Yogurt Marinated Chicken

August 14, 2021

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Easy Yogurt Marinated Chicken! Made with chicken thighs (or chicken breasts) that have been soaked in a Greek yogurt based marinade that’s brimming with earthy spices, and a fresh lemon-herb flavor.

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken shown from above on a white oval platter on a wooden table with a turquoise cloth to the side.

Easy Yogurt Chicken Marinade

You can never have too many marinade recipes to really upgrade chicken. This middle eastern style chicken marinade is made with healthy ingredients that all come together so well.

It is one of my latest favorites with it’s perfect blend of tang, well seasoned spice flavor, touch of garlic, and a final upgrade of cilantro.

As with just about any marinade, it’s a cinch to prepare and it really takes plain chicken to a whole new level.

Perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a weekend family barbecue with all your favorite summer sides.

You may as well go through some veggies on the grill while you’ve got the chicken going too, or pair it with my go-to veggie couscous recipe.

Ingredients used to make yogurt marinade grilled chicken.

Greek Yogurt Marinade Recipe Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, and paprika
  • 1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper and cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper (can adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for serving

Collage of two photos showing yogurt marinade before and after mixing.

How to Make Yogurt Marinated Chicken

  • To make this greek yogurt marinade, all you need to do is mix all the marinade ingredients together.
  • Pour over chicken in a bag and let marinade in the fridge.
  • Grill over preheated medium-high heat about 5 to 7 minutes per side until cooked through.

How long should chicken marinate in this acidic yogurt based marinade?

  • Chicken breasts or thighs should marinate for preferably at least 2 hours to soak up some of the flavor.
  • For chicken breasts I recommend marinating no more than 8 hours.
  • Chicken thighs can marinate up to 24 hours.

Collage of two photos. Chicken thighs in yogurt marinade in a ziploc, then showing chicken being grilled.

Variations

Oven Baked 

If you don’t have a grill you can also bake the chicken. To do so:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Place chicken on the baking sheet then bake in preheated oven until 165 in center (approx. 20 – 25 minutes).
  • Broil near the end if desired for a little more browning and flavor.

Use Bone-In Skin-On Chicken

  • If going this route, reduce grill temperature to medium then increase grill time, it will take approximately 15 minutes per side.
  • For the oven method (with bone-in chicken), cook at about 375 for about 40 minutes.

Go for Regular Yogurt

  • If you don’t have Greek yogurt try with regular plain yogurt instead.

Helpful Tips

  • To keep the exterior of the chicken from drying out, you can baste with a little olive oil while cooking.
  • If using chicken breasts, pound them to an even thickness before beginning, or if they are very large just slice in half through their thickness (reduce cook time as needed).
  • Keep in mind cook times vary based on size of chicken pieces used, grill temp, outdoor temp, etc.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness (to 165 in center of thickest portion) rather than guessing or cutting into the chicken. It’s the most accurate option. I love my Thermapen if you are looking for a high quality thermometer.
  • Let chicken rest a few minutes off heat before cutting into it to allow juices to redistribute (I usually just plan this to be the time it takes for everyone to plate their meal).

Close up photo of grilled chicken thighs with yogurt marinade. Chicken is garnished with cilantro.

More Tasty Marinade Recipes to Try

Balsamic Chicken Marinade

Grilled Shrimp with Honey Garlic Marinade

Steak Marinade

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

Triple Citrus Chicken Marinade

 

Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken shown from above on a white oval platter on a wooden table with a turquoise cloth to the side.
5 from 5 votes

Yogurt Marinated Chicken

A serious flavor upgrade for chicken! Made with chicken thighs (or chicken breasts) that have been soaked in a Greek yogurt based marinade that's brimming with earthy spices, and a fresh lemon-herb flavor.
Servings: 7
Prep20 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Marinating1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

Yogurt Marinade

  • 2/3 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice + 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper (can adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for serving

Chicken

  • 2 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 7 thighs), or chicken breasts (about 5)

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cilantro.
  • Place chicken in a gallon size resealable freezer bag. Pour yogurt marinade over chicken.
  • Seal bag while pressing excess air out. Rub marinade evenly over chicken.
  • Let rest in fridge at least 2 hours (or up to 8 hours for breasts, 24 hours for thighs).
  • Preheat a gas grill to 425 degrees. Clean grill grates and lightly brush with oil (using a balled up oiled paper towel and long tongs).
  • Grill chicken until cooked through (165 on an instant read thermometer in center of thickest portion) about 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Notes

  • Note that if you'd like to keep exterior of chicken from drying you can brush lightly with olive oil halfway through grilling.
Nutrition Facts
Yogurt Marinated Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 142mg47%
Sodium 474mg21%
Potassium 432mg12%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 272IU5%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.