You only need three ingredients to grill moist and delicious chicken breasts. They are healthy, cook quickly, and can be served in many ways. Pair them with a salad or grilled vegetable and you have the perfect light summer meal.
My freezer is packed with frozen chicken breasts because they are my go-to meal in the summer. Once thawed, they cook in under 10 minutes which makes them a great alternative to grabbing takeout or going out to eat at a restaurant.
Many recipes call for marinating the meat ahead of time. Sometimes I like to do that but more often I am in a hurry and do not have time to marinate the chicken. Therefore, I simply season them with salt and pepper, grill them quickly on each side and they are ready to eat!
Grilled chicken breasts are lean meat which makes them healthy for lunch or dinner. For an easy summer meal, serve them with grilled vegetables like asparagus or zucchini, red pepper, onion, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. They would also be delicious sliced on a Caesar Salad, or Greek Salad or served with an Orzo & Tomato Pasta salad. The options are endless!
- Best Methods to Thaw Chicken
- Three Most Important Steps to Ensuring Juicy and Tender Grilled chicken
- How to ensure chicken is an even thickness
- How to grill chicken breasts
- What to serve with grilled chicken breasts
- Seasoning options
- Storage suggestions
- Frequently asked questions
- 📋 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
- Skinless boneless chicken breasts-I like to buy fresh air-chilled chicken because they have less water and salt in them. However, all chicken breasts will work in this recipe. It is important that the chicken is thawed and not frozen when you gill it.
- Kosher salt-this is an important ingredient when cooking chicken. Plain chicken breasts can be boring if they are not seasoned with enough salt. Be sure to use the amount called for in the recipe so that your chicken breasts are flavorful. If you use regular table salt, use half the amount called for in the recipe since it is a finer grain salt.
- Coarse ground pepper-I like pepper on chicken breasts because it adds a nice flavor. If your pepper is finely ground, use half the amount.
Best Methods to Thaw Chicken
The United States Department of Agriculture (USAA) recommends thawing chicken using one of the following methods: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.
I normally don't plan far enough in advance to use the refrigeration method to thaw chicken. Therefore I like to use the water method because I find it to thaw chicken in the microwave without parts of it cooking.
Usually, it takes about 1-2 days to thaw boneless and bone-in chicken in the refrigerator. Whole chickens (2-4 pounds) take about 3-4 days.
To thaw chicken pieces in cold water, submerge the chicken in leakproof packaging and submerge it under cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. One pound of chicken will thaw in less than 1 hour. A whole chicken (3-4) pounds will thaw in 2-3 hours.
The third method to thaw chicken is in the microwave. However, this is difficult because the chicken does not thaw evenly. If you choose this method, thaw in for 5 minutes. If the chicken is still frozen thaw in 30-second increments until it is thawed. Grill the chicken immediately.
Three Most Important Steps to Ensuring Juicy and Tender Grilled chicken
- It is important that the chicken breasts are an even thickness. This will ensure that the entire breast cooks at the same time.
- Do not overcook the chicken. Grill the chicken breast for 3-4 minutes on each side. Take the temperature of the chicken with an instant-read thermometer and once it has reached 160°F, take it off the grill. While it is resting it will reach 165°F. This is a critical step! Don't skip it!
- Let the chicken rest covered for 5-8 minutes before slicing and serving it.
How to ensure chicken is an even thickness
- Place the chicken on a plastic cutting board. If you do not have a plastic cutting board, lay a piece of plastic wrap on a wooden board. It is important to line the wood cutting board with plastic because the wood is porous, and bacteria can get on the board which could cause foodborne illness.
- Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the chicken. This will prevent the chicken from spraying moisture while you are pounding it.
- Use a meat mallet or a rolling pin to pound the chicken until it is an even thickness. Be careful not to pound it too thin or it will dry out when you cook it. The chicken should be about ¾” thick.
How to grill chicken breasts
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Clean the grill grates.
- Oil the grill grates.
- Heat the grill on high for 10-15 minutes.
- Turn the grill down to medium-high. The temperature of the grill should be about 450°F.
- Place the chicken on the grill. Close the cover and grill 3-4 minutes.
- The chicken is done cooking once you can lift the chicken with tongs and the chicken releases easily. Turn the chicken and cook covered for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from the grill. Test the internal temperature of the chicken by inserting the probe of the instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. The internal temperature should be 160°F. It will reach the required 165°F temperature while it is resting. If the temperature of the chicken is not 160°F put the chicken back on the grill for a few more minutes. Be careful not to overcook the chicken or it will be dry and tough.
- Cover the chicken with foil and let it rest for 5-8 minutes.
Once the chicken has rested, it is ready to slice and serve!
What to serve with grilled chicken breasts
Grilled chicken breasts make a delicious meal served sliced on top of a Caesar Salad or Greek Salad. This is an especially light and tasty dinner on a hot summer day. Another great option is to serve them with grilled veggies and a side salad of baby greens and sliced cherry tomatoes with an Easy Vinaigrette.
Turn them into a BBQ meal by brushing the grilled chicken breast with BBQ sauce and melt Monterrey Jack cheese on it. Serve the chicken with a Red Cabbage Salad and corn on the cobb.
Alternatively, you could serve the grilled chicken breast on a toasted pub bun with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and sriracha mayo. Have an Italian night! Top the grilled chicken breast with marina sauce and melt mozzarella cheese on top of the marinara sauce. Serve it with your favorite kind of pasta and Caesar Salad.
There are many seasoning options to use on chicken before it is grilled.
- Try garlic powder, onion powder, Thyme, Rosemary, or a combination of these.
- If you prefer more of a Tex-Mex style chicken, combine equal amounts of cumin, chili powder, oregano, and garlic powder.
- Lemon pepper with salt is also a great option!
- This seasoning blend is delicious on grilled chicken.
Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, it might take 50 percent longer to cook the chicken. Make sure the chicken is cooked to a safe temperature - 165°F.
USDA does not recommend rinsing chicken because bacteria on the raw meat can be spread onto surfaces and utensils. Rinsing meat does not destroy bacteria. Only cooking can kill the bacteria on meat.
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You only need three ingredients to make moist and delicious grilled chicken breasts. Pair them with a salad or grilled vegetable and you have the perfect light summer meal.
- 2 (8 oz each) Skinless and boneless chicken breasts, thawed
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp Coarse ground pepper
- Place chicken breasts on a plastic cutting board. If you have a wooden cutting board, place a sheet of plastic wrap on the board, and then lay the chicken on top of the plastic.
- Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the chicken. Pound chicken with a meat mallet or rolling pin until it is even in thickness, about ¾". Try to get the thickest part of the chicken to be about the same thickness as the thinnest part of the breast.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper (½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper on each side of the chicken).
- Clean the grill grates with a grill brush.
- Dip a piece of paper towel in vegetable oil and using a grill brush or tongs rub the grill grates with the oiled paper towel.
- Heat the covered gas grill for 10-15 minutes on high.
- Lower the heat to medium-high (about 450°F).
- Place the chicken in a single layer and spaced 2-3 inches apart on the grill grates. Close the grill lid.
- Grill the chicken 3-4 minutes and then turn them over. Pro tip: If the chicken sticks to the grate, it is not ready to be turned.
- Grill the chicken covered for an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the grill and test the temperature of the chicken using an instant-read thermometer. The temperature should be 160°F.
- Let the chicken rest for 5-8 minutes. The final temperature of the grilled chicken should be 165°F.
- Slice the chicken and serve.
- The chicken must be completely thawed before cooking it.
- The chicken breasts must be an even thickness. This will ensure that the entire breast cooks at the same time.
- Do not overcook the chicken. Grill the chicken breast for 3-4 minutes on each side. Take the temperature of the chicken and once it has reached 160 F, take it off the grill. Note: While it is resting, it will reach 165 F.
- Let the chicken rest covered for 5-8 minutes before slicing or serving it.
- Seasoning is important. Unless you are on a sodium-reduced diet, use the full amount of salt called for or in the recipe. This will help ensure that the chicken will be tasty. Chicken needs salt!
- Serving Size: ½ Chicken Breast
- Calories: 136
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 361 mg
- Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Protein: 25.5 g
- Cholesterol: 82.7 mg
Keywords: chicken, healthy chicken, grilled chicken, moist chicken breast
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavored to be as accurate as possible.