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Master the art of juicy, perfectly seasoned grilled chicken breast! These tips and techniques for how to grill chicken will elevate your summer cookouts and weeknight meals. This method is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and more.

Grilled Chicken
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If you’ve had grilled chicken breast that comes out dry and bland, have we got the recipe for you. This method for how to make grilled chicken comes out juicy and perfectly seasoned every time!

Why we love this recipe: We’ve figured out the trick to an ultra-moist piece of meat that melts in your mouth. Use this method and you’ll never have bland, boring chicken again! It’s perfect in a grilled chicken salad or chicken pesto sandwich. Every time we serve it, everyone raves. I am usually mumbling, “So good!” between bites.

Ingredients for grilled chicken

All you need are a handful of ingredients for grilled chicken. It’s possible to get major flavor with just a few common spices! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Try to find organic chicken if at all possible, for the best flavor and most sustainable option. You can buy either chicken breasts and butterfly your own, or cutlets.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil is our cooking oil of choice for grilling.
  • Seasonings: Our seasoning blend includes garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Make sure to use smoked paprika (aka pimentón) if at all possible. It’s a type of paprika from Spain made of dried pimiento peppers that are smoked over a fire, then ground, which infuses it with smoky flavor. If you can’t find it, substitute sweet paprika.
Grilled chicken ingredients: chicken, olive oil, seasonings.

Pro tip: chicken thighs

Chicken thighs are also perfect for grilling; they have an even richer flavor than breasts when cooked with the bone and skin. Go to Grilled Chicken Thighs, cooked until juicy with a zingy marinade.

How to grill chicken salad (basic steps)

This grilled chicken recipe requires just 5 minutes of prep time, though you’ll need to wait for 30 minutes of marinating time. Then grill the chicken and put it all together! Here’s the basic outline (or go to the full recipe):

Grilled chicken step 1: Butterfly the chicken.

Step 1: Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. If not already in cutlets, butterfly the chicken: place your hand over the top of each chicken breast. Use a sharp knife to slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact. Open the breast like a book, then cut along the fold to separate the two halves.

Grilled chicken Step 2: Season and marinate the chicken.

Step 2: Mix the chicken with olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dill, salt, and black pepper until evenly coated. Cover and marinate refrigerated for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Grilled chicken step 3: Grill the chicken.

Step 3: Grill the chicken breasts until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until the internal temperature is 165°F, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes for maximum juiciness.

A trick to juicy grilled chicken: butterflying

Chicken breasts are often very thick, making them easy to end up dry and tricky to cook evenly. The trick to juicy grilled chicken? Butterflying the chicken breast. Slicing the chicken breast in half horizontally makes thinner pieces that cook more evenly. They’re also easier to eat and better seasoned.

You can buy a chicken breast already butterflied, which may be marked on the package (or it may be labeled as “cutlets”). If you buy regular chicken breasts, you can easily butterfly it yourself in just 2 minutes! See How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast.

Grilled Chicken Breast on platter with basil leaves.

Buy organic chicken if possible

When shopping for this grilled chicken recipe, consider buying organic chicken. It makes sure that it is the highest quality meat that was raised sustainably. It is also free of chemicals and additives so it’s the healthiest option for eating, and overall: it just tastes better!

Per the USDA, organic chicken must be raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors (like grazing on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not given antibiotics or hormones.

How to serve grilled chicken

Grilled chicken is easy to make into a meal. Add a grain and a vegetable and you’ve got dinner! Or, you can slice it into strips for a grilled chicken salad, or throw it onto bread for a grilled chicken sandwich. Here are a few easy side dishes for chicken:

Chicken Pesto Sandwich

More chicken dinner ideas

We adore this grilled chicken recipe in our household: we make it over and over, especially on our favorite grilled chicken salad. Here are a few more tasty chicken dinner ideas to try:

Dietary notes

This grilled chicken recipe is gluten-free.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best cut of chicken for grilling?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs are popular choices for grilling because they cook quickly and evenly. However, you can also grill bone-in chicken, wings, or even a whole chicken.

How do I know when my chicken is fully cooked?

The safest way is to use a meat thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

How do I prevent my chicken from drying out on the grill?

To keep your chicken juicy, use a marinade to add flavor and moisture. Don’t overcook it, and consider using indirect heat for thicker cuts.

How long should I marinate chicken before grilling?

Marinating times vary depending on the marinade and cut of chicken. Aim for at least 30 minutes, but marinating overnight will result in more flavorful chicken.

What are some good marinades for grilled chicken? 

Popular marinades include Italian dressing, BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, lemon herb, and honey mustard. Use the dry rub marinade in the recipe below or you can also try this chicken thigh marinade for grilled chicken breast.

How long should I grill chicken?

Grilling times vary depending on the cut and thickness of the chicken. Chicken cutlets (butterflied) take 2-4 minutes per side, boneless, skinless breasts typically take 5-7 minutes per side, and thighs may take 8-10 minutes per side. Bone-in chicken will take longer. Use a meat thermometer to ensure proper doneness.

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Grilled Chicken

Grilled Chicken (Juicy & Easy!)


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Rest Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Master the art of juicy, perfectly seasoned grilled chicken breast! These tips and techniques for how to grill chicken will elevate your summer cookouts and weeknight meals. This method is perfect for salads, sandwiches, and more. For thighs, go to Grilled Chicken Thighs.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound, organic if possible), butterflied or cutlets
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. If not already butterflied, place your hand over the top of each chicken breast. Use a sharp knife to carefully slice the breast horizontally, leaving the edge intact so it can open up like a book (or butterfly!). Unfold the breast like a book, then cut along the fold to separate the two halves.
  2. Add the chicken to a container and add the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix with your hands until evenly coated.
  3. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours). 
  4. Preheat a grill to high heat (450 to 550°F).
  5. Grill the chicken breasts until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until no longer pink in the center and the internal temperature is 165°F, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes for maximum juiciness.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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