This is my favorite marinade of all time; amazing on chicken, perfect for pork, and terrific with fish and seafood. The bright lemony, garlicky flavor just lifts up anything you put in it. Even 30 minutes in this marinade will turn any protein into something delicious and flavorful. Plus, you probably have all of the ingredients in your house at this very moment (if you don’t, consider adding all of the ingredients to your regular shopping list!).
If you want one boilerplate marinade for the summer, this is it. With this 5-ingredient marinade (including this olive oil!), you’ll be turning basic chicken breasts (or whatever you’re cooking!) into a meal you’d be happy to serve your family and just about anyone who might stop by on a warm summer night.
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Lemon Garlic Marinade: The best marinade for summer grilling, with only 5 ingredients. Perfect for chicken (also pork, shrimp, and fish).Tweet This
Best Marinade for Grilled Chicken
This is a vibrant mixture of lemon, garlic, shallots, and of course, Dijon mustard. Truly when you start any marinade with garlic and lemons, it’s hard to go wrong. The mustard helps emulsify the marinade, making it thicker so it really clings to the food. It will last for several days in the fridge, and if you are visiting a friend, a pretty jar of this makes a wonderful gift (especially if you then use it to make dinner).
How to Make Lemon Garlic Marinade
- Combine the flavoring ingredients: Put the shallots, garlic, lemon zest, mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl or a jar with a lid.
- Add the liquids: Add the lemon juice and the olive oil, and whisk or shake to combine well.
- Season and serve: Adjust seasonings as needed and use as desired.
Marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts (or pork chops) for 4 to 8 hours, and marinate bone-in chicken for up to 12 hours.
If you are using the marinade for shrimp or fish, marinate those for 30 minutes to 1 hour, and fish for 30 minutes max (more on marinating times here).
Yes, for sure! Garlic quickly adds a lot of flavor to marinades of all kinds and goes really well with lemon and mustard, used in this marinade recipe.
The acidity in lemon juice helps tenderize the meat or other protein. It also adds a bright citrusy flavor to the food.
Over time the acids in the lemon juice can start to “cook” the chicken before it even hits the grill or the heat source, turning it white and affecting its texture. If a protein spend too long marinating in lemon juice, the texture can start to break down and become mushy. Combine your lemon juice with olive oil to dilute the acidity, and stick to the marinating guidelines in the recipe.
Tips and Variations
- This is also a great salad dressing, especially if you substitute half the lemon juice with rice vinegar. If you do use it as a salad dressing, you’ll want to dilute it with another few glugs of olive oil, and it’s pretty potent.
- The marinade takes well to all kinds of add-ins, like fresh basil, or green onions or scallions subbed in for all or part of the shallots.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This marinade will last for 5 days in the fridge, at least. If you want to use it for more than one meal, make sure to only use what you need to marinate your food. Don’t ever reuse marinades that have touched raw meat or seafood; once it’s been used for marinating raw proteins, it needs to be tossed.
More Marinade Recipes
- Ginger, Lime, and Mint Marinade
- Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade
- Spicy Sesame Asian Marinade
- Jamaican Jerk-Style Marinade
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Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade
- Put the shallots, garlic, lemon zest, mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl or a jar with a lid.
- Add the lemon juice and the olive oil, and whisk or shake to combine well. Adjust seasonings as needed and use as desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.