Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts – On My Kids Plate

Must Try

Grilled Italian chicken breasts have a marinade recipe that’s flavorful, easy and is a staple in our house especially in the spring and summer. You’ll love this technique for grilling juicy chicken breast every time, and the marinade flavor goes with so many other flavors.

Italian grilled chicken breast slices served alongside pasta rigatoni with green herbs on a plate.Italian grilled chicken breast slices served alongside pasta rigatoni with green herbs on a plate.

 

Why We Love Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts

  • Great Flavor – This grilled Italian chicken breast recipe is juicy and has great flavor all on it’s own. It’s a staple in our house that even picky kids will enjoy.
  • Easy For Meal Prep – I often double this recipe and use the leftover chicken on sandwiches, in wraps, over pasta or shredded in chicken salad. When I’m already pulling out the grill, it can help to cook double for another meal, and this recipe easily transforms.

Ingredients For Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts

Ingredients for a grilled Tuscan chicken breast recipe in bowls with text labels.Ingredients for a grilled Tuscan chicken breast recipe in bowls with text labels.
  • 1 pound chicken breasts – you want boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2-3 large chicken breasts.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil – you can use other oils like sunflower oil, canola oil or avocado oil.
  • 1 large lemon plus extra optional lemon wedges for serving, 1 large lemon is about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced can also use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

I love to grill with avocado oil because it is both heart-healthy and has a high smoke point, meaning it’s less likely to burn on the grill if the temperature is a little higher. Avocado oil can be a little pricier, so I purchase it in bulk at Costco and just store it in a cool, dark cabinet so it lasts.

How To Make Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts

  1. Prep the chicken breast by cutting each piece in half horizontally to create 4 thinner cutlets that are all about the same thickness. This can help for the chicken to cook more evenly and more quickly.
  1. In a large shallow dish or gallon size zip-top bag add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined to make the marinade.
Marinade for Italian grilled chicken breast being added to an open zip top bag from above with more ingredients on the counter nearby.Marinade for Italian grilled chicken breast being added to an open zip top bag from above with more ingredients on the counter nearby.
  1. Add the chicken breast to the marinade, mixing to make sure they are evenly covered. Seal the bag or cover the container. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the chicken marinate.
Raw chicken marinating in a clear plastic bag filled with oil and spices with lemons, parsley and garlic on the counter nearby.Raw chicken marinating in a clear plastic bag filled with oil and spices with lemons, parsley and garlic on the counter nearby.
  1. Lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. Preheat either an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing the excess marinade to drip off. Discard the remaining marinade.
  3. Place the chicken on the grill or grill pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes, then serve with more lemon squeezed over top and enjoy!
A seasoned Italian chicken breast on the grill being cooked, with visible grill marks on the chicken.A seasoned Italian chicken breast on the grill being cooked, with visible grill marks on the chicken.

Can I Just Use Italian Seasoning In The Chicken Marinade Recipe?

You can use your favorite Italian seasoning in this recipe. I recommend using a tablespoon of your favorite spice blend, and not adding the oregano and basil.

Can I Use Chicken Thighs In This Recipe?

Yes, I recommend using boneless chicken thighs as they grill up a little easier without the bones. The flavor is pretty delicious with boneless chicken thighs too. I will usually reduce the oil in a marinade to about 1/4 cup as chicken thighs have more fat in the meat and don’t need the extra oil.

I would expect boneless chicken thighs will take a little longer to cook. While they usually reach 165 degrees in about 15-20 minutes and are safe to eat, I find they are more flavorful if you cook them more like 20-25 minutes on the grill to give the fat in the chicken thighs more time to render and cook.

If you have bone in chicken thighs, they have to be cooked over indirect heat on the grill, and will likely need to cook for 25-30 minutes or until they register 165 degrees with a meat thermometer. I usually prefer to cook bone in chicken thighs in the oven, try the crispy chicken thighs, ranch chicken thighs, honey garlic chicken thighs or sheetpan baked chicken thighs with vegetables.

How Can I Adjust This Italian Marinade Recipe?

This recipe is really easy to adjust to your family’s tastes, don’t be afraid to play with it a little.

You can easily change the amount of garlic to your own tastes. Two cloves of garlic is about right for my family, but yours may like more or less.

A little onion powder is also delicious, I’ll usually had just 1/2 a teaspoon of onion powder.

Try using fresh herbs in the marinade. For most fresh herbs you’ll need about a tablespoon of fresh for every teaspoon of dried spices.

Sometimes I like to grab some fresh rosemary or parsley to chop up and put in the marinade. I’ll usually stick to about a tablespoon of any fresh herbs I add so they don’t overpower.

If you like your chicken to have a kick, try adding dried red pepper flakes. I start with a 1/2 a teaspoon.

Don’t leave out the lemon juice entirely, as the acid helps to balance the flavor of the chicken marinade. I’ve used both lime juice and balsamic vinegar in a pinch and both are delicious. You need some kind of acid in the recipe.

What To Serve With Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts

How Far In Advance Can I Marinate Chicken?

You can marinate the chicken longer as long as it is kept covered in the refrigerator. Two hours gives a lot of flavor to the chicken and is my sweet spot, but chicken can be placed in the marinade easily up to 24 hours in advance. Which means you can easily prep this chicken the night before.

I don’t recommend leaving the chicken in the marinade for more than 48 hours as it will change the texture in a not so great way. After 48 hours the acid in the marinade will start to break down the chicken and cause the texture to break down and feel a little mealy.

How Long Will This Italian Grilled Chicken Breast Recipe Last?

Expect these chicken breasts will last for about three days if stored in an airtight covered container in the refrigerator.

Grilled chicken slices on a plate with rigatoni pasta on a plate.Grilled chicken slices on a plate with rigatoni pasta on a plate.
RecipeRecipe

Grilled Italian Chicken Breasts

Course Dinners

Cuisine American

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 8 minutes

Marinade Time 30 minutes

Total Time 48 minutes

Easy grilled Italian chicken breasts are a juicy and flavorful recipe that’s great for meal prep, and goes well with almost any side dish! Kid-friendly and family-friendly, you’ll find yourself making this recipe all year long.

Prevent your screen from going dark

Instructions

  • Prep the chicken breast by cutting each piece in half horizontally to create 4 thinner cutlets that are all about the same thickness. This can help for the chicken to cook more evenly and more quickly.

  • In a large shallow dish or gallon size zip-top bag add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined.

  • Add the chicken breast to the marinate, mixing to make sure they are evenly covered. Seal the bag or cover the container. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the chicken marinade.

  • Lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. Preheat either an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing the excess marinade to drip off. Discard the remaining marinade.

  • Place the chicken on the grill or grill pan. Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes, then serve with more lemon squeezed over top and enjoy!

Notes

If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves you can also use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or two teaspoons of jarred minced garlic. I honestly use whichever I have on hand and it’s always delicious.
You can marinate the chicken longer as long as it is kept covered in the refrigerator. Two hours gives a lot of flavor to the chicken and is my sweet spot, but chicken can be placed in the marinade easily up to 24 hours in advance.
I don’t recommend leaving the chicken in the marinade for more than 48 hours as it will change the texture in a not so great way. After 48 hours the acid in the marinade will start to break down the chicken and cause the texture to break down and feel a little mealy.
If you choose not to slice the chicken breasts into thinner pieces, it will take them longer to cook. Full pieces of chicken breast can cook in about 10-15 minutes but check with a meat thermometer to make sure the center of the chicken is 165 degrees. 
Chicken can also be cooked in an oiled pan on the stovetop. Expect it will take 4-5 minutes per side just like on the grill if cooked over medium high heat.
Note nutrition information was calculated using about half the listed oil and is an estimate. Using a marinade for meats is a lean way to cook, but not all of the marinade is consumed.

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 471mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 51IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Did You Make This?

I would love to see it! Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

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