Friday, September 04, 2015

Very Greek Grilled Chicken Recipe (Low-Carb, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Very Greek Grilled Chicken has all the flavors of Greek Chicken Souvlaki in a grilled chicken breast, and this is the most popular grilling recipe on the blog!

Very Greek Grilled Chicken found on
(For Friday Flashbacks I feature recipes that have been my personal favorites, and for Labor Day weekend I thought it would be fun to spotlight this Very Greek Grilled Chicken, which is the all-time most popular grilling recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen! And this blog has quite a few grilling recipes, so that's saying something. If you haven't tried this recipe yet, I hope it might be a good option for your weekend menu.)

I made this Very Greek Grilled Chicken for some very thoughtful people in my family back in 2010, and when I went to the blog to print out the recipe, I decided it was overdue for new photos! I came up with this grilled chicken with Greek flavors in in the very early days of my blog when I was experimenting to see what type of marinade would taste good on grilled chicken, and I've made it many, many times since then. Leftover grilled chicken is something I love to have in the fridge to throw on top of a salad or eat in a sandwich, so even if you're only cooking for a few people, I recommend making some extra.

If you're not that experienced with grilling chicken breasts, you might want to read my how-to post with 5 Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts. And if it's not quite grilling weather where you live, you can also cook this chicken in a stove-top grill pan with ridges or a George Foreman Grill with good results.

(Very Greek Grilled Chicken was updated April 2010 with better photos and step-by-step instructions and featured again in 2015 for Friday Flashbacks.)

Very Greek Grilled Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.comStart by trimming all visible fat and tendons from the chicken breasts. (I save all those scraps and use to make homemade chicken stock.

Very Greek Grilled Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.comMake crosswise slits (not too deep) down the length of each chicken breast. This helps the marinade to penetrate better and ensures that the thicker pieces of chicken cook more evenly.

Very Greek Grilled Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.comIf you have a fresh lemon, using lemon zest in this marinade really perks up the flavor, but it can definitely be made without it.

Very Greek Grilled Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.comWhisk together the marinade ingredients. (Using a measuring cup with a spout makes it easy to pour the marinade into the plastic bag.)

Very Greek Grilled Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.comI love to use Ziploc bags to marinate things, but you can also use a glass casserole dish if you'll be home to turn the chicken a few times. Let chicken marinate for 6-8 hours if you can. Grill chicken over medium-high heat and serve hot.

Very Greek Grilled Chicken found on KalynsKitchen.comVery Greek Grilled Chicken
(Makes 6-8 servings, recipe created by Kalyn with memories of Greece in mind.)

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Marinade Ingredients:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest or 1/4 tsp. dried lemon zest (or use a little more lemon juice if you don't have lemon zest)
1 tsp. Greek Seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
black pepper to taste

(If you're not that experienced grilling chicken, you might want to read 5 Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts before you make this.)

Trim all visible fat and membranes from chicken breasts, I like to make small crosswise slits about 1/2 inch apart down the length of each chicken breast to help the marinade penetrate the meat. Put chicken in single layer in Ziploc bag.

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinate in refrigerator 6-8 hours or all day if desired. (If you don't have that long to marinate I recommend increasing the lemon juice a little.)  When you're ready to cook, take chicken out of the marinade and let it come to room temperature if you have time.

To cook, spray the grill with non-stick spray or oil; then preheat to medium hot (you can only hold your hand there a few seconds at that heat.) Put chicken on grill top side down on the diagonal and cook about 4 minutes (or until you see grill marks when you lift up the edge.)  Rotate chicken pieces so they're going on the diagonal the other way and cook about 4 minutes more (until you see criss-cross grill marks.)

Turn chicken over and cook about 4-8 minutes on the other side, until chicken feels firm but not hard to the touch when you press on it with your fingers.  (Actual cooking time will vary depending on chicken temperature and how hot your grill is.  You can also test the doneness with an Instant-Read Meat Thermometer).

This chicken could also be cooked in a stove-top grill pan with ridges or a George Foreman Grill with good results.

Even if you're only cooking for a few people I recommend making the whole recipe. The leftover chicken is great to cut up on top of a salad, or mixed into some stir-fried veggies for a quick lunch.

South Beach/Low-Carb Suggestions:
Grilled chicken like this is great for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any type of Low-Carb eating plan, including Paleo.  For a low-carb meal, serve with something like Slow Roasted Asparagus, Many Peppers Greek Salad, or Grilled Zucchini, which could cook right along side the chicken on the grill.

More Grilled Chicken to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar from Kalyn's Kitchen

Grilled Chicken with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade from Kalyn's Kitchen

Grilled Lime and Chile Chicken with Mango and Red Bell Pepper Salsa from Kalyn's Kitchen

Red Chile Marinated Grilled Chicken from Simply Recipes

Peruvian Grilled Chicken from Andrea Meyers

Grilled Chicken Salad from The Perfect Pantry

Grilled Chicken Salad from Arabic Bites

Grilled Chicken Under a Brick from Pinch My Salt

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. I can't wait to try this one. I love Greek food.

  2. I've copied off several of your recipes, but haven't cooked too many, yet. I just haven't done much cooking lately.
    My only complaint is too much editorial in the recipe. I like to print them and put them on recipe cards and with all the comment it doesn't fit on one.
    I also think that this is a benefit to many others--especially if they don't cook very much--so you probably should keep up with the editorial. I'll just trim and paste mine!!
    I do absolutely love your sight--it is awesome. I love the red mixed in too--it adds to the interest for me when I'm reading the recipes.
    Love ya,

    1. I copy the ingredients and instructions. I create a new google doc and save them in my google drive. I have subfolders for seasoning blends, chicken, beef, pork, fish, vegetarian, side dishes, etc.

      Easy to access on my phone, tablet, laptop, or if I want to print them out, it comes out in a nice friendly format without a lot of unneeded info.

  3. Oh goodie! I love chicken and am always looking for new ways to cook it. This one sounds yummy! Thanks :)

  4. I love Greek chicken, I make mine in the crock pot and it's the only recipe taht makes my mouth water even before taking a bite. So good!

  5. Your stepmother must consider herself very lucky to have had such a birthday dinner!

  6. Lisa, we did have a nice dinner. She's a great stepmother so I'm happy I can do it for her.

  7. Kalyn - That looks delicious. And doesn't seem all that difficult to make (always a plus!).

  8. this sounds delicious... could i substitute a nice white fish for the chicken?

  9. Barbie2be, you could make this with fish and I bet it would taste great, but reduce the marinating time to 1-2 hours. Any longer than that and the lemon juice in the marinade will start to "cook" the fish. Let me know if you try it.

  10. This was the best chicken I have EVER had. I adore Greek food, eat a lot of it, and this was as good as a friend (who is Greek) made it. Thank you for the website! Wonderful!

  11. April, so glad you liked it.

  12. This hits all of my favorite flavors, and I love having it left over to shred on top of salad or toss with pasta. Once the grill is fired up, it's just as easy to make 10 chicken breasts as 2, so I always make a lot.

  13. I love the short ingredient list for this one. I'm sure those few ingredients pack a punch of flavor. You're making me yearn for summer.

  14. Pam - try copying and pasting the recipe into a word processor. it will make printing the actual recipe easier.

    Kalyn, this looks like another winner! I am going to make some of this this weekend for salads and pitas during the week.

  15. You wrote "Make crosswise slits (not too deep) down the length of each chicken breast. This helps the marinade to penetrate better and ensures that the thicker pieces of chicken cook more evenly."

    Great advice but isn't that slitting it across the width not down the length? Either way I'm sure it doesn't matter. Can't wait to try this. Thanks for the updated pictures.

  16. These are the updated pictures in this post! (You should have seen the old ones.)

    I thought that "crosswise" conveyed that the slits go across the breast, not lengthwise, but the picture should clarify it.

  17. This sounds really good. I'm always on the look out for new chicken marinades. However, I'm not familiar with Greek seasoning. What is in it? Can I make my own?

  18. Great photos.

    I love, love, love this recipe.

  19. I buy Greek seasoning online from Penzeys or The Spice House. The bottle I have right now doesn't list the ingredients, but I think it's mainly dried lemon, garlic, and oregano with a little salt. You could add any of those ingredients and it would probably turn out fine. You might also try googling, there could be a recipe out there for it.

    CJ, thanks!

  20. This chicken looks delicious! Definitely a recipe to add to my repertoire.

  21. So glad you added the grill pan comment as that was just what I was thinking as I was reading. This looks like a great little recipe for a change of seasonings ;-)

  22. "My only complaint is too much editorial in the recipe. I like to print them and put them on recipe cards and with all the comment it doesn't fit on one."


    Pam, scroll down to the bottom of the article. Sandwiched between the article and the header "South Beach Suggestions" is an "Printer Friendly Recipe" link in orange. Click on that for a very easy to print recipe. Hope that helps!

  23. CJ, thanks for clarifying that, but Pam left that comment back in 2005 when I didn't have the printer friendly version of the recipes. Glad to know that you have noticed the improvement!

  24. Very nice blog :) I make almost the same marinade, except that mine has fresh crushed garlic.

  25. We made this today and I agree, fresh, crushed garlic is the way to go. Delicious!

  26. The crust on your chicken looks amazing!

    I am wondering what is in your "Greek seasoning?" Is it a blend that you buy at the store?


  27. Donna, right now I have Greek Seasoning from The Spice House, but also get it from Penzeys. The Spice House bottle doesn't list the ingredients but I think it's mostly garlic, dried lemon, dried oregano and salt. I've also used Cavender's Greek seasoning which you can buy at most grocery stores.

  28. Chicken looks great, but the salad in the picture looks yummy too and I can't tell if it's one of your recipes as I'm not able to match to other pics... help a girl out and let us know what the salad is as well! thanks.

  29. Sorry, I thought I had left a link for the salad here but it must have been on the Facebook page.

    The salad is Spicy Mexican Slaw a bit hit on the blog and in my family:

  30. Wow--made this tonight, and it was AWEESOME!!!

    Unfortunately, it started pouring halfway through cooking, so I had to finish under the broiler--but it was still terrific.

    Served this with a greek salad and veggie kabobs.

  31. Susan, glad you liked it.

    We're having too much rain here too!

  32. Where do we buy the "Greek spices"?

  33. If you look in the comments above I have talked about the brand I use and also the ingredients.

    I buy the Penzeys or Spice House Greek seasoning online, but you can get Greek Seasoning at any large grocery store.

  34. I've been using Penzeys Greek seasoning for awhile & I love it but I looked up the Cavenders since you mention it. They don't list all the ingredients and msg is a top ingredient so I don't want to use it. Is it so good that it's worth using to you? Btw, yours is my favorite cooking and recipe site. thanks so much, sandy

  35. Sandy, you may be interested in this piece I wrote for BlogHer about the safety of MSG. Most experts feel it is safe, and I'm personally not sensitive to it, so that's not an issue for me.

    Of course, it's a personal opinion, so if you don't want to use MSG, just stick with the Penzeys brand.

  36. Could you put the marinade in a bag with frozen chicken breasts, then return to the freezer to use later? I assume defrosting the chicken this way might result in diluted marinade from the excess water in frozen chicken, but thought I would ask!

  37. BlossomKidsChicago, I haven't ever tried doing that, so I can't say for sure. But my first reaction would be that the marinade ingredients would separate when they freeze (like how the oil will solidify on the top in the fridge) and I think you're right that it would be watery when it thaws. I don't think I would do it that way.

  38. I was wondering if baking this versus grilling it will make that big of a difference or not?

  39. I've never tried baking this, and I think you would lose out on the charred flavor that makes grilling so good. If you don't have a grill, I'd recommend marinating, then pan fry until the outside is nicely browned and finish by roasting in a hot oven for 10 minutes or so to cook the inside.

  40. It might be that I have "mommy brain", but where would I buy/find Greek Seasoning? Whole Foods?

    Thanks! I'm dying to try this recipe!

  41. Charlotte, it's actually pretty widely available. Most supermarkets will have Cavender's brand near the spices. I will find a link for it at and add to the post in case you can't find it at your store.

  42. Do you know how many calories this is?

    1. Jessica, I don't count calories but if you want that info I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

  43. Love the simplicity of this chicken. Pinned!

  44. Do you think I could half this recipe to make a smaller amount?

    1. Jessica, definitely you can cut everything in half. The cooking instructions will be the same.


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