With a blend of sesame oil, orange juice, and simple aromatics, this Citrus Ginger Chicken Marinade is an easy way to up-level a meal. Whether you’re firing up the grill, heating up the oven, or using an air fryer, we’ve got you covered with simple instructions for each method.

We love that this main dish is not only Whole30 but naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and egg-free. Perfect for an allergen-friendly meal!

Citrus Ginger Marinade Ingredients


We like to start by combining all the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Then, give it a nice vigorous shake until everything is mixed well. Next, add the marinade to chicken breasts or thighs and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours for an even more intense flavor infusion. Note: Chicken should not be left to marinate for over 24 hours, as it will begin to break down and become mushy.

Tips and Tricks:

You can use bone-in chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts with this marinade. For chicken breasts, we recommend using pounding them into thinner, uniform pieces. Or, you can cut them in half horizontally for quicker and more even cooking. You can also pierce each chicken breast with a fork a few times to help the marinade infuse the chicken even more.

Whole30 Citrus Ginger Chicken Marinade
Photos by Autumn Michaelis

If you are meal prepping, you can throw it into the freezer to pull out on a busy week. Marinated chicken can go straight into the freezer after combining the chicken with the marinade. We use reusable zip-top bags or glass containers with a lid, but a ziplock bag works just as well! (No need to marinate it before freezing, as it will marinate in the freezer and as it thaws.)

This flavorful recipe pairs wonderfully as an alternative protein for this Asian-inspired entree salad or added to our Citrus Crunch Salad for a hearty, complete meal!

Whole30 Citrus Ginger Chicken

Whole30 Citrus Ginger Chicken
Recipe & photos by Autumn Michaelis
Whole30 Citrus Ginger Chicken

Whole30 Citrus Ginger Chicken

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Sauce

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

Instructions
 

  • WHISK together all the ingredients except the chicken in a medium bowl.
  • 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.
  • TO GRILL – Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grill with oil so the chicken won’t stick. Cook for 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.
  • TO 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. 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.
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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.

Autumn Michaelis

Recipe Creator | Whole Food for 7

Autumn Michaelis is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, with a B.S. in Exercise Science from BYU. Though exercise was her first love in the health world, nutrition has become her passion. She created the blog Wholefoodfor7, sharing easy and budget-friendly Whole30, Paleo, and gluten-free + dairy-free recipes for families. In August 2022, Autumn released the newest Whole30 Endorsed cookbook, Whole Food for Your Family. She is mom to 5 boys (yes 5!) and when not in the kitchen can be found adventuring, hiking, and tearing up the dance floor.