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Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade

Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade is an easy to way to add flavor to chicken without a ton of work. Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, and a few seasonings is all you need!

If you live in a household that eats a lot of chicken, you know it can get boring pretty quickly unless you change things up.

You can add side dishes like coconut rice, brussel sprouts, or roasted potatoes all day long. If you don’t change the flavor or preparation, chicken can get downright old real quick.

For as long as I can remember, John has been making homemade marinade for chicken. He really likes to marinate chicken in Italian dressing or a homemade balsamic marinade.

Those are crazy easy options that he’s been using for years. In fact, he has a few chicken marinade recipes.

Two blue plates with two pieces of grilled chicken and parsley.

What does marinating chicken in yogurt do?

Chicken marinade with Greek yogurt is another one of John’s favorites. It’s great if you want a simple grilled chicken breast recipe to add to a Greek Pasta Salad.

The yogurt works a little differently than marinades high in vinegar or citrus juices. Over time the lactic acid and calcium break down the fibers in the chicken and make is soft. It’s extremely easy to shred and pull apart.

Not to mention, when the chicken is seared or grilled, the yogurt marinade makes a beautiful caramelized crust. The thing to remember is to remove the excess from marinade before cooking the chicken.

Otherwise, it will be thick, gloppy, and will burn before the chicken cooks. Also, feel free to use this marinade on grilled or baked boneless skinless chicken breast.

Collage of 4 photos showing how to make Greek yogurt marinade for chicken.

How do you marinade with yogurt?

We like to use plain Greek yogurt. Although, any plain yogurt will work. The key is to purchase plain and not flavored.

When I make the marinade, I mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, place the chicken in a large, plastic zip bag, and pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken.

Zip the bag shut, and massage the chicken gently to make sure it’s evenly covered. Drop the bag with the chicken and marinade into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Some websites may say to marinate the chicken up to 12 hours, but we’ve never waited that long. However, I don’t think it would hurt to leave it overnight.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove the bag from the fridge and let the excess yogurt drip from the chicken before placing it on the grill or griddle. Discard the bag of leftover marinade.

Two pieces of grilled chicken on a blue plate.

Tips for a Successful Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade Recipe:

  • Use a plain yogurt that you and your family like. There’s no sense in buying a yogurt that you don’t like, because it’s going to add that flavor to the chicken. Again, make sure it’s plain and not vanilla, lemon, or blueberry (you get the point!).
  • Make sure the grill, griddle, or pan is nice and hot before adding the chicken. A hot grill or griddle will help give the chicken those nice grill marks. We use this stove top grill pan and griddle and both are great for this recipe!
  • A chicken breast with Greek yogurt marinade should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F according to the USDA Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart. An instant read meat thermometer is a great way to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Grilled chicken with lemon slices and parsley.

What goes with grilled chicken?

You might like one of these side dish ideas to serve with the yogurt marinaded chicken.

Don’t forget to check out our Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade web story!

Two pieces of grilled chicken on a blue plate.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade is an easy to way to add flavor to chicken without a ton of work. Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, and a few seasonings is all you need!


  • 1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 ½ Cups Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1 Teaspoon Oregano
  • ½ Teaspoon Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. Trim away any excess fat from the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken into a gallon-size plastic zip bag or an airtight container. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring all the chicken is evenly covered. Zip the bag shut or seal the container. Transfer the chicken to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight (12 hours).
  3. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the grill or griddle (over medium heat) just before removing the chicken from the refrigerator. Lightly brush the grill or griddle with a light coating of cooking oil (canola, vegetable, or avocado oil works great).
  4. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the container and allow any excess marinade to drip off. Place the chicken onto the hot pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on each side. The chicken is done when the thickest part reaches 165°F on an instant read meat thermometer and the juices run clear.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan to a waiting plate and cover loosely with foil. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


The calories listed are an approximation based on a four ounce grilled chicken breast. However, due to some of the marinade not being used, the actual calories will vary. Please use an online calculator of your choice to determine the exact amounts based on the amount of marinade consumed.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 Ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 193mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 44g

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