How to Grill Chicken Breast

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic Updated

Learn how to grill chicken breast, for delicious, juicy results every time!

There are so many uses for juicy grilled chicken breast! It makes a healthy and simple meal when served with a fresh, crispy salad. It's great added to pasta dishes, used in wraps or as a filling for tacos.

But it's important to get the cooking technique just right for the best results! Chicken breast is low in fat, so it has a tendency to dry out if not prepared with care.  And no one likes dry, overcooked chicken!  

Grill Pan Chicken Breasts Photo

Tip 1 - use a marinade

Marinating chicken breasts for at least 30 minutes really helps tenderize them - and it can adds lots of wonderful flavor, too! If you have time, you'll get even better results by leaving the chicken in the marinade for several hours.

Marinades containing salt or sugar are best for tenderizing the meat - salt actually penetrates the chicken a little and helps loosen up the muscle fibres.

Grill Pan Chicken Breasts Image

Before placing the chicken breasts in the marinade, score them with a sharp knife. This gives the marinade a larger surface area to work on, plus it speeds up the cooking process. 

Aside from the salt, most ingredients in a marinade won't actually be absorbed by the chicken and they will only provide flavor on the surface of the meat. This is why marinades work so well for grilled chicken - the high heat from grilling caramelizes any sugars, transforming the marinade into a tasty crust.

Grill Pan Chicken Breasts Picture

Basic marinade ideas include:

Indian - just mix yogurt, garlic, chilli, ginger, turmeric and garam masala

Asian - just mix honey, soy sauce and mirin

Barbecue - just mix brown sugar, wine vinegar, garlic and paprika

Tequila Lime Chicken Pic

Tip 2 - get the timing right

First, you need to ensure that the chicken breasts cook evenly. The best way to do this is to pound them out to an even thickness. Most chicken breasts are much thicker at one end than the other, so if you don't pound them out first, one end will have dried out by the time the other end is cooked. 

Next, oil your grill grates and get them to the right temperature (around 400°F).

Place the chicken on the grill (shaking off any excess marinade first) and cook for around 4 to 5 minutes per side. The exact time depends on how thick the breasts are. Try not to turn the breasts more than once, in order to keep the char lines looking as good as possible!

Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwich Pic

Use an instant-read thermometer to see if they are done - it should read 165°F. You can also check by cutting into the breast - it should be white all the way through, with no pink.

These Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwiches are a great way to serve delicious grilled chicken and this Margarita Grilled Chicken takes all the flavors of your favorite cocktail and adds a delightful savory twist.

You might like to try these Grill Pan Chicken Breasts too!

Grilling Recipes

    Learn how to make baby back ribs with this easy recipe from Martha Stewart
    Want to know how to cook pork ribs in the crock pot? Try this easy recipe from Ree Drummond for melt-in-your-mouth results!
    Korean Spicy Chicken Rice Bowls are the global healthy meal that is made for two people! Make them for lunch or dinner, either way you’ll be guaranteed for a spicy flavor that you won’t be able to resist.
    Miso Marinated Steak Salad is the balanced blend of Asian flavors with steak, fresh greens, and vegetables. From the marinade to the dressing, all the elements make every bite pop.
    Grilled Open-Faced Avocado Caprese Sammies are my go-to option for whenever I’m craving a caprese salad, a grilled cheese sandwich, and/or avocado toast. Grilled bread is topped with bright cherry tomatoes, little balls of cheese, fresh basil, avocado, and my favorite simple balsamic glaze. Eat it as a snack, or for a light lunch or even savory breakfast!
    Chicken breasts are marinated then grilled in a cast iron pan and finished in the oven. The leftovers are even better than the original meal!
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