Zesty Greek Chicken

published Jan 24, 2023
Greek Chicken Recipe

Chicken breast soaked in a marinade that bursts with zesty, lemony, garlicky flavor.


Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 30 minutes

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Greek chicken in a baking dish.
Credit: Kelli Foster

A simple zesty Greek chicken marinade is my first line of defense any time I find myself sliding into a chicken breast rut or simply can’t decide what to do with it for dinner. With minimal effort, I have the most unbelievably flavorful chicken dinner bursting with lemony, garlicky, herby aromas. Talk about a weeknight win!

And it gets better still. There are several options for cooking. I love tossing the marinated chicken breasts into a casserole dish and baking them because the marinade cooks into a dreamy sauce (plus, it’s the most hands-off method). But when time is of the essence, the grill makes a great option, and when I don’t want to turn on the oven, the air fryer is a great alternative.

How Long Should You Marinate Greek Chicken?

Greek chicken marinade is packed with big, bold flavors from a duo of lemon zest and juice, garlic, and a generous shower of dried herbs. The chicken will pick up flavor from the marinade in as little as 30 minutes. But if time is on your side, I do recommend letting it marinate for an hour, or up to three hours.

Credit: Kelli Foster

How Should You Cook Greek Chicken?

You’ve got a few options here. The recipe includes instructions for baking the chicken in the oven, and in the notes section you’ll find instructions for cooking the chicken on the grill or in the air fryer. Regardless of how you plan to cook the chicken, it’s a good idea to pound each chicken breast to about 1/2-inch thick to ensure it cooks evenly.

  • Bake. This is a great option for when you don’t want to tend to the chicken during cooking. You’ll add the chicken breasts and marinade to a baking dish, slide it into the oven, and pull it out about 20 minutes later. The best thing about baking the chicken breast with the marinade is that you get a super-flavorful sauce for serving.
  • Grill. If speed is the name of the game, and you want dinner fast, the grill is the way to go. The chicken cooks up tender and juicy in just about 10 minutes.
  • Air fry. When you need a method that doesn’t involve the oven, I love the air fryer.

What to Serve with Greek Chicken?

Marinated Greek chicken breast cooks up tender and juicy, bursting with lemony, garlicky, herby flavor. And what this means for choosing sides is that there’s no shortage of options Everything from potatoes to rice to salads are all fair game. If you bake the chicken you’ll also get some great sauce, so serving with rice, orzo, potatoes, or anything to mop up the sauce is a tasty idea. These are a few of our favorites.

Greek Chicken Recipe

Chicken breast soaked in a marinade that bursts with zesty, lemony, garlicky flavor.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 4

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)

  • 4 cloves


  • 2

    medium lemons, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1 teaspoon

    dried marjoram

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pound 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts one at a time: Place 1 chicken breast in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and pound with a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat mallet to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Set aside and repeat with the remaining breasts.

  2. Make sure your zip-top bag does not have any holes in it from pounding the chicken breasts. If it does, replace with a new bag or add marinade ingredients to a 9x13-inch baking dish.

  3. Prepare the following, adding each to the same gallon-sized zip-top bag or baking dish as it is completed: Finely grate 4 garlic cloves and the zest from 1 medium lemon (about 1 teaspoon) with a Microplane. Juice 2 medium lemons (about 1/3 cup).

  4. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Seal the bag and massage to combine or stir together.

  5. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade. Seal the bag and massage the chicken to coat in the marinade (or flip to coat in the baking dish). Marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

  6. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Let the chicken sit at room temperature while the oven heats.

  7. If the chicken is in a zip-top bag, transfer the chicken to a 9x13-inch baking dish in a single layer and pour the marinade over top. If the chicken is already in the baking dish, uncover and make sure the chicken is in a single layer.

  8. Bake until the chicken is golden-brown, cooked through, and registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 20 to 28 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Air Fryer: Heat an air fryer to 400°F. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to the air fryer basket or tray and place in a single layer, working in batches if needed. Air fry for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken and air fry for 13 to 15 minutes more. The chicken is done when it registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part.

Grill: Prepare a gas grill for direct, high heat, or prepare a charcoal grill for both direct and indirect high heat (pile the coals on one half the grill). When the grill is ready, scrape the grates clean. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade with tongs. Place on the grill, cover, and cook undisturbed until grill marks appear on the bottom, about 4 minutes. If the meat sticks to the grill, continue to cook for another minute until it releases easily. Flip and cook the second side until grill marks appear, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium on a gas grill (or transfer to indirect heat on a charcoal grill) and grill until the chicken is cooked through and registers at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 4 minutes more.

Marjoram substitution: If you can find dried marjoram, substitute it with an equal amount of dried oregano or dried thyme.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.