Easy Grilled Chicken Breast



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The best grilled chicken breast recipe that results in flavorful, juicy chicken every time! Enjoy right away for a simple dinner or store in the fridge for easy meal prep throughout the week.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve made chicken on the grill a few times and it got me thinking… I’ve never shared my go-to recipe for simple grilled chicken breasts. That is, until now!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my apple cider vinegar chicken recipe, but everyone needs a basic grilled chicken recipe in their back pocket.

With a simple marinade made from pantry staples (that you probably already have in your kitchen) and a quick grilling time, this chicken is incredibly flavorful and versatile. Say goodbye to dry and bland chicken, and hello to juicy, tender chicken that’s packed with flavor.

Four grilled chicken breasts on parchment paper with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Make perfectly tender and moist chicken every time!
  • It’s a versatile recipe that can be served so many different ways… on its own with sides, in salads, stir-fries, wraps… the options are endless!
  • It’s great for weekly meal prep! Make a batch of this grilled chicken and use it throughout the week for easy meal prep.
  • You only need minimal, pantry staple ingredients and it’s super easy to put together.
Ingredients measured out to make Easy Grilled Chicken Breast: olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, chicken breasts, oregano, garlic powder and lemon juice.

Ingredients Needed

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts – around 1 to 1 1/4 pounds are perfect. Using boneless breasts cuts down on cooking time and makes for easy slicing.
  • lemon juice – this acidic component helps tenderize the chicken while adding a tangy flavor. Red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute if you don’t have lemons on hand.
  • olive oil – helps to keep the chicken moist during grilling and contributes to a beautiful sear.
  • seasonings – garlic powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt and black pepper.
Collage of four photos showing the process to make Grilled Chicken Breasts: marinating the chicken and then grilling it.

How to Make Easy Grilled Chicken Breast

Make marinade: Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Marinate chicken: Place your chicken in a shallow dish or a sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring that it’s well coated. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least one hour. If you have the time, let it marinate for up to 12 hours for even more flavor.

Grill: When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess chicken marinade. Now, it’s time to grill. Heat up your grill or grill pan. Once hot, add the chicken. Grill for approximately five minutes on each side, flipping with grill-safe tongs. You’ll know the chicken is done when it’s cooked through and no longer pink in the center. To be sure, check the internal temperature of the chicken, which should read 165°F.

Serve: Once cooked, you can enjoy the grilled chicken breast immediately. Alternatively, you can let it cool and store it in the fridge for later use. This makes it a perfect option for meal prep throughout the week.

Three grilled chicken breasts in a grill pan with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

How Long to Cook Chicken

Grilling chicken to perfection requires a careful balance of time and heat. The key is to cook the chicken fully without letting it dry out. The duration of grilling depends mainly on the size of the chicken breast and its thickness. See below for a rough guide to help you.

Remember, these times are just guidelines. The most accurate way to check for doneness is by using a meat thermometer, which should read 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.

  • Small Chicken Breasts (6-8 ounces each): These smaller pieces generally need around 7 to 9 minutes of grilling time. Make sure the heat is moderate to avoid burning the outer layer while the inside remains uncooked.
  • Mid-Sized Chicken Breasts (8-10 ounces each): Slightly larger pieces require a bit more time on the grill. Aim for approximately 9 to 13 minutes to reach that perfectly cooked stage.
  • Large Chicken Breasts (10+ ounces): The bigger the piece, the longer it will take to cook thoroughly. For these larger chicken breasts, your grill time might extend to 15 minutes or even longer.
Sliced grilled chicken breast on a cutting board with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Grilled Chicken Recipe Variations

There are plenty of ways to enjoy this grilled chicken. Here are a few ideas to try:

  • Spicy: Amp up the heat by adding some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to your marinade.
  • Citrusy: Incorporate some tanginess to your chicken by adding freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice to your marinade.
  • Herbed: Enhance the flavor of your chicken with a variety of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme or basil in your marinade.
  • Asian-Inspired: Try a marinade featuring soy sauce, ginger, garlic and a touch of honey for a delightful Asian twist.
  • BBQ: If you’re a BBQ lover, brush your chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of grilling.
  • Honey Mustard: Marinate your chicken in this honey mustard dressing and cook as directed!
Three grilled chicken breasts in a grill pan with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Tips For Success

  • Marinate for flavor – the key to flavorful grilled chicken is marinating it for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours. The longer you marinate, the more flavor the chicken will absorb.
  • Even thickness – make sure your chicken breasts have an even thickness for consistent cooking. You can use a meat mallet to pound thicker parts of the breast if you want.
  • Preheat the grill – ensure your grill is preheated before you add the chicken. A hot grill sears the chicken quickly, locking in juices and creating a delicious char.
  • Don’t overcook – use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temp of 165°F. Overcooking leads to dry, tough chicken.
  • Rest before serving – allow your chicken to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the grill before slicing. This helps retain the juices, resulting in moist and tender chicken.
Four grilled chicken breasts on parchment paper with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Serving Suggestions

There’s plenty of ways you can serve grilled chicken breast. You could enjoy it over a bed of rice with veggies, on top of a salad, in a warp or on its own. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

Three grilled chicken breasts in a grill pan with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

How To to Meal Prep Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a perfect meal prep option. I love having some cooked chicken on hand to add to salads, wraps or grain bowls for easy meals throughout the week.

Just prepare the chicken as the recipe states, let it cool and then put it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

How to Store Leftovers

In the fridge: Allow the grilled chicken to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for up to 4 days.

In the freezer: Cool the chicken completely, then wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap or foil. Place the wrapped pieces in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also pre-shred or chop for easier defrosting.

How to reheat: Thaw frozen chicken in the fridge overnight. For reheating, place it in a baking dish, cover with foil and heat in a 325°F oven until warmed through, typically 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can also reheat the chicken on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through.

Grilled Chicken FAQ’s

Can I make this chicken without a grill?

Certainly! If you don’t have an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan, you can still prepare this chicken using your stovetop or oven. While these methods won’t have the smoky flavor of grilling, they’ll still yield a tasty and juicy chicken breast.

Stovetop: On the stovetop, heat a skillet (I prefer to use a cast iron pan) and cook the chicken, adjusting the cooking time as necessary.

Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Add oil to a cast iron skillet and turn heat on medium/medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts to the skillet and sear for 4-5 minutes on each side. Move the skillet from the stovetop into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked throughout.

How long should I marinate chicken?

The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will be. If possible, try to let the chicken marinate for at least 1 hour, but if you have more time, let it marinate for 12 hours. If you’re pressed for time, even 30 minutes of marinating can make a difference in the flavor of your chicken breast.

Be sure to check out all of the chicken recipes on EBF!

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5 from 1 vote

Easy Grilled Chicken Breast

The best grilled chicken breast recipe that results in flavorful, juicy chicken every time! Enjoy right away for a simple dinner or store in the fridge for easy meal prep throughout the week.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 2 -3


  • 1- 1 ¼ lb boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl until well combined.
    A metal whisk in a bowl of marinade.
  • Place chicken in a shallow dish or 1-gallon sealable plastic bag. Add the marinade, toss to coat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
    Two chicken breasts sitting in a white bowl of marinade.
  • Remove chicken from the marinade, shake off excess and discard leftover marinade. Heat a grill or grill pan. Once hot, place the chicken on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until you have grill marks on both sides and the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. You want the internal chicken temperature to be 165F.
    Three raw seasoned chicken breasts in a grill pan.
  • Enjoy chicken immediately or let cool, package in storage containers and save for later use.


Serving: 1/3 recipe | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 280mg | Potassium: 656mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: grilled chicken breast
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
Chicken fajita filling on a sheet pan with a wooden spoon. Tortillas are resting on the bottom of the sheet pan.
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