Home Cooking: Grilled Chicken Marinades x3

I know we’re all cooking more at home these days, so I thought maybe it would be nice to share some of our family’s favorite recipes.

We ♥ grilling, and are fortunate to be able to do it year-round here in Hawaii. We used to be exclusively charcoal grillers, and made up for all the lost grilling time during the Portland winters by dragging out our old Weber kettle as much as possible once the weather turned warm. We have a Weber again here, but this time it’s powered with gas. While I miss the flavor we got from charcoal grilling, the convenience of the gas grill wins out these days.

Any one of the three chicken marinades below works for any part of the chicken. Our family likes thighs because they’re tasty and inexpensive – I usually buy boneless, skinless thigh filets. My only issue with them is they can be quite fatty, and it can be a somewhat messy operation to trim off that fat before marinating them.

We love the taste of anything made with ginger and garlic, which are included in each of these marinades. Fresh ginger is especially easy to find at the farmers’ market and is inexpensive. Both garlic and ginger have many health benefits, although there probably isn’t enough of either in these recipe to make a difference. Un-peeled ginger can be stored in the vegetable crisper of the fridge in either a small plastic bag or container; peeled ginger keeps well in a sealed jar covered in vodka!

All three of these marinades help make chicken even more tender. Our son used to call the ginger-peanut chicken “velvet chicken” because it was so melt-in-your-mouth tender. The Japanese-style marinade and ginger-peanut marinated chicken lend themselves to Asian-style menus, and the ginger-yogurt chicken is a mock tandoori style, and goes well with Indian dishes. The Japanese-style marinade recipe comes from the New York Times. It’s a nice and easy change from teriyaki (which we also love) and has less salt. The peanut-ginger marinade comes from allrecipes, and the ginger-yogurt marinade is on an old newspaper clipping from who knows where or when. 

The marinades also work well with pork, and each of these marinades would work for tofu as well if you don’t eat meat. The Japanese-style and peanut-ginger marinades are both vegan.


1/4 cup soy sauce

2 TBSP sake or white wine

2 TBSP mirin (or 1 TBSP honey mixed with 1 TBSP water)

2 green onions, coarsely chopped

1 TBSP minced garlic

1 TBSP finely minced ginger

3 pounds chicken pieces (skin removed if preferred)

Mix together the soy sauce, sake or wine, mirin, chopped onions, garlic and ginger in large, covered container or large zip-top bag. Add the chicken and toss to coat completely. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours up to overnight. Grill over medium hot heat for around 20 minutes or until fully cooked, turning frequently so the chicken does not burn.


3 pounds of cut up chicken (skin removed if preferred)


1 cup plain yogurt

3 large cloves of finely minced garlic

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and chili powder

Wipe chicken parts with a damp cloth and place in a large covered dish or zip-top bag. Lightly salt.  Mix together yogurt, garlic, ginger and spices. Spoon over chicken pieces and turn to coat well. Marinate for at least 8 hours. Oil grill well; grill over medium-hot heat, turning frequently until fully cooked. Chicken can also be baked in 350 degree oven for around one hour or until done.


1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

chili-garlic sauce to taste (start with 1 tsp and add to desired spiciness)

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 TBSP vegetable oil

2 TBSP rice vinegar

4 cloves minced garlic

2 tsp grated fresh ginger root

3 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

In a large bowl, gradually stir the hot water into the peanut butter. Stir in garlic-chili sauce, soy sauce, oil, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Place chicken pieces in a large covered container or zip-top bag, cover with marinade and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.

Thread chicken pieces onto skewers (discard marinade) and grill for 8-10 minutes per side over medium heat.


20 thoughts on “Home Cooking: Grilled Chicken Marinades x3

  1. These all look fabulous, thank you for sharing! I will be trying out the PB version next week!

    BTW, during the grocery shortages in March and April, I researched how to store garlic and ginger, and began peeling, then freezing them. They both cut up just fine while still frozen, so no need to wait for them to defrost before using them, and they both taste great. So, another way they can be saved.


    1. Thanks, Tamara! I am anxious to fix the yogurt one again and fix some Indian dishes to go along. The peanut butter one is delicious, but we’re waiting to fix it after YaYu heads back to school as she doesn’t care for peanut butter.

      I have frozen my ginger before, but these days I just buy small pieces and use it up quickly. I did not know you could freeze garlic – good to know!


      1. Returning to say we just enjoyed making the Japanese marinade grilled chicken tonight, and it was delicious. I researched how to safely use the leftover marinade, and learned I needed simply to boil it for five minutes, which I did, serving it hot over the grilled chicken and rice. It thickened during the boiling, so it made for a perfect sauce topping, amping up the deliciousness factor. Thank you so much!


      2. And something else new is learned! I usually have so little marinade left that I end up throwing it out, but will try your tip and boil it next time to serve over rice.


  2. I agree that marinades greatly improve the taste both for chicken and pork. I have never used a peanut butter one, so I will give it a try.
    I have been using an electric grill for decades now, a George Foreman electric. I love it because I have better control over the temperature, it doesn’t burn anything, and I can clean it- the grilling plate is removable and I wash it in the sink. I cannot recommend it enough.


    1. We had one of the original GF grills, before you could remove the grilling plate for washing. I loved the grill, but clean-up was always a pain. I always had a damp cloth waiting on the side that I threw on as soon as the food was off. It would steam and soak off any residue which I would then just wipe away. You’ve got me thinking though that it would be nice to have one again, although we can grill outside here year-round.


  3. I love the taste of chicken, venison and pork when they are marinated and grilled, shrimp is great on the grill as well.


      1. Venison is great! Free range, no antibiotics or hormones. I take one or two a year between the archery and regular firearms season. It does need to be properly prepared with marinades, and I have also slow cooked it with French onion soup and bacon. It is a lean meat and can be very dry if not cooked properly.


      2. Well, my husband would definitely agree with you. I just don’t care for the taste, marinades or not. We’ll never have it here, but maybe one day if I get the chance I’ll give it another try.


  4. Thanks for the recipes. I’m going to try the peanut butter one in the slow cooker with some thighs and see what happens. When it’s in the 95+ degree range, it’s just too hot to stand outside and grill.


    1. I have never thought of trying the peanut butter one in the slow cooker with chicken. Will you let me know how it turns out? I know exactly what you mean too about it being too hot to grill. The slow cooker/InstantPot is my favorite kitchen appliance here (funny, because I almost didn’t bring mine because I thought I’d never use it).


      1. It was yummy! Really moist and flavorful. You could boil down the liquid to make a sauce, too, but it doesn’t need it.


  5. Just popping by. Doug Nordman(Military Guide) and wife are retired Navy and live on Oahu. He just posted this in his update, “For our Hawaii friends, the concern is that the storm has a high SOA with weak shear from the mid-Pacific high-pressure ridge and warm waters around the island. The hurricane will be advancing relatively quickly with a lot of momentum and not much opposition. It looks like one of those situations where it dissipates its energy for 2-3 days over Oahu & Kauai with 70-knot winds and a couple feet of rain. ”
    I know you keep plugged in, but that doesn’t stop me from worry :).
    Stay dry!


    1. Thanks Janette. Brett is heading out today to gas up, and get water and butane canisters for our camping stove. Our apartment is on a hill, so flooding won’t be a problem, but the winds could be a problem at those speeds. Fingers crossed it passes by.


    1. I was happy to learn from Sheila that the peanut-ginger one works well with chicken in the slow cooker. I had never thought of that, and love that I have another way of doing things.


    1. All three of these these marinades are great, but the Japanese one is the easiest to put together. I’ve got another chicken marinade recipe coming up later this week.


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