During the week, when it comes to quick and easy dinners I can whip up in a flash on a busy school night, it’s hard to beat pairing a simple marinated chicken recipe with a veggie or a grain. It’s one of those dinner options I always have in the back of my mind when I don’t have time to pour hours into meal prep or meal planning because I know it’s easy to make and serves as a nutritious, satisfying meal for our family. Now that the school year is in full swing in our house (even if it is a little modified over here right now), I am feeling the perks of a routine but also the laundry list of “to dos” that come along with keeping our family moving forward on a schedule with commitments on the calendar again. Having a few go-to recipes on hand that our family loves and will eat well at dinnertime is key for me and the recipe I’m sharing with you guys today is a family-approved favorite in our house — perfect for this busy, back-to-school season of life!
When it comes to marinating chicken, I love the way changing up a simple marinade changes the flavor of chicken in a flash so it keeps things interesting without feeling overwhelming. Changing up a marinade can breathe new life into an otherwise basic chicken dinner and when you find a marinade recipe that works — one that your family simply loves — it feels like you hit the jackpot!
My latest jackpot marinade recipe: Easy Orange Juice Chicken Marinade! It has savory-sweet flavors and is always irresistible.
Here is everything you’ll need to make it:
- 100% orange juice
- soy sauce or coconut aminos
- olive oil
- garlic salt
A full cup of 100% orange juice serves as the base of this recipe and knowing that incorporating vitamin C-rich Florida Orange Juice into my family’s diet can help support a strong immune system makes this mama happy, especially during these crazy times. It’s also incredibly versatile so incorporating it into recipes is fun and delicious. I love using Florida OJ in everything from homemade salad dressings and simple stir-fries to muffins and baked goods. An 8-ounce glass of 100% OJ is also a good source of a myriad of essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, and thiamin and it serves as the perfect way to add a little citrus-y sweetness to this marinade in a healthy way. If pouring our kids a glass of Florida Orange Juice and incorporating OJ into our family’s recipes can help support healthy immune systems in our boys as they head back to preschool, I’m all about it!
My favorite way to use this Easy Orange Juice Chicken Marinade is on grilled boneless, skinless chicken thighs because chicken thighs = more flavor! The marinade joins my favorite Paleo Chicken Thigh Marinade as one of my favorite go-to healthy weeknight recipes I keep in my back pocket when I don’t have the time or energy to really give a lot of thought to dinner and just want something EASY but nutritious to make for our family. I love that I can throw everything I need to make this Easy Orange Juice Chicken Marinade together in the morning while the boys are at preschool and know that I have dinner taken care of by the time 5 p.m. rolls around and chaos in our house reaches an all-time high. (Seriously though, what is it about kids reaching peak levels of craziness in the early evening every day?)
This recipe pairs well with everything from brown rice or quinoa to roasted broccoli, sauteed zucchini and more. It’s also fantastic as leftovers and I love slicing it up and using it in grain bowls for lunch the next day. Pair it with a tangy orange vinaigrette and it takes on a whole new flavor profile!
Please let me know if you give this recipe a try! We absolutely love it in our house and I always love hearing what you guys think!
Easy Orange Juice Chicken Marinade (Grilled Orange Chicken Thighs)Print
Easy Orange Juice Chicken Marinade (Grilled Orange Chicken Thighs)
A naturally sweet and savory marinade, this Easy Orange Juice Chicken Marinade is a simple family-approved recipe perfect for busy weeknights.
- 1 cup 100% orange juice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Combine all ingredients except for the chicken in a medium-size bowl and mix together. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and allow chicken to marinate for at least four hours or overnight.
- To cook the chicken, preheat the grill to 400 degrees. Place chicken directly on the grill and grill for approximately 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked fully and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and let rest for a few minutes before slicing and eating. Enjoy!
Keywords: easy chicken marinade, chicken marinade, easy orange juice chicken marinade, orange juice chicken marinade, chicken thigh marinade, orange juice chicken thigh marinade, orange chicken marinade
Would this work with frozen chicken breasts?
Usually put frozen chicken breast into bag with whatever marinade in fridge for about 2 days until unthawed.
Could you bake this in the oven?
If so what temp and how long?
It absolutely works with chicken breasts or tenders! The cooking time would be longer in the oven — here’s a great guide for how long/what temp: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/baked-chicken-breast/
Oh my this looks so delicious! My family would like this I think. I must make this- thank you! Hope your Thursday is great!
Thank you!! Hope you and your family enjoy it!
Can you bake the chicken in the oven ?
I’ll definitely try this! Your paleo chicken marinade is a ‘go to’ for me now! I make it all the time!
This one is similar but with a little added sweetness from the orange juice that we love!! Hope you like it, too!
Yummy! Adding this to my weekend food prep. I might have to use a different spice than garlic salt as my family has some allergies there.
Hope you enjoy it!!
Hey Julie! What is coconut aminos? I’ve actually never heard of it but have seen it in place of soy sauce.
Thank you and congratulations on your baby boy!
They’re very similar to soy sauce in terms of flavor. It’s made from fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt and is a great alternative for those avoiding soy.
We are huge fans of the other chicken thigh marinade around here and loved this one too! I love the little bit of sweetness from the orange juice on this one. We will definitely add this to the rotation around here.
I’m so glad to hear it!! It’s super similar to my fav Paleo marinade but I agree about enjoying the light sweetness from the orange juice — our kids actually eat this one a little better and I think it’s because of this!
Amazing and easy recipe! The chicken was very flavorful, it was cold outside so I cooked it by searing the chicken in a pan and finishing in the oven at 400 for 10-12 minutes. Came out perfect!
Thank you so much for the review, Kelly! So glad you liked it!!
This was a fantastic marinade and makes very flavorful and tender chicken. Thanks for sharing!
Thomas Downey says
I paired this with homemade potato salad and honey cornbread. Felt like a good southern comfort meal.
Michael Suscavage says
Good recipe. I got started a little late so the chicken only
marinated for 3.5 hours but we liked the flavor balance. Look forward to trying this again with it marinating overnight.
Desiree M says
Very juicy and flavorful! I marinated only one hour and it kept it’s flavor. I could not find a recipe that didn’t use brown sugar, sadly I was without. So this was perfect and saved the night!
Frugal Gourmet says
2 of my kids didn’t touch their OJ at breakfast. They had just brushed their teeth and were already running late. I hate to see any food go to waste and that Since I had just bought some boneless thighs it was a eureka moment. I wasn’t sure if the acid in the juice would mess up the protein. But your recipe was so simple and I had all the ingredients I just had to try. It’s marinating and I’m going to cook it tomorrow. I really cannot wait. Thx!
J Cousins says
I used this marinade for chicken drumsticks and cooked them 16 minutes @ 400 degrees in the air fryer (flipping them halfway). Very yummy! I used the marinade in place of water when cooking quinoa as the side dish. That was some yummy quinoa for sure!