Greek Marinade

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This Greek-inspired Marinade is gives any meal loads of Mediterranean flair! This easy marinade recipe bursts with flavor from tons of garlic, lemon & oregano, & its Greek yogurt base keeps whatever you’re marinating completely tender & juicy. It’s absolutely perfect as a grilled Greek chicken marinade, or for making Greek-style lamb, pork, or veggies!

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Grilled Greek chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with fresh chopped herbs, lemon slices, & lemon wedges.
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BIG, Bold Greek-Inspired Flavor, Minimal Effort.

ICYMI, we’re kiiiinda obsessed with Mediterranean foods & flavors here at PWWB! Greek-inspired recipes are some of my favorite to cook, as evidenced by Our Favorite Greek Farro Salad, these Lemony Greek Chicken Wings, these epic Lamb Meatballs, &, of course, this easy Greek Marinade recipe.

This Greek marinade recipe has been a community favorite ever since we shared it for the first time back in 2019. Thousands of PWWB readers rave about this recipe every month, for good reason! It’s made with simple staples, like Greek yogurt, garlic, oregano, & red wine vinegar, so it’s easy to throw together any night of the week. Despite its simplicity, though, it always results in seriously big, bold, bright, delicious flavor.

The best thing about it, though, is its versatility – feel free to consider it your go-to all-purpose Greek marinade. You can use it as a Greek chicken marinade or as a Greek lamb marinade, it makes awesome Greek-style roasted pork, & it’s even great on veggies too. The yogurt acts as a natural tenderizer & adds tangy richness, while generous amounts of lemon, garlic, & oregano create the crave-worthy flavors that come to mind when you think of Greek food. It’s so good!

Greek marinade shown in a small ball jar, sitting atop a light blue surface with lemon wedges & dried herbs on the surface in the foreground & in the background.

Greek Marinade Recipe Highlights

This easy Greek marinade is (click for shortcuts within this post!)

  • MEGA FLAVORFUL. Made with Greek yogurt, lemon, garlic, & dried oregano, this easy marinade recipe packs the best big punch of Greek-inspired flavor!
  • QUICK & EASY. This homemade Greek marinade calls for 7 ingredients, most of which are simple staples that are probably already in your pantry! Better yet, you can mix it up in 5 minutes or less. Maximum flavor, minimal effort!
  • VERSATILE. It’s an all-purpose Greek marinade that you can use on just about anything. Use it as a Greek grilled chicken marinade for the best Greek chicken, or make Greek lamb, Greek pork, Greek-inspired veggie kabobs, & so much more – it’s always amazing!

Greek-anything & everything? Yes please! ♡ Read on to learn more about this easy Greek marinade recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get grilling!

Greek Marinade Ingredients

One of the best things about this easy Greek marinade recipe is that it’s made with very simple ingredients, but each pack a major punch of flavor. You need 7 simple ingredients, & most of them are probably already in your pantry!

Greek marinade ingredients arranged on a light blue surface: greek yogurt, garlic, lemon, olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, dried oregano, salt, & pepper.
Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Greek yogurt – Similar to buttermilk, Greek yogurt is filled with proteins that act as a natural tenderizer, helping keep whatever meat you marinate super tender. As a bonus, Greek yogurt transforms into the most insane crust once grilled – so good! I prefer using full-fat Greek yogurt, but you can definitely use skim or nonfat in this marinade.
  • Aromatics – Namely, loads of garlic & dried oregano to create the bold Greek-inspired flavor we’re after here. If you like a kick of heat, add in some crushed red pepper flakes, too!
  • Lemon – Use both the zest & juice for maximum flavor. Look for a lemon that has thin skin & feels heavy for its weight to ensure it’s juicy enough!
  • Red wine vinegar – A generous splash to offset the natural sweetness of lemon with bold, punchy flavor.
  • Honey – For sweetness that balances out the lemon & vinegar. As a bonus, honey helps your greek chicken, lamb, or whatever you’re making take on crispy, caramelized edges that are so good!
  • Olive oilA little bit to hold the marinade together! Since this grill marinade has so many other big flavors, you don’t need to use an expensive oil. If you prefer grilling with high smoke point oils, that’s cool! You can use avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or whatever neutral oil you love most as an alternative.

Dairy-Free & Vegan Alternative ⇢ If you try to avoid dairy, or you’re looking for a vegan Greek marinade to use on veggies & plant-based proteins, try the lemony Greek marinade used in this recipe. It’s an oil-based marinade that’s loaded with flavor!

How to make this simple & flavorful marinade:

Aside from packing a big punch of Greek-inspired flavor, the other thing you’ll love about this recipe is how quickly it comes together. It’s a really simple one bowl, 5-minute operation!

Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Greek marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface. Fresh lemon zest has been sprinkled on top.
Note: full Recipe Directions are provided in the Recipe Card, below.

Here’s how you do it: Simply add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl, whisking to combine. That’s it! With your Greek marinade mixed & ready to go, you can use it immediately or transfer to a small jar & place it in the fridge for later use. (In fact, if you’re prepping for later use, you can skip the bowl & combine all of the ingredients in a small jar & shake to combine – less dishes, for the win!)

Suggested Marinating Time:

Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you use. Having tested this Greek grill marinade with a variety of different proteins & a variety of different marinating times, here’s what I suggest:

  • If using as a Greek chicken marinade, or for Greek-style pork, mild proteins should soak in this marinade for at least 6 hours & up to 3 days.
  • Rich or gamey proteins like beef & Greek lamb should soak in this all-purpose marinade for at least 12 hours & up to 3 days.
  • Veggies last even longer – you can marinate them for at least 20 minutes or up to 5 days.
  • Delicate proteins (i.e. seafood – salmon, shrimp, flaky white fish) have a shorter marinade time – aim for at least 20 minutes & no more than 1 hour.
Side angle of chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Greek marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface. Fresh lemon zest has been sprinkled on top.

Make-Ahead & Meal Prep:

Great news for meal preppers: despite the suggested marinating times for this Greek marinade recipe, you can still get ahead on your dinner by prepping the marinade in advance. (A little bonus? The flavors of the marinade meld together even more the longer it sits!)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Prep the marinade & store it in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator. The marinade will keep for up to 5 days.
  • When you’re ready to start marinating (refer to the suggested marinating times above), simply give the marinade a shake & pour it over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy!
Chicken thighs in a Ziploc bag, marinating in Greek marinade. The bag sits atop a light blue surface. “Greek Marinade" is penned in the bag's memo area.

How to use this Greek Marinade recipe:

This Greek marinade is a weeknight dinner rockstar! It adds so much Mediterranean-inspired flavor to whatever you marinade! It can be used as a Greek lamb marinade, a Greek grilled chicken marinade, & so much more!

A few favorite pairings to try include:

  • Chicken. It’s the BEST Greek chicken marinade! Its zesty, lemony notes add SO much flavor to chicken. We love using it on boneless, skinless chicken breasts & thighs. Because it’s a yogurt-based marinade, it’s also great for tenderizing bone-in skin on parts, like legs & drumsticks. You can even use it to make whole chicken or the best grilled wings!
  • Lamb. Another staple in Greek cooking! Use it as an easy Greek lamb marinade on lamb chops or leg of lamb. The yogurt tenderizes tough meat, while the brightness of the lemon & red wine vinegar help neutralize any gamey flavor. So good!
  • Pork. It works great with juicy grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin, too.
  • Kebabs. Because this Greek marinade is so versatile you can easily mix & match your favorite protein with veggies to create the ultimate grilled Greek kebabs.
  • Veggies. Perhaps my favorite of them all, this marinade isn’t just for meat! Try adding it to your favorite hearty veggies, like onions, potatoes, or even cauliflower!

My ideal plate? ⇢ Greek Grilled Chicken Mezze! Use it as a Greek grilled chicken marinade on boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which stay completely juicy & tender on the grill. Grill over medium-high heat until crusty & charred. Dice the grilled Greek chicken into bite-sized pieces & serve it alongside fluffy fresh pita (this is my favorite homemade pita recipe!), meaty & rich Castelvetrano olives, hummus or tzatziki, feta & pickled red onions. If you’re feeling fancy, finish with a squeeze of lemon juice from a grilled lemon wedge.

I can’t wait for you to try this Greek Marinade recipe! It is filled with flavor & pairs with just about anything. I know you’ll love it as much as we do! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Want more marinades for grilling season? Got you covered! Check out PWWB’s 15 Go-To Grilling Marinades. Happy grilling! ♡

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A Greek-inspired grilling marinade perfect for whenever you’re grilling up a recipe or meal with a little bit of Mediterranean flare. This Greek-ish grilling marinade has a Greek yogurt base, which keeps whatever you’re grilling completely tender & juicy, & tons of garlic, lemon & oregano to add tons of Mediterranean flavor to every single bite. Perfect for grilled chicken, grilled lamb, or grilled veggies! #marinaderecipe #easymarinade #greekmarinade #greekchickenmarinade #grillingrecipes

The BEST Greek Marinade (for Greek Chicken, Pork, Lamb & more!)

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Condiments, Marinde
  • Method: No-Cook, Grill
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

This Greek-inspired Marinade is perfect for giving any meal a little bit of Mediterranean flair! This easy marinade recipe bursts with flavor from tons of garlic, lemon & oregano, & its Greek yogurt base keeps whatever you’re marinating completely tender & juicy. It’s absolutely perfect as a grilled Greek chicken marinade, or for making Greek-style lamb, pork, or veggies!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds meat or veggies of choice
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 lemons, zested & juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • kosher saltground black pepper, to season

Greek marinade ingredients arranged on a light blue surface: greek yogurt, garlic, lemon, olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, dried oregano, salt, & pepper.


Instructions

  1. Mix the Greek grilling marinade: Add the Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, & oregano to a bowl or jar. Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper or crushed red pepper, as desired. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.Greek marinade shown in a small ball jar, sitting atop a light blue surface with lemon wedges & dried herbs on the surface in the foreground & in the background.
  2. Marinate: Pour the Greek grilling marinade over your meat or veggies of choice. Marinate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Greek marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface. Fresh lemon zest has been sprinkled on top.
  3. Grill as desired. Enjoy!Grilled Greek chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with fresh chopped herbs, lemon slices, & lemon wedges.

Notes

  • Tip ⇢ Greek marinade doubles as a really great salad dressing: Reserve some of your Greek marinade for drizzling over a Greek salad filled with cucumbers, bell peppers, feta & kalamata olives. You won’t regret it!
  • Suggested marinade time: Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you’d like to use. Having tested this Greek Marinade recipe with a variety of different proteins & a variety of different marinating times, here’s what I suggest:
    • Seafood – At least 20 minutes & no more than 1 hour.
    • Chicken & pork – At least 6 hours & up to 3 days.
    • Beef & lamb – At least 12 hours & up to 3 days.
    • Veggies – At least 20 minutes or up to 5 days.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: If you’d like to marinate something beyond the suggested marinade times above but would like to do some meal prep, I suggest prepping the marinade in advance. Store it in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days – the flavors meld together even more as the marinade sits. When you’re ready to start marinating (refer to the suggested marinating times above), simply give it the marinade a shake & pour it over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy!

Keywords: Greek marinade, greek yogurt marinade, greek chicken marinade, greek lamb marinade, grilled chicken marinade, grilled pork marinade, lamb marinade, summer, pantry ingredients, easy, weeknight dinner

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat

Grilled Greek chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with fresh chopped herbs, lemon slices, & lemon wedges.

Ready to Hit the Grill?

If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to Grilling 101, a compliation of tips & tricks for all of the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.

All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 15 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.

& lastly! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be teaching you how to grill up some goodness all summer long, & we have so much fun on Instagram!

Want more grilling tips & recipes?

You’re in the right place! 🙌🏼 Subscribe to have PWWB Grilling Series updates sent straight to your inbox. We’re sharing exclusive grilling tips, tricks, & sneak peeks to our email friends. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about all of PWWB’s new grilling recipes all summer long. Subscribe below!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 4.15.21
    Kathy said:

    I’m not a fan of strong lemon flavor. How prominent is lemon in this dish? It sounds delicious and I’d like to try it. Just wondering. Thanks

    • 4.20.21

      Hi Kathy! The lemon is definitely there! You can scale back on lemons to just 1 lemon, juiced (don’t zest), & that should help!

  2. 4.10.21
    Karin Pierce said:

    Is there any nutrition information for this? It sounds so good!

  3. 2.15.21
    Jennifer VanderVelde said:

    Just made this- and I set some aside to make a Greek Salad.. OH MY GOODNESS! I could not stop eating my salad. I can’t wait to make the chicken later.

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Yay, Jennifer!! So glad you enjoyed! Hope your chicken turned out delicious as well!

  4. 1.8.21
    Michele said:

    Will shrimp work? Marinade for 30 mins?

    • 5.14.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Michele! You can definitely try with shrimp – we’d recommend anywhere from 20 minutes but no more than an hour marinade time given the acidity from the lemons. 30 minutes should work great – keep us posted on how it turns out if you give it a try!

  5. 11.16.20
    Gwen said:

    I have made this marinade over chicken thighs several times for my family and it’s one of our favorits. The lemon flavor is really good.

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Gwen! Thank you so much for your review – so so glad you love the lemon flavor!

  6. 11.7.20
    Joni said:

    Hi, I want to make this recipe but don’t have a grill (I know, crazy, right?) What would be a good alternative way to cook it? Thanks!

    • 3.5.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Joni! If you have one, a cast iron griddle or skillet can work nicely. I’ve personally used a cast iron griddle on the stovetop before & it turned out great! Let us know if you end up trying & how it goes!

  7. 10.18.20
    Ann H said:

    I tried the marinate yesterday, and my family loved it! We marinated boneless/skinless chicken thighs and it tasted great. We made a Greek salad and roasted potatoes to go with it. This is going to be a mainstay for us. Delicious!

    • 3.12.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Ann! So glad you enjoyed!! We love how easy it is to whip up this marinade & it is soooo good on chicken! Thank you for sharing!

  8. 7.27.20
    Jtmagi said:

    This was a hit with the family tonight ! Super easy marinade and let the chicken breasts marinade overnight. Definitely a staple at my house now !

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thank you for sharing & so glad we could find a new staple in this Greek Marinade! 💜

  9. 7.19.20
    Alyce said:

    Soooooo good, this marinade is amazing. Would like to try on veggies, have only done chicken so far. The flavor is fantastic. Thanks for the recipe, will be a staple for meal prep.

    • 3.9.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Alyce! Completely agree, this marinade is PERFECT for meal prep & adding flavor to whatever you use it for! Thank you for sharing & so glad you enjoy it as much as we do!

  10. 7.11.20
    Vanessa said:

    Thanks for sharing! Does the marinade keep long?

  11. 7.11.20
    Suzanne said:

    This looks so good! What a versatile & mild marinade for summertime!

  12. 6.22.20

    This marinade sounds delicious, but doesn’t the lemon juice start to cook the chicken while it’s marinating?

    • 3.8.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Carol! There is some acidity in this marinade so we only recommend marinating the chicken for at least 6 hours or up to overnight – hope that helps!

  13. 6.15.20
    Gabrielle said:

    Tried this recipe out and was surprised I had all the ingredients. I put it in a charcoal pan on top of the stove with a tiny bit of olive oil, then finished cooking in the oven. The chicken was so moist with lots of wonderful flavor. I can’t wait to try it again on my charcoal grill (outside)!

    • 2.5.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      So glad you enjoyed, Gabrielle! 🙂

  14. 4.7.20
    Christina C. said:

    I’d like to try this marinade but i’m marinating tofu, what would you suggest substituting the greek yogurt with if I didn’t want to use yogurt? maybe it defeats the flavor of the marinade so I may just use the yogurt anyway but I was wondering if you had a suggestion for a substitute? thanks! I loved your all purpose grilling marinade!

    • 4.7.20
      jess said:

      Hey Christina! Is your goal in eliminating the yogurt to keep your meal dairy-free/vegan? If so, I would guess that your go-to non-dairy yogurt would be a fine substitute OR you can try using this easy Greek dressing instead, which is oil-based and naturally dairy-free/vegan. If not, buttermilk would be a good substitute for the yogurt – scale back a bit on the lemon juice since the buttermilk has a looser consistency than yogurt already. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make buttermilk easily by whisking 1 tablespoon vinegar into 1 cup milk.

    • 6.30.20
      Jasmine said:

      Made this marinade as is today for grilled chicken kebabs. I marinated the chicken for about 8- 9 hours. So tender and juicy! Used cilantro for garnish.. delicious!

      • 3.8.21
        Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

        Hi Jasmine! So glad you enjoyed – this marinade makes perfect grilled chicken kebabs! 🙂

  15. 1.23.20
    Betsy Maness said:

    I’m trying this tonight and will let you know how it goes:) Looks yummy!

    • 1.25.20
      jess said:

      Yay! Hope you loved it, Betsy! xx

  16. 10.3.19
    SHARONeeeeeee said:

    Hello, My Sister In Law made this with Homemade Tzatziki in a pita……..she had purple onion, avocado, and it was delish……..love the combination.

  17. 8.28.19
    Bry said:

    Ooh, I can taste it already! Will definitely try this one out soon x

    • 8.28.19
      jess said:

      let me know how you like it, bry!

  18. 7.23.19
    MaryJo said:

    Does this freeze well?

    • 7.23.19
      jess said:

      hey maryjo! because the marinade has yogurt, freezing it isn’t the best option. yogurt isn’t super freezer-friendly since it will break & curdle as it thaws. as far as i know, it’s not unsafe, but texturally it isn’t the best.

      couple of options:
      1. freeze anyway, knowing that the yogurt’s texture will change as it thaws out, or
      2. prep the marinade, omitting the yogurt, & freeze. when you thaw out your greek meat, you can add in the yogurt, letting it sit for at least 2 hours before cooking.

      hope this helps! let me know if you try either of the above! – j

    • 10.17.20
      Molly Andersson said:

      Love your recipe!! We tried it about 4 months ago and this has become a staple in our house! We like to cube chicken thighs before marinating and since we don’t have a grill we just cook on the stove!! add it to a pita with hummus, feta, cucumber, tomato, onions, cilantro! This is honestly the yummiest marinade! Thank you so much for sharing!

      • 3.9.21
        Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

        Molly! This combo sounds delicious & we are so glad it has become a household staple for you! Thank you for sharing!!

  19. 7.5.19
    Vanessa said:

    Thanks for sharing! Any side recommendations with this marinade?

  20. 7.5.19
    Suzanne said:

    This looks so good! What a great way to spice up an average meal!

    • 7.8.19
      jess said:

      thanks, suzanne! it sure is! =) xo