Onion Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

May 31, 2016
2 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Grilled chicken breasts can be a great weeknight main, but they can be a bit bland. I decided to try an onion marinade to see if it would add some needed flavor. I had previously made the delicious Grilled Beef Skirt Steak With Onion Marinade and Chimichurri from “Around the Fire” by Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton:
I thought the marinade would work well with chicken breasts, so I gave it a go and was quite happy with the result. The marinade is quick to make and can be done the night before or before leaving for work in the morning. When you're ready to eat, supper can be on the table in about 30 minutes including time to heat the grill. I served it with grilled asparagus and a quick strawberry salsa fresca (diced strawberries, half moons of green onion, fresh mint and thyme, minced jalepeno, lime juice and salt to taste). Yum! —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • 4 approximately 8-oz chicken breasts
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 1 medium to large shallot
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond brand)
  • extra virgin olive oil, smoked sea salt, and lemon wedges for serving
  1. Remove fat from chicken breasts if needed. Sandwich each breast in plastic wrap, and pound into an even 1/2-inch thickness. Transfer the breasts to a gallon zippered plastic bag.
  2. Roughly chop the onion (you should have about 3/4 cup) and the shallot (you should have about 2 tablespoons). Combine the onion, shallot, olive oil, water, thyme, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the marinade into the the bag with the chicken. Express the air from the bag, then gently massage and manipulate until all of the chicken breasts are coated. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  3. Prepare your grill for high heat, direct cooking. While the grill is heating remove the chicken from the fridge. Grill the chicken breasts (the marinade will cling, do not scrape it off), uncovered, for 2 to 4 minutes on each side (charcoal 2-3 minutes, gas 3-4 minutes). Take care not to overcook the chicken.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of smoked sea salt, and spritz of lemon juice. If you're feeling fancy, top with your favorite fruit salsa or strawberry salsa fresca.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Niknud
  • hardlikearmour
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

2 Reviews

Niknud May 31, 2016
strawberry salsa fresca!?! How is it that I have never heard of this? I want it in my mouth right now! This whole recipe sounds delicious. Did the marinade make your fridge smell strongly of onions - would you recommend a double bag?
hardlikearmour May 31, 2016
A double bag or placing the marinating bag into another sealed container is not a bad idea. I didn't have any trouble with onion odor, but you can't be too safe :-). The Hood strawberries are in season here -- they are red through and through so it was a pretty spectacular looking salsa.