This versatile Greek Marinade is loaded with authentic Mediterranean flavors like garlic, lemon, oregano, and olive oil. The greek yogurt base keeps things extra moist and juicy on the grill. Use this for grilled chicken, grilled pork, grilled lamb, grilled fish, or grilled veggies!
A great marinade serves to both flavor and tenderize meat so that it's tantalizingly juicy when it comes off the grill. Be sure to also try our super popular Best Beef Kabob Marinade, which has dozens of comments leaving rave reviews!
You will love this Greek Chicken Marinade Recipe
I love Greece and Greek food. Paul and I visited that stunning country while backpacking around Europe together after taking the bar exam and we absolutely fell head-over-heels for the food, the history, and the culture.
Most people seem to visit Greece for their famous islands, which are definitely incredible and worth it, but we started in the far north of Greece in Thessaloniki and worked our way down through Athens before heading out to Santorini and Rhodes. Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage famous for its six functioning Eastern Orthodox monasteries perched precariously on towering cliffs which were featured in the James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only". It was one of our favorite spots in all of Greece!
This Greek marinade reminds us of many simple, casual meals we had of grilled meat with warm pita and tzatziki sauce while dining al fresco. One of these days we will make it back! But until then, we can enjoy reminiscing over the flavors of that country with this delicious marinade.
Greek Marinade ingredients
I love that I always have everything I need on hand to make this Greek marinade recipe since it uses dried herbs and that takes just minutes to throw together. Greek yogurt is a powerhouse when it comes to marinades. It makes the meat more flavorful and tender and helps it develop and lovely char on the outside when grilled.
Don't skip the little bit of honey. The touch of sweetness balances out the acidity of the vinegar and lemon juice.
- greek yogurt
- red wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- ground coriander
How to make Greek Chicken Marinade
This is a great recipe to throw together quickly in the morning or afternoon so that when it's dinner time all you have to do is grill the meat. Just grab all the ingredients and combine them in a large bowl or zip tight reusable silicon bag. Put the chicken or other meat in with the marinade and stir or squish for maximum surface coverage. Stick it in the fridge for at least 1 hour but up to 24.
I really love these Stasher reusable silicon bags (<--affiliate link) for marinating meat because they are so much sturdier and better for the environment than disposable ones. This isn't a sponsored post, I just really love this product and women-owned brand that a reader shared with me. I've been using them for marinating meat ever since (among many other uses) and I love that I can just stick them in the dishwasher to clean them afterwards.
How long should I marinate meat?
Knowing how long to marinate meat depends on the type of meat, as well as the marinade ingredients. Things like vinegar and lemon juice in marinades can adversely affect some meat like fish if left on too long. Meanwhile, other meats take longer for the flavors to penetrate.
With this Greek marinade, I recommend at least an hour, but more like 3 or 4 for things like chicken, pork, or lamb. Although they can go up to 24 hours in this marinade without compromising quality. With fish, I don't usually marinate it longer than 30-60 minutes.
How to serve meat made with Traditional Greek Marinade
This marinade makes fanastic kabobs if you cut up and skewer the meat after marinating. I love to do chunks of salmon or lamb that only need to marinate for about 30 minutes, then skewer them with thin slices of lemon in between each piece and serve it with rice pilaf and grilled veggies.
Or place larger, whole pieces of meat into the marinade for easy grilling. This Greek marinade works just as well with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs as bone-in pieces. I love how the outside gets slightly charred and develops a nice crust while the inside stays deliciously juicy. If you are doing grilled chicken like you see here, be sure to use an digital meat thermometer and grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
My favorite way to use this marinade is with chicken that I grill then chop into bite-size pieces and serve bowl style with hummus, arugula, tzatziki sauce, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and feta cheese with toasted pita bread that I brush with olive oil and toss on the grill for a minute on each side.
We did this approach recently when we did a homeschooling unit on ancient Greece with our third grader and kindergartner. It was a great way to explore another culture and history and the girls absolutely loved it!
Traditional Greek Marinade tips and tricks
- If you have someone with dairy allergies in your family, you can leave out the Greek yogurt and it still makes a fantastic marinade. We use this approach to marinate beef for souvlaki.
- You can throw the marinade together, add the meat and marinade to a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 2 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge then use the meat like you normally would.
- Real lemon juice makes a difference in this recipe. I highly prefer it over the bottled kind from the store.
- Throw a couple of extra lemon quarters on the grill and serve them with your grilled meat for a beautiful presentation and an extra burst of lemon flavor.
How to store Greek Grilled Chicken Marinade
If you are making a batch of this simple Greek marinade to have on hand for later, it will keep for about 1 week in the fridge. Store in an airtight container. I don’t recommend freezing the marinade as the yogurt tends to separate when thawed.
Grilled Greek Chicken Marinade FAQs
I think the secret to a good marinade is using fresh ingredients and salt. Using fresh minced garlic and fresh lemon juice and zest will have a much bigger impact in terms of flavor than garlic powder or even a jar of minced garlic. And a good marinade needs the right balance of salt, which actually helps the marinade penetrate the meat and flavor everything better.
Greek yogurt makes a fantastic marinade because it helps tenderize the meat, much like buttermilk does. It also results in flavorful, moist chicken. Technically it is optional and you can use this marinade with all of the other ingredients while leaving the Greek yogurt out and still have a wonderful marinade, but it’s worth trying at least once!
I don’t recommend marinating chicken in yogurt longer than 24 hours. Marinating chicken longer than that can result in an unpleasant texture.
More Greek-inspired recipes
- Baked Greek Feta Fries
- Baked Greek Feta Meatballs
- Greek Baklava
- Pantzaria me Skordalia (Roasted Beets with Garlic-Potato Spread)
- Easy Greek 7 Layer Dip
- Greek Green Beans
- Greek Lamb Burgers
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Greek Chicken Marinade
- 2 pounds meat or veggies
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 4-6 cloves garlic smashed
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl or jar. Whisk or shake, then pour over meat in a reusable silicon zip tight bag or a glass bowl. Marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and discard any remaining liquid. Grill until done then serve with grilled or toasted pita, hummus, tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta.