Trim The Chicken Breasts
Picking the right ingredient is always a key step to ensuring you end up with great results. Make sure you are buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts. These often come untrimmed in the package with minimal processing. You can also buy them trimmed .
If youre not a fan of trimming chicken, buying them hand trimmed from the butcher can be a great time saver, just be aware it will usually cost you a bit extra per pound. If you want to save yourself some money, trimming yourself is a great way to go! Remove any dangling pieces of fat, rib meat, connective tissues, or loose pieces of chicken meat to create nice, uniform breasts.
No matter if you buy trimmed or trim yourself, be sure that your chicken is fully defrosted before you attempt the next steps. Having chicken that is frozen in the middle can cause several issues during the marinating and grilling steps. My favorite way to defrost is to set the chicken in a zip top bag and then onto a plate and onto the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. Make sure your bag is open to allow the chicken to breathe while defrosting. Most chicken breasts will defrost within 24 hours in the fridge.
How To Grill Split Chicken Breast
Grilling chicken breast with the bone in is no different than grilling the chicken without bones, except sometimes the amount of time it will take to cook varies.
So you might want to consider when youre grilling to have an area that you can put the chicken without direct heat under it after you have crisped up the chicken. We will cover this when we grill the chicken.
If you really like this type of chicken you will really enjoy my grilled chicken leg quarters.
More Ways To Season Grilled Chicken Breast
Use this recipe as a jumping-off point for any of your favorite rubs and seasonings. In addition to the go-to chicken marinade Ive suggested in the recipe below, here are a few more ideas to get you started.
- Lemon Grilled Chicken Breast. Zest 1 additional lemon into your marinade. Finish the grilled chicken with an extra squeeze of lemon juice.
- Italian Grilled Chicken Breast. Season the chicken with Italian seasoning. Serve topped with a handful of grated Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.
- BBQ Grilled Chicken Breast. Instead of marinating, brine the chicken by sprinkling it with kosher salt. Let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Brush off the excess salt. Baste the chicken with Barbecue Sauce before and halfway through grilling. Serve with extra sauce for dipping.
- Buffalo Grilled Chicken Breast. Instead of brushing the chicken with BBQ sauce per the above, brush it with Buffalo sauce.
- Teriyaki Chicken Breast. Create a marinade using 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil. Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade to brush over the finished grilled chicken.
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Mix Up A Marinade Dry Rub Or Brine
Unless glazing with a barbecue sauce, always season your chicken, whether it’s boneless breasts or the whole bird. Wet marinades, dry rubs and brines all add flavor and moisture to chicken breasts and can also act as a tenderizer. Here’s what to know about each type:
A wet marinade is any type of highly seasoned liquid, such as herb or spice pastes, wines, spiced oils, vinaigrettes, yogurt/buttermilk, Cuban mojo, etc. If a marinade includes something very acidic, like vinegar, wine or citrus, keep the marinating time relatively quick 30 minutes to three hours, depending upon the thickness of the chicken breast and cut it with a little olive oil. Yogurt and buttermilk, which are both rich in lactic acid, are much less acidic and can stand a longer marinating time two to six hours, depending upon the chicken’s thickness. Non-acidic marinades, like herbs and spices mixed with oils, can sit for two to 10 hours.
Prepare With A Meat Pounder
With a rolling pen or meat pounder, gently pound the chicken on a counter or table surface. Do this until theyre about half an inch thick across the breast. Do this for each breast.
Why do we do this? Well like with a lot of cooking methods, one of grillings biggest challenges is cooking meat evenly through. If we make our meat uniform in thickness then we help prevent the issue, while also making it easier to eat and cut.
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What’s The Difference Between A Brine And A Marinade
Both brines and marinades are meant to enhance plain meat, but they do it differently. A brine has more salt than a marinade, and meat gets totally immersed in a brine. It works because the salt penetrates the meat as the brine and the meat reach an equilibrium. Brining adds moisture to the meat that keeps it from drying out while grilling, helping it to come out juicy.
A marinade often contain oil, and the oil does not penetrate the meat. The meat is usually not immersed in a marinade. Marinade flavors only the outside of the meat so there’s a chance it will come out dry after grilling.
How To Grill Chicken On Stove
Learn how to make the best tender, juicy and delicious chicken breasts right on your stove-top in a grill pan or cast iron pan. I dont know where Id be without grilled chicken. I grill chicken all year for meal-prep and for so many recipes too. Grilled, skinless chicken breasts make a great addition to a healthy diet because they are low in calories and high protein. Eating chicken breast, without breading or skin, helps you eat fewer calories and even burn extra calories for effective weight loss. I always make extra and save it for salads, in burritos, pasta or meal prepping!
Because we dont always have access to the outdoor grill year round, I make the chicken on the stove-top most of the time. To make tender juicy grilled chicken you will need a heavy duty grill pan. A cast iron pan with ridges works best but if your cast iron pan doesnt have ridges, you can still grill the chicken on it too.
For the seasoning, I usually switch it up each time I make the chicken and dont really measure but for the sake of this recipe Ive included my favorite herb and seasoning mix. You can also used a packet of taco seasoning or your favorite herbs and spices and make it your own.
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Grilled Chicken Breast Marinade
Spoiler alert! The best grilled chicken breast marinade isnt an exact pre-measured packet of sauce that you buy at the store. The perfect grilled chicken marinade is one that you can customize yourself.
Every great marinade has 5 key elements that make your chicken absolutely lip-smacking and the best part is that you can build it to your liking. The basic recipe looks like this:
- Acid. White wine vinegar goes great with chicken but other vinegars, wines, fruit juices, Worcestershire sauce or a combination of these are tasty options as well.
- Fat or oil. This recipe uses olive oil, a solid choice, but you can use other affordable options here as well
- Flavor and seasonings Snag some pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, and Parmesan cheese for this recipe, or add your own favorite fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, or peppers.
- Salt. Tossing in some good ol kosher salt or sea salt is a great option. You can also use savory ingredients like soy sauce to add some salt to your marinade.
- Sugar. White sugar is all you need for this recipe, but Im fond of using brown sugar, honey, or molasses in my marinades as well.
How Long To Grill Chicken Breasts
According to the USDA, all poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Using an instant-read meat thermometer is really the only accurate way to gauge your chicken’s doneness. But in the case that you don’t have a thermometer, cut into the chicken and ensure that the juices run clear. Here are the estimated grilling times for chicken breasts, based on an internal temp of 165 degrees F.
- Boneless chicken breasts: 7 to 8 minutes per side
- Bone-in chicken breasts: 15 minutes per side
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Open The Tent Flaps When Resting
Resting meat after its off the grill allows time for carryover cooking to finish and for protein strands to tighten up. Tight proteins hold in moisture, so when you cut into the meat, it doesnt lose its flavourful juices.
Tenting foil over chicken keeps the moisture inside, but it can also turn the skin soggy. Be sure to allow some of the heat and steam to escape out the ends to stop this from happening.
- Spatchcocking a whole chicken for quicker grill time.
How To Grill Chicken Breasts 101
I dont know about you guys, but we grill A LOT in the summer. And more often than not, its chicken. We throw in the occasional pork chop or burger, but we do chicken quite a bit. I know grilling can be intimidating for a lot of people, so I thought I would break down how you cook several different kinds of chicken this summer you can learn more about grilling chicken thighs here and grilling chicken legs here now lets talk about grilling chicken breasts!
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How To Make A Marinade For Grilled Chicken Breasts
A marinade is the perfect way to add flavor to grilled chicken . I try to allow for 30 minutes or more if possible! There are a few essential ingredients in a marinade.
- Oil: Most often the base of marinades.
- Acid: This helps tenderize the meat by breaking down tougher proteins
- Sugar: Helps with flavor and the caramelization process. .
- Seasonings: This is the flavor profile, you can use anything from Italian seasoning to curry powder to season your marinade. This may or may not include salt.
- Time: Give yourself time to allow your meat to marinade. The purpose of the marinade is not only to add flavor but to help tenderize your meat.
How Long to Marinate Chicken
Allow chicken to marinate 30 min to 4hrs. This allows enough time for the marinade to work its magic and add flavor while tenderizing the meat.
Longer than 4 hours can change the texture of the chicken making it mushy.
I love making grilled chicken breasts in large batches to put on top of salads, in weekly meal prep, into quick pasta dishes, or even into chicken noodle soup! It goes so well with just about anything.
How To Use Grilled Chicken Breast
- On Pizza. Finish off your favorite pizza with diced pieces of grilled chicken breast. It would be a scrumptious addition to Ricotta Pizza with Peaches or English Muffin Pizza.
- On Salad. Add diced grilled chicken to a salad like this Red White and Blue Quinoa Fruit Salad or Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad.
- On a Sandwich. A grilled chicken breast sandwich is a delicious way to utilize this recipe! Serve the grilled chicken breast on your favorite bun with cheese and other toppings.
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Does The Weight And Thickness Make A Difference In Cooking Time
When it comes to cooking a whole bird, size definitely matters. The heavier the bird, the longer it takes.
A good estimate is 18 to 25 minutes per pound.
The heat must penetrate the skin, the meat and finally the bone before its properly cooked through. The thicker the meat, the longer it takes for the heat energy to transfer.
How Long Does It Take To Grill Whole Chicken
We used an outdoor gas grill for this recipe. Once spatchcocked, our grilled chicken will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour over indirect heat.
While the grill is heated to 400 degrees F, the burner directly below the chicken will be turned off, the other burners surrounding it will be on. That’s what we mean by indirect heat here .
Why indirect heat? Grilling whole chicken over indirect heat is the secret to juicy, well-cooked chicken. The indirect heat essentially roasts the chicken to perfect doneness without dealing with flare-ups, burnt chicken skin, or underdone meat.
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How To Grill Chicken Breast In Five Easy Steps
Grilling juicy chicken breast can easily be done in just a few steps.
Best Grilled Chicken Breast
Grilled chicken breasts can be the epitome of boring. Too often they’re dried out or rubbery. But when soaked in a super-quick with balsamic, brown sugar, and dried thyme you’re guaranteed deliciousness. Not to mention, grilling the breasts will lock in all those amazing flavors while providing some serious char.
How long can I keep the chicken in the marinade?
We’d recommend no longer than 24 hours! Technically you can keep raw chicken refrigerated for up to 2 days, but we don’t recommend marinating that long.
How do I keep the chicken from sticking on the grill?
As long as you give each side enough time, it shouldn’t! When your chicken gets those nice charred lines, it naturally releases from your grill grates. If you try to flip and the chicken feels stuck, try giving it another minute or two! It’ll release naturally, when it’s ready.
What should the internal temperature of my chicken be?
According to the FDA, all chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°. We prefer our chicken breasts closer to 150° because we’re rule breakers. Jokes aside, the real reason we don’t go all the way to 165° is because boneless skinless chicken breasts have basically no fat, so in order to maintain some juiciness we pull them a little early.
Can I adapt the marinade?
How hot should my grill be for chicken breasts?
What should I serve with this?
Made this recipe? Tell us how ya feel! Rate & comment below.
Freshly ground black pepper
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Crank Up The Heat For A Bit
Similar to searing, you might try putting your chicken on the grill at a much higher temperature than you normally would. Think 400F or higher, but still away from direct heat to reduce flare-ups. The high temperature will dry the skin, but the skin will protect the meat.
Once you see the skin starting to turn brown, you may wish to move the chicken to a cooler zone to finish cooking and keep it from drying out inside. Remember: cook to temperature, not to look or time! When your instant read thermometer reads 165F, its safe to eat.
The Days Of Dull Dry Chicken Are Over Learn How To Grill Chicken Breast For The Easiest Summer Dinner
If youve never experienced a dry chicken breast, Im truly jealous. Biting into a grilled chicken sandwich or protein-packed salad and instead of that wonderfulness, tasting a dull, chalky chunk of chicken is just sad. Unfortunately, turning out tasteless poultry is a common problem, especially among new cooks. Chicken is a delicate protein that dries out fast. One minute too long on the heat can take the bird from tender and juicy to boring and blah.
But with a few simple tips from our Test Kitchen, you dont need to worry about making dry chicken again. Well show you how to grill chicken and keep it perfectly juicy and ready for salads, sandwiches and more. Learning how to make grilled chicken has never been so easy!
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Here Are A Few Ways To Tell If Your Chicken Is Cooked:
The most important factor to moist grilled chicken is to not overcook. Grill chicken according to the heat and times in this recipe, and watch carefully.
- Internal temp: The internal temp should reach 165° F to be safe. Pro tip: You can cook chicken slightly less to 160° and let it rest 5-10 minutes under foil. It will continue to cook to a safe temp and be moister.
- Visual check: Cut into the center of the chicken breast with a knife. It should be white, with just the slightest hint of pink. If its pure white and looks stringy inside, its overcooked. Note: using this method while the chicken is still cooking or before resting will cause some liquids and moisture to drain out.
- Test for firmness: Remove chicken from the grill. Once cooled slightly, press in the center with finger. It should have a little bit of give but also not be squishy feeling. Note: this method takes practice is the least accurate.