How to make your own chicken marinades

Grilled Chicken Marinades

by Brenda Hyde

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I'm the queen of grilled chicken - boneless, bone-in, skin on or skin off. Mainly this started because of our budget a few years back while my husband was attending nursing school. I'd buy those large bags of chicken quarters, trim the fat, and we'd have 2-3 meals, depending what I did with it. Below are some great marinades, which I use mostly with boneless chicken that I buy on sale. With bone-in pieces, I usually boil them for a half hour or so in seasoned water (handful of herbs, salt and pepper), then remove and baste while I grill. Here's one warning. Never use the marinade to baste unless you have boiled it first, as this will kill any bacteria from the raw chicken that may be present. Better to be safe than sorry!

Dinners are so easy when you start with grilled chicken. You can serve with a salad, potato and fresh fruit for dessert.

Sesame Seed Marinade

1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoon light or regular soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic; chopped
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
4 boneless or bone-in chicken breast halves

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a shallow dish. Mix well. Add chicken, turning to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours. Remove chicken from marinade. Place the marinade in a small saucepan and heat to a boil, then cool. Place the chicken on the grill over medium-hot coals until chicken is done, and juices run clear. Turn and baste frequently with reserved marinade. The bone-in breasts will take longer. Serves four.

Readers' recipes for homemade chicken marinades

Mint Marinade for Chicken

4 sprigs fresh mint
4 Tbsp. light soy sauce
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. Garlic salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients. Use to marinate chicken for 1-2 hours or longer if you prefer. Follow the above instructions. Can be used on vegetables as well.

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Grilled Honey Tarragon Chicken

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
dash salt
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat grill. In small bowl, combine parsley, tarragon, a dash of salt, honey and lemon juice; blend well. Enough for 4 servings of chicken.

Easy Italian Marinade

3-4 lbs. boneless chicken pieces
1 bottle (16 oz.) Italian salad dressing
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. paprika

Marinate chicken for 6 hours or overnight and grill.

Lemon-Garlic Grilled Chicken

2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

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Combine ingredients and pour over chicken. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, turning once. Enough for four chicken breasts.

Brenda is a wife, mom to three children and a freelance writer. For more family recipes, visit her at

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