes, flip over, then bake for another 10-20 minutes. For 5-7 oz chicken breasts, bake for 20 minutes total.
  3. For 10 oz and larger chicken breasts, bake for at least 25 minutes.
  4. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  5. Serve with sauce spooned over the chicken.

3. Jerk Chicken Marinade

jerk marinade text

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I tweaked the spice rub ever so slightly from this Jamaican Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner, added some lime juice, and it was love at first bite.  Highly recommended: mango salsa, or even just fresh mango.

Serve this Jerk Chicken with:

4.8 from 6 reviews
Jerk Chicken Marinade
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For one chicken breast (serves 2):
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
For 1 lb chicken breast (serves 4):
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty freezer bag. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat in marinade.
Fridge
  1. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
Freezer
  1. If freezing, place in the freezer immediately. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or by immersing the bag in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
To bake:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Bake chicken in a shallow baking dish for 10 minutes, flip over, then bake for another 10-20 minutes.
  2. For 5-7 oz chicken breasts, bake for 20 minutes total. For 10 oz and larger chicken breasts, bake for at least 25 minutes.
  3. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Notes
This marinade has a bit of a spicy kick. Feel free to reduce the cayenne for a less spicy version.

Serve with mango!

4. Lemon Ginger Chicken Marinade

lemon ginger marinade text

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This lemon ginger chicken marinade has a ton of flavor considering how simple it is to throw together.  Perfect with Asian side dish recipes!

Serve this Lemon Ginger Chicken with:

4.8 from 6 reviews
Lemon Ginger Chicken Marinade
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For one chicken breast (serves 2):
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • (optional) ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For 1 lb chicken breast (serves 4):
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • (optional) ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty freezer bag. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat in marinade.
Fridge
  1. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
Freezer
  1. If freezing, place in the freezer immediately. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or by immersing the bag in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
To bake:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Bake chicken in a shallow baking dish for 10 minutes, flip over, then bake for another 10-20 minutes. For 5-7 oz chicken breasts, bake for 20 minutes total. For 10 oz and larger chicken breasts, bake for at least 25 minutes.
  2. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

5. Soy Honey Garlic Chicken Marinade

honey garlic soy marinade text

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This marinade has that perfect sweet and savory balance typical of Asian recipes.  Bonus!  There is enough marinade that you end up with a sauce for spooning over the chicken and any other sides you serve with it.

Serve this Soy Honey Garlic Chicken with:

4.8 from 6 reviews
Soy Honey Garlic Chicken Marinade
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For one chicken breast (serves 2):
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons water (add just before baking)
For 1 lb chicken breast (serves 4):
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup water (add just before baking)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty freezer bag. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat in marinade.
Fridge
  1. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
Freezer
  1. If freezing, place in the freezer immediately. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or by immersing the bag in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
To bake
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Dump the chicken + marinade into a shallow baking dish. Add the water (amounts indicated above), and stir with a spoon.
  2. Bake chicken for 10 minutes, flip over, then bake for another 10-20 minutes.
  3. For 5-7 oz chicken breasts, bake for 20 minutes total. For 10 oz and larger chicken breasts, bake for at least 25 minutes.
  4. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  5. Spoon sauce over the chicken to serve.

6. Yogurt Curry Chicken

curry yogurt marinade text

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So…I was on the fence about whether I should post this recipe or not, because the fact is: yogurt is not freezer friendly.  As the yogurt thaws, it breaks and becomes flaky.

HOWEVER.  This chicken ended up so incredibly flavorful, and we weren’t bothered in the slightest by the appearance of the yogurt.  The fact is, the yogurt gave so much flavor the the chicken that I had to include this recipe.  If it bothers you, keep this one in your pocket as a great short-term (fridge-friendly) marinade.

Serve this Yogurt Curry Chicken with:

4.8 from 6 reviews
Curry Yogurt Chicken Marinade
 
Author:
Ingredients
For one chicken breast (serves 2):
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
For 1 lb chicken breast (serves 4):
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty freezer bag. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat in marinade.
Fridge
  1. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
Freezer
  1. If freezing, place in the freezer immediately. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or by immersing the bag in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
To bake:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Bake chicken in a shallow baking dish for 10 minutes, flip over, then bake for another 10-20 minutes.
  2. For 5-7 oz chicken breasts, bake for 20 minutes total. For 10 oz and larger chicken breasts, bake for at least 25 minutes.
  3. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Notes
The yogurt will become flaky after freezing but gives the chicken so much flavor. If this bothers you, keep this recipe as a fridge marinade.

7. Chipotle Lime Chicken Marinade

chipotle lime marinade text

chipotle lime marinade-2

Last but not least…this chipotle lime chicken marinade is a great blend of sweet, spicy, smoky and savory.  Add a chopped chipotle pepper for a real spicy kick!  This chicken goes great with all things Mexican.

Serve this Chipotle Lime Chicken with

4.8 from 6 reviews
Chipotle Lime Chicken Marinade
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For one chicken breast (serves 2):
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
For 1 lb chicken breast (serves 4):
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty freezer bag. Add chicken breasts and turn to coat in marinade.
  2. Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-24 hours.
  3. If freezing, place in the freezer immediately. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or by immersing the bag in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
To bake:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Bake chicken in a shallow baking dish for 10 minutes, flip over, then bake for another 10-20 minutes. For 5-7 oz chicken breasts, bake for 20 minutes total. For 10 oz and larger chicken breasts, bake for at least 25 minutes.
  2. Allow chicken to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Notes
To make this one spicy, add a teaspoon of minced chipotle pepper!
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