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How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts That Are Perfect Every Time

I’ve been making delicious grilled chicken for years, and this post about How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts has all my tricks and tips! Most of my grilled chicken recipes are low-carb, Keto, South Beach Diet friendly, and gluten-free; some are Paleo and Whole 30 approved. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like these.

Click here to PIN these tips for juicy grilled chicken breasts!

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Grilling weather is my favorite time of year! If you think the chicken breasts in these photos look juicy and delicious, you’re right, they were. This popular post on Kalyn’s Kitchen has my five easy steps for How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts that are perfect every time. I love to make grilled chicken in the summer when I can cook outside on the deck, but any of these grilled chicken recipes can also be  cooked on a stove-top grill pan with ridges, or in an electric griller such as a George Foreman Grill. Enjoy!

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

For years I’ve been marinating boneless-skinless chicken breasts and then grilling them with great results, despite the many recipes I see telling me you should only use bone-in chicken with skin on the grill. Not true! When I catered houseboat trips for over ten years, boneless chicken breasts cooked on the grill were always one of the dinners. There was never a complaint and there were many requests for the recipes. I shared these tips for How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts with many Lake Powell clients through the years.

Of course, you can’t just take a chicken breast out of the package, throw it on the grill, and have it turn out moist and delicious.  For good results with boneless and skinless chicken, you need to use techniques designed to keep the chicken juicy.  Below are my Five Easy Steps for How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts.

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Step One: Trim the chicken breasts

Trim each chicken breast carefully to remove fat and tendons and then trim the underneath side of the chicken (tenders side) to make the entire breast close to the same thickness. If there’s a long thin piece on one end, trim it off. (Of course you’re saving these trimmed-off pieces in the freezer to make chicken stock.)

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Step Two: Cut slits in the chicken help it cook evenly.

Carefully cut small crosswise slits down the length of each chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through. This will help the chicken cook more evenly, let the marinade cover more surface of the meat, and it also looks nice when the chicken is cooked.

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Step Three: Use a marinade with oil,
acidic ingredients, and flavorings.

I think marinades for chicken breasts need a generous amount of oil to keep the chicken moist. Most of my recipes have a 2:1 ratio of oil to acidic ingredients. I most often use olive oil, but depending on the other ingredients, you can use peanut oil or any type of vegetable oil. I usually use lemon juice or some type of vinegar for the acidic ingredient. Other marinade ingredients that I frequently use include garlic, onion, shallots, ginger, herbs, mustard, curry powder, soy sauce, sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce, and chile powder.

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Step Four: Marinate the chicken in refrigerator several hours.

I like to marinate chicken 6-8 hours, and I  used to frequently marinate chicken breasts in the refrigerator all day while I’m at work, then cook them when I get home. However, if you’re pressed for time, several hours is what I’d consider the minimum amount of time to get the flavoring and moistening benefits that come from marinating.

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Step Five: Judge cooking time by how the chicken looks and feels,
not just by the amount of time (or use a thermometer).

Marinated chicken breasts can be cooked on a gas or charcoal barbecue grill, in a stove-top grill pan with ridges, or even in an electric utensil such as a George Foreman Grill. Whichever method you use to grill it, chicken needs to cook until it’s completely cooked through, but cooking too long will make it dry and tough. I cook chicken breasts at medium-high on my well-used grill. I judge when the chicken is done by the touch and how the chicken looks.Chicken should feel firm to the touch, but not hard, when it’s done. The outside of the chicken should be lightly browned on both sides. You can also use an Instant-Read Meat Thermometer to check the temperature (USDA recommended temperature is 165 F for chicken breasts.) Cooking time will depend on the temperature of the chicken, how hot the grill is, the thickness of the chicken breasts, and even weather conditions if you’re cooking outside.

Now, get busy and use these tips for How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts!  Here are some of my favorite recipe ideas for cooking juicy chicken on the grill, hope you enjoy.

Rosemary Mustard Grilled Chicken

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Very Greek Grilled Chicken

Garlic, Lemon, and Herb Grilled Chicken Breasts

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano

Five Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts from KalynsKitchen.com

Grilled Fusion Chicken

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken (super easy!)

More of Kalyn’s Recipe Ideas for Juicy and Flavorful Grilled Chicken:
Grilled Chicken with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade
Grilled Chicken with Sage, Rosemary, and Garlic Dried Herb Rub 
Grilled Garlic Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Aioli Sauce
Curried Chicken on the Grill with Cilantro Chutney
Savory Low Carb Marinade for Chicken
Mustard, Lemon, and Coriander Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette
Grilled Garlic Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Aioli Sauce

How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts That Are Perfect Every Time [KalynsKitchen.com]

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65 comments on “How to Make Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts That Are Perfect Every Time”

  1. That balsamic chicken looks extra yummy. Going on the list for this weekend. I like the idea of the slits in the chicken. I've never tried that and never liked how the grilled chicken turned out. Thanks.

  2. These do sound super! I am grateful for them! I do have a question. I really like marinades with a little sweetness. Did I miss any here or do you have any sweet ideas on this subject! Tks!

    • My blog is focused on low-carb eating so sweet marinades aren't something I'm interested in. But you could use these same principles with a sweet marinade; maybe try googling it?

  3. Of course! Sorry about that! I subscribed for the low-carb and delicious recipes. Thank you. I will normally try to use some kind of natural and safe zero calorie sweetener for things like this. I just have a problem putting flavors together. Thanks again.

  4. I can't believe I am saying this, but I am EXCITED to grill chicken breasts – thanks for this post!

  5. Kalyn, I have one question for you: Do you cut slits in only the upper side (fascia side toward the skin), or the underside (toward the bone) as well? Thanks!

  6. Sorry, I wasn't clear in my question. I do have the boneless, skinless breasts, but was using its pre-butchering orientation to clarify top and bottom sides (my bad). I was in a hurry to get the breasts prepped and into the marinade, so I didn't wait for you answer. After having done the prep, only one side does make sense. It would be a bit more onerous than I would like to stagger the cuts on the bottom side.

    Thanks again, Kalyn. I've used your site for years, but this is my first question/comment. We love your recipes!

  7. Another trick to get juicy meat is grilling at room temperature (not cold meat) and letting it rest in alu foil after grilling. Same with beef.

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