Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano

I love this Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano, served here with a simple salad of cucumber and olives tossed with my favorite Caesar Dressing. And this tasty grilled chicken is low-carb, gluten-free, South Beach Diet friendly, and Paleo.

Click here to PIN this tasty recipe so you can make it later!

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How do you feel about capers?  I’m a big fan of these little unripened flower buds that are used in cooking to add flavor to salads, dressings, sauces, vegetables, and meat dishes, so this Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano that adds some caper brine to the marinade is one of my favorites.  The recipe also has dried oregano and lemon, two ingredients that I think really bring out the flavors of grilled chicken. This recipe was originally part of a series on how to make juicy grilled chicken breasts that are perfect every time, and if you’re not that experienced at making grilled chicken breasts (or especially if your chicken breasts get dry on the grill) you may want to read that post before you make this.

Lydia has done a great job writing about capers at the Perfect Pantry, so read that if you’re not familiar with this favorite ingredient of mine.

(Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano was updated with better photos and step-by-step instructions, June 2013.)  

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano found on

Trim the chicken breasts; then cut small slits crosswise going down each breast.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano found on

Chop up the capers well so they’ll mix with other ingredients in the marinade.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano found on
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, dried oregano, garlic puree, caper juice, chopped capers, and black pepper to make the flavorful marinade.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano found on

Put chicken in a large Ziploc bag, add the marinade, and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator, preferably 4-6 hours or longer.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano found on
I cooked the chicken in the top photo for guests, so I need to borrow these photos from another post to show how to lay the chicken diagonally across the grill grates to get those nice marks.  Be sure you spray the grill with nonstick spray or oil before you preheat, then cook 3-4 minutes on the first angle.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano found on
Lift up one piece of chicken to see if the grill marks are as dark as you’d like them, and when they are, rotate each piece of chicken so it’s going at the opposite angle and cook 3-4 minutes more.

Then turn each piece of chicken over and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until the chicken feels firm (but not hard) to the touch when you press down on it with your finger.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano found on

Don’t overcook! Serve the chicken hot and if you’re serving this for a barbecue, how about some Grilled Zucchini or Grilled Mushrooms on the side?

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano (Makes 4 servings, recipe adapted from 2001 Chicken Recipes.)

4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

Marinade Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp. garlic puree (or crushed fresh garlic)
1/2 T caper juice
2 T finely chopped capers (or use less if you’re not wild about capers)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

(You might want to read how to make juicy and perfect grilled chicken breasts before you make this.)


Trim all fat and tendons from chicken breasts and trim underneath side if needed so chicken pieces are all the same thickness.  Make small slits crosswise going down each chicken breast to help the marinade penetrate.

Use a chef’s knife to finely chop capers. Crush the oregano with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Mix together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic puree, caper juice, chopped capers, and black pepper. (You could also put all the marinade ingredients in a blender and process them rather than chopping the capers and crushing the oregano.)

Lay chicken flat in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Let chicken marinate in the refrigerator, preferably 4-6 hours or longer.

Spray the grill grates with non-stick spray, then preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for a few seconds at that temperature.) Lay the chicken pieces at an angle to the grill grates and cook for 3-4 minutes without moving.  Then lift the edge of one piece of chicken to see if grill marks are as dark as you’d like them.  When they look good, rotate the chicken to the opposite angle and cook 3-4 minutes more on the first side.

When you have good grill marks, turn chicken to the opposite side and cook 2-3 minutes more (or longer  for very thick chicken breasts.)  Chicken is done when it feels firm (but not hard) to the touch when you press down on it with your finger.  Don’t overcook.  Serve hot.

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

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South Beach Suggestions:

This would make a great main course for any phase of the South Beach Diet. 

Find More Recipes Like This One:

Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?

I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn’t have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

More Delicious Dinners with Chicken:
(Recipes from other blogs not always low-carb or South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes Photo Index Page ~ Slow Cooker from Scratch

Pan-Grilled Chicken with Green Olive, Caper, and Lemon Relish ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Healthy Baked Mustard Lime Chicken ~ Elana’s Pantry

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

Blogger Disclosure:

Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn’s Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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29 comments on “Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano”

  1. Thanks for featuring capers, Kalyn. They don’t get enough press, but are as unique and wonderful as cilantro. The tomato and goat cheese salad will be what’s for dinner in this house tonight. Thanks.

  2. Kalyn, I love capers so much. And this chicken you prepare looks so yummy! Gotta have lunch now before I start daydreaming about your food!

  3. I love it Kalyn, it looks good and right up my alley in terms of flavours. Very mediteranean.

  4. Susan, I agree, capers are truly wonderful. Hope you like the salad.

    Patricia, thanks. I love them too.

    Katerina, me too, thanks!

  5. Yummmy.

    Kalyn so good you could take a break for mommy day!

    I think we are headed for a Japanese Steak House for mom…me!


  6. Sue, a Japanese Steak House sounds great. Actually I’m not a mother, but I’m having a friend who’s a single parent come to dinner with her two kids, so that should be fun.

  7. So capers are tiny little cabbages? Sort of? Love that bit of info. Boy, you have chicken breasts down cold–they look fabulous!

  8. Kalyn – I like the taste of capers but am kind of new to cooking with them. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I bet the lemon, capers, and oregano taste amazing together.

  9. Kalyn you have excellent tips for grilling chicken breasts! Never tried grilling chicken breasts before because I was afraid of them drying out. Definitely going to try your marinade this summer. Thanks!

  10. That’s lovely, Kalyn. I have to try it. I love capers and lemon with chicken but I don’t do it often becasue then I want to add a stick of butter and bacon to it to make scalloppine. This is beautiful and not artery-clogging. Great job.

  11. I love this combo of flavors. Great post!

  12. Yummy yummy,thanks for sharing such a lovely recipe,that’s my lunch yesterday.

  13. Sher, Ed, Amy, Glenna, and Chris, I can tell this was during school since I didn’t get back to comment. Thanks for all the nice words.

    Sugarandsalts, thanks for letting me know you liked it.

  14. I apreciate the recipes that you shared.
    I shared them with family members and friends.
    They also appreciate the recipes as well.
    Thank you for sharing and please keep them coming.
    I have shared with everyone here, 🙂

  15. Love capers – especially with lemon. And chicken. Never thought about slicing the breasts before marinating, though – great idea.

  16. It's a shame so many people shy away from capers, because their lemony flavor adds so much zing to marinades and salad dressings.

  17. Thanks Katie. I've been doing that for years now!

    Lydia, so true. I just love them.

  18. Oh my yum!! That grill marks are phenomenal, Kalyn!!

    And I love the idea of slitting the chicken to allow more flavors during marination 🙂

  19. Sort of half way to chicken piccata which is a favourite of mine. This sounds really good with a little less work and fewer ingredients.

  20. What a recipe! It seems delicious!

  21. This recipes was amazing. I thought I was going to miss a caper sauce, but the chicken didn't need it. My husband, son, and I devoured the chicken so quickly! You were right about the chicken staying moist on the grill too. Thanks for sharing! So far, I am in love with your blog and recipes. Southbeach has been working for me really well. It's all about getting great recipes to get me to my goal and to live a healthier lifestyle.

  22. Amber, so glad you're enjoying the recipes.

  23. I made this tonight! OMG! So yummy and really moist.. Thanks for the tips!

  24. Mary Catherine, so glad you enjoyed it!

  25. Interesting idea. I think it might work but the lemon juice would evaporate and not the oil so it might be oily. Maybe replace some of the oil with chicken stock. Please share how it works if you try it.

  26. If you didn't have a grill, how would you recommend to cook this?

    • You could use a George Foreman grill or something like the Griddler that cooks both sides at once, but cooking time will be less. You could also get good results by using a stovetop grill pan with ridges. If you don't have any of those, I think you could cook in a frying pan or bake it, but I haven't done either of those methods so I'm not sure how cooking time would be affected. Love to hear how it works!

  27. Just found this and it looks wonderful. Have to try it for our 12th annual end of summer extravaganza BBQ and yard party. Thanks!

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