Skip to Content

Gluten-free Chicken Marinade for Grilled Lemon Chicken

Click to share this with your friends or family!

This gluten-free chicken marinade uses just five ingredients to make flavorful grilled lemon chicken.  

Grilled Lemon chicken breasts on plate with spinach and lemon wedges

During the hot summer months, we love to turn to the grill to help prepare dinner so we don’t have to heat up the house. I make this gluten-free grilled chicken often in the summer when we have company. It’s one of our family favorite gluten-free barbecue chicken recipes.

This naturally gluten-free grilled lemon chicken is super easy to prepare with my no-mess method, cooks quickly on the grill, and yields perfectly tender, flavorful chicken for an easy dinner. You can’t ask for more than that!

While you can easily cut the recipe in half, I prefer to make this large batch of chicken, even for our family of four, so that I have leftovers to freeze. It is so nice to pull out the leftover frozen grilled chicken to add to Pasta Alfredo for an easy weeknight meal. 

Just let your leftover chicken cool to room temp, place in a freezer bag (don’t forget to label), squeeze out the air, and freeze until you need it. You could also use this marinade to make up some uncooked meals for the freezer. Just follow the steps below to get the chicken marinating in the bags, and freeze them uncooked. When you want to use, just thaw all day in the marinade in the bag, and grill.

I’ve been making this marinade for years, since discovering it on one of my favorite blogs, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Our family fell in love with it the first time, and we’ve just adapted the prep method and cooking method to suit our family.

Ingredients for gluten-free chicken marinade including plate with raw chicken, lemon wedges and small bowls with oil salt and pepper

Ingredients for gluten-free chicken marinade:

  • Lemon juice: Fresh squeezed lemon juice is the best. You’ll need two lemons to get enough juice for this recipe. If you must, you can buy lemon juice in a bottle to use. We’ve done that sometimes when we forget to buy lemons. It’s a fine substitute. Alternately, you could also make this with lime juice.
  • Oil: I recommend olive oil but you could use another favorite oil, as long as it can tolerate the high heat of a bbq grill.
  • Garlic: I prefer the flavor of mincing fresh garlic from 3-4 garlic cloves. But if you need to, feel free to use jarred minced garlic – I’ve just that to not be as flavorful.
  • Salt and Pepper are the only other seasonings added or needed for this recipe.
  • Chicken: I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken tenders for this recipe. I used breasts this time in the photos, but I usually use tenders because they absorb more of the lemon flavor and cook faster.

That’s it! Just five ingredients in this lemon garlic marinade for chicken breasts! This simple lemon chicken recipe is so easy!

This is a gluten and dairy free chicken recipe as there are no dairy ingredients in this at all. No adapting needs done!

How to make this gluten-free chicken marinade:

set of three bowls showing how to Make gluten-free chicken marinade

I have an easy, no-mess method for making this gluten-free marinade!

  1. Line a small/medium sized bowl with a gallon Ziploc bag, folding the top of the bag over the sides of the bowl. (first pic)
  2. Add all of the gluten-free marinade ingredients to the bag.
  3. Seal the bag and gently knead the bag from the outside to mix the contents.
  4. Unseal and put the bag back into the bowl, again folding the top of the bag over the sides of the bowl (middle pic)
  5. As you trim your chicken tenders or breasts, drop them right into the bag in the bowl. When done, seal the bag up. (last pic)
  6. Again, use your hands to gently knead the bag from the outside to mix the marinade and chicken thoroughly.
  7. Put the bag in the bowl, and place the bowl in the fridge to marinate for 6-8 hours. This way, if you by chance have any leak from the bag, it will be caught in the bowl, so you don’t end up with a messy fridge!

You can absolutely do this another way, this is just my preference so that I don’t have a mess to clean up!

bowl with bag with chicken marinating

How long should this gluten-free chicken marinate before grilling?

The longer this marinates, the stronger the lemon and garlic flavor are. The minimum I’ve marinated it with good flavor is 3 hours, but when possible, prefer 6-8 hours.

You could even marinate the chicken overnight if you want to prep the night before!

When you’re ready to grill this, get your grill heated up.

Remove chicken breasts from bag and place on grill over direct heat.

Raw marinated chicken breasts on grill

Grill chicken over direct heat for 1 minute each side.

Then move to top rack/indirect heat and grill for 8 more minutes, flipping partway through.

Grilled Lemon Chicken on grill

 Depending on the size of the chicken breasts or chicken tenders you use, the grilling time will vary. Once the chicken reads at 165° on your instant read thermometer, you can pull it off the grill.

See, it’s not only easy to whip up this grilled lemon chicken marinade, but it’s easy to grill this gluten-free barbecue chicken too! 

Nothing beats this easy lemon chicken recipe for dinner that doesn’t heat up the kitchen or dirty a lot of dishes! 

Sliced gluten-free grilled lemon chicken on a plate

While it’s grilling, it’s easy to whip up some easy sides for this chicken too.

We enjoy eating this with a fresh summer salad, this gluten-free coleslaw recipe and some corn on the cob! I also usually serve some lemon slices or lemon wedges so people can squeeze on additional lemon juice if they want over the meat or over their salad.

Looking for other gluten-free barbecue recipes? You can use chicken or turkey in these Hawaiian gluten-free kabobs. If you want a change from grilled chicken, try this grilled pork

This lemon garlic grilled chicken would also pair well with this pesto sauce recipe – I can’t wait to try it! 

For dessert without heating up the kitchen, make these berry smoothie pops

If you make this grilled lemon garlic chicken and love it too, please come back and give this recipe a 5 star rating in the recipe card! Feel free to comment with tips or to share any successful substitutions you made.

Gluten-free Lemon Chicken on white plate with spinach and lemon wedges

Gluten-free Grilled Lemon Chicken Recipe:

Yield: 8 servings

Gluten-free Chicken Marinade for Grilled Lemon Chicken

Gluten-free Lemon Chicken on white plate with spinach and lemon wedges

I make this gluten-free grilled lemon chicken often in the summer when we have company. The 5 ingredient gluten-free chicken marinade is so easy! It’s one of my favorite gluten-free bbq meals!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh, from 2 lemons)
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic (from 3-4 cloves)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders or breasts trimmed into strips

Instructions

  1. Line a small/medium sized bowl with a gallon Ziploc bag, folding the top of the bag over the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to the bag.
  3. Seal the bag and gently knead the bag from the outside to mix the contents.
  4. Unseal and put the bag back into the bowl, again folding the top of the bag over the sides of the bowl.
  5. As you trim your chicken tenders or breasts, drop them right into the bag in the bowl. When done, seal the bag up.
  6. Again, use your hands to gently knead the bag from the outside to mix the marinade and chicken thoroughly.
  7. Put the bag in the bowl, and place the bowl in the fridge to marinate for 6-8 hours. This way, if you by chance have any leak from the bag, it will be caught in the bowl, so you don't end up with a messy fridge!
  8. After marinating, remove chicken from bag and place on grill over direct heat.
  9. Discard bag and remaining marinade. Do not reuse.
  10. Grill chicken over direct heat for 1 minute each side. Then move to top rack/indirect heat and grill for 8 minutes or until cooked through, flipping partway through.
  11. Grill until chicken registers 165° in center on a digital thermometer.
  12. Serve with your favorite sides and additional lemon wedges.

Notes

The longer you give for this to marinate, the more flavorful it is. But it's still good even if you don't have 8 hours! I'd recommend at least 2 hours in a pinch!

Pin this easy lemon chicken recipe to your gluten-free chicken board on Pinterest:

Originally pubslished August 2013, in my first year of sharing recipes. Updated June 2022 with new photos, video, and hopefully helpful info!

Old photo from 2013:

Gluten-free Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken

I hope you and your family enjoy this easy lemon chicken recipe as much as mine did!

Click to share this with your friends or family!

Gluten-free Risotto with Mushrooms

Wednesday 18th of May 2022

[…] mushroom risotto would also be a delicious side dish served alongside grilled chicken using my gluten-free chicken marinade. Another recipe for the grill is these flanken ribs. By using the grill for the chicken or ribs, […]

Karen Palin

Saturday 7th of September 2019

Had this chicken at Michelle’s house and now hunting for the recipe. She had a good looking chef! My son!

Toby Palin

Monday 19th of August 2013

This is the best chicken marinade that I have ever had. It is really easy and it makes the chicken tenders burst with flavor. It is great for all sorts of occasions (family, company, sports events). I love it.

Melody

Wednesday 14th of August 2013

I have enjoyed this twice at Michelle's and it's fantastic. even my two youngest who don't like meat in general, love it! by the way, great food photography! ;-)

Michelle Palin

Wednesday 14th of August 2013

Thanks for commenting, Melody! Hopefully you can make this at your house now that you know your kids love it too!

Skip to Recipe