How to Grill Tender Chicken Breasts

Notorious cardboard dry and flavorless chicken breasts get a bad rap. But when done well, each bite is flavorful and tender. With the right know-how, it is an easy dinner to get perfect every time. 

Perfecting boneless, skinless, grilled chicken breast depends on how you prepare the chicken and what you do to it on the grill. The key steps are to (1) pound the chicken into even thickness, (2) brine to avoid dry, rubbery chicken, and (3) grill over low heat to keep them moist. 

With schools out and everyone at home, grilled chicken is versatile for most late spring and summer meals. Plus, the grilled marked, caramel-color makes mouths, of even the pickiest eaters, instantly water. So if you’re in the mood for an unforgettable, healthy chicken, follow these tips.

  1. Pound Chicken Thin

Cut the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half width-wise. After a few minutes of pounding the thickest parts flatter, the cuts become even, good-sized portions. Not only does this reduce grill time, but the chicken cooks more evenly and is easier to handle. To keep cleanup simple, pound in a ziplock bag, plastic wrap, or folded parchment paper. 

  1. Brine with Salt and Water

Brine acts like fat, giving the meat flavor, tenderness, and helps to make grill marks darker. Let the chicken breasts soak in salt and water for 15 minutes up to 12 hours.

  1. Marinade to Avoid Flavorless Chicken 

Refrigerate your flattened chicken breast in a mixture of oil and seasoning for an hour, at most. Or brush the marinade on as a glaze. Oil is a better base because sugar and honey-based marinades and glaze tend to stick to the grill.

  1. Prep Your Grill 

Coat your grill grates in oil using barbeque gloves most websites recommend, Steven Raichlen. Preheat your grill at medium-high heat. 

  1. Throw Chicken On The Grill

Once the grill is at the right temperature, shake and pat dry excess marinade or brine and place the chicken breast on the grill. Cover the lid. Cook for about about 4 minutes per side until brown with a nice char mark (direct grilling). Transfer the chicken onto a metal platter, close the lid, and cook for 5 minutes (indirect grilling). Remove when the meat temperature reads 165 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer, cut into one to see if it is white all the way through. 

Now cut diagonally on a cutting board and serve on your carb bedding of choice. Enjoy!

Calories: 370 per serving 


For the marinade and glaze:

  • 1/4 garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper

For the brine:

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or Himalayan sea salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)


  1. Cut the chicken in half width-wise. 
  2. Place in a ziplock bag and pound with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer until uniformly 1/4-inch thickness. 
  3. Soak the chicken in salt water for 15 minutes. Remove breasts, pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Brush olive oil over it and season with garlic and pepper.
  5. Heat grill on high (about 400 degrees). 
  6. Place chicken breasts on grill, close lid, and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden grill marks form.
  7. When ready, the chicken will lift easily for flipping. Turn the chicken over, close the lid, and grill for 3-4 minutes on the second side.
  8. Turn the heat to low/medium (about 350 degrees F). Brush with the glaze, place it on a metal plate. Close the lid and cook for 5 more minutes until cooked through. The chicken is done when white throughout when cut or registers 165 degrees F on a digital meat probe. 
  9. Remove from grill, let it rest on a cutting board or serving platter. Slice diagonally, dress with sauce, and serve.

Notes: Don’t have a grill? Follow the directions for prep and then bake in an oven at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of the chicken. 

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Keyword: dinner, grilling

Servings: 4 servings

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