Honey balsamic chicken marinade is a fast and easy way to get tender, flavorful chicken that will taste like it’s been marinating for days.
When I think of easy weeknight meals, marinating chicken is not the first type of recipe that comes to mind. It seems like a long process, and the idea of making your own marinade from scratch is intimidating. That’s why I reluctantly tried this recipe.
J takes grilled chicken to work every day for lunch; he grills up a batch once a week. I’d been marinating his chicken in salad dressing and his favorite was balsamic vinaigrette. Until we ran out of dressing.
I tried this recipe and J said he loved it. I tried it again with my own tweaks and adjustments and he said it’s the best grilled chicken he’s ever had. Seriously. Now, not only do I not have to buy salad dressing to use as marinade, but I also have a mouthwatering recipe that we can use any night of the week.
Here’s what makes this honey balsamic chicken marinade so special: it contains balsamic vinegar, which actually helps to break down the chicken and leave it more tender in a shorter amount of time. In addition, the ingredients hit all the right flavor notes. The honey and ketchup provide a backdrop of sweetness, the vinegar brings the acid, and the paprika and red pepper flakes introduce just the right amount of heat.
We prefer to grill our chicken. The heat of the grill seals in the juicy flavors and carmelizes the outside of the chicken. Don’t worry though, there’s really no wrong way to prepare chicken that’s been bathed in this marinade.
Honey Balsamic Chicken Marinade
adapted from Homemade Hooplah
(I use this marinade for two pounds of chicken; adjust amounts to meet your needs)
2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. ketchup
2 tbs. honey
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Place chicken in a gallon-size zip top bag and pour marinade over the top. Marinate for at least an hour, or overnight. Cook chicken whatever way you prefer.