Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade has notes of zesty orange and makes the most tender and juicy chicken thighs or chicken breasts. It’s a delicious recipe to enjoy all year long!
This is the best Greek yogurt chicken recipe you will find. Prepared with classic Greek flavors like lemon, garlic, and onion, this Greek yogurt chicken gets more and more tender with every bite.
Yogurt Chicken Recipe
Forget frozen chicken, store bought chicken tenders, or unseasoned plain chicken, here’s to a delicious chicken marinade that works perfectly with chicken thighs, breasts, and legs!
This yogurt marinaded chicken is a super easy meal that is full of flavor, and makes for the perfect main dish for any occasion, whether it’s a simple weeknight dinner or a holiday meal.
Combined with the delicious citrus juice flavors, garlic, fresh herbs, and spices, your tastebuds will be begging you to go back for seconds.
Serve this chicken up as an entree for dinner, protein for lunch, or get creative and use it to top a salad or make chicken kabobs!
Greek Yogurt Marinade Ingredients
Meat: for this recipe, I used boneless chicken thighs. However, you can also use boneless skinless chicken breasts or full chicken legs as well!
Note: bone-in chicken thighs with skin on will get the most crispy.
Dairy: to make Greek yogurt chicken, you will need whole milk Greek yogurt. Sour cream works as a good substitute if you don’t have yogurt on hand.
*For a detailed list of ingredients and measurements, please reference the recipe card down below.
Fresh garlic is also delicious in the marinade.
Greek Yogurt Substitutes
As I mentioned above, I recommend using plain Greek yogurt (not regular plain yogurt) because of its key properties (calcium and lactic acid), resulting in moist chicken.
However, if you are not a fan of Greek yogurt, can’t find it in the store, or don’t have it handy in the fridge, the best substitute is sour cream.
Need other substitutes that can work? Consider trying: buttermilk, Mexican crema mixed with lemon juice, or plain full fat yogurt.
How to Make Greek Yogurt Chicken
Prepare this delicious chicken and bake it in the oven by following these simple instructions:
1. Make the marinade. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, shawarma seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, lemon juice, orange juice, and olive oil.
2. Prepare the chicken. Place the chicken thighs in a large Ziploc bag with the yogurt marinade and shake until all pieces of chicken are fully coated. Place the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Do not marinate beyond 12 hours.
3. Cook the chicken. When ready, preheat the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a sheet pan inside on the middle rack. Once preheated, remove the sheet pan and arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 170° F and the edges are crisp. If you like them extra crisp, remove the pan from the oven and preheat the broiler to high. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until crisp to your liking (careful not to overcook).
Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Skip the oven with these easy instructions for air fryer boneless chicken thighs!
- Preheat and cook. Preheat the air fryer to 375° F. Arrange the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry for 10 minutes, flip and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 170° F and the edges are crisp.
- Serve and enjoy. I like to serve these chicken thighs with Labne Dip and a side salad.
Side Dishes to Serve with Greek Marinade Chicken
Looking for more ideas on what to pair with your chicken? Here are some other ideas I love:
- Add some greens to your plate with Air Fryer Broccoli, Roasted Broccolini, or these Green Beans With Bacon.
- Love spaghetti squash, but looking for more ways to cook it? Check out my round-up on 40+ Spaghetti Squash Recipes you’re sure to love.
- Add even more flavor with this delicious Creamy Labne Dip. It’s my favorite to serve alongside this chicken.
- Typing to keep your recipe low carb or make it keto friendly? Pair your chicken with some zucchini noodles.
- Keep your meal simple and easy with white or brown rice, roasted veggies, or a big fresh salad with in-season toppings.
Does Greek Yogurt Tenderize Chicken?
Yes! Yogurt tenderizes meat more gently than traditional marinades.
Sometimes (based on marinade time), acidic or citrus-based marinades can toughen up the protein you are marinading. This results in a rubbery or chewy consistency.
Yogurt on the other hand leaves the chicken super juicy and results in a tender bite every time.
Can Greek Yogurt be used as a Marinade?
Absolutely! Greek yogurt makes a great marinade because it possesses two important qualities that make it a really great marinade; calcium and lactic acid.
Together, calcium and lactic acid break down the protein in the meat while cooking. Leaving you with super moist, juicy, and tender meat!
How Long Should you Marinate Chicken in Yogurt?
If you are in a rush, you only need about 15 minutes. However, I recommend 6-8 hours.
Don’t marinate your chicken beyond 12 hours; any longer and you risk getting an upset stomach and increase your chances of possible food poisoning.
Are chicken thighs better than legs?
Did you know a chicken leg has two parts? The chicken leg consists of the drumstick and the thigh. Chicken thighs have a higher meat content than the drumsticks and are the thickest part of the meat.
You can make this recipe with just the chicken thigh or you can make it with the entire leg which includes the drumstick!
Bone-in vs Boneless Chicken Thighs
When you cook chicken thighs with the bone in, the flavor that is stored in the bone spreads throughout the meat leaving you with incredibly deep flavor and juicy chicken.
Chicken with the skin on gets even more crispy!
Helpful Kitchen Tools
Here are some of my favorite kitchen items that make this recipe a breeze!
Thermometer: I find that an instant read thermometer is a great tool to keep around, especially when preparing chicken. A meat thermometer helps guarantee the chicken is ready and at a safe temperature to consume.
Bowls: these are some of my favorite medium and large bowls to use when preparing food. Investing in good mixing or prep bowls are essential for any home chef!
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Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, shawarma seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, lemon juice, orange juice, and olive oil.
- Place the chicken thighs in a large ziploc bag with the yogurt marinade and shake until all pieces of chicken are fully coated. Place the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Do not marinate beyond 12 hours.
- When ready, preheat the oven 425° F with a sheet pan inside on the middle rack. Once preheated, remove the sheet pan and arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 170° F and the edges are crisp. If you like them extra crisp, remove the pan from the oven and preheat the broiler to high. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until crisp to your liking (careful not to overcook).
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat the air fryer to 375° F. Arrange the chicken thighs in the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry for 10 minutes, flip and cook 6-8 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 170° F and the edges are crisp.