Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken

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Yogurt marinade for grilled chicken truly is a game changer: It not only results in scrumptious, juicy meat but can also be prepared the night before without compromising on taste.

Yogurt works wonders as a marinade base, thanks to its delightful taste and meat-tenderizing abilities. Its lactic acid content tenderizes the meat slowly and gently, unlike citrus juice or vinegar-based marinades, allowing you to marinate overnight without ending up with tough or rubbery chicken. In this recipe, the yogurt-marinated grilled chicken bursts with flavors of garlic, cumin, and cayenne, ensuring a juicy and delicious outcome—even if it’s slightly overcooked. Feel free to use skin-on boneless breasts or thighs, and make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken

Active Time: 30 mins | Total Time: 5 hrs 10 mins | Yield: 4 servings

Table of Contents


  • 1 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice3 garlic
  • c cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to season
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to season
  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, halved, breast and rib bones removed, leg bones left intact
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing the grill


  1. In a large bowl, mix yogurt, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer the marinade to a large, resealable plastic bag. Add chicken halves and turn to coat. Seal the bag and transfer it to a baking dish. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Bring chicken to room temperature before grilling.
  2. Set up a gas grill for indirect grilling, then oil grate and heat to medium-high (400°F).
  3. Remove chicken from the marinade, scraping off any excess; discard marinade. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Set chicken skin-side up on the grate over indirect heat. Close the grill and cook, turning once, until chicken is browned and nearly cooked through about 25 minutes. Use a spray bottle filled with water to stop flare-ups.
  5. Reduce grill heat to moderately low. Flip chicken and grill over direct heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in inner thighs registers 160°F, about 15 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
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About the Author: Jenny Kristy

Spice Seeker, Recipe Weaver, Nomad Chef |With a passport bursting with stamps and a pantry overflowing with global spices, Jenny Kristy isn't just a cook, she's a culinary nomad. Her travels fuel her passion, transforming exotic flavors into recipes that tantalize and transport. She weaves magic in her kitchen, sharing her adventures through meals that whisper of Marrakesh markets and Tuscan trattorias. From teaching sushi to whipping up Moroccan masterpieces, Jenny ignites wanderlust and connects cultures, one delicious bite at a time.

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