Yogurt Marinated Chicken is an easy grilled chicken recipe that’s versatile, zesty, and easy to make. Friends, family, and guests will devour this savory, summery chicken dinner!
An Easy, Breezy Grilled Chicken Recipe!
When the temperatures start to rise, there’s nothing better than grilled chicken. It’s healthy, seasonal, and can be served with just about anything. Add some rice, a side salad, and grilled veggies, to name a few things, for a full meal. Plus, firing up that grill means your cooking is outside – keeping your kitchen cool! Yep, I like that. 👍
This easy recipe for yogurt-marinated chicken is sure to become a staple on your menu. It’s made with a killer yogurt marinade, perfectly seasoned with herbs, garlic, and a touch of honey. After a good soak in this tasty mix, your chicken will be incredibly tender and flavorful!
What Does Marinating Chicken in Yogurt Do?
Marinating chicken in yogurt does a few delicious things. First, it tenderizes the meat, making it easier and more enjoyable to eat. Second, it flavor-blasts the chicken with a light tangy flavor (plus the flavors of the seasonings you add to the marinade). And finally, the yogurt cooks up into an amazing “crust” that will have guests clamoring for the recipe.
The List of Ingredients
To make this dish, you’ll need a handful of basic ingredients, including chicken thighs and plain yogurt. I serve mine over a bed of salad, so if you want to do that, be sure to grab some salad greens as well.
- Yogurt: Plain yogurt gives the marinade its acid and creaminess.
- Olive Oil
- Lemon: The juice of one lemon plus a teaspoon of lemon zest.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic, minced.
- Basil: Fresh basil is my favorite, but dried would also be good.
- Parsley: Chopped parsley, some for the marinade and more for serving.
- Honey: Use your favorite honey, or substitute maple syrup.
- Salt and Pepper
- Chicken: I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You could substitute chicken breasts if you prefer.
- Green Salad: For serving, optional.
- Garnishes: Also optional, but nice to have – lemon, parsley, and fresh cheese.
Let’s Make Yogurt Marinated Chicken!
Making this dish is as easy as pie! You can make it on an outdoor grill, which is my favorite, or just heat up a grill pan for indoor cooking. Here are the steps:
- Make the Marinade. In a large bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients: the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, basil, parsley, honey, salt, and pepper.
- Marinate the Chicken. Place the chicken thighs in the marinade, making sure they are well coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight.
- Grill the Chicken. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Take the chicken out of the marinade (make sure to toss any excess marinade – don’t keep it, since it’s got raw chicken juices in it). Grill the chicken thighs for 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until fully cooked through and golden brown on the outside. The safe internal temperature for chicken is at least 165°F.
- Let the Chicken Rest. Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean plate, and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.
- Enjoy! Serve the chicken, placing it on a bed of green salad if desired, and garnished with fresh parsley, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and crumbled fresh cheese, if using.
Do You Rinse Off Yogurt Marinade?
Nope, no need for rinsing- but you may need to shake or scrape off any larger blobs of yogurt with a spoon or butter knife. Just don’t wash away the yogurt, or you’ll miss out on the flavor and crust!
Tips for Success
A good recipe is always better with some helpful tips from the cook. These are my top pieces of advice for flavorful, succulent chicken thighs every time.
- Marinating Time: While just a couple of hours in the marinade will give the chicken thighs a really nice flavor, a longer marinade (as long as overnight!) is ideal.
- Change the Spices: The spice blend here is so simple, you can definitely play with adding more flavors according to your taste. Paprika, rosemary, curry powder… there are all kinds of tasty options that would work.
- Flipping the Chicken: With grilling, you don’t want to turn or flip the chicken too soon, or it will stick to the grill. This is especially true for chicken that’s been coated in a dairy-based marinade, like this one. Oil the grill grates well, and then wait until the chicken cooks enough to release slightly from the grill before you flip it.
- Use a Meat Thermometer: There’s nothing worse than cutting into the chicken that looks perfectly done on the outside but isn’t quite cooked through inside! To avoid this, use a good meat thermometer. Instant-read thermometers are my favorite. Make sure to cook the chicken thighs to 165°F.
Easy Side Dishes
Wondering what to serve with this yogurt marinated chicken? For a low-carb dinner that’s super simple, just serve it over salad. If you’d like to do something a little bit different, check out these easy side dish suggestions. Each one is a winner!
- Zucchini Fries: Want some fries with that? You know you do – especially if they’re these scrumptious, low-carb, Crispy Air Fryer Parmesan Zucchini Fries. They’re easy to make, too!
- Pasta Salad: This mouthwatering grilled chicken is great with a good pasta salad. Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad is one of the best! It’s loaded with fresh, zesty ingredients like bell peppers, black olives, salami, and cheese.
- Sweet Potatoes: Bake ’em, mash ’em, or make these killer Garlic Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Irresistible, and good for you, too!
How to Store and Reheat the Leftovers
- As with most chicken recipes, the leftovers from this recipe will keep in your fridge for 3 to 4 days. Make sure to store the leftovers in an airtight food storage container.
- To reheat, I like to reheat mine in the oven at 350°F until warmed through. You could also heat the leftovers in a covered skillet over medium-low heat. Don’t overcook, or the meat will be tough and dry.
- To freeze, cool down your leftovers before freezing them, and pack them into freezer bags or shallow, airtight containers. Then mark them with the date, and store them in your freezer for up to three months.
- Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating.
Yogurt Marinated Chicken
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, basil, parsley, honey, salt, and black pepper until well combined.
- Add the chicken thighs to the bowl, ensuring they are well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grill grates.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard any excess marinade.
- Grill the chicken for 6 to 7 minutes per side or until fully cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Make sure that the internal cooked temperature of the chicken is 165°F.
- Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and crumbled feta cheese. Serve immediately.
- Serve the chicken on a bed of salad greens, if desired.
- Chicken: You will need boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe.
- Marinade: This is a simple yet delicious citrusy marinade. Marinating the chicken at least two hours before cooking can make a ton of difference in taste.
- Grilling: Cook the chicken thighs for about 6 minutes per side, but do not remove them from the grill until the internal temperature of the cooked chicken registers at 165˚F.
- Oven: To cook chicken thighs in the oven, preheat your oven to 400˚F for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken registers at 165˚F.
- Stovetop: Cook the chicken thighs in a greased skillet for 6 to 7 minutes per side.
- Let the chicken thighs rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Leftover chicken can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 – 4 days or frozen for up to three months.