An actual conversation between me and my husband years ago:
Him: Shall we BBQ tonight?
Me: Sure, what shall we make?
Him: How about chicken breasts?
Me: Ew. No. Why?
But that was before I learned how to grill perfectly tender and juicy chicken breasts!
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Simple and easy. Pinky Swear!
Grilled chicken breasts are notoriously dry and flavorless, but when prepared the correct way they can be delicious, flavorful and tender. And I promise it’s not a lot of work.Today you will learn just how easy it is to achieve tender, juicy flavorful boneless skinless chicken breasts every time to grill. And I will guide you through the process step by step, complete with photos. That’s just how nice I am!
The Step by Step…
One (of several) problems with grilling chicken breasts is that to cook that thick center you have to overcook the ends, leaving the meat dry and ‘cardboard-y’. Luckily this problem is easily solved. Simply place the chicken breast on a large piece of unbleached parchment paper, fold the parchment over the chicken and seal the edges by folding a couple of times. Then pound it with a meat pounder or rolling pin until the breast is more even.
Another problem with boneless skinless chicken breast is they have very little fat, and fat is what gives meat flavor and tenderness. Solving that problem is very easy! Simply place chicken breasts in a brine of water and salt (that’s it!) and let them soak for a half hour. This makes them moist, tender and juicy. There is a scientific explanation, like the salt water changes the molecular make up of proteins…blah, blah, blah, let’s eat! (I use pink Himalayan Salt:
After brining, simply brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper….
Then throw them on a hot grill. The heat needs to be high to brown and then lowered to finish cooking. Total grilling time is 10-12 minutes. Quick and easy! If you don’t have room for a big gas grill may I make a recommendation? Weber makes the handiest table top grill (affiliate link) that is budget friendly and perfect for for those without a big yard. And you can easily take it to the park or beach!
Once grilled to perfection place on a cutting board and slice on a diagonal. Does this chicken breast look dry to you?
Add BBQ Sauce if desired!
Now that you know how to grill the perfect chicken breast you can serve them as is, coat them in my favorite BBQ sauce, or use them in salads or wraps!
Need Tips for Grilling Hamburgers?
For burger tips visit “The Secrets to Making a Fantastic Burger!” and get three fabulous burger recipes as well!
The Recipe: How to Grill Perfectly Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time!
What you need: I use pink Himalayan Salt for brining but you can also use kosher salt.
- 6 cups water
- 1/3 cup salt I use Himalayan sea salt, but you can use Kosher too
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded and brined
- sea salt
- olive oil
Place water and salt in a large bowl and stir.
Place chicken breast between folded parchment paper and pound with a rolling pin until uniformly thick.
Place breasts in salt water for 30 minutes.
Remove breasts, pat dry with paper towels.
Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Heat grill on high (about 425 degrees)
Place breasts on grill, close lid and cook till nice golden grill marks are established (3-4 minutes)
Turn over and grill till golden on the second side (3-4 minutes)
Turn heat to med/low (about 350 degrees) close lid and cook for five more minutes until just cooked through. Don't over cook!
Remove from grill, cut on the diagonal and serve.
MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?
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Your posts always make me want to eat! Yumm!! This looks great.
Wow. I have such trouble with chicken breasts. I have to watch my salt. Do you think I could simply just soak the breasts?
Anna I am not sure if soaking them in just water would make any difference at all. Sorry.
What about soaking the breasts in a bromelain solution like an adolphs meat tenderizer? Bromelain is found in pineapple.
After purchasing boneless chicken breasts I carefully peel the two “tenders” from each breast, saving them for another meal. This also decreases the thickness in the middle so it cooks more evenly.
Just what we’ve been searching for!
Followed the recipe at my restaurant and got compliments of having8ng the best burgers in Canberra.
OMG, this was the best chicken breast I’ve ever had. It was tender and my husband enjoyed it very much. I will surely prepare this chicken again & again. He actually eat two pieces. Thank you very much. Thanks.
Yum! This is so helpful. We’ll have to try this out next time we grill 🙂
Oh great guide for sure. I don’t eat meat but my family does so making them a tender chicken can be hard.
I have never thought to brine my chicken breasts before cooking. Thanks for sharing these tips!
This is so good to know! Chicken breasts can be so hard to grill because they lose their moisture so quickly! I will have to reference this again next time we grill because I love my chicken breasts!
I love this! What a great tip. Thank you so much!!!!!
I love grilled chicken! These look amazing. Infact I might have this for lunch lol
I always grill thighs because I never thought breasts like this were possible! And I brine pork tenderloin, I should have thought of it for chicken breasts. Looking forward to trying it out! Thanks!
It works like a dream!
Mine always come out so dry, saving this for later yours look amazing!
Such great tips. We use our grill year-round – definitely will be referring to this next time we grill chicken.
You have outlined the steps very well in this post. I have never grilled meat before, so, this is a good guide for newbies.
Brining makes such a difference in meats that easily dry out. I wonder, some people rinse off the salty brine and some don’t. Do you rinse?
I don’t but I pat dry with paper towels.
These sound great. I love chicken recipes. Thanks for sharing this. Simon
I’ve never commented on a recipe before but this has changed my kids from bbq chicken haters to bbq chicken lovers, so I’m thrilled 🙂 I used a meat thermometer on the bbq (temp between 150 – 155, then let it finish cooking to 160 off the bbq) to make sure that I didn’t over cook and it was SO good and SO easy – thanks!
Thanks for your comment! I am so glad to hear that. You made my day!
I am definitely going to try the brining procedure…just a small doubt- do we need to wash the chicken after removing from the brine??if not,won’t it become salty??thanks and regards
Nope. It’s not necessary! But you can if you want to. If brined in a combination of spices (or in sugar) people rinse because the spices/sugar will burn during cooking. But for salt water it isn’t required.
I always struggle with chicken because it dries out. We are trying this for dinner tonight. I’ve added a little extra touch to the brine. I added fresh cilantro and some lime juice. Hoping this comes out good. Update to follow later tonight.
I hope so too! I usually add fresh herbs after as they tend burn on the grill, hopefully yours will come out fabulous!
My chicken turned out AMAZING!! My family loved it. Not a huge salt person so I thought it was a little salty but super juicy, flavorful and tender!!! I’ll just decrease my salt next time around. Love this brine tip so much I shared on Facebook with everyone!! Thank you.
I am so happy! Thanks so much for letting me know. Sometimes we bloggers don’t hear from our readers. I appreciate your comments!
Just cut 2 large breasts into tender size and soaked 1/2 hr in salt water; it worked. I usually do the same without brine but this didn’t hurt. After sauté in olive oil, I tested a few and they were good so I had a chicken Caesar and it was good.
I am so glad to hear that! Thanks for letting me know. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is out there…except google analytics tells me they are 🙂
The chicken breast turned out amazing! Super juicy and really easy. I used course sea salt because that was all I had and it worked great.
Yay! I am so glad to hear it. It’s pretty fool proof no matter what salt you use! Thanks Jessica:)
This worked out well, but I thought the chicken was a little too salty. Could you rinse the chicken after the brine?
Interesting, I have never had that said before, but yes, I think that would be no problem!
Why does chicken with grill marks ALWAYS taste so much better?? Great date night in recipe!
Haha, it’s all psychological I am sure 🙂
Ok ok, fine, I’ll try the brine! Ha! It really does look so amazing – we will be doing this next time! I love the convo with your husband – haha!
Lol. Do it!
Yes! Brining is such a good way to prepare chicken but I had no idea you only need to do it for 30 minutes for it to make a difference. So helpful!
Yep! You can leave it longer, but you don’t have to!
Such a clever idea! Making the meat flatter so it can grill more evenly. It always gets dry on the thin outer edges while you try to get the thick center done. Genius 🙂
I can’t wait to try this out, what a great idea to make the meat flatter for more even cooking!
Love how simple and is it is to make healthy meal so scrumptious!
Since I live in an apartment, I can’t have a grill, but I want to try this on a grill pan. Any tips?
Great question, I would just grill each side for about 5 minutes or until cooked through!
Great recipe! Cooks perfectly every time and is moist and delicious! I just add few herbs and spices! So easy and quick!
Fantastic! I am so glad you like the results of brining!
I searched for “tender chicken breast” and found your recipe. It’s now the only way I’ll make them on the grill. Perfect!
I am so glad to hear that! I use this method all the time and love it too!
Just curious, can you brine for longer than 30 minutes? Like overnight? I usually prep meals while the kids are sleeping.
Thank you and I can’t wait to try this recipe!
Hi Catherine! Yes you sure can leave them in longer!
Haven’t made it but I’m glad I found an answer to my big chicken wonders… I’m going to give it a try… sounds really good!
Thank you! Hope you love it!
The brine works so well. Thanks for this great kitchen tip and recipe!!
I usually don’t love chicken breasts but this is so delicious! The only way to cook chicken breasts.
This is a must-read tutorial. Everyone should know how to grill a chicken breast!
Thanks Jessica! I agree!
Yes! Brined is the way to go! And I love that your brine doesn’t have sugar. Can’t wait to try this when I get my grill out.
When you live in Southern CA the grill is always out:)
AhAhh thanks so much for the tips. . I feel really confident grilling beef, but chicken breasts always turn out dry and unflavorful.
You know it’s a winner when you post a recipe in 2015 and in 2020, the comments are still rolling in! Linda, Linda, Linda! You have revolutionized our grill! First time EVER to have delicious, juicy chicken breasts right off the grill, all thanks to you. My guys couldn’t believe how amazing they were. A brine – who knew?! I found you today on Pinterest and looking forward to checking out all your other recipes. Thanks, Linda! You made my day!
Diane, Diane, Diane, you made my day! Actually you made that my week! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, I really appreciate that, especially since it was so positive. Have a great week!
I have tried many things to get TENDER grilled chicken breasts but this works every time. I sprinkle a bit more spices over the meat before grilling just to amp up the flavour. I know my S-I-L rinses off the brine before grilling to cut down on the salt content but it’s not a problem for me. Thanks so much for posting especially with the grilling instructions (temp/time).
I am so happy you like the recipe. I agree, it’s works and it’s so easy. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it!
Good recipe. I followed it precisely, except for using 8” cast iron frying pan instead of rolling pin. That’s a better, faster flattener. Thanks!
Great idea! Thank you:)
I recently purchased a new grill and was wanting to try my hand at chicken again.
The last time I made chicken on the grill it came out very dry and tough.
I just tried this recipe tonight. I did however substitute the salt and pepper seasoning with Mcormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken. I have now made the best chicken of my life
This is my new go to for chicken on the grill! You are a lifesaver.
Thanks George. Glad you loved it 🙂
Tried this grilled chicken recipe tonight I am so impressed, it turned out so tender and full of flavor I used salt, pepper & garlic powder. Will be cooking chicken breast this way only from this day on. Thank you for putting this out for everyone to see.
Thank you for your comment! I am so glad you liked the recipe:)