This Greek yogurt chicken recipe is one of the most tender and juiciest chicken recipes that you will find! This is an easy marinade that can be made from ingredients you most likely have on hand!
I’ve been marinating my chicken in yogurt since my college days (over 10 years ago!), but I have never taken the time to put the recipe into writing. I’m so excited to finally share this recipe! Every time I make it, the chicken turns out juicy, tender, and flavorful.
I originally created this Greek yogurt marinated chicken recipe because I’d seen many recipes use buttermilk, and I wanted to try something a little different. After many trials and errors, I found the perfect balance of spices to create a delicious, tender, and juicy chicken breast.
Why use Yogurt to Marinade Chicken?
Marinating chicken in Greek yogurt is a best-kept secret that should be talked about more often! The yogurt is an acidic ingredient that works to tenderize the chicken. It has a slow tenderizing effect on the chicken and makes it very tender and juicy.
You may have heard that your marinade should contain an acidic ingredient such as citrus or vinegar. This is definitely true, however, the reason to use yogurt over another acid is that the acid in yogurt is milder. This allows for a slow tenderizing process and prevents the chicken from turning mushy or rubbery.
- Chicken Breast: select a boneless, skinless chicken breast. You can also use chicken thighs, drumsticks, or wings
- Plain Greek Yogurt: this is the key to the marinade! Make sure your yogurt is plain flavor. Use either whole milk yogurt or 2% fat Greek yogurt. You can also use plain yogurt. My favorite brands are Fage and Chobani, however any brand is fine!
- Garlic: use fresh garlic cloves for best flavor! Garlic powder can be substituted if in a pinch.
- Salt / Pepper: add to taste
- Lemon Juice: use either freshly squeezed lemon juice or lemon juice concentrate sold in a bottle.
- Parmesan Cheese: use either freshly grated or the powdered version sold in a bottle. I’ve used both and they turn out great!
- Olive Oil: adds a small amount of fat which adds moisture to the chicken. I prefer olive oil because it’s a healthy option, however melted coconut oil will also work.
How to Make Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken
Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, minced garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil, parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Mix well until combined.
Add the chicken: Use a fork to mix the chicken breast with the marinade until fully coated.
Cover and place in the refrigerator. Let the chicken sit for 30 minutes up to 24 hours.
This yogurt chicken can be cooked in various ways: oven, stove top, grill or air fryer. Here are instructions on how to cook the chicken for each type of cooking method.
Oven: preheat the oven to 375F. Place the marinated chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish and top with extra marinade. Cover with foil and seal the edges shut tightly. Cook for 35-45 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F. Cook time will vary based on the thickness of the chicken.
Stove Top: pound the chicken into thin pieces, about ¼ - ½ inch thickness for best results. Set the stove to medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the chicken and cook for about 7 minutes on each side. Check the temperature with a thermometer. If chicken is thick or not cooking fully, cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes.
Grill: pound chicken to desired thickness. Heat the grill to 375F. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken reaches a temperature of 165F.
Air Fryer: pound the chicken into thin slices, about ½ inch thick. Preheat the air fryer to 400F. Spray the bottom with nonstick pan release. Once the air fryer is preheated, add the chicken to the bottom, however make sure it is not touching or overlapping. You may have to work in batches.
Cook for 6 minutes, flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Check the temperature at this point- if the chicken is 165F it is safe to eat. Continue to cook as needed in 1-2 minute intervals. The size of the chicken breast will affect the cooking time.
How Long to Marinade the Chicken?
The chicken needs at least 30 minutes to marinade to absorb all flavors. It is not recommended to marinade chicken longer than 24 hours, as the fibers of the meat will start to break down and can become mushy.
Refrigerator: Place leftovers in a container and store in the refrigerator within 30 minutes after cooking. The chicken can be store for up to 4 days.
Freezer: Place chicken in a freezer safe container or freezer zip lock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating: The chicken can be reheated in the microwave or stove. To microwave, place in a microwave safe dish and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until steaming hot. To heat on the stove, place a pan over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until warm. You may need to sprinkle a few drops of water over the top of the chicken to prevent it from drying out. Experts recommend reheating food to a temperature of 165F for food safety purposes.
- Use a gallon size zip lock bag to marinade the chicken, as this allows for easy clean up. I especially love to use this if grilling the chicken outside. Add all marinade ingredients to the bag, then add the chicken and seal shut. Mix around with your hands until the chicken is coated.
- Feel free to play around with the ingredients of this recipe. If you prefer a stronger spice flavor, add more of the spices!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Type of Yogurt to Use?
Make sure to use a plain yogurt- avoid any flavors, including vanilla flavor. This recipe works best with a Greek yogurt that is made from whole milk. You can also use Greek yogurt made from 2% milk or plain whole milk yogurt.
How Do I know When the Chicken Is Done?
Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165F. This can be tested by sticking a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. Since cook times often vary based on the thickness of the chicken, it is best to use a meat thermometer to test the doneness.
What Type Of Chicken Should I use?
The recipe calls for chicken breast, however this will also work with chicken thighs, wings or drumsticks. The cooking time will need to be adjusted based on the cut of meat.
Can I Prep this Recipe Ahead of Time?
To prep this recipe ahead of time, combine all marinade ingredients in an air tight container. Store in the refrigerator for 2 days. Wait to add the chicken until 24 hours before use.
This recipe makes 6 servings, which is about 3-4 ounces of cooked chicken. One serving contains 272 calories and 39 grams of protein.
This recipe is considerer low carb, as it contains only 3 grams of carb per serving. It does contain 700 mg of sodium, which may be high for some individuals. Decrease the sodium content by eliminating any added salt in the marinade or by not adding the Parmesan cheese.
This recipe is considered gluten free, as it does not contain any wheat products. Always double check the labels to be sure!
The recipe can be made dairy free by using a lactose free yogurt. The parmesan also contains dairy, so this would need to be omitted or substituted with nutritional yeast.
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Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken breast boneless and skinless
- 1 cup greek yogurt 2% milk fat
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice about ½ of a lemon
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Prepare your chicken breast by cutting or pounding to the desired thickness. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, olive oil, oregano, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Mix well.
- Add the chicken. Use a fork to mix the chicken breast with the marinade until fully coated.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator. Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and add the chicken.
- Pour any remaining marinade over the top. Cover with foil, and seal tightly around the edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches a temperature of 165F.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately.