Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (2022)

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These Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades are perfect for meal prep and super easy! Try Sesame, Chipotle, Greek, Balsamic and Honey Dijon.

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (1)

Ingredients and substitutions

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs – you could also use bone-in, skin-on thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Garlic sesame marinade

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (2)

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  • Sesame oil – the sesame oil will give you that amazing flavour but you can also use a neutral cooking oil like canola oil – just keep in mind the taste will be different.
  • Low-sodium soy sauce – coconut aminos or tamari would be the best substitutes here.
  • Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but the jarred variety will work in a pinch.
  • Ginger – if you don’t have any fresh ginger on hand, try using a bit of ground ginger instead.

Chipotle marinade

  • Olive oil – or any other neutral cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – chipotle powder or paprika would provide a similar flavour profile.
  • Lime juice – I prefer freshly squeezed lime juice but bottled lime or even lemon juice can be used.
  • Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but the jarred variety will work in a pinch.
  • Salt & pepper – to taste.

Honey Dijon

  • Honey – dates are a great substitute for honey in this recipe.
  • Dijon mustard – try using stone-ground mustard instead.
  • Olive oil – or any other neutral cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
  • Salt & pepper – to taste.

Balsamic marinade

  • Olive oil – or any other neutral cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
  • Balsamic vinegar – you can try using a bit of red wine vinegar with maple syrup or honey although the taste will be different.
  • Honey – use a bit of maple syrup, agave or even brown sugar to bring a bit of sweetness to this marinade.
  • Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but the jarred variety will work in a pinch.
  • Salt & pepper – to taste.

Greek marinade

(Video) Chicken Thigh Marinades 5 Ways

  • Olive oil – or any other neutral cooking oil like avocado or canola oil.
  • Lemon juice – use freshly squeezed or bottled lime juice if you don’t have any lemon juice on hand.
  • Oregano – try using thyme, basil or Italian seasoning instead.
  • Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but the jarred variety will work in a pinch.
  • Salt & pepper – to taste.
Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (3)

How to marinate chicken thighs

  1. Whisk together the marinade ingredients.
  2. Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Bake or grill the chicken thighs.
  4. Serve with your preferred sides and enjoy!
Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (4)

Making multiple marinades at once

If you're making this chicken for your weekly meal prep, you can easily whip up multiple marinades at once and bake them together using foil dividers (pictured above).

If you'd like to do multiple marinades at a time, make dividers using your tinfoil as shown. Add your marinated chicken thighs, ensuring the dividers are high enough to separate any excess liquid from each marinade. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake for another 8 minutes. It's so easy!

Cooking chicken this way ensures you easily have some variety in your week and you can create multiple different types of meals.

I wouldn't recommend using more than 2-3 thighs per marinade and foil divider. You also don't have to cut the marinade ingredients in half if dividing up your thighs among different marinades. As long as you remove the chicken from the marinade and don't pour any excess liquid onto the foil dividers, you’ll still get the same flavour without it being overpowering.

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (5)

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you marinate chicken thighs?

You’ll want to let your chicken marinate for at least 15-20 minutes. You can leave them in longer and marinate them overnight or in the fridge during the day, but 15 to 20 minutes is the minimum to make sure they’re infused with all those yummy flavours.

What are the four main ingredients of a marinade?

For these chicken thigh marinades, there are four main ingredients: an acid that tenderizes the meat, a fat such as oil that saturates the meat and makes sure the flavour is fully infused, a salt that intensifies the flavour and bonus flavour for extra deliciousness!

Should you use boneless or bone-in thighs?

It’s really a matter of preference. Boneless thighs cook a little quicker, but bone-in thighs are slightly cheaper because there is no extra work required by the butcher. However, if you are used to cooking with boneless skinless chicken breast, boneless thighs are a great swap. The e thighs of the chicken have a rich taste and tender texture. Either type of chicken thigh will work with these marinades so go by personal preference.

How do you know when they're fully cooked?

The best way to know that your thighs are fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer. It should read at least 165° Fahrenheit in the thickest portion of the meat. Also keep in mind that thigh meat will look pinkish-brown, even after cooking. Breast meat will be white when fully cooked.

(Video) BAKED CHICKEN THIGHS | How to cook perfectly baked chicken thighs

How do you make chicken crispy?

The skin of the chicken is what gets crispy. So, if you are cooking skinless chicken thighs or breasts, they are not likely to become crispy. Make sure to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs if you are looking for crispy skin. To produce crispy chicken in the oven, cook it at 450° Fahrenheit on the top third of the oven, which is the hottest part of the oven. It also helps to occasionally baste the thighs with marinade.

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (6)

Storing chicken thigh marinades

If you prepare your chicken marinade ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

You can refrigerate chicken thighs in marinades for up to 24 hours in the fridge. Chicken thighs are more tender than breasts so you're not using the marinades to tenderize the meat – you’re simply looking to add flavour.

Very important note: never reuse a marinade that is left over from marinating another meat. The bacteria from the other meat will contaminate the marinade. As a result, the marinade will contaminate the chicken thighs.

Can you freeze chicken in marinade?

Yes, you can freeze chicken in a marinade! After the marinade is prepared, put the chicken and marinade in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Remove all the air, seal the bag and lay it flat to freeze. You can freeze chicken thighs in marinades up to 3 months.

When ready to use your chicken, transfer the package to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw out before cooking. Typically, I'll allow my chicken to defrost in the fridge for 24 hours and then bake it or grill it.

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (7)

The Best Chicken Marinades

I rounded up five of the most delicious chicken marinades. Pick one of the following or use the foil divider method to make them all! All of these recipes are made using simple ingredients you should already have on hand at home, and require five ingredients or less.

Chipotle marinade

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (8)

Greek marinade

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (9)

Garlic sesame marinade

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (10)

Honey dijon marinade

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (11)

Balsamic marinade

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (12)

More easy chicken recipes

  • The Best Baked Chicken Breast
  • Perfect Baked Chicken Thighs
  • 20 Easy Chicken Breast Marinades

Meal prep tools for this recipe

  • Grab someglass meal prep bowls if you plan on using these chicken thigh marinades for meal prep lunches or dinners.
  • I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
  • Get a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is cooked through.
  • Usethese Ziploc bag holdersif you're marinating the chicken then freezing it.
  • Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways} - The Girl on Bloor (13)

Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades {5 Ways}

These Delicious Chicken Thigh Marinades are perfect for meal prep and super easy! Try Sesame, Chipotle, Greek, Balsamic and Honey Dijon.

4.65 from 64 votes

(Video) Chicken Marinades 8 Ways

Print Pin Rate

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Resting time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 308kcal

Author: Taylor Stinson

Ingredients

Garlic sesame marinade

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger

Chipotle marinade

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
(Video) THE BEST BAKED CHICKEN BREAST | Juicy chicken breast + 6 spice rubs and marinades

Honey dijon marinade

  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper

Balsamic marinade

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper

Greek marinade

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix together chicken marinade of choice in a small bowl and pour over chicken in a Ziploc bag or small bowl. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil. If you'd like to do multiple marinades at a time, make dividers using your tin foil as shown in the video below. Add chicken thighs with bottom area facing down. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake 8 more minutes.

  • Check that chicken is cooked through by slicing one of the thighs down the middle and if meat thermometer reads 165 F.

  • Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing or chopping. Store in glass containers for later or serve immediately with a side dish. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

If you want crispier chicken, use chicken thighs with the skin on.

Make multiple marinades at once using foil dividers.

Serve with a side of steamed veggies, rice, salad or roasted potatoes.

Marinade your chicken ahead of time then store it in the fridge for 24 hours or freeze it for up to 3 months.

(Video) 5 EASY SHEET PAN DINNERS | 30 Minute One Pan Meal Prep

Nutrition

Calories: 308kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 732mg | Potassium: 582mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg

FAQs

How long can you marinate chicken thighs? ›

You can marinate chicken for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. It is OK to marinate chicken thighs overnight using this marinade. I don't recommend marinating the thighs any longer than 24 hours, as the meat will start to break down.

What is the best way to cook chicken thighs? ›

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a pan with foil and place a baking rack on top. Dab chicken skin dry with a paper towel to remove any moisture. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with seasoning, salt and pepper. Place on the rack and bake 35-40 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.

How do you tenderize chicken thighs? ›

Marinating your chicken in something overnight can help make it all the more juicier and tender. You can use a gluten-free, acidic marinade (like olive oil and lemon juice) or something breadier (like baking soda, egg whites, and buttermilk).

How long should you marinate chicken? ›

Give it 5-6 hours for the best flavour and texture – if you don't have that long, even 10 minutes of marinating will give flavour to the outside of chicken. Marinades without acid can be left longer but won't make them work any better, so stick to 24 hours as a maximum.

Should you poke holes in chicken to marinate? ›

Do not poke holes in meat before marinating. This actually drains out the juices. Don't use very thick marinades, since these don't penetrate the food very well. Be sure to cover the food completely with the marinade.

Do you wash chicken before marinating? ›

It is never a good idea to wash meats and poultry. Regardless of whether it takes place before cooking, freezing, or marinating, washing can lead to cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is when bacteria spread from the meat to other areas, such as the hands and kitchen surfaces.

Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 400? ›

The higher the temperature when baking chicken thighs creates that golden brown outer skin that protects the dark meat from over cooking and tenderizes the inside making it even more flavorful and tender. I like to bake chicken thighs at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 to 40 minutes long.

How long should chicken thighs be cooked? ›

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cook quickly, in 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size. Bone-in thighs, however, take a bit more time, between 25 and 30 minutes. Use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thighs. They're finished cooking when the temperature reads 165°F.

Is it better to cook chicken thighs with or without skin? ›

Get Them Bone-In, Skin-On

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be a good alternative to breast meat, but that's not what we want here. Keeping the skin on protects your chicken thighs from drying out while they cook, plus it allows for the additional textural treat of crispy, perfectly seasoned skin.

How do you make chicken soft like a restaurant? ›

There are actually a few different ways to tenderise chicken the Chinese restaurant way: marinating in a cornstarch/cornflour sludge then deep frying or blanching in water before proceeding to cook in the stir fry. egg whites – sometimes the above method is also done using egg whites. chemical tenderiser.

Does soaking chicken in milk make it tender? ›

The calcium in milk is thought to kick-start a natural enzyme in the chicken that helps it tenderize. It also breaks up the acidity and heat. (That's true for non-dairy milk, like coconut milk, too.) As an added bonus, the milk creates a creamy sauce that will keep a roast chicken even juicier.

What does baking soda do for chicken? ›

Here's why it works. Baking soda is alkaline, so it raises the pH level of chicken skin, breaking down the peptide bonds and jumpstarting the browning process, meaning the wings got browner and crispier faster than they would on their own.

How do you make marinade stick to chicken? ›

To get seasoning to stick to chicken, first pat the chicken dry using a paper towel. Next, coat the chicken in a light layer of extra virgin olive oil. Use your hands to generously coat the chicken in the dry rub seasoning. Finally, cook the chicken, making sure to turn it as little as possible.

Can you cook chicken in its marinade? ›

Yes, you can technically cook chicken in its marinade.

A marinade is usually a concoction of acid (typically vinegar or lemon juice), oil (often olive oil), and a collection of spices and herbs to make the sauce flavorful.

How do you make marinade penetrate chicken? ›

This could be olive oil, sesame oil, yogurt, buttermilk, tahini or mayonnaise. Salt: Salt will help the water-soluble flavors in the marinade penetrate the tissues and remain behind after cooking. Salt also restructures the protein in the meat to create more gaps for moisture to fill in.

Should you salt chicken before marinating? ›

Whereas most marinades don't do much for tenderizing or anything for moisture, salt does. It will help the flavors in the marinade penetrate and remain behind after cooking. And of course, salt is a flavor enhancer by and of itself.

Do you cover marinated chicken in the fridge? ›

Make sure the container of marinating food is fully covered. Place it on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator (at or below 40°F), not on the kitchen counter. This will keep food out of the temperature "danger zone," which is the temperature range where bacteria multiplies and may reach unsafe levels.

Can you marinate chicken too long? ›

Most recipes for marinating meat and poultry recommend six hours up to 24 hours. It is safe to keep the food in the marinade longer, but after two days it is possible that the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat, causing it to become mushy.

Do chefs wash chicken? ›

And, you guys, not even a chef at a fancy French chicken restaurant recommends washing chicken. According to Chef Antoine Westermann, "In France, we do not believe in washing chicken with water, as it takes away the taste of the skin. When you are cooking the chicken, the bacteria is cooked out."

What happens if you forget to wash chicken? ›

"Washing can spread germs from the chicken to other food or utensils in the kitchen." We didn't mean to get you all hot about not washing your chicken! But it's true: kill germs by cooking chicken thoroughly, not washing it.

Why do Jamaicans wash chicken? ›

The consideration of its purpose is related to washing for the removal of bacteria or washing as a part of the preparation process to remove unwanted matter. Most Jamaicans, and other Caribbean nationals, would have been taught to clean and wash meats and poultry before cooking.

What temperature should you cook chicken thighs? ›

In our basic meal prep boneless chicken thighs recipe, they take about 25 to 30 minutes baked at 425 degrees F. You'll know the chicken thighs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Should baked chicken thighs be covered? ›

There is no need to cover the baking dish before baking these chicken thighs. Leaving it uncovered is what helps the skin get extra crispy during the baking time.

What temp are bone-in chicken thighs done? ›

Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks:

Thigh and leg meat are rich in flavor. They take longer to cook than breast meat, about 25 to 30 minutes on the grill. Cook to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.

How can you tell if chicken thighs are done without a thermometer? ›

Poke the meat to see if juices are red or clear

This method applies to chicken specifically. For properly cooked chicken, if you cut into it and the juices run clear, then the chicken is fully cooked. If the juices are red or have a pinkish color, your chicken may need to be cooked a bit longer.

Do chicken thighs look pink when cooked? ›

That's because chicken thighs can be slightly pink and still be fully cooked through. In fact, if you're making smoked chicken thighs, the meat will have a pinkish tinge beneath the surface even if they're overcooked. A hint of pink in the juice doesn't mean the meat is still raw.

Do chicken thighs take longer to cook than breasts? ›

Dark meat, such as chicken thighs or legs, will take longer to cook, because they have a higher fat content and density. Boneless thighs will take 20 to 30 minutes to cook at 350F (dependent on size).

How do you clean chicken thighs before cooking? ›

How I Clean Chicken | Cooking with Carolyn | Requested | - YouTube

How do you not overcook chicken thighs? ›

Dark meat is better when overcooked, as the connective tissue breaks down and seeps into the thigh meat. It's best to remain patient and let the chicken thighs cook slowly, let them reach an internal temperature between 175 F and 195 F, and avoid a direct flame so that the skin doesn't get too burnt.

Is it better to cook chicken thighs fast or slow? ›

The slower you cook chicken, the better. That's the overall rule for cooking protein. Start by having the heat medium-high when you put the chicken breast in the pan. Sear it quickly.

Is it safe to marinate chicken for 3 days? ›

You can keep marinated chicken for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. The cool environment inside can slow down the proliferation rate of bacteria and germs. After 3 days, your chicken is no longer usable.

Can I marinate chicken for 48 hours? ›

How Long Can I Safely Marinate Chicken in the Fridge? You can safely marinate the chicken in your fridge for 24-48 hours. Anything longer and you risk an upset stomach or even food poisoning.

Can chicken marinate too long? ›

If you marinate chicken too long, it can go soft and mushy. If you don't marinate long enough, the flavor doesn't penetrate.

Can you marinate chicken too long in Italian dressing? ›

Chicken that is marinated in an acid (like the vinegar and lemon juice in Italian dressing) can be marinated for up to 24 hours. Beyond that point, the meat starts to break down, and the texture will change.

What does Soaking chicken in lemon juice do? ›

All About The Lemon Marinade

The lemon juice not only provides flavor and acidity, but also helps tenderize the chicken. This works especially well for leaner cuts like chicken breast. The result is super flavorful, vibrant, juicy, and tender chicken.

How long can chicken thighs marinate in the fridge? ›

Most recipes for marinating meat and poultry recommend six hours up to 24 hours. It is safe to keep the food in the marinade longer, but after two days it is possible that the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat, causing it to become mushy.

Do you season marinated chicken? ›

It's not necessary to marinate any meat before cooking, not even chicken. You can use a spice rub, a simple blend of herbs, or just salt and pepper for seasoning.

Should I marinate chicken with salt? ›

Whereas most marinades don't do much for tenderizing or anything for moisture, salt does. It will help the flavors in the marinade penetrate and remain behind after cooking. And of course, salt is a flavor enhancer by and of itself.

How long should you marinate chicken in vinegar? ›

How Long Do You Need to Marinate the Chicken? For the chicken I like to keep things really simple and do a blend of apple cider vinegar, Italian seasoning, olive oil, salt and pepper. I let the chicken marinate for at least an hour or even up to 12 hours, but if you're in a rush 30 minutes will do the trick.

How long can raw chicken marinate in fridge? ›

How long can I store Chicken and use it at its top quality? For how long can I keep marinated chicken in the fridge? Marinated chicken can be kept in the fridge for 2 days; after that, any uncooked marinade should be discarded.

Do you rinse chicken after soaking in milk? ›

Do you Rinse Chicken after Soaking in Milk? No, it is not needed to rinse the chicken after soaking in the milk, but if you want, you can. You can just dry them using paper towels or, just cook with the marinade too!

How do you make marinade stick to chicken? ›

To get seasoning to stick to chicken, first pat the chicken dry using a paper towel. Next, coat the chicken in a light layer of extra virgin olive oil. Use your hands to generously coat the chicken in the dry rub seasoning. Finally, cook the chicken, making sure to turn it as little as possible.

How do you make marinade penetrate chicken? ›

This could be olive oil, sesame oil, yogurt, buttermilk, tahini or mayonnaise. Salt: Salt will help the water-soluble flavors in the marinade penetrate the tissues and remain behind after cooking. Salt also restructures the protein in the meat to create more gaps for moisture to fill in.

Why is Italian dressing a good marinade? ›

Italian dressing is one of the best steak marinades you can use, and it's a flavorful shortcut to perfectly juicy and flavorful steaks. The combination of oil and vinegar with herbs and spices makes it a delicious and powerful tenderizer. The dressing is especially handy when you're dealing with tough cuts of beef.

Can you marinate chicken in yogurt too long? ›

The chicken can be marinaded between 2 and 8 hours. Don't marinate for longer as the acid can start to cook the meat, so rather than having tender chicken it can end up being quite tough. At a minimum it should be marinated for 2 hours, this is enough time to allow it to take on the flavors and start to tenderize.

Should marinated chicken be kept in fridge or freezer? ›

If you'll be marinating the chicken to eat for dinner tonight or the following evening, simply refrigerate overnight, up to 24 hours (no need to freeze). Freeze your meat on the baking sheet or plate until completely solid, then stack and store them in the freezer for up to three months.

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