Try Our Simple Technique for Perfect Grilled Chicken Breasts
Follow these easy steps for juicy, flavorful meat. Then, try our delicious recipe.
If easy summer dinners have a signature protein, it's got to be grilled chicken. Whether for a quick weeknight meal or a casual outdoor gathering on the weekend, chicken wins and you'll score with our technique for grilled chicken breasts that pecks out any dry—or bland—results.
Classic Grilled Chicken Breasts
We finish the grilled chicken breasts with a simple sauce of lemon juice and olive oil with fresh thyme and red pepper flakes. Thyme offers earthiness to the sauce, but you can sub in any fresh herb, such as rosemary, sage, parsley, mint, or a combination, says senior food editor Lauryn Tyrell. Or take the chicken in a whole other direction and use Yogurt-Ranch Dipping Sauce.
First, gather your ingredients. You'll need...
• 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each about 8 ounces)
• 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 3⁄4 teaspoon sugar
• 1⁄2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
• 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For even cooking, place chicken breasts between two layers of plastic wrap and lightly pound them to an even thickness (about 1⁄2 inch). Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes. While chicken rests, whisk together lemon juice, thyme, sugar, red-pepper flakes, oil, and two teaspoons salt. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking; let grates get very hot (this ensures a good sear without drying out meat). Oil grates and cook chicken, turning occasionally, until charred in places and cooked through, eight to ten minutes total. Transfer to a serving dish. Pour or spoon sauce over pieces while still warm; serve.
Teriyaki-Glazed Grilled Chicken
This recipe uses the same prep technique as above but finishes the dish with a homemade teriyaki glaze made with hoisin sauce, ketchup, light brown sugar, lime juice, sesame oil, and garlic. As Lauryn explains, "The hoisin-teriyaki glaze goes on in the last few minutes of cooking, so you get a nice char without burning."
Recipes and food styling by Lauryn Tyrell; Prop styling by Suzie Meyers.
Martha Stewart Living, August 2020