Lemon-Garlic Herb Rubbed Chicken

Come summer time we literally eat some variation of this Lemon-Garlic Herb Rubbed Chicken at least once a week at our house. It’s a great way to use up garden herbs and is totally flexible according to what you have on hand. The marinade is a snap to whip up and goes great with chicken, fish, pork, steak and even corn on the cob or vegetables you want to grill. I hope this one becomes a go-to at your house as well!

Ingredient Notes

  • Fresh Herbs – I like to use a mix of basil, rosemary, and oregano. In the summer I usually have an abundance of all three, but any two work fine. It’s also a great thing to make if your herbs are getting a bit wilted, they’ll still work great here. I try to at least always use rosemary in there, but you can mix and match with any herbs you have on hand. If you don’t have a garden, the little packs of fresh herbs in the produce section work just as well, especially if you have a random assortment leftover from another recipe. Dried herbs are not recommended.
  • Meat and Vegetables – I’ve written up the recipe for chicken, but this marinade is delicious on pretty much any cut of meat you might throw on the grill. The fresh flavors go well with chicken, steak, pork, or fish. It’s delicious on grilled vegetables as well- peppers, onions, squash, mushrooms, and even corn on the cob.

How to Make Lemon-Garlic Herb Rubbed Chicken

1. Mix up minced garlic, finely minced herbs, a little salt and pepper, and the zest and juice from one large lemon (or a couple of smaller ones).  Then mix in some olive oil.

If you have a mini food processor (like, mini mini.  I use one that attaches to my immersion blender) I suggest blending it all together so it’s more the consistency of a pesto, but you can also just chop your herbs super finely.

2. Place meat in a zip top bag and cover with marinade. Since they don’t marinate very long, I like to pound out or butterfly large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so you get maximum flavor and they cook fast, or use chicken tenders, as I’m doing in these photos.

Lemon garlic herb rubbed chicken ocess collage: marinade in a bowl, chicken in a bag, and chicken on the grill.

3. When you place the chicken on the grill, scrape out any leftover garlic-herb mixture and pour it on top.  Grill for just a few minutes on each side, until an instant read thermometer reads 165° F in the thickest part of the chicken.  It’s very important you only flip the chicken one time.  If you flip it too soon, the flavors won’t have time to form a crust and you’ll end up with dry, flavorless chicken.  Or it will get stuck to the grill grates and just tear off.

Checking the temperature of chicken on the grill with a digital thermometer

4. It’s also especially great with grilled vegetables.  Just put a small spoonful of the herb mixture in with a bag of veggies and then drizzle a little more olive oil in there. Marinate for a few minutes, then toss on the grill in a grill basket.

Serving Suggestions

If you have grilled chicken and vegetables together, a simple side will suffice. Rice or Creamy Stovetop Mashed Potatoes would be delicious. Some light fresh sides that would go well are these Dressed Up Avocados or Homemade Caesar Salad. If you have leftover basil, you might want to try this Fresh Herb 

and Watermelon-Feta Salad for something different.

Lemon Garlic Herb Rubbed Chicken on a plate with white rice and roasted veggieswhite platter with lemon slices

FAQs

  • Can this recipe be made ahead of time? The marinade can definitely be made up to a day ahead of time. I don’t recommend marinating the meat in it for more than about 6-8 hours or the texture will suffer. It has such a quick marinade time, that it shouldn’t be much of a hassle to toss things together a few minutes before you hit the grill.
  • I love this recipe, but it’s not grilling season/I don’t have a grill. Can I make this inside? You can certainly make it on a grill pan, or even under the broiler in your oven. Just make sure your chicken is butterflied or pounded thin so it cooks thoroughly/quickly.
  • What do I do with leftovers? Reheated chicken often isn’t the best, but this chicken is delicious cold on a salad or in a wrap. Just store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and use within a couple of days.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, and then come back and give this recipe a rating!

Lemon garlic herb rubbed chicken on a white platter.

Lemon-Garlic Herb Rubbed Chicken

5 from 11 votes
An Our Best Bites summer staple! This garlic herb rub is perfect for grilled chicken and other meats, but is also wonderful rubbed on vegetables before hitting the grill.
Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced or pressed garlic
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons zested and juiced
  • 1/3-1/2 cup minced fresh herbs preferably a combo of basil, rosemary, and oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-6 tablespoons or more extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2-2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (see note)
  •  

Instructions

  • Combine garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper.  Add olive oil until mixture comes together like a thick sauce.  If you have a mini food processor, you can blend the mixture until it becomes the consistency of a chunky pesto.  Rub mixture over chicken and/or vegetables and let sit for 20-30 minutes.  When ready to cook, preheat outdoor grill or indoor grill pan.  Cook a few minutes on each side, turning only once, until done (Internal temp should be about 165 degrees).

Notes

Also great on steak, fish, or vegetables!
Keyword: bbq, beef, chicken, fish, garlic, grill, herb, lemon, marinades, sauces, vegetables
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!

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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    DELICIOUS! Came out juicy, beautifully crusted, and full of FLAVOR! It was soo pretty! I just HAD to leave a comment, this is the BEST marinade recipe I’ve ever made! I made one batch for 2 chicken breasts just to try it and ended up making two more batches that same day! COMPLETELY IN LOVE! My family HATES anything healthy, refuses to eat it, BUT, this was a hit! They all loved it, which is surprising since their really picky eaters! I felt like a celebrity eating at a 5 star restaurant while eating this, can’t believe how cheap and easy it was to make! Thanks so much, your brilliant!

  2. 5 stars
    This meal (lemon garlic herb rubbed chicken) was amazing! Honestly, the best thing I’ve ever cooked! Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    Have made this twice now and both times my husband has been very impressed and said it was a keeper. I marinated both the chicken and the veggies and the kids loved it too!

  4. Would this marinade be okay if I put it in a ziploc bag with the meat in the morning and cooked it after I got home from work? Or would 8 hours marinading in this be too long?

  5. 5 stars
    We made this for dinner tonight with a California chopped salad. It will be a staple around her for sure. Absolutely delicious!

  6. I didn’t anticipate how good this would be! Defrosting some extra chicken just to specially make this tomorrow! PS when you 165 degrees is that Celsius or Fahrenheit? UK reader over here

    xxo

  7. 5 stars
    I just made this for dinner tonight! I wasn’t able to grill, but I did it on the stove in a skillet and it turned out WONDERFUL. Amazing recipe. 😀

  8. This looks delicious and super easy! Your photos are making me hungry 😉 Thank you for sharing this with us. I will be making Tuesday night…XoXo

  9. 5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner and it was yummy! I actually used two large lemons for extra Lemmony-ness! I didn’t get the crusty stuff, but the flavors of lemon and the fresh herbs were like a party in our mouths! I decided that next time I want to try something with mint! Mint crusted chicken in the summer sounds divine!
    Thanks for the recipe!
    Oh P.S., it was my first time ever grilling! I think it was a great first time! I can only improve right?!

  10. 5 stars
    I used the marinade night before last and yes to a comment above you can do it in the oven. I used a whole chicken that I cut the backbone out of, aka spatchcocked, laid the chicken out flat over a bed of quarted potatoes, skin on, and slathered this amazing marinade over it. I had an appointment so I let it rest on the stove for 1 hour soaking up that amazing marinade and then my husband put it in the oven, uncovered, for 50 minutes at 400degrees. Perfection! Moist, juicy roast chicken with lots of lemon essence and the potatoes cook in the juice from the chicken and the olive oil. Perfect! Thanks for the amazing marinade recipe!

  11. Made this for dinner tonight! So incredibly delicious. I’ve been looking for a good garlic-herb chicken marinade to replace the super processed bottled stuff we use, and this is definitely it. Thanks for another great go-to recipe!!

  12. Made this last night on pork chops and it was SO good! I used fresh basil and rosemary from my garden. Yum! Thank you.

  13. Made this for dinner last night. I so loved that you didn’t have to let it marinade forever and could be done kinda last minute. However, hubby said he would have liked it to marinade longer for more flavor. It was divine! Definitely one we’re making again!

  14. Looks good! I’ll definitely give that a try with my oregano and rosemary that’s still alive from last year. I loved your picture of the dead plant surrounded by dandelions. Classic. 🙂

  15. Great tips for grilling — it’s hard to get that flip time and heat right so that you get the crust but don’t blacken too much. Can’t wait to start grilling!

  16. This looks delicious, but grilling isn’t an everyday option for us. Can you bake the chicken instead of grill? What temp and time would you use?

    Thanks!

    1. If you don’t grill it, I’d pop it in a hot saute pan. You want the herbs and garlic to get seared on and that will do the trick.

  17. This looks beautiful!! So excited to be using the herbs from the garden and this will be perfect!

  18. OH this reminds me of a dish we used to have in Germany when I was a kid…. but it was pan-fried and a little bit of the “marinade” was set aside to add to a bit of wine and cream. Talk about truly divine!! especially when grilled asparagus was served on the side. I think i need to make this up this week and then make a pretty recipe card to give to a young lady whose shower is this coming Sunday. Thanks!

    1. I HAVE mixed reserved marinade with cream before! I almost did that in this post and decided to keep it healthy. But I agree, so good!

      1. Oooh, guess who has a bit of cream left over that needs to get used? I am soooooo making this tonight!! (My tastebuds are positively jumping with excitement!) I’ll probably mix it up as a topping for the rice I’m planning on serving with it. Thanks for the idea!

  19. This looks divine! I love the look of the chicken veggie skewers. I’ll have to make some this week. A mortar and pestle would work well for bashing up all the marinade ingredients, very Jamie Oliver-esque!

  20. Agreed…the weather here has been a bit bi-polar lately. Not ready for the summer heat of SW Idaho yet…but definitely tired of all the rain lately! I am so going to use this recipe…I LOVE chicken on the grill, but have been looking for something a bit different than just the rubs and spices I’ve been using. Can’t wait to also do it with the veggies…

  21. Hi ladies! This looks delicious! I would love for you to do a post on meals to make for new (breastfeeding) moms. So many of my friends are having babies and I would love to make something that is easy on their baby’s tummy, but yummy and comforting for the mommy.

  22. “Hope this one becomes a go-to at your house as well!” I think it will! It looks a great reason to try growing herbs again. For some reason I have chives I can’t kill but I haven’t had luck with any others. Would a chive, onion, garlic, lemon combination work?

  23. Wow, that looks delicious! I’m finally growing my own herbs this year, so thanks for the recipe on how to use them!