Balsamic Chicken {Easy Marinade!}

August 6, 2021

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Robustly flavored Balsamic Chicken! Chicken is soaked in a flavorful garlic and herb + balsamic vinegar marinade then grilled to browned perfection.

Balsamic chicken thighs shown on an oval white platter from overhead.

Made with an Easy Balsamic Chicken Marinade

I think the best way to make balsamic chicken is to soak it in a flavorful marinade, then finish it on the grill for a light char and caramelization.

The chicken ends with a nice tang, a very faint and mellow sweetness, and distinctive tantalizing flavor. When balsamic vinegar is involved you know it’s going to be good, right?

Here you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts. I’ve tried each and I think each one has their benefit.

Thighs of course are more tender and juicy, breasts seem to soak up a bit more of that marinade flavor. So use whichever you prefer.

Either way you’ll have a win with this one!

Serve with a side of my favorite parmesan roasted potatoes, or steamed or roasted broccoli. Another option is as I’ve done here (shown below) paired with roasted asparagus, tomatoes and a finish of feta.

Balsamic chicken breasts shown on a white plate over a blue cloth on a marble surface.

Balsamic Chicken Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. I like a cheaper tart balsamic here (save the well aged, expensive stuff for another use).
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp each minced fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Or can use 3/4 tsp dried.
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, optional

Photo: Ingredients needed to make balsamic chicken shown.

How to Make Balsamic Chicken

  1. Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag (preferably also place in a bowl to catch leaks), or place chicken directly in a bowl.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour marinade over chicken in bag. Seal bag while pressing out excess air.
  4. Rub marinade over chicken (I also like to twist and tie top of bag so marinade fully covers the chicken). Let marinade in fridge for 2 to 8 hours.
  5. Heat over medium-high heat to 400 degrees. Partway through heating don’t forget to clean and oil grill grates (with a little vegetable oil or olive oil using tongs and a balled up paper towel).
  6. Remove chicken from marinade while shaking excess marinade off back into bag. Transfer to grill and cook covered about 6 to 8 minutes per side (breasts can be done in as little as 4 per side depending on the size).
  7. Check internal temperature of chicken to 165 degrees for doneness.
  8. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serve warm.

Collage of four photos showing steps of making balsamic marinade, soaking with chicken in bag, then grilling.

Variations

Baked Balsamic Chicken

If you don’t want to grill, try cooking in the oven. To do so:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove chicken from marinade.
  • Place in a greased baking dish.
  • Bake until internal temperature registers 165 degrees in thickest portion, about 20 – 28 minutes.

Honey Balsamic Chicken

If you want the chicken sweeter:

  • Add 1-2 Tbsp honey to the marinade.
  • Just cook on the grill over a medium to medium-low heat as the honey tends to burn easily (then of course increase grill time).

Dijon Balsamic Chicken

Love that vibrant dijon flavor? Try this spin:

  • Boost the dijon mustard up to 3 Tbsp.
  • Reduce the balsamic vinegar to 3 Tbsp.

Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to allow at least 2 hours for chicken to marinade for more flavor absorption.
  • Don’t marinate too long or the exterior texture of the chicken will be altered (can be mushy, tough, or chalky).
  • Remember to grease the grill grates before. Otherwise the natural sugars in the vinegar tend to stick to the grill.
  • If exterior of chicken seems dry as it grills or bakes you can baste lightly with a little olive oil.
  • Cook chicken just to 165 in center so it’s not dry. Thighs you don’t need to be as careful but chicken breasts especially because they dry out easily.

Photo: Two servings of balsamic chicken shown on serving plates with a serving suggestion of roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

More Tasty Balsamic Recipes to Try

Balsamic chicken breasts shown on a white plate over a blue cloth on a marble surface.
5 from 6 votes

Balsamic Chicken {Easy Marinade}

Robustly flavored Balsamic Chicken! Chicken is soaked in a flavorful garlic and herb + balsamic vinegar marinade then grilled to browned perfection.
Servings: 5
Prep15 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Marinade2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary (or 3/4 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, optional

Instructions

  • Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag (or you can use a bowl).
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  • Pour marinade over chicken in bag (or bowl). Seal bag while pressing out excess air.
  • Rub marinade over chicken (I also like to twist and tie top of bag so marinade fully covers the chicken).
  • Let marinade in fridge for 2 to 8 hours for breasts and 2 to 24 hours for thighs.
  • Heat over medium-high heat to 400 degrees. Partway through heating don't forget to clean and oil grill grates (with a little vegetable oil or olive oil using tongs and a balled up paper towel).
  • Remove chicken from marinade while shaking excess marinade off back into bag. Transfer to grill and cook covered about 5 to 8 minutes per side.
  • Cook time varies based on thickness, check internal temperature of chicken in thickest portion to 165 degrees for doneness.
  • Garnish with parsley if desired. Serve warm.
Nutrition Facts
Balsamic Chicken {Easy Marinade}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 172mg57%
Sodium 380mg17%
Potassium 498mg14%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 445IU9%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.