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Herby Grilled Chicken

Updated: 5/19/23 10:15 amPublished: 8/26/19
By Catherine Newman

Catherine Newman offers an endlessly adaptable recipe for grilled chicken, and makes the case for why you don’t need to go through the trouble to marinate your chicken ahead of time.

At some point, I stopped marinating chicken because, honestly? You get the most flavor from a marinade if you put it on the chicken after it’s cooked. I don’t know what you call an after-the-fact marinade, but you’ll love how vibrant and zesty the chicken turns out when you make it this way. Please note that the ingredients here are totally flexible: You can use lemon and/or lime, you can use shallots, scallions, and/or garlic, and you can use any herbs you like. In the summer I use basil, mint, and cilantro; in the fall I use parsley and tarragon; in the winter I often just use the leaves from inside a bunch of celery – but you could even use a few hearty pinches of dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano, or marjoram.

If it’s not grilling season – or if you don’t grill – feel free to broil the chicken in the oven instead, rubbing it with oil after seasoning it, and cooking it 3-5 minutes per side.

Herby Grilled Chicken

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 3 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 package skinless, boneless chicken breasts (around 1½ pounds), trimmed of extra fat
  • Kosher salt (or regular salt)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon or lime
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons or limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or put through a garlic press, and/or 1 finely chopped shallot or 3 finely slivered scallions
  • Black pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, all one type or a mixture of 2-3: parsley, mint, dill, basil, cilantro, and chives, plus smaller amounts of tarragon, thyme, marjoram, and/or oregano


  1. Salt the chicken well on both sides. Preheat the grill on high and oil it. Turn the burners that you’ll be cooking over down to medium; leave the others (if there are any) on high.
  2. Put the chicken on the grill and cover. Cook for 3 minutes, then rotate the chicken a little bit (for those nice grill marks) and cook 3 minutes more. Turn the chicken over and repeat the cooking and rotating, aiming for around 10 minutes of cooking altogether. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for a minute or two.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt) and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Slice the rested chicken, put it on a platter, and pour the sauce over it.

Photo credits: iStockPhoto (top); Catherine Newman (bottom)

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About the authors

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop... Read the full bio »