Perfect Grilled Chicken Breasts
May 24, 2023
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Savor the flavor of juicy perfect grilled chicken breasts with this easy-to-follow and simple-to-adapt recipe! Marinated in tangy Italian dressing, seasoned with garlic powder, soy sauce, salt, and black pepper, these grilled chicken breasts are bursting with delicious flavor the whole family will love.
Enjoy a perfectly balanced dish that brings out the natural flavors of the chicken while adding a delightful blend of savory and tangy notes. Fire up the grill and indulge in a mouthwatering meal that is sure to satisfy your taste buds!
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Table of contents
Juicy Tender Grilled Chicken Breasts
Grilled chicken breasts are a versatile and healthy choice for many meals. They can be prepared in a variety of ways, providing an excellent source of lean protein. Chicken breasts are a lean cut of meat that is low in fat and high in protein, making them a popular choice for those who are health-conscious. When grilled, they can develop a flavorful outer layer while retaining a juicy interior.
Grilled chicken breasts can be marinated before grilling to infuse them with different flavors, such as lemon and herb, barbecue, or a spicy marinade. Marinating not only adds flavor but also helps to tenderize the chicken! Grilling allows you to experiment with various flavors and seasonings to enhance the taste of the chicken. You can marinate the chicken beforehand or use dry rubs and spices to create a wide range of flavor profiles, from smoky and savory to tangy and spicy.
Grilling chicken breasts also imparts a distinct smoky and charred flavor to chicken that is hard to replicate with other cooking methods. The high heat of the grill creates caramelization on the surface, resulting in a flavorful crust that enhances the taste of the chicken. When grilled properly, chicken breasts remain juicy and tender. The direct heat of the grill seals in the moisture, preventing the chicken from drying out. This results in succulent and flavorful meat that is enjoyable – plus grilling chicken breasts is a relatively quick cooking method! With proper preheating, you can have deliciously grilled chicken breasts ready in a matter of minutes. This makes it a convenient option for weeknight meals or outdoor gatherings.
Grilling chicken breasts is considered a healthier cooking method compared to frying or deep-frying. Excess fat drips off the chicken as it cooks on the grill, resulting in a leaner final product. Grilling also requires minimal added fats or oils, making it a healthier choice for those watching their calorie intake.
Grilled chicken breasts can be used in a variety of dishes, making them a versatile ingredient in recipes like Chopped Chinese Chicken Salad, Chicken Enchilada Skillet, Tomatillo Chicken Stew, and any recipe with chicken breasts! They can be served as a main course, sliced and added to salads, used in sandwiches or wraps, or even chopped for stir-fries or pasta dishes.
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
How to Grill Chicken Breasts
To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- Chicken Breasts: Chicken breasts serve as the main protein component of the recipe. They are lean and versatile, providing a blank canvas for the flavors to shine. Chicken breasts become tender and juicy when properly grilled.
- Italian Dressing: Italian dressing acts as both a marinade and a flavor enhancer. It brings a combination of herbs, spices, vinegar, and oil, adding tanginess and depth of flavor to the chicken breasts. The dressing helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with a delicious Italian-inspired taste.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic powder contributes a rich and savory flavor to the chicken breasts. It adds depth and aroma without the need for fresh garlic. Garlic powder also enhances the overall taste profile of the dish and pairs well with the other ingredients.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce brings a savory and umami flavor to the chicken breasts. It adds depth and richness to the marinade, balancing the tanginess of the Italian dressing. Soy sauce also helps to tenderize the meat and creates a delicious caramelization when grilled.
- Salt and Black Pepper: Salt and black pepper are essential seasonings that enhance the taste of the chicken breasts. They help to bring out the natural flavors and add a touch of seasoning. Salt helps to tenderize the meat and balance the overall seasoning, while black pepper adds a subtle kick.
Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method:
- Marinate. Put chicken breasts in a large zip bag and cover with Italian dressing, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Gently squeeze the air out of the bag. Shake bag so all the chicken is covered with dressing. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat. Pre-heat and clean grill- rubbing ½ an onion on the hot grill cleans and flavors the grates.
- Grill. Remove chicken from bag with marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken on medium high heat until 165 internal temperature, about 15 minutes.
- Serve. Enjoy when hot, or refrigerate and use for s sack-lunch.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Grilled Chicken Breasts
Start with Quality Chicken Breasts: Choose fresh, high-quality chicken breasts that are of uniform thickness. Look for organic or free-range chicken if possible, as they tend to have better flavor and texture.
Tenderize the Chicken: Before grilling, you can tenderize the chicken breasts by lightly pounding them with a meat mallet or a rolling pin. This helps to break down the muscle fibers, making the chicken more tender and juicy.
Preheat the Grill: Make sure your grill is preheated to the appropriate temperature before adding the chicken. For chicken breasts, medium-high heat (around 375-400°F or 190-200°C) is usually ideal. Preheating ensures that the chicken cooks evenly and helps to create those desirable grill marks.
Oil the Grill Grates: Prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill by oiling the grates. Use tongs and a folded paper towel dipped in oil to lightly coat the grates before placing the chicken on them.
Use the Two-Zone Grilling Method: Set up your grill with both direct and indirect heat zones. Start by searing the chicken breasts over direct heat for a couple of minutes on each side to create a flavorful crust. Then move them to the indirect heat side of the grill to finish cooking more gently. This helps to avoid excessive charring and allows the chicken to cook more evenly.
Cook to the Right Internal Temperature: Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken breasts. The chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Avoid overcooking, as this can lead to dry chicken. I’ll often remove chicken from the grill at 155°F as it will carryover cook the final 10 degrees as the chicken rests before slicing.
Let it Rest: Once the chicken breasts are done, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in moist and flavorful chicken.
Marinate for Flavor and Moisture: Marinating the chicken breasts prior to grilling can infuse them with flavor and help retain moisture. Use a marinade that includes acidic ingredients like citrus juice, vinegar, or yogurt, as these can help tenderize the meat and keep it moist.
How to Marinate Grilled Chicken. One of the most important things to do to make sure your chicken never dries out, for juicy, tender, and crave-able grilled chicken is marinate your chicken before grilling. Marinating your grilled chicken should not be skipped – it helps lock in tons of flavor and chicken’s natural juices so you’re not stuck with dry grilled chicken.
- Poke holes in the chicken with a fork or knife.
- This allows the marinade’s flavor to sink in to the chicken better.
- Keep marinating chicken in airtight container.
- Food safety is incredibly important when cooking chicken – keep your chicken refrigerated until use.
- Refrigerate marinating chicken for at least 2 hours.
- Chicken marinade will flavor your chicken after about 2 hours in the marinade – you can grill after just two hours and still have tons of flavor.
- Refrigerate marinating chicken for up to two days.
- Chicken can be left in an airtight container in the refrigerator while marinating for up to two days.
- For extra juicy chicken, grill in foil pouch with marinade.
- Making a foil pouch for your chicken breasts in a little extra marinade and sealing it up before throwing it on the grill will give you incredibly juicy and tender chicken.
- Don’t use leftover marinade.
- Food safety, yo.
- But really – don’t use the marinade your raw chicken has been in on other dishes to cut the risk of cross contamination and salmonella.
Does Grilled Chicken Freeze Well. Grilled chicken freezes really well with a couple of tips and tricks:
- Don’t cut up chicken before freezing.
- If you’re grilling whole chicken breasts, don’t cut them up when freezing to keep the surface area open to freezer burn less.
- Freeze chicken breasts individually to “set”.
- We want to prevent chicken from sticking together in the freezer – since chicken frozen solid together will thaw a lot less evenly.
- To freeze individually, place on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop chicken breasts onto parchment paper and freeze until “set” – about 3-6 hours in the freezer.
- When chicken has initially frozen, remove from baking sheet and add to ziploc or vacuum sealed bag and freeze up to one month.
- Remove any extra air from container or bag when freezing.
- To prevent freezer burn, be sure to remove as much extra air in the bag as you can.
Grilled chicken can be stored for up to four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The grilling time for chicken breasts can vary depending on their thickness and the heat of your grill. As a general guideline, boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are about 1 inch thick typically take around 6-8 minutes per side over medium-high heat (375-400°F or 190-200°C). However, it’s important to use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, as this is the most accurate way to determine if the chicken is done. The chicken breasts are safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
If it’s raining, snowing, or you just don’t want the hassle of an outdoor grill, we love making grilled chicken with a Ninja Indoor Grill. This appliance also doubles as an air fryer, so you get two appliances in one!
Brining can be a helpful step to add moisture and flavor to the chicken breasts. You can soak them in a brine solution (saltwater with optional seasonings) for 30 minutes to a few hours before grilling. Brining can help prevent the chicken from drying out during grilling, resulting in juicier and more flavorful meat.
To prevent the chicken breasts from sticking to the grill, make sure the grill grates are clean and preheat them well. Before placing the chicken on the grill, lightly oil the grates using tongs and a folded paper towel dipped in oil. This helps create a non-stick surface.
To achieve grill marks on chicken breasts, preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Place the chicken breasts diagonally on the grates and cook for a few minutes without moving them. Then, rotate the chicken breasts 90 degrees and continue cooking. This technique creates those visually appealing grill marks.
Yes, it’s important to let the grilled chicken breasts rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in moister and more flavorful chicken. Tent the chicken loosely with foil to keep it warm during the resting period.
It’s not recommended to grill frozen chicken breasts directly. It’s best to thaw them completely in the refrigerator before grilling. This ensures even cooking and reduces the risk of undercooking or unevenly cooked chicken.
What to Serve With Grilled Chicken Breasts
Grilled Vegetables: Consider grilling an assortment of vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, or asparagus. Grilled vegetables provide a tasty and nutritious accompaniment to the chicken.
Salad: A fresh and vibrant salad can be a refreshing complement to grilled chicken. Opt for a green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and your choice of dressing. Alternatively, a Greek salad with feta cheese, olives, and a tangy vinaigrette can be a great choice to match the flavors of grilled chicken.
Roasted Potatoes: Roasted potatoes are a classic and hearty side dish that pairs well with grilled chicken. Season them with herbs and spices, like rosemary or garlic, for added flavor.
Rice or Quinoa: Serve grilled chicken with a side of fluffy rice or quinoa. You can prepare them plain or add ingredients like herbs, vegetables, or nuts to elevate the flavors.
Pasta Salad: Create a refreshing pasta salad with cooked pasta, fresh vegetables, and a tangy dressing. It’s a versatile side dish that complements grilled chicken nicely.
Coleslaw: Creamy coleslaw provides a cool and crunchy contrast to the smoky flavors of grilled chicken. Consider a classic coleslaw with cabbage, carrots, and a creamy dressing.
Grilled Corn on the Cob: Take advantage of the grill by grilling corn on the cob. The charred and sweet flavors of grilled corn pair exceptionally well with grilled chicken.
Salsa or Chutney: Prepare a fresh salsa or chutney using ingredients like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, or mango. These vibrant condiments add a burst of flavor to grilled chicken.
Bread or Rolls: Serve grilled chicken alongside some crusty bread or rolls. They can be used to make sandwiches or served on the side for dipping in sauces.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits can be a light and refreshing side dish to balance the richness of grilled chicken.
Find our BBQ style sides here.
Perfect Grilled Chicken Breasts
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- 6 chicken breasts
- 12 oz Italian dressing
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Put chicken breasts in a large zip bag and cover with Italian dressing, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Gently squeeze the air out of the bag. Shake bag so all the chicken is covered with the dressing. You can also add chicken to a bowl and submerge in marinade.
- Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
- Pre-heat and clean grill- rubbing ½ an onion on the hot grill cleans and flavors the grates.
- Remove chicken from bag with marinade.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook chicken on medium-high heat until 165 internal temperature, about 15 minutes.
- Enjoy when hot, or refrigerate and use for a sack lunch.
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Char-Broil Classic 280 2-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill with Side Burner
Kamado Joe, Big Joe II Charcoal Grill
Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 Electric Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, Bronze
Tongs For Cooking - Heat Resistant 600 Degrees Stainless Steel Kitchen Tong ,Heavy Duty Metal Locking Tongs - Perfect for Food ,Salad and BBQ set of 3 (7",9" and 12" ) Dishwasher
Kikkoman Japan Made Soy Sauce, 33.8 Ounce
ThermoPro TP-17 Dual Probe Digital Cooking Meat Thermometer Large LCD Backlight Food Grill Thermometer with Timer Mode for Smoker Kitchen Oven BBQ, Silver
Weber Style Professional Grade Grill Pan
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 345Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 102mgSodium 580mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 0gSugar 5gProtein 38g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.