Do you avoid eating chicken because it’s so bland? If yes, I have really good news for you. You can remedy your bland chicken by marinating it.
Marinating chicken can make a huge difference for your tastebuds and the texture and juiciness of the meat. It means you won’t get tired of eating bland, boring chicken anymore. Therefore, here is the best chicken marinade.
The best chicken marinade is Iberia Mojo Criollo Spanish Marinade; it is a potent but delicious marinade that can be used in a variety of dishes. As for the grilled chicken, you should try Lawry’s Mesquite with Lime Juice Marinade and Stubb’s Citrus & Onion Chicken Marinade. They give a naturally smoky, barbecue flavor.
Marinating chicken is a very simple process, especially if you already have the marinating mix. The key to a successful marinated chicken is the duration of how long and how to cook the chicken. To know such details, continue reading below.
Top 11 Best Store-Bought Chicken Marinades
I will give a quick review of each of the best marinades in the market that you can get your hands on shortly. But before that, let’s quickly compare them with one another as some sort of sneak peek at what’s to come.
Every single one of them is superb for something — grilling, stir-frying, barbecuing, etc. And if you are a figure-conscious person, you will be happy to know that I have included the number of calories per tablespoon (16 g) in each product.
Watching your sodium intake to keep your heart out of harm’s way? I have also indicated the amount of sodium per tablespoon!
|When to Use
|Calories per Tbsp
|Sodium per Tbsp
|Iberia Mojo Criollo Spanish Marinade
|Best for mojo chicken
|Salamida State Fair Marinade
|Best for grilling
|Chiavetta’s Barbecue Marinade
|Best for barbecue
|Noble Made Citrus Herb
|Best for dipping sauce
|Mrs. Dash Sweet Teriyaki Marinade
|Best for air fryer
|Lea & Perrins Roasted Garlic Balsamic
|Best for roasting
|All-Purpose Bourbon Chicken Marinade
|Best for smoked chicken
|Lawry’s Mesquite with Lime Juice
|Best for stir-fry
|Stubb’s Citrus & Onion Chicken Marinade
|Best for chicken kabobs
|Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
|Best for Asian chicken
|Sweet Baby Ray’s Garlic Parmesan Sauce
|Best for chicken pasta
And now, after quickly getting to know some of the top chicken marinades that you can grab, it’s time for me to talk about each of them in a more in-depth manner, thus making it possible for you to make an informed choice.
Iberia Mojo Criollo Spanish Marinade
The name of this chicken marinade says it all: it’s infused with all sorts of flavors commonly found in many of those mouth-watering Spanish dishes, including garlic, onions and citrus.
It’s exactly because of this why having a bottle of it around if you like cooking mojo chicken is a great idea.
One of the nicest things about Iberia Mojo Criollo Spanish Marinade is that its citrus component comes from actual orange juice, which means that the most sensitive of tongues won’t pick up a chemical-tasting zest.
What’s more, other than for marinating chicken and other proteins, the product is also great for making sauces.
Salamida State Fair Marinade
Available in a pack of 3 16-oz bottles, Salamida State Fair Marinade boasts of a rich flavor without eclipsing flavors coming from other ingredients.
The result when marinating with the product?
Tasty chicken dishes!
Chicken Barbecue Sauce and Spiedie Marinade Sauce — these are the other 2 bottles. The star is Lemon Garlicious Marinade.
It goes without saying that it’s bursting with garlic flavor. And since actual garlic is used, every squirt or dollop is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which makes the product not only good tasting but also good for the health.
Besides chicken, the product is also great for marinating beef, pork and numerous poultry types.
And because of its garlicky taste, Lemon Garlicious Marinade is perfect for coming up with marinades and sauces for fish and a host of other seafood. Definitely, where there’s a grill, there should be a bottle of it.
Buffalo’s Own Chiavetta’s Barbecue Marinade
When we were quickly comparing various brands of chicken marinade earlier, you might have noticed that Chiavetta’s Barbecue Marinade has the highest sodium content: 460 mg per 1 tablespoon.
It’s exactly due to this why it makes for the best marinade for chicken barbecue — as a general rule of thumb, the more sodium the marinade has, the moister the meat stays.
That’s because sodium causes the muscle fibers of chicken to absorb water.
As a result, chicken tends to be juicier the longer it’s steeped in a high-sodium marinade.
Going back to the product itself, other than sodium, it also contains lots of cider vinegar, which not only boosts the flavor of protein but also tenderizes its meat, thus saving anyone from having to put up with stringy barbecued chicken.
But knowing it has high cider vinegar content, it’s definitely a no-no to marinate your chicken in this product for more than 24 hours.
Otherwise, it’s very much likely for you to wind up with mushy chicken meat, which can worsen by certain cooking methods, including most especially barbecuing and grilling.
Noble Made Citrus Herb
If there’s one word that best describes the flavor of this marinade, it’s none other than “complex”.
Such is primarily because it contains pineapple, lemon, ginger, thyme and oregano, each one lending its unique and standout qualities to chicken meat.
And it’s precisely due to this why other than a marinade the product is also a superb dipping sauce — you can use it as an ingredient for your favorite dipping sauce or use it as a dipping sauce straight from the bottle.
Steering clear of anything with gluten because of gluten sensitivity or just want to enjoy the many health perks that come with opting for a gluten-free diet? Then you will love Noble Made Citrus Herb as it has no gluten.
It contains organic coconut aminos, which is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.
Yes, you read that right — despite what it’s called, most soy sauce varieties in the market contain gluten, and it’s because they are made not only with soybeans but wheat, too, which is notorious for being gluten-rich.
Dash Salt-Free Marinade
Told by your doctor to limit your intake of sodium in order to keep your ticker out of harm’s way?
Then consider grabbing a bottle of Mrs. Dash Sweet Teriyaki Marinade the next time you are shopping at your local supermarket or online.
That’s because it contains absolutely no sodium — it won’t cause your blood pressure to spike.
Of course, since it’s sodium-free, the product can also save you from feeling the discomfort bloating brings.
But fret not because the lack of sodium doesn’t make the product a bad marinade. To make up for it, the manufacturer has infused its offering with an assortment of flavors with the help of various herbs and spices.
Dried garlic, ground ginger, ground sesame seeds, onion powder — these are just some of the flavors that will permeate the meat of any chicken marinated in it.
And it’s for this very reason why I have dubbed it the best chicken marinade for air fryer use — various chicken dishes cooked in the air fryer will turn out moist and tasty.
Keep in mind, though, that the product is on the thick side of things, which means that you may have to dilute it with some vinegar or olive oil or whatever staple marinating ingredient you like to make sure that it’s going to penetrate the meat of chicken.
As is, however, it’s an excellent teriyaki-tasting dipping sauce.
Lea & Perrins Roasted Garlic Balsamic Marinade
Depending on the circumstances, marinating chicken can be a fussy task. There are things such as thawing the chicken, making the marinade, leaving the protein soaking in the marinade for hours, discarding the marinade, etc.
But there’s one marinating product that makes everything easy and convenient.
Other chicken marinades are sold in bottles.
But Lea & Perrins Roasted Garlic Balsamic comes in a bag, which is a good thing as it doubles as a container for the chicken as it marinates.
All you have to do is open the bag, neatly place the poultry inside it, reseal the bag, stash the bag in the refrigerator and wait for the marinating time to be through.
However, it’s not just the marinating part that the product makes hassle-free. Once the chicken is tender and infused with flavor and ready to cook, all you have to do is take the chicken out of the bag and discard the bag together with the marinade.
Except of course if you are planning on using the leftover marinade for making sauce.
But before you do so, it’s important to keep in mind that you can only reuse marinade for making sauces if you boil it for at least 5 minutes in order to kill any present bacteria, says the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
All-Purpose Bourbon Chicken Marinade
Especially when family and friends are on their way, time is of the essence.
It’s a good thing that there’s something like All-Purpose Bourbon Chicken Marinade in the market, which is extra strong so that marinating that chicken can be done in a snap.
As a matter of fact, that chicken is ready to be cooked and served and wow everyone even after just 30 minutes of marinating using the product.
Marinating can be done longer, too, if you want the resulting dish to be bursting with more flavor.
And speaking of which, All-Purpose Bourbon Chicken Marinade imparts a hickory smoke taste and aroma to chicken and any other protein you can think of. Its flavor profile, which is a food court staple, appeals to kids and adults alike.
Because of what the product has to bring to the table, I consider it best for smoked chicken — you can reach for a bottle of it instead of that clunky smoke infuser gun that can be troublesome to use, especially for those who have never tried using it before. On the other hand, all you have to do is uncap the product’s bottle.
Lawry’s Mesquite with Lime Juice Marinade
As the name suggests, the claim to fame of Lawry’s Mesquite with Lime Juice is that it has the intense and earthy flavor of mesquite wood, which is one of the most abundant woods in the state of Texas.
Needless to say, it can help make an assortment of Texas-style and Tex-Mex dishes even more unforgettable.
Other than its trademark mesquite smoke flavor, the product also features a dash of lime juice, chili pepper, paprika and oregano.
As a result of this, just about anything that’s marinated in it winds up exhibiting a more complex flavor, especially if the marinade is also employed as an ingredient for making the glaze, sauce, dipping sauce and whatnot.
It’s something that you may grab if you lack the time to resort to more complicated cooking methods. For instance, it can help turn a stir-fried protein from lackluster into a certified blockbuster!
Stubb’s Citrus & Onion Chicken Marinade
Because the product was born in 1968 in Texas, there’s no denying that it makes for the perfect marinating addition to just about Texan dishes you can find online and offline.
Making it possess the most authentic flavor possible is the fact that it packs a flavorful blend of garlic, onions, citrus, sugar and some other seasonings, the vast majority of which you can find in some of the best barbecue rubbing and basting mixtures.
You can use it not only for barbecuing and grilling but also for roasting, stir-frying or slow cooking.
So, in other words, it’s a highly versatile marinating ingredient.
Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce
What’s really nice about Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce is that it’s a no-frills product, which is good especially if you have tons of dishes to prepare or you simply don’t have the time to concoct a marinade out of many different ingredients.
As a matter of fact, you can use it as a marinade straight from the bottle.
But you can give its nice flavor profile a more complex appeal by adding your favorite herbs and spices. According to the product manufacturer, some of those that can make it pop include fresh ginger root, garlic and green onions.
However, it’s only your imagination that can limit you as there are many other staple marinade-making ingredients that you can add.
In some instances, adding a little brown sugar is enough to make an assortment of chicken dishes, including especially Chinese and various Asian ones (which is exactly why I deem it best for Asian chicken), unforgettable.
Sweet Baby Ray’s Garlic Parmesan Sauce & Marinade
Over the past 3 decades, there have been more than 20 flavors from the Sweet Baby Ray’s line.
And if marinating chicken strips for a bunch of pasta dishes is the task at hand, none of the offerings of the brand can be more suited for the job than its Garlic Parmesan Sauce & Marinade.
Needless to say, it can give any chicken pasta you wish to make from scratch possess a garlicky flavor as well as the kind of tangy, nutty and fruity taste of parmesan cheese.
However, you’re not limited to adding it to the marinade — you can also count on the product to make the pasta sauce itself richer and more flavorful, thus keeping it as far away as possible from being bland and boring.
Some of the people who have purchased Sweet Baby Ray’s Garlic Parmesan Sauce & Marinade have done some experimenting, and many agree that the product is also great for cooking chicken wings and breasts.
Marinating Chicken FAQs
Before we wrap things up, let’s answer some burning questions that have something to do with marinating and cooking marinated chicken so that you can avoid getting nasty comments about your cooking or having to send someone to the ER.
How Long To Marinate Chicken?
The ideal amount of time to marinate chicken is around 4 to 6 hours, though it can vary depending on the size and cut of your chicken. Since chicken is a naturally tender protein, it’s not necessary to marinate for long periods to break down tough muscle fibers.
Well, this would be the case for tougher meats, like beef. That being said, marinating the chicken for even a minimum of 30 minutes can absorb a lot of added flavor to the meat and will easily penetrate the protein for enhanced juiciness and flavor.
Usually, you can marinate the chicken the night before you plan to cook it. It works well to grab and use the next day, instead of waiting an additional 30-60 minutes while preparing your meal.
If you can’t get to cooking your marinated chicken within two days, you can also freeze the chicken in the marinade to be used later.
That’s a benefit of using the freezer-safe bags when marinating because you can just toss them right into the freezer for later. When it’s time to cook, thaw the meat and cook.
How Long To Cook Chicken Breast?
The serving size of chicken is about 3 ounces, which is roughly the same size as the palm of your hand. Generally speaking, one chicken breast can produce about two servings; however, the size of chicken breasts can vary.
The cooking time also varies slightly with the size of the chicken breast, but there are some basic pointers you can follow.
The major point when cooking chicken is that it must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, making it safe to eat. We want it at exactly 165, no lower, and, preferably, no higher than that temperature so that it’s not dry and chewy.
Make sure to cook the chicken until the juices are clear. You will know this when you cut into the thickest part of the breast. Here is the estimated cooking time of chicken breast in a different setting:
- On the Stovetop (Pan-Fried): Approximately 4-6 minutes per side when sautéing at medium-high.
- In the Oven (Baked): Approximately 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 18-20 at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On the Grill: Approximately 4-6 minutes per side over direct heat, 10 to 12 minutes per side over indirect heat.
Can You Marinate Chicken for Too Long?
Marinating chicken longer than necessary should be avoided at all costs. That’s because the acidic components of the marinade can cause the muscle fibers to break down excessively, thus causing the chicken meat to become mushy and chewy.
Chicken that has been marinating for 2 days or more will no longer have a pleasing texture when cooked.
How To Freeze Marinated Chicken?
Generally, you want to cook your chicken within 2 days of marinating, preferably within 24 hours. But, if you aren’t able to cook it within that time frame, you can freeze your marinated chicken. The easiest way to freeze the chicken is to have it marinated in a freezer-safe sealable bag or container.
If you have less than one pound of chicken, you can use quart size Ziploc bags, or if more than 1 pound, you may use gallon size Ziploc bags. In that way, you can just toss it in the freezer if you will not cook it within the day.
In fact, you can even freeze marinated chicken immediately upon making the marinade. Then, allow it to thaw in the fridge for a day and it will marinate as it thaws.
If your chicken is already frozen and you plan to keep it frozen, don’t defrost it. Instead, add the marinade to the frozen chicken and it will marinate as you thaw it when you are about to use it.
Can You Marinate Chicken Overnight?
Some chicken recipes recommend marinating the chicken for up to 24 hours. So, in other words, if the recipe calls for it, then it’s perfectly fine to marinate chicken overnight, which also allows for saving time when it’s time to use the chicken.
As a general rule of thumb, the more acidic the chicken marinade, the shorter time the chicken should be marinated.
Can You Marinate Chicken at Room Temperature?
One should never marinate chicken outside of the refrigerator or freezer if the protein is not going to be used anytime soon. That’s because it can allow dangerous bacteria to grow and multiply, which can cause food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses. Health authorities say that raw chicken should not be allowed to sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
How Do You Marinate Frozen Chicken?
There are a couple of ways to marinate frozen chicken. First, frozen chicken can be thawed in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then marinated as usual. Second, the marinade can be added to the frozen chicken — no thawing necessary beforehand. As the frozen chicken is being slowly thawed in the fridge, it will marinate just in time before use.