Want to take your chicken dinner game to a whole new level of tender, succulent, and delicious?! The secret is in the marinade!
I have the best chicken marinade recipe for you today. Made of whole milk yogurt, citrus, extra virgin olive oil, and loads of Mediterranean flavors from garlic, fresh herbs, and spices. This yogurt chicken marinade is easy to make and super versatile. Be sure to check out my tips and watch the video below!
This post is sponsored by Stonyfield Organics. All opinions are my own.
Chicken is a convenient, budget-friendly ingredient for many of us.
Every home cook has a couple go-to chicken recipes in her arsenal. But one can easily fall into a rut, making the same chicken dinner over and over.
And when it comes to chicken breasts, for example, many run into issues–not enough flavor, or way too dry (Confession: dry chicken breast is like my biggest enemy because it can totally taste and feel like pressed sawdust!)
Time to foolproof the chicken dinner and take it to a whole new level of delicious…
The key to succulent, extra tender, flavor-packed chicken is in the marinade!
And as far as good chicken marinades go, one secret ingredient makes a big difference: creamy whole milk yogurt.
You’ll love how versatile this chicken marinade is. It’s great for boneless chicken breasts (that’s what I used in today’s recipe and the video below). But you can use it on any cut of chicken you like.
For quick weeknight dinners–chicken gyros, for example–I often cook my yogurt-marinated chicken in a pan. But if you feel like grilling, or even baking, that will work too.
Why use Yogurt in Chicken Marinade?
With both meat and chicken (especially with chicken breasts), the job of a marinade is to tenderize, while adding flavor.
And, if you’ve been intimated or not sure where to start with marinades, yogurt is the answer.
Creamy, tangy yogurt acts as a great flavor carrier to all sort of herbs and seasonings.
More importantly, because of its lactic acid and calcium content, yogurt works very gently to break down proteins so that the meat is super tender and juicy.
So, with a yogurt marinade, as opposed to a highly acidic or vinegar-based marinade, you don’t have to worry about chicken breasts getting tough or turning rubbery!
What’s in the BEST Chicken Marinade Recipe?
Let’s talk marinade magic! My chicken marinade has it all, plus it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here’s what’s in it:
1. Marinade base: quality whole milk yogurt. I use 1 ½ cups of Stonyfield organic whole milk yogurt (link) from pasture-raised cows. This delicious creamy yogurt is a go-to for me. I love it in marinades, sauces, and I also use it in making my famous Labneh cheese (basically, the best homemade cream cheese!)
2. Citrus and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. These two support the yogurt in building the marinade base. For the citrus, I like to add juice of 2 citrus fruits (lemon or lime will work) and zest of 1 citrus fruit for extra punch.
3. Flavor Makers: Garlic, Spices, and Fresh Herbs. This is a bit of a Greek chicken marinade. As you can expect, loads of fresh garlic (the start of every good thing, in my opinion). Then we have oregano, dried mint and a foursome of warm spices: cumin, coriander, paprika, and nutmeg (just a pinch.) Finally, a generous portion of fresh parsley.
Make this marinade your own!
You can change up the combination of herbs and spices to your liking.
Start with the yogurt marinade base: whole milk yogurt, citrus, and extra virgin olive oil. From there, whisk in the combination of spices and fresh herbs you like
For example, if you have fresh basil or mint, use them instead of parsley. Remember, the finer you chop the fresh herbs, the more flavor they will impart to the marinade.
Want to give your chicken an Italian twist, try some fresh thyme and maybe a little rosemary. Going for a Moroccan vibe? Try a bit of Harissa or Ras El Hanout?
A lot of my Southern friends love heat. If that’s you, feel free to adapt the yogurt marinade recipe by adding cayenne or Cajun spice instead.
You get the idea. Don’t fall into a rut. Change things up whenever you need to!
How Long Can You Marinate Chicken?
The beauty of this chicken marinade is that it’s yogurt-based, which means it will work to tenderize the chicken in about 15 to 30 minutes. But, it’s safe to marinate your chicken in it for a few hours or overnight, which I highly recommend if you’re after big flavor.
From My Stonyfield Farm Tour
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you might have seen some fun highlights from my Stonyfield farm tour in Vermont.
I have been a fan of Stonyfield’s delicious yogurt for a long time. But now, having met farmers like 72-year-old Julie (photo below), I am in love!
Julie is one of 32 organic dairy farmers who work directly with Stonyfield to supply organic milk from pasture-grazing, well-cared-for animals.
Julie knows her 30 Jersey cows by name. She works hard to keep them comfortable, eating well (100 % organic), and never pushed to produce too much milk.
One neat fact Julie shared with me, “Our cows must have 120 days of pasture, getting a good portion of their diet from grazing, which is important because grass is high in omega 3 fatty acids.”
Like Julie, all Stonyfield farmers follow strict organic practices in raising their cows. They don’t use toxic persistent pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, GMOs, artificial growth hormones or antibiotics.
These farmers care for the environment; they work to enrich the soil and control pests with crop rotation, cover crops, beneficial insects and compost.
And like Julie, they feed their livestock only organic feed (50% from fresh pasture; 40% Alfalafa; and 10% barley and oats.) This is beneficial for the cows and great for us! Did you know that organic whole milk has 62% more omega 3 fatty acids than conventional milk?!
When I asked Julie how she keeps her cows healthy with no antibiotics or such treatments. She said, “My girls rarely ever get sick. They eat well. They’re happy cows.”
What to Serve Along Yogurt Marinated Chicken?
There are lots of Mediterranean sides and salads that will work perfectly with yogurt marinated chicken! A few ideas:
Sides: pan fried brussels sprouts, baked zucchini sticks, Italian roasted veggies, and Greek lemon rice
Salads: Greek Salad, Balela Salad, 3-Ingredient Mediterranean Salad, or Tabouli
Dips: Baba Ganoush, Classic Hummus, or Tztaziki (if you feel like more yogurt)
Watch the Video for How to Make this Chicken Marinade:
More Easy Chicken Recipes to Try:
Garlic Dijon Chicken
Best Homemade Chicken Shawarma
Italian Baked Chicken
Easy Lemon Chicken