How to Marinate Chicken

Before you marinate a chicken, you need to determine if you want to just add flavor, tenderize the meat, or both. The following tips will help.

Flavoring marinades do exactly what they should -- add flavor. Marinating times for chicken can range from just 15 minutes to several hours.

Marinating chicken pieces in a resealable plastic food storage bag makes for easy clean up.
Marinating chicken pieces in a resealable plastic food storage bag
 makes for easy cleanup.


Tenderizing marinades include an acidic ingredient such as wine, vinegar, yogurt, tomatoes, lemon juice, and lime juice, combined with herbs, seasonings, and oil. Some fruits also contain tenderizing enzymes. These include pineapple, papaya, kiwi, and figs.

Don't use an aluminum container with a highly acidic marinade. The acid can cause a chemical reaction.
Don't use an aluminum container with a highly acidic marinade. The acid
can cause a chemical reaction.

Knowing how to flatten a chicken can come in handy for certain recipes. Learn how on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Chicken Recipes: Chicken is a very versatile food that can take on a variety of different flavors and be used in all kinds of dishes. Find some suggestions on our Chicken Recipes page. 
  • Chicken Safety: Since raw chicken can harbor harmful bacteria, it's important to know how to properly handle chicken in the kitchen. Learn chicken safety tips in this article. 
  • How to Cook Chicken: Get all the facts on cooking this popular poultry on our How to Cook Chicken page.
  • Cooking Chicken: Cooking chicken can be a bit difficult because it's imperative that the meat is cooked all the way through. Gather helpful tips at HowStuffWorks.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.