Throwing chicken breasts on the grill is an easy way to feature lean protein as part of your summer meals. But how to grill that chicken so that it comes out nice and juicy? We experimented with a few tweaks to our method to bring you our family’s consensus favorite, presented to you today in this Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts recipe.
This recipe is for boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I like to buy them as fillets (basically the breast cut in half by the butcher) as it cooks up quickly. If you’re looking to grill bone-in chicken breasts, you’ve got to check out our Simply Scrumptious Grilled Chicken Breasts with Garlic Basil Butter. The method is pretty different to get moist bone-in grilled chicken, but the result in both cases is juicy grilled chicken your family will love.
In addition to aiming for juicy chicken, our goal in this recipe was chicken that is flavorful but straightforward, something our nine year old would enjoy for dinner and in sandwiches for lunch the next day. In other words, we wanted enough taste to please the grownups, but it couldn’t be too spicy or adorned with a fancy sauce.
A marinade with some salt is one good step toward juicy grilled chicken. I like to use soy sauce to provide the salty element in many of my marinades, and used that approach for this recipe. The first version of this grilled chicken was tasty but a bit on the salty side. For the final version, I cut down on the marinade time and the amount of soy sauce. One hour to marinade the chicken means you can get home from work, get the chicken marinading while you make a salad and take care of a few other things.
I usually like some kind of citrus in a marinade. In today’s recipe, that citrus was provided by lemonade…not something I’d done before, but we all liked the taste!
A good marinade is the first step toward juicy grilled chicken, but you’ve got to avoid overcooking it on the grill, too. Grilling the chicken covered on medium high, flip the chicken after just five minutes, then check for doneness after 5 to 6 minutes. The chicken should be white throughout but still nice and juicy. Unless you’ve got a particularly thick piece of chicken, 10 to 12 minutes of grilling time should do the trick. Sit down, and enjoy your chicken with a green salad and perhaps a grain like couscous or quinoa.
Wine Pairing: You can go a number of ways with the wine for this one. I like Pinot Noir with grilled chicken, but it’s also good with a full-bodied white–a restrained Chardonnay could work nicely, as long as it’s not overly oaky or buttery. A rosé could be nice, too–I’m thinking the Pinot Patch rosé we had recently would be a good match.
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lemonade
- 1 tsp brown rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
- Make the marinade: combine the soy sauce, lemonade, vinegar, olive oil and honey in a small ball.
- Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Place the chicken in a sealable plastic bag, then pour in the marinade. Seal the bag, and toss gently to get the chicken well-coated.
- Put the bag with the chicken into the refrigerator to marinade for one hour.
- When you are ready to grill the chicken, preheat a grill to medium high. Spray some cooking oil onto the grill.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge. Shake the excess marinade off the chicken, then place on the grill. Repeat for each of the pieces of chicken. Reserve the extra marinade.
- Grill covered for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken over. Spread a teaspoon or so of the reserved marinade on each piece of chicken. Grill covered for another 5 to 6 minutes. Check for doneness, and remove from the grilled when just cooked through. This time should be good for a small to medium piece of chicken, larger breasts may need a bit more time.