I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite proteins to add to just about anything is chicken breast. I especially love when it’s grilled and full of flavor thanks to a fantastic marinade. It’s easy to throw on salads, grain bowls, toss in an omelette, stir into mac and cheese or make a yummy chicken salad with.
First though, can we all admit that it can be a little difficult to grill chicken breast and ensure that it stays juicy, moist and flavorful?
Today, we’re going back to the basics on AK and talking all about grilling chicken breast! Below you’ll find my tips and tricks to achieving the best grilled chicken breast that stays juicy and flavorful. TIME TO GET YO GRILL ON.
Preparing your chicken
One of the keys for grilling the perfect, juicy chicken breast is to use organic chicken breast and marinate your chicken for 2-4 hours.
As far as marinating chicken breast goes: The longer you marinate your chicken the better! A great marinade requires:
- Fat: from oil or even full fat yogurt or buttermilk
- Acid: from vinegar or citrus fruit
- Seasonings: like spices and herbs
You can find all of my favorite, super flavorful healthy chicken marinades here that are perfect for using in tons of different recipes.
How to prepare and preheat your grill
While your chicken is marinating and before you’re ready to grill it, it’s important to get your grill ready.
- Preheat your grill. You’ll want to preheat your grill to 400 degrees F, which will both help burn things off that were leftover when you previously grilled, and will also prevent your chicken from sticking to the grates.
- Brush it off. After your grill has preheated use a grill brush to brush off any leftover bits from the last time you grilled.
- Oil the grates. This isn’t always necessary for grilling chicken, but iff you’re grilling a protein that doesn’t have a lot of natural fat (like plant based meat alternatives) you’ll also want to oil the grill grates so that the protein doesn’t stick.
Tip for juicy grilled chicken breast
If it’s accessible, I recommend using organic chicken breasts whenever possible. They tend to be much juicier and less “tough,” than non-organic chicken breasts, so when you’re using the chicken as a blank canvas to add to recipes it makes a big difference.
How to grill chicken breast in five easy steps
Grilling juicy chicken breast can easily be done in just a few steps.
- Prep your grill. Preheat your grill to 375 or 400 degrees F and scrape off any leftover bits from the last time you grilled.
- Add your chicken. Place your marinated chicken breasts on your preheated grill, and close the lid. It’s important to keep the lid of your grill closed while your chicken is cooking so that no heat escapes. Cook your chicken breast on the grill for 6-8 minutes on one side.
- Flip your chicken. After 6-8 minutes open your grill lid and flip your chicken breast with tongs. A great tip is to only flip your chicken breast once so that it stays nice and juicy (and creates delicious grill marks!)
- Check the temp. Cook your chicken breast for 6-8 minutes more. Cook time will vary a bit depending on the size of your chicken breast, so be sure to check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the chicken breast using a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, your chicken is done and can be transferred to a clean plate or cutting board.
- Let it rest. Immediately cover chicken with foil to seal in the juices and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. This will help you achieve that juicy, chicken breast you’re looking for!
Don’t forget this tool when grilling chicken breast
If you don’t yet have a meat thermometer, it’s time to get one! I highly recommend having a meat thermometer so that you can check the doneness of your chicken without having to cut into it and lose the juiciness. Here is a great one that I use all the time.
Looking to grill other cuts of chicken?
I’ve got your back! Here’s how to grill chicken drumsticks and thighs:
For chicken drumsticks:
- To grill: preheat your grill to medium high and lightly oil the grate. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 8 minutes, then flip, brush with the reserved marinade, and grill for an additional 8 minutes. Turn the chicken over one last time, brush again with the remaining marinade, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until no pink remains in the center of the chicken.
- To bake: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a oven-safe rack on a large baking sheet and grease with nonstick cooking spray so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the pan. Place the drumsticks on the pan with the thicker part of the drumstick to the outside. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through.
For boneless skinless chicken thighs:
- To grill: preheat your grill to medium high and lightly oil the grates. Cook your chicken thighs for 6-8 minutes per side, flipping once. When the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F your chicken is done.
- To bake: preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake your chicken thighs for about 25-30 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165.
For skin-on chicken thighs:
- To grill: preheat your grill to medium high and lightly oil the grates. Place chicken skin-side down and grill for 5-6 minutes until grill marks appear. Flip your chicken and cook for another 6-8 minutes more until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F.
- To bake: preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and bake your chicken thighs for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 F and juices run clear.
Delicious recipes to serve with grilled chicken
I like to serve my chicken on a platter on a bed of salsa for everyone to dig in. You can also feel free to add your chicken breast to various recipes or serve them on the side. Here are a few suggestions
- Fresh Mango Salsa
- Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Avocado
- Chopped Chickpea Greek Salad
- Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad
- Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
Watch the video to see how to grill chicken breast
Recommended tools for grilling chicken
- Grill brush
- Meat thermometer
- Cutting board (use the code ‘ambitiouskitchen15’ for 15% off!)
Get all of our fav kitchen essentials here.
Don’t forget these amazing methods for cooking chicken
- How to Grill Chicken Breast that’s Perfectly Juicy
- How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken
- How to Poach Chicken Breast
- How to Make an Easy Roasted Chicken
If you try this grilled chicken recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it below and let me know how you liked it. And of course, don’t forget to snap a photo and tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. xo!
How to Grill the Perfect Chicken Breast
- 1 pound chicken breast, organic preferred
- Your favorite marinade
Let your chicken marinate for at least 4 hours, and up to 12 hours.
Preheat your grill to 400 degrees F and scrape off any leftover bits from the grates.
Place your chicken breasts on your preheated grill, and close the lid. It's important to keep the lid of your grill closed while your chicken is cooking so that no heat escapes. Cook your chicken breast on the grill for 6-8 minutes on one side.
After 6-8 minutes flip your chicken breast and cook for 6-8 minutes more. Cook time will vary a bit depending on the size of your chicken breast, so be sure to check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the chicken breast using a meat thermometer.
When the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, your chicken is done and can be transferred to a clean plate or cutting board. Immediately cover the chicken with aluminum foil to let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into. This helps the juices stay in the chicken breast.
Print this guide for easily grilling proteins