Triple Citrus Chicken Marinade

July 12, 2019

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A bright and flavorful chicken marinade made with a trio of fresh citrus! Because why just use one when you can use three? It includes orange, lemon and lime which is perfect for creating a vibrant grilled chicken marinade!

Marinated chicken on a serving plate with a side of asparagus, yellow squash, sweet potatoes and citrus slices.

Chicken Marinade Recipe with Triple Citrus

Every summer it’s all about those chicken marinades right? Because who likes bland and boring chicken without some extra flavor?

This marinade is incredibly easy to make! Don’t be intimated by that list of ingredients, you can see in the ingredients photo below it’s actually not much and you probably have a lot of what you’ll need already.

Thanks to using all that fresh citrus, both juice and zest, you get a deliciously summery marinade you’ll want to make time and time again.

You’ll love that it’s not overwhelming like some of those vinegar based chicken marinades can be. The splash of citrus is a nice welcome touch that always enhances the flavors of chicken.

Another fun way to use this marinade is to make grilled chicken skewers, instead of using whole chicken pieces cut into 1-inch cubes, marinate then thread onto skewers and grill.

Just be sure to plan ahead with this recipe because you’ll want to let the chicken soak for at least one hour to absorb that flavor.

Row of marinated grilled chicken on a white serving plate.

What Ingredients go into Triple Citrus Chicken Marinade?

  • Oranges, lemon and limes – this is the perfect trio of flavor. Sweet orange and tart and tangy lemon and lime.
  • Olive oil – this helps keep the exterior of the chicken from drying out.
  • Shallot and garlic – these add fresh background flavor.
  • Rosemary – I like to use fresh here but dried will work too if that’s what you have.
  • Dijon mustard – this adds one more light hint of flavor, it also helps emulsify the marinade.
  • Honey – I like to use just a little to balance out the tartness and also help brown the chicken.
  • Salt and pepper – feel free to adjust the amounts to taste.

What Type of Chicken to Use?

  • This recipe works great with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Preferably around 6 oz. for breasts or 4 – 5 oz. for thighs.
  • It makes enough marinade for up to 2 lbs of chicken.
  • Preferably pound thicker parts of chicken breasts to even out there thickness so they cook more evenly.

Chicken marinade ingredients.

How to Make This Easy Chicken Marinade:

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together all ingredients (except chicken) until well blended.

Showing how to make citrus chicken marinade. Ingredients in a glass mixing bowl with whisk to the side.

  • Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag or dish (use glass, ceramic, plastic or nonreactive metal such as stainless steel).
  • Pour marinade over chicken. Transfer to refrigerator and let rest at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

Chicken marinade in a glass mixing bowl. Made with citrus, olive oil, herbs, garlic and red onion.

How Long to Marinate Chicken?

Chicken should marinate, refrigerated, at least 1 hour to allow exterior of chicken to soak up those flavors, but don’t marinate longer than 6 hours or acidity in the marinade can make the chicken mushy.

Chicken breasts in marinade in a resealable bag.

How to Grill Marinated Chicken Breasts or Thighs:

  • Preheat a gas grill over medium to medium-high heat. Clean grill grates.
  • Grill chicken on preheated grill until cooked through, about 4 – 7 minutes per side. (Chicken breasts will be faster than thighs).

How to Tell When Chicken is Done Grilling?

  • Chicken should have those nice char marks on the exterior and once done it will have shrunk in size. It should feel firm and no longer bouncy or rubbery.
  • Always take the temperature with a digital food thermometer. Center of thickest portion should be 165 degrees and should no longer be pink. This is the most efficient and safest way to test chicken for doneness (be sure thermometer is accurate to begin with as well).

Three chicken breasts on a grill.

Can I Make this Marinade in Advance?

No. Since it has fresh unpasteurized juice it won’t keep long and it’s best to make it the day you’re going to use it.

Can I Reuse Chicken Marinade?

No, never. It can harbor bacteria and cause food born illness. Instead just double up on the recipe if you need more chicken marinated. Or if you would like some extra marinade to serve with the chicken then just set some of the marinade aside and refrigerate then serve with the chicken once cooked (you can also thicken marinades up with a little bit of cornstarch on the stovetop if using as a sauce).

Overhead image of chicken breasts coated with marinade on a serving platter.

What Should I Serve with Marinated Grilled Chicken?

More Delicious Chicken Recipes to Try!

Sliced chicken breasts

Chicken Marinade Triple Citrus
5 from 9 votes

Triple Citrus Chicken Marinade

A bright and flavorful chicken marinade made with a trio of fresh citrus! Because why just use one when you can use three? It's made with orange, lemon and lime which is perfect for creating a vibrant grilled chicken marinade! This is easy to make and perfect for summer.
Servings: 4 -5
Prep10 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 10 minutes



  • 1/2 cup fresh navel orange juice
  • 2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper.
  • 4 - 5 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs


  • In a mixing bowl whisk together all ingredients except chicken until well combined.
  • Place chicken in a gallon size resealable bag or dish.
  • Pour marinade over chicken. Transfer to refrigerator and let rest at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
  • Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook on grill until center registers 165 degrees in center of thickest portion, turning once halfway through cooking (reduce grill temperature as needed if chicken is browning too quickly).
  • Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.


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  • Jason Reeves

    We tried this recipe last weekend. It takes some effort with squeezing the fresh fruit, but it is worth it. I used fresh herbs. I let the chicken marinade overnight in the refrigerator and the thick breasts were very tender and the marinade permeated the meat. I basted the chicken with the marinade during grilling. Everyone in my family loved it.

  • Jeanne

    Delicious!! Best marinade ever!! I first marinated boneless chicken breasts for about 3 hours then cooked them in my Ninja Foodi using Aircrisp setting. They were fantastic!! A week later I made the marinade again and cut a pork tenderloin tenderloin into 4 chunks. I let them marinate about 6-7 hours before cooking, again in the Ninja Foodi on Aircrisp. I got that fantastic charred glaze on all of it. Yummm!
    One helpful hint, maybe – I was zesting my citrus and squeezing the juices all into a plastic measuring cup. Well, the fresh zest and juice must have been too acidic for my plastic cup because in the time it took me to do that, the plastic cup was permanently marred. I will use glass or other non-reactive measuring cup next time. But, seriously, try this marinade – it is awesome!!

  • Andrey

    I baked instead of grilling but the breasts were delicious. Great recipe!

  • Anne P

    Can you use for swordfish and if so, how long should I marinate the fish? Thanks!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      That should be fine. I wouldn’t marinade longer than 30 minutes with fish.

  • M. Marroquin

    Taste best if you marinate overnight. Wonderful recipe thanks for sharing!😊

  • Abdias

    Wow this recipe was amazing my family loved it and very easy to make. We used a cast iron skillet over the range and it worked just as good. Definitely recommend.