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Kalyn's Kitchen

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken is as easy as it gets for tasty grilled chicken when you need a no-fuss dinner idea! Use Grilling Recipes for more ideas like this one.

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Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken from KalynsKitchen.com

If you’re a busy parent who wants something easy that kids will eat or a low-carb eater who doesn’t like to fuss too much with cooking, this Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken just might become one of your favorites. There aren’t a lot of recipes using packaged ingredients on my blog, but this favorite  grilled chicken with only five ingredients is something I’ve been making for years and years. I actually first shared the recipe more than 10 years ago, and I’m excited to remind you about it for this week’s Friday Favorites post!

This recipe uses all the tricks I share in my post on how to make juicy grilled chicken breasts but instead of a homemade marinade, this one just mixes a few packaged ingredients and you’re ready to marinate! You can also use the same marinade for kabobs or tin-foil dinners, so check for links below for those variations. And I’m sure this marinade would also be great for grilled chicken thighs or legs, either with or without the skin if that’s what your family would prefer.

This is one of the 5 Ingredients or Less Recipes on Kalyn’s Kitchen, but I promise this will not disappoint in the flavor department even though it’s ridiculously easy to make. The recipes makes eight servings, and the leftover chicken is great in lettuce wraps or on a salad, but you can easily make half the amount if you prefer.

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken from KalynsKitchen.com

I actually sometimes pour out a tiny bit of dressing and mix the marinade right in the bottle! I use Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing, mixed with a package of Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix (dry mix; no-name brand is fine), a bit of Spike Seasoning (or your favorite all-purpose seasoning blend), and some black pepper. I get ready to marinate by trimming the chicken and then making small slits the length of each chicken breast to help the chicken cook evenly and provide more surface for the marinade to coat with flavor. The put the chicken in a Ziploc bag or plastic container, add enough marinade to cover, and let it marinate all day.

(I only made half the recipe to take new photos, so I wrote MARINADE on the bottle and saved the extra marinade in the fridge.)

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken from KalynsKitchen.com

When you’re ready to cook drain chicken and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the grill to medium-high and spray with non-stick spray or brush with oil. Lay chicken at an angle to grill grates, top side down, and cook 3-4 minutes, or until you see grill marks. Then rotate going the other direction and cook 3-4 minutes, until you see criss-cross marks. Turn chicken over and cook until it’s firm but not hard to the touch), about 4 minutes more.

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken from KalynsKitchen.com

Serve hot. Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious grilled Chicken was featured in a round-up of 10 Easy Marinated Grilled Chicken Recipes at Parade.com, and this recipe has had a lot of fans through the years!

Make it a Meal:

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken is shown in the photo with Easy Low-Carb Cucumbers Caesar, which would be great for a low-carb summer meal.

More Recipes for Easy Chicken Dinners:

Very Greek Grilled Chicken
Easy Baked Pesto Chicken
Ultra Easy Pesto-Lemin Chicken Kabobs
Easy Spicy Asian Chicken
Janet’s Easy Mustard Chicken

Variations for this Recipe:

You could also use this easy chicken marinade for Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs or Low-Carb Tin Foil Dinners.

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken is as easy as it gets for tasty grilled chicken, and the marinade has only 4 ingredients!



  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz. bottle Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (You can probably use any type of Italian dressing made with olive oil that’s low in sugar.)
  • 1 pkg. Zesty Italian dressing mix (powdered mix)
  • 1 T Spike Seasoning (or less, this is optional but good. You can use other all purpose seasoning mixes if you have one you like)
  • Coarse ground black pepper to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp.)


  1. (Click this link to see step-by-step photos of how to make juicy grilled chicken breasts.)
  2. Trim all visible fat and membranes from chicken breasts, then cut small crosswise slits about 1/2 inch apart down the length of each chicken breast. (This gives more surface area for the marinade to cover and makes chicken cook more quickly and evenly. It also gives a nice look to the cooked chicken breasts.)
  3. Combine marinade ingredients and mix together. (You can pour out a bit of the dressing and combine ingredients in the bottle, then shake well.)
  4. Put chicken in single layer in a ziploc bag.
  5. Pour marinade over chicken. (If you’re not using all the marinade, just label it and store in refrigerator for next time.)
  6. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator 6 hours or longer. This is great to put in the refrigerator in the morning when you go to work and cook after work that night.
  7. To cook, remove chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  8. Spray grill with non-stick spray or olive oil, and preheat to medium high. (You can only hold your hand there for 2-3 seconds at that heat.)
  9. Have a spray bottle ready to spray flames which may shoot up when chicken is first put on the grill.
  10. Drain chicken, then put it on the grill at an angle to grill grates with top side of chicken down.
  11. After 3-4 minutes (when you see grill marks), rotate so it’s going the opposite angle to get criss-cross marks.
  12. Cook 3-4 minutes more, then when you have good grill marks turn and cook  until chicken is well browned and firm but not hard to the touch.
  13. Actual cooking time will depend on how hot your grill is, temperature of the chicken, and even air temperature if you’re cooking outside, but I cooked the chicken in the photos about 12 minutes. For best results, use an Instant-Read Meat Thermometer and cook chicken until it reaches 165F/75C. (Don’t baste chicken with reserved marinade which contains bacteria from the raw chicken.)


This chicken could also be cooked in a stove-top grill pan with ridges or a George Foreman Grill with good results.

I used Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing and Spike Seasoning or you can use the other options mentioned above.

This same marinade recipe can be used on chicken-veggie kabobs or chicken-veggie tin foil dinners.

I got this recipe from a man named George Bauer who I lost track of years ago.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
The dressing I used in this marinade for Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken has only 1 gram of sugar per serving, making it perfect for the South Beach Diet or any type of low-carb eating plan. (It’s probably gluten-free but check your label ingredients to make sure.)

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

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33 comments on “Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken”

  1. Kalyn-thanks so much for this delicious recipe and everything on your site. What a resource for healthy, flavorful eating! We LOVED this juicy chicken. Marinated overnight as directed and grilled. Super juicy as promised and cooked evenly/completely through even though the meat  was plump. The scoring is genius. Only adjustment: I didn’t have Spike so used Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning (which I think is similar). I expect we’ll make this A LOT. Many thanks. 🙂

  2. Can't think of any reason you couldn't freeze the cooked chicken, although I think the flavor and texture will obviously not be quite as good as when it's freshly cooked.

  3. Kalyn: I have made this grilled chicken 5-6 times now and it is delicious every time and such a life saver since I am always short on time. What I am wondering is : can this be frozen after grilling? I'd like to make it in bulk and use it in different things when I am on the go. Thanks!

  4. Jenn, so glad it was a hit!

  5. This was *the* best grilled chicken I have ever tasted. Quick and easy, and my husband loved it too!

  6. Anonymous, so glad you liked it. I agree, chicken breasts are often dry but this marinade with the oil in the dressing really keeps them moist and flavorful.

  7. I loathe boneless skinless chicken breasts as they are always dry and not all that tasty. I made some today with the marinade and they are without doubt DELICIOUS. Thank you!

  8. hah! perfect for firefighters to make at the firehouse, simple yet amazing. thanks so much!

  9. Coach Kai, yes, then after the chicken marinates just grill as usual.

  10. so you mix one bottle with the zesty itlian and just put enough mrinade to cover the chicken?

  11. I posted a recipe in my link for a chicken recipe
    this is a new recipe I recently found
    I made it for a family dinner
    the entire family enjoyed it very much

    very nice blog I appreciate good blog content

  12. I will be trying this very soon! I really like your blog!

  13. That looks pretty tasty. I've never tried scoring the breast like that, interesting.

    I have no problem with using packaged ingredients like itailian dressing as a marinade. It was the first way I ever learned to grill chicken!

    I did do a simple chicken breast last week that had only 5 ingredients and it was phenomenal, everyone loved it!

  14. I love the grill chicken recipe with the Newman's Own marinade. I tried tonight because I was tired of eating the same things….what is even more amazing is that my kids ate it! Thanks!

    April Deonna
    "If you are going to get fit, go all the way." http://www.allthewayfit.com

  15. OK, my mouth is watering. I try to avoid a lot of the pre-packaged stuff, but let's face it: it's engineered to taste great. And this looks so savory and moist. Might have to grill chicken this weekend…

  16. KL, thanks so much and nice to know you are enjoying the blog. Not sure if I would ever write a book, and for sure only if I had an offer for money up front (as I hear lots of people work hard writing cookbooks and never make any money from them.) Right now doing the blog is keeping me pretty busy!

  17. I love your site-I'm the Director of Women's Ministries at a mid-size church and tell all of our ladies about this site! Thanks for the great, healthy recipes. I'm still waiting for your book!!!

  18. It's nice to hear from people who have used the recipe or their own variation of this same idea, thanks for weighing in. Like the idea of using the Italian mix with bread crumbs too (and I just went to my first Penzey's store!)

  19. This is a great way to grill chicken. I also use the packaged Italian dressing mix (I buy mine from Penzeys in bulk) to combine with whole wheat Panko crumbs. Dip chicken breast slices in olive oil, then dip in the bread crumb/Italian mixture. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, and you have fabulous chicken tenders that you have made yourself–so you know what's in them!

  20. Kalyn
    I've been using this marinade recipe for several years now after finding it on your website. And yeah, it uses "packaged" salad dressing – but so what, its delicious and truly foolproof! Everyone loves this chicken when I make it.

  21. You know, my family has been cooking a variation of this recipe for years and years! We always get rave reviews when we host BBQs and use this simple marinade. Our variation is just to mix up the italian seasoning packet according to directions (basically that oil and vinegar dressing bottle) and soak the chicken in it for however long. LOVE IT!

  22. I'm always in for foolproof:D

  23. For years I've marinated our meats/veggies using Italian dressing! Great minds think alike! 😉

    Another yummy variation? One part soy to six parts Italian dressing which is especially good with beef and venison.

  24. There are absolutely no turned-up noses here. I am all for a recipe that gets dinner on the table quickly! I am emailing this to myself.

  25. It is that time of year! I just posted a grilled chicken recipe today too.

    I actually am not a fan of bottled salad dressings, so we don't ever have them on hand (why are they always so sweet?). However in a marinate I could see it working quite well.

  26. Elenka, you can get salt-free Spike, and actually the Newman's Own dressing is pretty low in salt. The one ingredient that does have a lot of salt is the Zesty Italian packets. Remember though, you're only eating the small amount of marinade that stick to the chicken when it's grilled. I'm not sure just olive oil and vinegar with Mrs. Dash would replace all the flavors in this, but I bet it would still be good.

  27. Oy, I need to cut back salt, so pre packages stuff is usually out for me. Probably using olive oil and vinegar and some Mrs. Dash would yield good results, no?

  28. Wow! This is the best chicken I have ever had. My husband and I will be adding this to our weekly favorites 🙂

  29. Great work. Thank you Kalyn.

  30. Hi Kalyn
    Just had to tell you I tried this marinade this weekend and it’s fabulous! Even my picky 14-year old stepson, who lives on chicken tenders and ravioli, pronounced it “tasty”. I did it with the veggie kabobs…I think we’ll be eating these fairly often this summer.


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