How To Grill Chicken Breasts That Are Sooo Juicy

Learn the method for how to grill chicken breasts that are super-juicy, and never ever dried out.

Learn the method for how to grill chicken breasts that are super-juicy, and never ever dried out.

Everybody loves chicken, and all cooks love a good chicken How-To. I know this because the most popular post on this site is How To Cook Chicken Breasts From Frozen and the most popular post on my sister site, The Cookful, is How To Bake Chicken Wings That Are Sooo Crispy. With Labor Day coming up, I thought it would therefore be a good time to tackle that real conundrum of how to grill chicken breasts and have them be super juicy.

The thing about chicken breasts is that they are not typically of an even thickness. This means that the thinnest part tends to dry out before the thickest part is cooked all the way through. There is only one way to fix this and it involves a tiny bit of work, but not hard work. Don’t worry! (Really, if it was hard, I so wouldn’t do it, let alone suggest it to anyone else. Never).

What you’re going to do is flatten the chicken out to an even thickness, then marinate them a bit for flavor and then grill for as short a time as possible. Here’s how!

How To Grill Chicken Breasts Perfectly

Step#1

Cut the chicken breast in half width-wise. Why? Because once you pound these out a bit they get pretty big.

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These will be a nice portion size and will be easier to pound out to an even thickness and to handle on the grill.

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Step#2

Cover one portion in plastic wrap. This just stops chicken juice from flying around your kitchen when you pound it. You definitely don’t want that.

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Step#3

Now you’re going to pound it to an even thickness. If you have a meat tenderizer with a flat side, like this one, use that. If not, a rolling pin works. On the day I shot this I couldn’t find my meat tenderizer so a rolling pin came to the rescue!

So you just smack the chicken breast, focusing on where it’s thickest and trying to get it to be even with the thinnest part.

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The goal is a chicken breast portion that is exactly the same thickness all the way across, like this:

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Step#4

Once all of your portions have been pounded to an even thickness, put them into a ziptop bag or a large bowl. Add some marinade. It’s a good idea to go with a marinade that has a high oil content and no sweetener like sugar or honey. These two factors will help keep your chicken breasts from sticking to the grill.

Refrigerate for an hour at most. You’re just trying to get some flavor on there. The marinade won’t make the chicken more tender or juicy, in fact, too much time in a marinade can make chicken breasts rubbery and dry.

If you’re looking for great marinade ideas, check out this marinating series on The Cookful. There are lots of recipes and also tips and tricks for getting the most out of your marinades.

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Step#5

Oil your grill grates. There’s great info on how to do that over here. Basically, when your grill is cold, dip paper towel into an oil that has a high smoking point, like vegetable oil or grapeseed oil. Then use tongs to rub that oiled towel onto your grates.

Then preheat the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (around 400ºF). If your grill doesn’t have a thermometer, here’s how to find out what temperature it’s at.

Once your grill is at the right temperature, remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Throw out the marinade. Put the chicken breasts onto the grill in a single layer, as spaced out as you can given your surface and the number of breasts you have.

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Step#6

They’re going to take about 4 minutes per side. Test if they’re done using an instant read thermometer. You want it to read 165ºF. Or you can cut into one and see if it’s white all the way through, not pink. They’ll be nice and brown with good char marks when they’re done. Like this:

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Step#7

Take them off of the grill and put them onto a clean serving plate. Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. This resting time is so that the juices won’t rush out of the chicken when you cut in for that first bite.

Learn the method for how to grill chicken breasts that are super-juicy, and never ever dried out.

Here are the instructions in printable form for you. Have a great day!

The Best Grilled Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 and 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. coarely ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. oil with a high smoking point, like vegetable or grapeseed

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken breast in half width-wise. Cover one portion in plastic wrap to stop chicken juice from flying around your kitchen when you pound it.
  2. Pound it to an even thickness. If you have a meat tenderizer with a flat side, like this one, use that. If not, a rolling pin works. So you just smack the chicken breast, focusing on where it is thickest and trying to get it to be even with the thinnest part.
  3. Once all of your portions have been pounded to an even thickness, put them into a ziptop bag or a large bowl. In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Pour it over the chicken breasts. Refrigerate for an hour at most. You're just trying to get some flavor on there.
  4. Oil your grill grates: When your grill is cold, dip paper towel into an oil that has a high smoking point, like vegetable oil or grapeseed oil. Then use tongs to rub that oiled towel onto your grates. Then preheat the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (around 400ºF). If your grill doesn't have a thermometer, here's how to find out what temperature it's at.
  5. Once your grill is at the right temperature, remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, shaking off any excess. Throw out the marinade. Put the chicken breasts onto the grill in a single layer, as spaced out as you can given your surface and the number of breasts you have. Cook for about 4 minutes per side. Test if they're done using an instant read thermometer. You want it to read 165ºF. Or you can cut into one and see if it's white all the way through, not pink. They'll be nice and brown with good char marks when they're done.
  6. Take them off of the grill and put them onto a clean serving plate. Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. This resting time is so that the juices won't rush out of the chicken when you cut in for that first bite.

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