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How to Grill Marinated Chicken Breast

A boneless skinless chicken breast can be very dry and tasteless when not grilled properly. To off-set this we will marinate them for up to 24 hours before grilling. This process adds flavor and moisture to this bland piece of meat. However doing this can cause some problems if you do not modify your grilling technique.

The marinade we are using for this a combination of Italian salad dressing and Goya Sazon seasoning. We will be using this for chicken fajitas and have found this combination works very well.

chicken marinating in ziploc

First we place the chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag then add about half the bottle of Italian salad dressing and use the entire packet of the Goya seasoning. Seal the Ziploc and mix the seasoning thoroughly until it is spread evenly through the bag. Set the bag in the fridge overnight and flip it over about half way through the marination process. It's not a crime if you forget to. You will get slightly better results if you remember to do it though.

Preheat your grill to a medium high heat. You will be using indirect heat for this. I prefer to preheat the entire grill surface and then turn a burner off right before placing the chicken on the grill.

blotting marinated chicken

Remove the chicken breast from the bag and place onto a plate and blot the chicken breast dry with a paper towel. This step is important. Your grill will be a mess and most likely your chicken will burn if you do not blot the marinade off. Throw the bag with the remaining marinade away.

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uncooked marinated chicken breast on grill

Place the chicken breast onto the grill in a spot with no direct heat. If your heat source is only on one side be sure to place the thicker side of the breast toward the heat. You can also lower the heat and place it onto an upper rack if you don't have multiple burners.

Allow the chicken to cook for 5 to 6 minutes and then rotate it 90 degrees on the grate. After another 5 to 6 minutes turn it over. Repeat the 5 to 6 minute rotation that we did on the first side. Check the temperature of the chicken at this point depending on the size you should be around 100 to 120 degrees.

fully grilled marinated chicken breast

At this point any left over marinade should have dried off of the surface of the chicken so we can move it over the direct heat for finishing. Unless you will be using a finishing sauce. Depending on your temperature reading this should take another 5 to 10 minutes. We are shooting to pull these off at a temp. of 155 to 160 degrees.

After removing them from the grill place on a plate and tent with tinfoil for an additional 5 minutes. This should bring the chicken up to a safe 165 degree internal temperature.

Here is what your grills grates and chicken will look like if the marinade is not wiped off prior to grilling.

upper grill rack marination mess   burnt marinated grilled chicken

About the author: Mike is the owner of, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.

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