This spicy Cajun chicken marinade takes only a few minutes to make and works magic on boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It's got great spiciness and flavor from both smoked paprika and Hungarian paprika, black pepper, dried oregano and more.
What's in the marinade?
This marinade is made with all the spices and dried herbs you typically find in Cajun seasoning, plus fresh garlic and olive oil. The mix adds incredible flavor and a good spice kick to a chicken breast. And because it has olive oil right in it, you can throw the chicken directly from the marinade onto the grill for maximum convenience.
Notes on the spices in this marinade:
- Instead of the more traditional cayenne pepper, I used Hungarian paprika here. I tested this recipe with cayenne pepper as well but found that Hungarian paprika was more flavorful, less harsh and still packed a nice amount of heat.
- As always, I recommend to get the spices from a dedicated spice shop to ensure quality and freshness.
How to make it:
Step 1. Prepare the chicken:
If your chicken breast is thicker on one end and thinner on the other, it's best to even it out so the thin end doesn't get overcooked. Cover the chicken breast with plastic wrap and lightly pound the thick end with a meat mallet until you get an even thickness. (If you don't have a meat mallet you can use a rolling pin instead.)
Step 2. Marinate the chicken:
Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl, then transfer the mix into a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag and move around to fully coat. Transfer to the fridge and marinate for 1 hour.
Should I rinse the marinade off before cooking?
No, don't rinse the marinade off before cooking. Take the chicken breast out of the plastic bag (leaving excess marinade in the bag) and toss the chicken on the grill just like that.
Step 3. Grill the chicken:
Grill the chicken until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (about 5 minutes per side.)
How to serve it:
My recommendation is to serve the grilled chicken with these roasted lemon basil potatoes. The combination of the spices with the lemon and basil flavors is fantastic.
How to store leftovers:
If you have any grilled chicken leftover, you can transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
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Full Printable Recipe
Cajun Chicken Marinade
- measuring spoons
- knife and cutting board
- garlic press (optional)
- cutting board or cutting mat
- plastic wrap
- meat mallet or rolling pin
- mixing bowl
- resealable plastic bag
- plastic spatula
- digital meat thermometer (recommended)
For the marinade:
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
- ½ tablespoon smoked hot paprika*
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Hungarian paprika*
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the chicken:
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded into even thickness
For the marinade:
- Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into a resealable plastic bag.
For the chicken:
- Add the chicken to the bag with the marinade and turn around to coat. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Take the chicken out of the marinade and grill until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (about 5 minutes per side).
Nutrition Information (Estimated):
Nutrition values provided on this website are generated from a nutrition database and are estimates only. The accuracy of the nutrition information for any recipe on this website is not guaranteed. Nutrition values can vary quite a lot depending on which brands are used.