Grilled South African Chicken

south african grilled chicken on a plate.

5 from 4 reviews

Chicken marinated in yogurt and South African spices grilled for a flavorful, juicy chicken.


  • 4 chicken breast fillets

For the marinade

  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp orange juice


  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients, yogurt through orange juice.
  2. Scoop out 3 tablespoons of the marinade, and place in a container to use as a topping. Refrigerate this portion of the yogurt spice mixture.
  3. Place the chicken in a sealable plastic bag. Add the remaining marinade to the bag, and seal. Gradually toss the chicken around in the marinade bag until it is well coated.
  4. Place the chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Preheat a grill to medium high, leaving the back burner off if you have a gas grill. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator as the grill heats up.
  6. When the grill is ready, shake the excess marinade off, then place the chicken on the direct heat portion of the grill. Grill the chicken on one side for 5 minutes, then flip the chicken to grill toward the back of the grill for another 6 minutes. Check the chicken for doneness–chicken should be 165 degrees internal temperature when done. Put the chicken back on the grill for a few more minutes if it isn’t done after the first 11 minutes of grilling, and remove when done.
  7. Place the chicken on a platter. We typically cut the chicken fillets in half, and start each person with that portion. Pass the extra yogurt mixture at the table so people can add a bit of it as a topping for their chicken. Enjoy with chakalaka and South African Chenin Blanc for the full South African dining experience!


  • Important food safety note: never use remaining marinade that had contact with meat as a topping, unless it has been heated to a safe temperature for at least 10 minutes. That is why we set aside some of the yogurt / spice mixture prior to introducing the chicken.
  • Chicken grilling time will depend on size of the chicken breast.
  • We used coconut mild yogurt but you can use whatever plain yogurt you like.

Keywords: South African Chicken, yogurt spice marinade for chicken, food to serve with Chenin Blanc

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