The Easiest Marinated Grilled Chicken

Published on April 15, 2015 By Lauren

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    Marinated Grilled Chicken – especially if you use drumsticks and thighs has got to be one of the easiest, most delicious and CHEAPEST meals to make. Hosting a party and wondering what to cook that won’t break the bank? You just found it.

    As of the writing of this post, dark meat chicken has been holding steady at around $1.19/lb. Even the cheapest ground beef is gonna run you $4-$5/lb these days. This recipe is a budget-conscious crowd pleaser. And this 4 ingredient marinade is as easy as it gets.

    Italian dressing works great as a marinade, especially the zesty kind. But if that’s the only thing you use, your chicken will still end up a little bland. So this marinade starts with that as a base, but then kicks it up a little with some lemon juice, salt and pepper. Marinade in the refrigerator overnight if you can, but even just a few hours will give it some great flavor.

    Now for the grilling!

    grilled chicken

    Grilling dark meat takes quite a bit longer than chicken breast, so be patient. And since there are sugars in the marinade, you need to be careful not to burn the skin too much. Indirect grilling works great here – if you have a charcoal grill, make a pile of hot coals to one side of the grill. Or if you are using gas, just heat one side of the grill on high. Your chicken goes on the other side. It’s sort of a way to “bake” the chicken using your grill.

    Flip it every 5-10 minutes and move the pieces around as you do so that each piece gets equal time in the hot and cool spots of the grill. The meat should be done after about 40 minutes, but check to make sure. And then for the last 5 minutes, cook the chicken over high heat to give the skin a nice crisp.

    This is awesome for freezer cooking too! Just freeze the chicken in the marinade in a freezer bag to use at a later date! The chicken will marinade as it thaws in the refrigerator.

    grilled chicken

    Marinated Grilled Chicken

    Looking for a super cheap yet delicious crowd pleaser? Check out this grilled chicken and an EASY 4 ingredient marinade!
    Print Pin Rate
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: 55 minutes
    Servings: 6
    Author: Lauren Cobello


    • 3 - 4 lbs. chicken legs and thighs
    • 8 oz. Zesty Italian dressing or about half a bottle
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper


    • Combine dressing, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large dish of a freezer bag.
    • Add chicken.
    • Marinade in the fridge for at least 6 hours (overnight is optimal)
    • Heat one side of grill on high.
    • Add chicken to the other side of the grill and cook for about 40 minutes (or until done), flipping often.
    • If chicken is done, cook chicken over high heat for about 5 minutes.

    Have you grabbed my freezer meal plans, yet? I might be biased but I think they are pretty amazing! They have saved our dinner hour for years now. Check them out!

    grilled chicken



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