Everyone always RAVES about this delicious (and super EASY) chicken marinade. Just a few simple ingredients and you’ve got the perfect marinade for summer grilling or even cooking in the oven during cooler months.

Serve marinated chicken with a Fresh Corn Salad, Cowboy Caviar, Tuna Pasta Salad, or any BBQ side dishes.

Two grilled and marinated chicken breasts, sliced, on a white plate.

If I were one of those recipe snobs who kept their favorite recipes under lock and key, then this recipe would definitely be declared TOP SECRET. But the fact that it’s such a special family recipe makes me want to share it here even more! I can say with total confidence that it’s my favorite chicken marinade recipe of all time!

Chicken Marinade Ingredients:

  • Soy sauce: a great flavor enhancer in marinade recipes. I use it in my steak marinade as well.
  • Oil: Use canola or vegetable oil, which also help flavor the meat.
  • Sprite: Adds sweetness and helps to tenderize the meat. 7-up would also work well.
  • Garlic powder
  • Horseradish: It may sound like an interesting ingredient, but I promise it wont make the chicken “spicy” at all–it just adds depth of flavor that blends perfectly with the soy sauce and the tang of the sprite.

Labeled ingredients for chicken marinade: sprite, soy sauce, oil, garlic powder, horseradish.

 

How to Make Chicken Marinade:

1. Choose type of chicken:

  • Chicken Breasts- If cooking on the grill or stove, slice chicken breasts in half before marinating to ensure they cook more evenly.
  • Chicken tenders- I love how fast they cook on the grill.  I will often thread the raw, marinated chicken tenders onto skewers (like these) and cook them on the grill that way.
  • Chicken Thighs: Leave the skin on for grilling because it helps protect the chicken and keep it moist.  If you don’t like eating the skin, peel it off after the chicken cooks.

2. Marinate: whisk together marinade ingredients in a bowl of plastic bag.  Marinate chicken for a minimum  of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours for chicken tenders or 6 hours for breasts and thighs.

Chicken marinating in a gallon ziplock bag.

3. Choose your cooking method: 

  • On the Grill: First, oil your grill by soaking paper towels in canola oil and spreading oil on your grill grates.  Place chicken on medium hot grill (not hotter than 450 degrees F to avoid drying out the chicken) and cook until chicken reaches 165°F.
    • Cook chicken tenders for 4-5 minutes per side
    • Cook chicken breasts for 7-8 minutes per side
    • Cook chicken thighs for 6-7 minutes per side
  • On the stove: Grease your skillet or grill pan and heat it to medium high heat.  Let excess marinade drip off chicken before placing in pan. Cook until chicken reaches 165°F or:
    • Cook chicken tenders for 3-4 minutes per side
    • Cook chicken breasts for 9-10 minutes per side
    • Cook chicken thighs for 4-5 minutes per side
  • Baked in the Oven: Place chicken in a shallow baking pan and bake at 400°F or until chicken reaches 165°F.
      • Cook chicken tenders for 15-20 minutes
      • Cook chicken breasts for 25-35 minutes
      • Cook chicken thighs for 50 minutes

Close-up photo of a marinated, grilled chicken breast.

4. Serve:

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: Marinate chicken 3-6 hours ahead of time depending on the type of chicken you choose.  Place marinating chicken in the refrigerator and remove 20 minutes prior to cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.

To freeze:  Place all marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake the bag to ensure they are well mixed.  Next add the raw chicken to the bag and place the bag laying flat in the freezer (it will be easier to store this way).  Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

Looking for more Grill Recipes? Check out my:

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST for more great recipes!

Recipe

Prep 5 mins
Cook 7 mins
Total 12 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs

For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 12 ounces sprite (not diet)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish , plain or horseradish sauce

Instructions
 

  • Make the marinade: Add soy sauce, oil, sprite, garlic powder and horseradish to a large ziplock bag. Add chicken and  marinate for 1-3 hours.
  • Grill the Chicken: Heat grill to medium. Spray with cooking spray or rub the grill grates lightly with oil. Lay chicken on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, flipping only once, until cooked through. (I don't typically use a thermometer, but if you do, the chicken should be 165 degrees F at its thickest part).
  • Move to a plate to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

*For grilled chicken breasts: Cook about 7-8 minutes per side.
*For grilled chicken thighs: Cook about 6-7 minutes per side.
To cook on the stove: Grease your skillet or grill pan and heat it to medium high heat.  Let excess marinade drip off chicken before placing in pan. Cook until chicken reaches 165°F or:
    • Cook chicken tenders for 3-4 minutes per side
    • Cook chicken breasts for 9-10 minutes per side
    • Cook chicken thighs for 4-5 minutes per side
To cook in the oven: Place chicken in a shallow baking pan and bake at 400°F or until chicken reaches 165°F.
      • Cook chicken tenders for 15-20 minutes
      • Cook chicken breasts for 25-35 minutes
      • Cook chicken thighs for 50 minutes
Make ahead instructions: Marinate chicken 3-6 hours ahead of time depending on the type of chicken you choose.  Place marinating chicken in the refrigerator and remove 20 minutes prior to cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
Freezing Instructions: Make marinade and add to a freezer safe resealable bag. Add chicken and place the bag laying flat in the freezer (it will be easier to store this way).  Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

Nutrition

Calories: 140kcalProtein: 13gFat: 9gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 503mgPotassium: 242mgVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 0.8mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.4mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram with #TastesBetterFromScratch!

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

I originally shared this recipe June 2017. Updated May 2020 with process photos and additional tips for cooking different types of chicken on the grill or in the oven. 

Related Posts

Share Recipe

Categories

About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 1 star
    I really wanted this chicken to be good. I hate leaving bad reviews. The marinade was made exactly according to the recipe. The chicken turned out bland and flavorless. I’m bummed

  2. This sounds delicious! I am curious as to why you can not use diet soda? (I can not have sugar, so I was hoping to try it with diet) However I guess I can make for everyone else 😊. I’m a sucker for a great marinade!!

    1. You can if you want, but the sugar adds flavor that you wont get from aspartame, and it makes a huge difference when it caramelizes as it hits the hot grill, when grilling the meat.

See More Comments