Italian Grilled Chicken is the perfect grilled chicken recipe for your summer cookouts! This is an Italian inspired recipe where chicken is marinated in Italian inspired herbs and spices, then grilled to perfection.
This Italian marinade for chicken is made of red wine vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper. Our Italian Grilled Chicken comes out juicy, tender, flavorful – no more bland and dry grilled chicken!
Italian Inspired Grilled Chicken Breast
This Italian grilled chicken recipe is my go-to chicken for grilling.
Grilling is a simple and delicious way to prepare chicken, but so often grilled chicken turns out dry and bland, and I was determine to make a truly flavorful, juicy and delicious chicken on the grill.
Here’s why this Italian grilled chicken recipe is the best grilled chicken:
- Marinade made with a concoction of herbs, spices and seasonings. I put together an incredible Italian marinade using some of my favorite Italian herbs and spices, and was generous in the amount of seasonings used, so you get real big flavors!
- Marinade it for 6-24 hours. It has to sit a while for the flavors to actually penetrate the chicken. You want the entire piece of chicken to be flavorful, not just the surface!
- Not overcooking cooking so it is juicy and moist…because nobody likes a dry piece of meat! Remove chicken from heat promptly once internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165℉.
- Smoky flavors from grilling. Cooking in an outdoor grilled, especially charcoal grill, really gives an additional dimension of flavor to the Italian grilled chicken.
With summer around the corner, if you are looking for a simple yet truly delicious chicken breast recipe for the grill, look no further…this Italian grilled chicken is seriously the best out there!
Italian Marinade for Chicken Ingredients
The secret to the amazing flavors in Italian Grilled Chicken? Our simple yet flavorful Italian marinade.
Here are the key ingredients that goes into the delicious chicken marinade that uses a bunch of wonderful Italian herbs and spices:
- olive oil – helps moisten chicken breast since it’s a fairly lean cut of meat, and add flavor.
- red wine vinegar – acid such as red wine vinegar help soften the meat and enable flavors from the spices and seasonings to enter more easily.
- smoked paprika – even though this is not a traditional Italian seasoning, I like to use this in my Italian grilled chicken marinade to give chicken a little bit of color and some additional smoky flavors.
- basil – fresh basil brings the best flavor, however dried works as well in a pinch.
- oregano – similar to basil, use fresh if possible!
- thyme – use fresh if possible!
- garlic – minced fresh garlic cloves for best flavor. Avoid using garlic powder.
- black pepper
How to grill chicken
Step 1: Prepare Chicken
Pat dry chicken with paper towel to remove extra moisture. If chicken is frozen, make sure to let it come to a defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 2: Make Italian Marinade for Chicken
Next, we will make the Italian marinade for chicken breast.
Bring all the Italian marinade ingredients together – olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, salt and black pepper. Mix well to combine.
If using fresh herbs, break big twigs into smaller pieces for thyme, and separately the leaves from the stems and only use the leaves for basil and oregano.
Bring Italian marinade into a large mixing bowl or zip lock bag, and add chicken breasts into the bag. Zip up bag and massage marinade to coat chicken breast.
Marinade for 6-12 hours, or up to 24 hours.
You want to make sure chicken sits in Italian marinade for at least 6 hours to really get the chicken flavorful.
However, avoid marinating for longer than 24 hours to prevent chicken from turning mushy.
Step 3: Grill
Fire up grill and make sure to grease grill grates to prevent chicken breast from sticking to it.
Place chicken breast on grill, and brush additional marinade onto chicken breast. Cover grill and let it cook for a few minutes.
Flip chicken to the other side and brush marinade on the other side.
I like to brush marinade onto the chicken to really get all the delicious flavors from the spices and seasonings onto my Italian Grilled Chicken.
To check for doneness, poke meat thermometer into the thickest part of chicken breast.
Once meat thermometer reaches 165℉, Italian grilled chicken is done!
Let the grilled chicken breast rest for a few minutes before serving.
And that’s all that is to it – an incredibly flavorful, moist and juicy Italian grilled chicken, soaked in the most incredible Italian marinade inspired by your favorite Italian seasonings and spices.
Truly, it’s the best grilled chicken ever. TRUST me.
Grilling Tips and Tricks
- Marinade chicken in Italian marinade for at least 6-8 hours so that chicken is truly flavorful when grilled, but also avoid over marinating (no more than 24 hours) it as the acid in the marinade will break down the chicken too much and turn it mushy.
- Oil the grill grates to prevent sticking.
- Make sure grill is hot before placing chicken on the grill. Grill chicken on on side until golden brown, then flip and grill the other side. Cover grill to cook chicken, and avoid moving chicken around when it is cooking.
- Brush Italian marinade onto the chicken after placing it on the grill and when flipping the chicken breast for maximum flavors.
- Avoid overcooking Italian grilled chicken. Once the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165℉ (check using a meat thermometer), remove from heat promptly.
Ways to Serve
This Italian marinated chicken recipe is truly such a versatile chicken recipe. I love batch cooking it and freezing it for whenever I need add chicken breast to my dishes.
Here are a few great ways to serve this Italian grilled chicken:
- serve them on salads – I always add them to my favorite salads such as Vietnamese Noodle Salad and Fall Harvest Salad.
- top them on baked potatoes
- add to noodle dishes such as Thai Noodle Bowl, or add to ramen noodles
- as a main course with veggies or potato sides
- as a light meal with a light summer salad such as Corn and Tomato Salad, Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad or Watermelon Strawberry Salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This recipe works best for any type of skinless chicken. If using skin on chicken, make sure to apply marinade under the skin as well for best flavor.
Yes! Make sure to shake off some of the moisture before adding chicken to the pan and when transferring chicken to baking tray to bake. We do not want chicken to sit in a pool of marinade when cooking. I personally think grilling brings about the best flavor for this recipe.
Italian grilled chicken freeze really well and is a great recipe to make ahead. Bring it to a cool and then store chicken breast in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Freeze in freezer up to 3 months.
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More Grilling Recipes
- Grilled Chicken and Potato Bowls
- Homemade Burger
- Grilled Cajun Chicken
- Grilled Steak Tacos
- Grilled Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon Vinaigrette
Italian Grilled Chicken
- 4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 6-8 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 10-15 fresh basil leaves
- 2-3 twig fresh oregano
- 2-3 twig fresh thyme
- Pat dry chicken breast with paper towels.
- Separately herbs into individual leaves or small twigs. Bring together olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, fresh basil, oregano, and thyme in a large zip lock bag. Mix to combine.
- Add chicken breasts to zip lock bag, and massage to coat marinade all over chicken breasts. Seal bag.
- Refrigerate bag for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours to marinade.
- Fire up grill to medium heat. Grease grill grates with a neutral oil.
- Once grill is hot, place chicken breasts on grill grates over fire. Brush marinade on top of the chicken. Cover grill and let it cook for a few minutes until golden brown on the bottom.
- Flip chicken breast, brush marinade on the other side, and cover to cook for another few minutes.
- Open grill cover to check internal temperature. Once internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken breast reaches 165℉, remove chicken promptly.
- Let chicken rest in room temperature for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!
- Marinade chicken in Italian marinade for at least 6-8 hours so that chicken is truly flavorful, but also avoid over marinating (no more than 24 hours) it as the acid in the marinade will break down the chicken too much and turn it mushy.
- Avoid overcooking Italian grilled chicken so that grilled come out juicy and moist. Once the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165℉ (check using a meat thermometer), remove from heat promptly.