5 Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts

Have you ever experienced painfully dry chicken?  Perhaps cooked by close friends or family… or even yourself? I feel your pain.  I have experienced my fair share of pretty terrible grilled chicken breasts.  Sometimes dry or sometimes rubbery, there are a lot of mistakes people make when grilling chicken breasts.  I am going to fix any errors you might be making with 5 easy steps to take you to Juicy Chicken Breasts every time! 

5 Easy Steps for Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts

  1. Slice the chicken breasts in half, making Chicken Cutlets that are about 3/4″ thick
  2. Rinse and dry your Chicken Breasts
  3. Apply a flavorful dry rub with a balanced spice blend. See recipe below for my Secret Chicken & Pork Rub
  4. Marinade the chicken with olive oil and rice vinegar
  5. Sear over high heat, around 550 degrees F,  for 2-3 minutes depending on chicken thickness, until 160 F Internal Temperature.

This Video Shows you The Whole Process

1: Slicing Chicken Breasts in Half

You could call this butterflying the chicken as well.  You really just want to carefully slice the breasts in half to create cutlets that are 3/4″ thick.  Nothing exact here… just making the thickness more uniform and generally more thin to allow a more predictable and shorter grilling session, resulting in Juicy Chicken Breasts! 

butterflying a chicken breast
Working from one side to another, carefully butterfly the chicken breast
halved chicken breast
You can try to leave the butterfly chicken breast as one piece, but I find it easier to handle when sliced all the way through

2: Rinse and Dry your Chicken Breasts

You want to do this anytime you make chicken on the grill or in the oven.  It is sanitary, but also increases the penetration of the rub and marinade.  If you are making dry rubbed skin on chicken, drying your chicken also give you a crispier skin.

3: Apply a Flavorful Rub

This BBQ Rub is great on chicken or pork.  Give it a try… you WILL LOVE IT!  Coat the dry chicken with the rub first and then apply the marinade ingredients.

  • 2 Tablespoons Celery Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 12 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Turbinado Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Ancho Chile
  • 1 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

4: Marinade the Chicken for 30 Minutes with Olive Oil & Rice Vinegar

After applying the Rub, coat the chicken with enough Olive Oil to slather both sides of the chicken.  This may be the most important step to create Juicy Chicken Breasts.  You want enough olive oil that the Rub becomes a little saucy.  Then just drizzle a little bit of rice vinegar over chicken and mix together.  This will create a tangy chicken marinade that will develop a nice flavor crust on the outside of the chicken when it hits the hot grill. Marinade for 30 minutes while the grill heats up to 550 F – 650 F.  

5: Grill the Chicken over High Heat at 550 °F or More

Directly from the marinade pan, place the chicken on the hot grill.  Grill the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side.  I often grill the first side for 3 minutes and the second side for 2 minutes if they are nice and thin.  If you use the same setup on your grill every time, you will start to know exactly how long your chicken breasts will take.

chicken breasts on the grill

Let the Chicken Rest for 5 Minutes

Now the hard part… waiting a few minutes to slice up your chicken.  I usually let it rest 5 minutes or longer as I finish up a side dish, such as grilled vegetables.  I hope you give this recipe a try.  I really found it life changing when I figured out how to make awesome chicken breasts.  They are cheap, easy, and tasty… making them a great weeknight meal.  Let me know if you try them out!  If you eat as much chicken as I do, you may want to check out my flavor infused triple BBQ chicken recipe or my Asian Glazed Chicken Wing Recipe.



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Hi, my name is Keegan Lare and I love to create delicious grilled and smoked food, bursting with bold flavors. I also love to see my friends and family try something tasty and new. It is in this spirit that I created Seared & Smoked.

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