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Mustard garlic lime marinated chicken on a white dinner plate with asparagus spears and a fork

Mustard, Garlic, Lime Marinated Chicken Breasts

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These Mustard, Garlic, Lime Marinated Chicken Breasts will rock your world. Tender and flavorful, you’ll want to grill this spectacular chicken all summer long!

This is seriously the BEST chicken marinade. The results are juicy and outrageously tasty! Add this recipe for the perfect marinated chicken breasts for grilling to your menu ASAP.

A sliced chicken breast on a white dinner plate with asparagus

Why You Should Make this Chicken Breast Marinade

  • This easy chicken marinade infuses delicious flavor into your chicken.
  • It adds moisture so lessens the chance of dry chicken.
  • It’s super easy to make, but you do need to allow 6 hours for the marinade to infuse into the meat.

I admit I’m a bit of a food snob. I pore over the bell peppers at the market, looking for the most vibrant, unblemished option. I search out fragrant berries and open the packages one by one to find the most perfect, unmarred fruit. I’m sure the produce folks roll their eyes when they see me coming.

When I added these mustard, garlic, lime-marinated chicken breasts to our dinner menu, I was picky about the meat I chose. After picking out the best quality chicken within your budget, using the best chicken marinade is key. My family loved this simple combination of lime, mustards, brown sugar, and cider vinegar. And I loved how easy it was to throw together!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Marinate Chicken?

Yes! Though a simple dusting of salt and pepper is delicious, using a marinade helps infuse flavor into your chicken and keep it moist.

What Does Marinating Chicken Do?

Marinating is a simple technique of soaking food in a seasoned liquid. Through the process of osmosis, this process both infuses flavors into your meat and tenderizes the tougher cuts.

Can You Freeze Marinating Chicken?

Yes, but freeze immediately after placing the chicken and the marinade in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, sealing and agitating to coat each piece. This will prevent the marinating process from starting until you are ready to defrost and cook the chicken.

You can store your marinated, uncooked chicken in the freezer for up to 6 months.

 

Overhead view of marinated chicken and sides on a white dinner plate with a fork and lime wedges

How to Marinate Chicken

  1. First, mix together the marinade ingredients and add to a large Ziploc bag.
  2. Add the thawed chicken breasts to the bag.
  3. Next, remove any excess air, seal the bag and agitate it to coat the chicken thoroughly.
  4. Pop the bag into the fridge to soak up the delicious flavors for about 6 hours, flipping at least once.
  5. This marinade mixture of cider vinegar, lime juice, Dijon and grainy mustard, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil plus salt and pepper had 6 hours to infuse into the chicken before I lit our charcoal grill.
  6. Any longer than 6 hours and the acid in the marinade can start to break down the proteins in the chicken. It won’t be a disaster if you go over the 6 hours, but leaving your boneless chicken in the marinade for a few days is not advised. Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts are a bit hardier.
  7. Grill until the internal temperature reaches 160º. I prefer to pull it off at 150º, cover it with foil for 10 minutes so the juices can be reabsorbed and the carryover heat brings the temperature up those last 10º.
  8. Either method is fine. The goal is to cook the chicken to the temperature that will kill any bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
2 chicken breasts on a dinner plate with asparagus spears and a bamboo handle fork

Tips for Marinating Chicken

  • First up, buy good quality chicken. I go to my meat market where they trim the boneless skinless chicken breasts so they’re ready to go. You can also purchase organic chicken breasts at the grocery store at the meat counter or prepackaged out of the case, but make sure to check the expiration date. Fresher is better.
  • Brining or marinating chicken allows for flavors to infuse into the chicken meat by the process of osmosis. Remember high school chemistry? Or have you tried to forget?! Anyway, soaking your chicken in a flavorful marinade will help tenderize as well as add lovely flavor nuances.
  • PRO-Tip: Check your marinade for these components: Acid, like citrus juice or vinegar, will tenderize by breaking down the protein fibers. Oil, but not too much, or your fire will flare up, will keep the chicken moist! Flavorful Ingredients and Aromatics, like mustard, garlic, onions, shallots, herbs, will help take your chicken from ordinary to extraordinary. Salt or salty liquids like soy sauce or Worcestershire are needed for the osmosis process! Soy sauce and Worcestershire also contribute umami, also known as the 5th or savory category of taste. Salt is a known flavor enhancer, too.
  • Beef, pork, and lamb can handle a longer marinating time. Chicken only needs about 6 hours and seafood much less.
  • Bring your chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling to take the chill off.  The chicken will cook more evenly if not icy cold. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium, about 425º.
  • Because of the oil and bit of sugar in the marinade, your chicken can char or fire flare-up easily. Indirect heat works best, especially with a charcoal fire where you can’t just turn down the heat.
  • With a charcoal grill, have the coals to one side so the chicken can be cooked over the less fiery area.
  • Cook your chicken to an internal temperature of about 160º as there will be some carryover cooking time.
  • Let the grilled chicken rest under foil for 5-10 minutes, then serve! Such an easy, delicious option for our evening meal!

More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

This recipe was first shared in August 2014. Photos and text were updated in 2021.

A sliced chicken breast on a white dinner plate with asparagus

The Recipe: Mustard, Garlic, Lime Marinated Chicken Breasts

These Mustard, Garlic, Lime Marinated Chicken Breasts will rock your world. Tender and flavorful, you’ll want to grill this spectacular chicken all summer long!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Instructions

  1. In a gallon zip lock bag, thoroughly mix all marinade ingredients.
  2. Place chicken in the mixture. Seal the bag and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Grill chicken till no longer pink inside or until it reaches 165 degrees. If using charcoal, use indirect heat as the oil and sugar will burn quickly.
  4. You may boil leftover marinade to serve alongside chicken.

Notes

Note: Chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. You may pull it off the grill at 155 degrees if you cover and let it rest before eating to allow carryover heat to bring it up to 165 degrees. Make sure you recheck the temperature to be safe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 597mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 38g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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72 comments on “Mustard, Garlic, Lime Marinated Chicken Breasts”

  1. The produce department people know me, too. 🙂 Which is actually a good thing — they’ll often point me to things that are particularly good that day. Anyway, this is a great recipe for chicken — sounds so flavorful. And the chicken looks so moist! Thanks.

  2. I usually have no luck with chicken breast…they always came out dry and not as tender as I would love. Yours looks really juicy and flavourful.

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