Italian Chicken Marinade

This Italian Chicken Marinade is bursting with garlicky, herby flavors, rounded out with nutty parmesan cheese. The ingredients for this chicken marinade are probably right in your pantry and fridge, making it super easy to throw together. You can cook this chicken on the grill or in the oven, too! Either way you’re going to end up with the most delicious, tangy, juicy chicken you’ve ever tasted!

sliced chicken breast on cutting board with marinade

Why We Love This Italian Chicken Marinade Recipe

Instead of opening a bottle of Italian dressing that you grabbed from the store, try making our Italian Chicken Marinade instead. We promise you that it’s the BEST chicken you’re ever going to taste.

Not only is it bursting with flavors from fresh garlic and fresh parsley, but it also has that tangy, nutty flavor from parmesan cheese. The parmesan cheese in this marinade makes the most delicious crust on the chicken when it’s grilled or baked, you’re going to love it.

Mega addicting, juicy, tangy chicken that you’re going to want to make over and over again.

Ingredients For Italian Chicken Marinade

Head to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full measurements and details, but we’re going to lay them our here for easy reference, too.

ingredients for italian chicken marinade
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The flavor of extra virgin olive oil adds a more bold and vibrant taste to the chicken rather than using an oil with less taste.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: You can also use white wine vinegar in this marinade, but red wine vinegar has a little more zip to it.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: Our Italian Chicken Marinade is unique because of this ingredient right here. I haven’t seen it added to other marinade recipes and I’m not sure why. Parmesan cheese adds such a delicious, nutty flavor to the crust of this chicken – it’s what gives it the most addicting flavor.
  • Fresh Parsley: Parsley is majorly underrated in my opinion. We love the fresh, herby bite that cuts through the richer flavors like the extra virgin olive oil and the parmesan cheese.
  • Garlic: Definitely use fresh garlic here, not jarred garlic. Fresh garlic has a much stronger flavor than jarred and we’re looking for big, bold flavors for this chicken marinade.
  • Seasonings: Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper finish off the flavor profile.

How To Make

Making this chicken marinade is as easy as whisking all of the ingredients together and pouring into a resealable plastic bag or a glass container. You can add up to 2 pounds of chicken breasts, thighs or chicken pieces on the bone.

marinade in a plastic bag with chicken

How Long Should Chicken Marinate?

The answer to that really depends on what kind of marinade that you’re using. If the marinade is very acidic then you’re not going to want to leave the chicken to marinate for longer than 4 hours. The acid in the marinade recipe can make the texture of the chicken soft or mushy if left for too long.

However, this Italian Chicken Marinade isn’t very acidic, only the red wine vinegar accounts for the acidity. Therefore, we have found that it’s totally fine to let the chicken marinade for quite a good amount of time. for the best flavor. Minimum of 4 hours or up to overnight (which is preferred) will impart great flavor to the chicken.

sliced chicken breasts on a wooden cutting board

Tips For Success!

  • Use The Best Ingredients: It’s really important to use the best ingredients in this marinade for the best flavor. Like we mentioned above, fresh is best. Fresh garlic, fresh parsley, good quality parmesan cheese (not the kind in a can) and flavorful extra virgin olive oil.
  • Marinate The Chicken As Long As Possible: The longer you marinate this chicken, the better it’s going to taste. Up to 12 hours is the maximum that we’d leave the chicken in this marinade, but anything over 8 hours is definitely recommended.
  • Take The Chill Off: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before cooking to take the chill off the chicken so that it cooks up quicker.
  • Cook The Chicken To The Right Temperature: Have an instant read thermometer handy. Cook the chicken until it reads about 155-160 degrees. Remove the chicken from the grill to a platter and cover with foil. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting. This Italian Chicken Marinade does help keep the chicken moist, but over cooking the chicken will definitely dry it out.
grilled chicken breasts on a white platter with parsley

Cooking Methods

You can enjoy this marinated chicken all year long, no matter what the season. We love making this chicken on the grill, but the oven, stove top and air fryer all work wonderfully!

  • Grill Instructions: Preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Let most of the marinade drip off of the chicken before adding to greased grill grates. There is some oil in the marinade so it may cause the grill to flare up at first, so keep an eye on the chicken for the first few minutes. Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 1550-160 degrees. Remove the chicken from the grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
  • Oven Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken in to a baking dish along with some of the marinade and baked for 25-30 minutes, turning over once in between cooking until the temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees. Since the marinade has been cooked, you can use it as a sauce to serve with the chicken.
  • Air Fryer Instructions: Preheat the air fryer (if needed) to 375 degrees. Dry most of the marinade off the chicken and then spray the basket of the air fryer with non-stick cooking spray. Place the chicken in the basket in a single layer and cook for 7-8 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 7-8 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken breasts are. Again, use a thermometer to check that the thickest part of the chicken registers at 165 degrees.
grilled chicken breast sliced on board with parsley

What To Serve On The Side

Besides enjoying this delicious chicken as is, you can use it as a base for many different recipes like a Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, or to toss in any salad recipe. Our boys love using this chicken to make bowls with rice, beans and vegetables.

Slice the chicken and serve it in burritos or tacos, or to make chicken quesadillas. Or if you’re planning on enjoying this chicken as is, here’s a few side dish options!

grilled, marinated chicken breast sliced on a cutting board

Looking For More Chicken Marinade Recipes?

sliced chicken breast on cutting board with marinade

Italian Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup of marinade 1x

This Italian Chicken Marinade make the most juicy, tangy, delicious chicken you’ve ever tasted! Throw it on the grill or bake it in the oven, either way it’s going to be the best chicken dinner ever!



  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk together to combine.
  2. Place up to 2 pounds of chicken (boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks) into a glass dish or a resealable bag.
  3. Pour the marinade over the chicken, turning to coat the chicken completely in the marinade.
  4. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours (overnight).
  5. See the full post for ways to cook and serve the chicken.

Recipe Notes

This Italian Chicken Marinade makes enough to marinate up to 2 pounds of chicken.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

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