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Yogurt-Marinated Chicken


Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

Photo © Molly Watson
Chicken marinated in a garlic-infused yogurt gets tenderized and flavorful. The marinade works with bone-in or boned pieces as well as thin-cut tenders and cutlets, the yogurt provides some protection and moisture, much as skin would, while the meat cooks. The chicken is tasty whether grilled or broiled making it good for year-round use. Feel free to add herbs (such as rosemary or thyme) or spices (cayenne, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala are all good choices) to your liking. See variations below if you want to mix up the flavor a bit.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 to 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 3 1/2 to 5 lbs. chicken (8 skinless pieces - thighs, drumsticks, or half-breasts)


  1. In a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, combine yogurt, garlic, salt, and pepper (if using). Add chicken and mix around to thoroughly coat. Cover or seal and chill for at least one hour and up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 and place a rack in the top third of the oven or prepare a grill for medium, indirect heat. Let chicken come to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.
  3. Wipe off excess marinade from chicken. If baking, place chicken on a baking sheet; if grilling, place chicken on grill and cover. Cook until cooked all the way through and starting to brown, about 20 minutes for boneless pieces and up to 40 minutes for bone-in pieces. Let chicken rest at room temperature at least 10 minutes and up to 20 before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings Yogurt-Marinated Chicken.

  • Add herbs. Stir in 1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped herbs to the marinade. Rosemary, thyme, and oregano are excellent choices. Basil is good too, but will discolor in the marinade.
  • Add spices. Stir in 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne, chile powder, coriander, cumin, curry powder, garam masala, ground fennel seeds, or turmeric instead of or in addition to the black pepper.
  • Use tenders. Use half the amount of marinade and marinate 2 lbs. chicken tenders for 30 to 60 minutes. Thread the tenders onto skewers and either grill over medium heat or broil until cooked through and starting to brown, about 3 minutes each side.

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