I cooked up this dish over the weekend, and it was a huge hit in my house. While I know that marinating chicken is certainly not a new concept, it is new to me because honestly I rarely do it. I never have time for a full marinade during the week (let’s be honest, I don’t remember to prep my dinner before work), and our weekends have been a nonstop blur of activity. I finally had a somewhat lazy Sunday and decided to give this recipe a whirl, and it turned out really well! My eyes (and tastebuds) have been reopened to the joys of the marinade, and I’m going to try to make some time in my meal prep to marinade more often.
The recipe for my marinade below is nice and strong, full of concentrated flavors meant to get into your chicken in a matter of a couple of hours, not a full day or overnight situation. It’s a really simple combination of my favorite flavors: lemon, garlic, cumin, and rosemary. These flavors all infuse nicely into the chicken, and after a quick cook on the grill or in the oven, remain prominent and delicious in the final dish. I also decided to butterfly my chicken breast, which increases the surface area and decreases the thickness, and therefore allows for maximum flavor penetration. I also feel that butterflied chicken breasts are so much easier to cook up (especially if you’re indoor grilling like me), so this added step pays off in dividends in terms of both flavor and even cooking.
I marinated my chicken breasts for about 2 hours, but anywhere between 1-4 hours would work great here. This recipe is perfect for grilling season, and would be great for meal prep. I served mine with some herby couscous and grilled veggies, and I wished I had leftovers to top salads the next day. Make a lot and cook it all up for meal prep purposes – the leftovers would be amazing toppers for salads or grain bowls throughout the week.
Recipe down below, photo up top! This recipe makes enough for 2 chicken breasts, so feel free to scale up if cooking for a crowd!
Lemon Herb Marinated Chicken Breast
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp fresh or ground rosemary
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Prep the marinade by squeezing the lemon juice and chopping or grating the garlic clove. If you have fresh rosemary, chop that into fine pieces. Add all of the ingredients for the marinade (lemon juice, olive oil, chopped garlic, cumin, rosemary, salt, and black pepper) into a large Ziploc bag. Seal the bag thoroughly and toss to combine the ingredients together. Set aside while you prepare the chicken.
- Place the chicken breasts on a clean cutting board. Using a knife, remove any tendons or additional fat from the chicken breasts, and discard. Butterfly the chicken breast by slicing horizontally through the chicken breast most of the way, leaving about 1 inch of the opposite side of the chicken breast uncut. Open the cut halves of the chicken breast to reveal one larger, thinner chicken breast.
- Place the butterflied chicken breasts into the Ziploc bag with the marinade. Seal the bag completely and toss to fully coat the chicken in the marinade.
- Place the bag of chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for about 2 hours (anywhere from 1-4 hours will be okay here, but 2 hours is ideal).
- When ready to cook, remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, and cook using your method of choice (grilling, pan-frying, or baking will all be good!). Ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165F at the thickest part before consuming to be sure that it is fully cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before enjoying.
- Serve with your favorite sides (veggies and cous cous would be great here, or as a topping for a delightful summer salad). Enjoy!