Grilled Lemon Chicken

Weeknight dinners are now complete with this Grilled Lemon Chicken recipe! Marinaded in soy sauce, garlic, thyme and lemon juice for a short time then grilled to perfection. To finish it all off it’s basted in a creamy lemon butter! So tender and juicy!

Grilled Lemon Chicken on a white plate.

How To Marinate Chicken

There are a couple of ways to season chicken.

You can either give it a dry rub with lots of spices and seasonings. Salt, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, rosemary just to name a few. If you add enough it gives a nice crust to the chicken when you cook it.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon slices on a white plate.

Another great way is to marinate your chicken.

It typically involves some sort of liquid like oil, juice or sauce like soy or balsamic. Depending on what you add depend on the how long you need to marinate. The more acidic your ingredients are the less time you need for the chicken to sit in it. The acid like in lemon juice can start to “cook” the meat and break down the protein. This makes it not only taste different but the texture of the meat ends up being mealy and unappetizing.

There’s also a method of using a combination of spices directly rubbed onto your meat. This Chicken Dry Rub recipe from Dr. Davinah’s Eats would be a great recipe to start with!

Ingredients for the best chicken marinade.

Best Chicken Marinade

After testing out a few different versions, this simple marinade recipe for chicken breasts has quickly become my favorite of all time! My boys request it all the time for dinner.

It’s made from super simple ingredients that you might already have on hand.

  • Sprite or Club Soda (if you want to cut out the sugar)
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Lemon Juice
  • Garlic
  • Thyme

The Sprite adds the sweetness to offset the tartness of the lemon.  The soy sauce adds the savory saltiness the chicken needs to have some flavor.

You only marinate it for 30 minutes for up to 2 hours so you don’t need much time to think ahead when you want to make it for dinner.  

Chicken breasts on a hot grill.

It’s best grilled because, basically everything is better on the grill!  It just brings out all the flavors in the marinade. 

The second best thing you can do to grilled meat is baste it with butter once it is done cooking. Since this marinade doesn’t have any oil or fat in it and the chicken has no fat because it’s skinless, adding butter right at the end just makes it all that more magical!  

Grilled lemon chicken on a foil lined pan along side a bowl of lemon butter.

I wanted to bring out the lemon flavor in the marinade so I added fresh lemon zest to the melted butter. This is the golden ticket to making this chicken dangerously delicious! It adds a tad bit of tanginess to the richness of the butter.

A pink silicone basting brush on top of grilled chicken.

Generously brush the lemon butter all over the top of each chicken. I like to use a silicone brush, but feel free to use whatever you have. Even the back of a spoon can work. You really don’t want to skip this step.

Grilled Lemon Chicken on a white plate with sprigs of thyme.

I’m here to let you know, this truly has become my family’s favorite chicken. Ever! I also have some picky eaters who turn their noses up on anything different. Every single family member of mine LOVES this chicken.

Side Dishes For Grilled Chicken

This Lemon Chicken would be perfect served along side…

Grilled Lemon Chicken on a white plate.

Try these other great recipes I’m sure your family will love!

Grilled Lemon Chicken Recipe

Grilled Lemon Chicken

Amy Williams
Marinaded in soy sauce, garlic, thyme and lemon juice for a short time then grilled to perfection. To finish it all off it's basted in a creamy lemon butter! So tender and juicy!
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, dinner, lemon, marinade
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 415kcal


  • 4 Chicken Breasts Boneless Skinless
  • 12 oz Sprite or Club Soda 1 Can
  • 1/3 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1/3 Cup Lemon Juice Freshly Squeezed
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Zest
  • 1/4 Cup Salted Butter Melted


  • In a gallon ziplock bag combine the Sprite, soy sauce, garlic, thyme and lemon juice and set aside in a large bowl so it won't spill over.
  • Place each chicken breast into a large ziplock bag and using a rolling pin or flat side of a meat tenderizer, pound chicken breast until even thickness. About 3/4 inch thick.
  • Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, close the bag tightly and gently shake around to completely coat the chicken.
  • Place the bag back into the bowl and leave on the counter for 30 minutes to marinate. If you need to marinate it longer, place in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. Do not marinate longer than 2 hours.
  • Preheat a grill to 400 degrees.
  • Place each breast onto the grill top side down. That would be the side with what used to have the skin on.
  • Close the lid and let the chicken cook for 6 minutes.
  • Turn over and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes until the center is no longer pink.
  • Place onto a plate, loosely cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes while you make the next step.
  • In a small bowl mix together melted butter and lemon zest.
  • Using a silicone brush, brush butter onto each chicken breast. Make sure to get the lemon zest onto the chicken as well.
  • Serve.
Tried this recipe?Mention and tag @mynameissnickerdoodle!


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 1081mg | Sugar: 10g

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4.75 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)