This delicious Greek chicken is wonderfully flavored with a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs.
It's wonderful on its own, and it also makes a welcome addition to many types of salads. The leftovers are great too!
One of my favorite restaurants is a Greek restaurant in San Francisco called Kokkari Estiatorio.
Having eaten there frequently for over a decade, I learned to love the classic Greek flavor combination of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs.
Here's an overview of the ingredients you'll need to make this chicken recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below.
- Olive oil: A staple in Greek cuisine, this delicious oil adds so much flavor. Make sure to use high-quality oil.
- Lemon juice: It's best to use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Garlic: If possible, use freshly minced garlic cloves rather than jarred minced garlic. I tried both options and fresh garlic is much better.
- Dried herbs: I use dried thyme and dried oregano.
- Lemon: Lightly grilled, it makes a great addition to the chicken. If you want a milder flavor, you can use a Meyer lemon.
- Olive oil spray: For the lemon slices. Or you could simply brush them with a little olive oil.
- Chicken: I use boneless skinless chicken breasts in this recipe.
- Salt and pepper: I use kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Parsley: Used for garnish.
A good way to vary this recipe is to make it with boneless skinless chicken thighs. They're actually juicier and tastier than chicken breast.
They'll cook faster since they're not as thick as a chicken breast, so keep an eye on them. When I use them, they typically only need 4 minutes per side on the grill over medium heat.
As always, the best way to ensure they're done is by using a thermometer. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F.
Greek Chicken Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here's an overview of the steps:
Your first step is to prepare the marinade by mixing together olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, thyme, and oregano. Once the marinade is ready, transfer it to a resealable bag. (Photo 1).
Cut a few shallow slits across the top of the chicken pieces. This will help the marinade better penetrate. Now, place the chicken in the bag, seal the bag, and marinate the chicken at room temperature for 20 minutes. (Photos 2-3).
Meanwhile, spray the lemon slices on both sides with olive oil and set them aside. (Photo 4).
Remove the chicken from the marinade and season it with salt and pepper. (Photo 5).
Grill the chicken until cooked through (its internal temperature in the thickest part should reach 165°F), about 7 minutes per side over medium heat for 8-oz chicken breasts. To grill the lemon slices, add them midway through cooking the chicken. (Photos 6-7).
Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving it with the grilled lemon slices. (Photo 8).
It's really important to let the chicken rest for a minimum of 5 minutes before slicing it. This helps ensure that the juices will settle and redistribute and helps keep the chicken nice and juicy.
As you can see in the video below, after a proper rest time, almost no juices escape the chicken when I slice it.
Yes. You can bake the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
I don't recommend that. Marinating achieves two goals: it helps flavor the chicken and make it juicier; and it also helps it come closer to room temperature, ensuring even cooking.
If the chicken is very cold, the outside might get burned before the inside is fully cooked.
I prefer to grill it gently because I use herbs in the marinade, and those can burn when cooked over high or even medium-high heat.
Greek chicken is wonderfully versatile and can go with many different side dishes. If you have enough space on your grill, you can serve it with a grilled vegetable such as grilled zucchini or grilled eggplant.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.
Reheat them very gently so as not to dry out the chicken. Or better yet, serve them cold as a salad topping or with some fresh-cut veggies and pickles.
More Chicken Recipes
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- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 lemon sliced and seeded
- Olive oil spray
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 lb.)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped, for garnish
- Prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, thyme, and oregano. Transfer the marinade to a resealable bag.
- Cut 3-4 shallow slits on top of each chicken breast. Place the chicken in the bag. Use clean hands to coat the chicken well. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Marinate the chicken at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Spray the lemon slices on both sides with olive oil. Set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the bag with the marinade. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat a lightly greased grill pan over medium heat. Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill. Grill them until browned on the bottom, about 7 minutes.
- Turn the chicken pieces over and add the lemon slices to the pan. Continue cooking the chicken until it's fully cooked, about 7 more minutes. Flip the lemon slices midway through cooking.
- Remove the chicken from the grill onto a cutting board. Cover it with foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Slice it, top it with chopped parsley, and serve it with the grilled lemon slices.
- It's best to use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. I wrote this recipe for 8 oz chicken breasts. If yours are much bigger, they will need more time on the grill.
- It's important to let the chicken rest for a minimum of 5 minutes before slicing it. This helps ensure that the juices will settle and redistribute and helps keep the chicken nice and juicy.