Simple Chicken Marinade for Meal Prep

This simple chicken marinade for meal prep will quickly become a favorite. Easy and flavorful, perfect for batch-cooking chicken to enjoy all week long.

*Originally published 1/2022. Updated 5/2023*

Hi friends!

Today I’m sharing one of my go-to food prep items. This simple chicken marinade for meal prep is one that I use weekly because it’s a quick and easy way to prep a batch of chicken that I can then use all week long.

For me, having prepped components like this chicken on hand is the easiest way for me to quickly get meals on the table for lunch and dinner. I eat this chicken in tacos, on salads, over rice, in wraps, on sandwiches etc.

Best Way to Marinate Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (or Chicken Thighs)

I’ve been working on perfecting this for a while and I’ve found that this combination of flavors really works so I’m sharing it today but keep in mind there are tons of marinade options! I encourage you to play around. Once you get the hang of it you don’t even need to measure anymore and it’s an easy way to add flavor to your chicken!

Easy and Simple Chicken Marinade Recipe for Meal Prep

Here are the ingredients you need:

  • Oil – Any mild-flavored oil will work. I use avocado oil.
  • Lemon juice – freshly squeezed!
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder – if you love garlic you could skip the powder and throw in a couple of cloves of freshly minced garlic instead.
  • Salt

That’s it! Just throw everything in a bag with the chicken, mix it up and let it sit in the fridge. One of the things I love about this marinade is that it uses very little liquid. It’s more like a wet spice rub.

If you’re looking for more marinade ideas, try these:

  • Easy Chicken Marinade – just 4 ingredients!
  • Bourbon Chicken Marinade & Glaze
  • Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade – with a kick!

What To Serve with Meal Prep Chicken

One of my favorite things to make along with this chicken is rice. If you’re tired of plain rice, here’s how I’ve been making mine lately:

Saute 1/2 cup red onion and 2 cloves garlic in a little oil in the instant pot. Add 1 cup brown rice and 1.25 cups water or broth. Cook 16 minutes. Quick-release. Stir in a squirt of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkle of salt.

I also often make the topping mixture you see on the salad above – just chop some tomatoes, onion, cucumbers and red peppers and mix with feta. It would also be great with this Cucumber Tomato Salad.

Here’s the recipe for the marinade- you can swap red wine vinegar for lemon juice if you want.


Simple Chicken Marinade for Meal Prep

Print Recipe

5 from 1 review

This simple chicken marinade for meal prep will quickly become a favorite. Easy and flavorful, perfect for batch-cooking chicken to enjoy all week long.

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 min
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4



11.5 pounds chicken breasts (I buy thin-sliced or cut thicker breasts in half)
2 Tbsp avocado oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt


  1. Place chicken in a ziploc bag.
  2. Add oil and lemon juice.
  3. In a ramekin, add spices and stir to combine. Pour spice mixture into the bag.
  4. Toss and shake well, moving the chicken around with your hands to ensure the spices coat the chicken.
  5. Marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Cook chicken as desired.

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This simple chicken marinade for meal prep is sure to become your new favorite!

Chicken Marinade FAQs

Why marinate chicken?

The three main reasons people marinate chicken are to add flavor, to add moisture or to tenderize the chicken. Using a marinade allows the flavor to seep into the chicken so the entire cut of chicken is flavorful, not just the outer layer. Adding fat like oil to your marinade helps transfer the flavor onto the meat and an acid like vinegar or lemon juice helps tenderize the meat.

Marinades are especially important when cooking over high heat like grilling because meat can easily become dry and chewy.

How long do you need to marinate chicken?

My general rule is 24 hours or less. You’d be surprised by what a difference even 20 minutes can make in a marinade before cooking. I generally aim for at least 6 hours – if I know I’m going to make something in the afternoon, I throw the chicken in the marinade in the morning. Or i’ll let it marinate overnight and cook in the morning.

Just remember that even if you’re in a hurry, a 15-20 minute marinade can make a big difference!

Can you freeze marinated chicken?

Yes! You can prepare chicken in a marinade in a Ziploc or freezer-safe bag, remove excess air and freeze up to 3 months.

How to thaw frozen marinated chicken?

When ready to cook frozen marinated chicken, thaw in the fridge overnight. You can either discard the marinade, transfer it to a small pan and bring it to a boil for at least 10 minutes to turn it into a sauce (you may want to add some cornstarch to thicken) or dump the whole thing in a slow cooker or Instant pot

How long can I marinate chicken?

If your marinade does not have an acid in it like vinegar or lemon juice, you can marinate up to 48 hours, but it generally won’t make much difference flavor-wise so I recommend sticking to around 24 hours or less.

What cuts of chicken can I marinate?

It’s most typical to marinate chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks as whole, large pieces. If you have a whole chicken, I’d recommend cutting it up into pieces before marinating or leaving it whole to roast with a spice rub.

How do I marinate chicken quickly?

You can also marinate chicken that has been cubed, diced etc. This can be a good option if you have a shorter window to let the chicken sit in the marinade because the flavors will be able to absorb into the smaller cuts of chicken more quickly.

How do I cook marinated chicken?

Once you’ve finished marinating your chicken, the way you cook it is really up to you! It can be sauteed, baked, grilled, cooked in the air fryer etc. I typically cook mine in the air fryer because it’s quick and easy – I just throw it in at 400 for 8 min or so, until it reaches 165 degrees. But do whatever works best for you!

What container should you marinate chicken in?

You can easily marinate chicken in a glass food storage container like Pyrex (aff link). Or you can use a large Ziploc bag or a Stasher Bag which makes it easier to squish the chicken and turn it occasionally to ensure all sides are reaching the marinade.

What’s the best oil to use for chicken marinade?

I typically use a neutral-flavored oil like avocado oil but you could also use olive oil or a mix of both.

Meal prep is one of the easiest ways to help prepare for a busy week. I share more tips, strategies and recipe ideas in my course Mastering Food Prep.

Easy Chicken Marinades

Want more marinade ideas?

  • The Best Chicken Marinade For Grilling
  • 6 Simple Chicken Marinades
  • The Best Chicken Marinade



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