Let’s talk about taking your chicken dinner game from “meh” to “OMG, yum!” with our roundup of 10 Whole30 Chicken Marinade recipes. Whether you have boneless chicken breasts or juicy bone-in thighs on hand, we’re here to prove that chicken doesn’t have to be boring!

What’s the secret? Marinades! They’re like flavor superheroes for chicken, swooping in to save the day (and dinner!). With a batch of marinated chicken in your fridge (or freezer), you’ve got a ticket to Fast Meal City, population: you.

Whole30 compatible marinades mean no sugar, dairy, alcohol, or nasty additives in sight. These recipes are your trusty sidekicks for taking the stress out of Whole30 meal prep. We’re talking easy, tasty, AND entirely Whole30-friendly. What’s not to love?

And the best part? Each marinade recipe is incredibly easy to whip up in five minutes or less—no cooking required! Stir up the ingredients, drop in your chicken, and let it soak up all that phenomenal flavor for 30 minutes to 24 hours. Next, bake, air fry, or grill your way to flavor town! Each recipe can accommodate 1 to 1.5 pounds of chicken but can be halved or multiplied to suit your needs.

Plus, these Whole30 chicken marinade recipes are all freezer-friendly. Pop them into reusable zip-top bags (we love Stasher Bags!), air-tight containers, or ziplock bags.

Cooking Instructions

  1. WHISK together all the ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl.
  2. ADD chicken and combined marinade into a zip-top reusable bag or glass container. Seal or cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours.
  3. NOTE Chicken should not be left to marinate for over 24 hours, as raw chicken will begin to break down and become mushy.

GRILL

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill with oil so the chicken won’t stick. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side until chicken has sear marks and is cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 °F. Remove from the grill and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes to let juices redistribute before cutting.

OVEN BAKE

Preheat your oven to 425 °F. Pour the marinade and chicken into a 9×9 pan. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside or has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

AIR FRY

Add the chicken to your air fryer basket and air fry at 400 °F for 9-10 minutes, flipping halfway if the chicken is overlapping at all. Cook until lightly browned and is no longer pink inside or has reached an internal temperature of 165 °F. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

FREEZE

Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade in either a sealed reusable zip-top bag or a glass container with a lid. No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer.

  • Lay each bag flat in the freezer to save space and for quicker defrosting, but feel free to shuffle around once frozen solid.)
  • Label with a sharpie (for disposable bags) or dry-erase markers, water-based paint pens, or dry-erase crayons (for reusable bags or containers).

The frozen chicken in the marinade does need to be thawed fully before cooking, so be sure to pull it out the night before you want to cook.

Whole30 Jerk Chicken Marinade

Whole30 Jerk Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 3 stalks green onion
  • 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Whole30 Cilantro Lime Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 4 cloves garlic (about 2 tsp minced)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Tandoori Chicken Marinade

Whole30 Tandoori Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup compatible dairy-free yogurt
  • 3 tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic minced (about 2 tsp)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Southwest Chicken Marinade

Whole30 Southwest Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about two small limes)
  • 1/3 cup avocado or olive oil
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Orange Five-Spice Chicken Marinade

Orange 5 Spice Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 large orange, zest of
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Pineapple BBQ Chicken Marinade

Whole30 BBQ Pineapple Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/3 cup 100% pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke optional
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Lemon Pepper Chicken Marinade

Whole30 Lemon Pepper Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
  • 1-1.5 lbs pounds chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Citrus Ginger Chicken Marinade

Recipe by Brian Kavanagh, photo by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1-1.5 lbs pounds chicken thighs or breasts

Pesto Chicken Marinade

Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup roasted almonds
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1-1.5 lbs pounds chicken thighs or breasts

Whole30 Italian Chicken Marinade

Recipe by Brian Kavanagh, photo by Autumn Michaelis

Ingredients

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-1.5 lbs pounds chicken thighs or breasts

Want even more amazing Whole30 Chicken Marinade recipes? Check out this roundup by Laura Miner of Cook at Home Kitchen!

Published by Liz Parrent

Liz Parrent is Whole30's Senior Content Marketing Manager. She comes to Whole30 with over a decade of CPG and content marketing experience in the health and wellness space. Having been a part of Primal Kitchen's founding and pre-acquisition team, Liz holds a deep passion for the Whole30 community and the transformative power of a whole foods-focused lifestyle.

Whole30 Recipes Senior Manager, Liz Parrent sitting down in a white shirt smiling at the camera.

Liz Parrent

Senior Manager, Whole30 Recipes

Liz Parrent is Whole30's Senior Content Marketing Manager. She comes to Whole30 with over a decade of CPG and content marketing experience in the health and wellness space. Having been a part of Primal Kitchen's founding and pre-acquisition team, Liz holds a deep passion for the Whole30 community and the transformative power of a whole foods-focused lifestyle.