Greek Marinade

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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 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. You’ll only need about 7 total ingredients & about 5 minutes to create this easy marinade recipe. Perfect to use as a grilled greek chicken marinade or for making grilled lamb, grilled pork or grilled veggies. It is sure to become a new summer grilling marinade go-to!

Can’t wait to hit the grill? Be sure to check out our 3rd Annual PWWB Grilling Series, created to help you grill more confidently & deliciously all summer long!

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.

Pin this easy Greek Marinade recipe for later!!!

I’ve never traveled to Greece, but I did spend a good portion of my college days traveling to the various Greek cafes around campus for gyros, souvlaki & Greek fries between the hours of 2-3 am. #expert

So while I can’t speak to its authenticity (hence: greek-ISH), this marinade IS filled with the flavors I think of when I think of my go-to greek cafe meals. It’s perfect when used as a greek chicken marinade, greek lamb marinade, & so much more!

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 greek marinade is…

  • MEGA FLAVORFUL. Made with Greek yogurt, olive oil & red wine vinegar, & it packs a mean punch of lemony, garlicky, oregano-y flavor. & Honestly…what more could you want than that?!
  • QUICK & EASY. This homemade Greek marinade calls for just 7 total ingredients & it can be mixed up in 5 minutes or less. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
  • VERSATILE. & the very best part is you can use it on just about anything: the juiciest grilled Greek chicken. Greek lamb, greek veggies & so much more. Yes, please!

We’re completely obsessed…& I’m pretty sure that you will be too! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Greek marinade, or jump straight to the recipe & get grilling!

Greek marinade ingredients

One of my favorite parts of this easy marinade recipe is that it’s made with very simple ingredients, but each pack a major punch of flavor.

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.

The cast of characters include

  • Greek yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Honey
  • Lemon zest & juice
  • Garlic (of course!)
  • Oregano

A note on Greek Yogurt: Similar to buttermilk, the greek yogurt in this greek-ish grilling marinade has proteins that act as a natural tenderizer, helping keep whatever meat you’re marinating super tender, without drying it out at all.

Plus, the yogurt in this greek-ish grilling marinade turns into the most insane crust when grilled. It’s crusty-charred perfection that’ll have you 100% hooked.

How to make this simple & flavorful marinade:

Aside from the easy Greek staple ingredients in this recipe, the other thing I love about this marinade is that it comes together so quickly! From start-to-finish it is about a 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 combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl & whisk to combine. If you’re prepping for later use, you can combine all of the ingredients in a small jar & shake to combine.

That’s it! Seriously easy, right?

With the Greek marinade mixed & ready to go, you can use it immediately or pop it in the fridge for later use. (More on that in a sec!)

How long to marinate:

Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you’d like to use. Because of the amount of lemon juice used in the marinade, it’s important not to marinate for too long, as it will really negatively affect the texture of meat. (Mushy, mealy meat = no good.)

Having tested this Greek marinade on a variety of different proteins with a variety of different marinating times, here’s what we suggest:

  • Seafood – at least 20 minutes & no more than 1 hour.
  • Chicken & pork – at least 4 hours & up to 6 hours for maximum flavor.
  • Beef & lamb – at least 12 hours & up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
  • Veggies – at least 20 minutes & up to 24 hours.
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 periods for this Greek marinade, you can still prep the marinade itself well in advance.

To make it ahead of time, simply 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 (based on the suggested marinating periods, above), simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy peasy!

& a little bonus for prepping in advance? The flavors of the Greek marinade meld together even more as the marinade sits.

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:

The reality of this marinade is that it is super versatile! You can turn to this marinade recipe whenever you’re grilling up a recipe or meal with a little bit of Mediterranean flare. It can be used as a greek lamb marinade, as greek grilled chicken marinade, & so much more!

A few of our favorite ways to use it include:

  • Chicken. When used as a greek chicken marinade, this simple yogurt-based marinade makes the most insanely flavorful grilled Greek chicken. It’s a PWWB favorite!
  • Lamb. When used as a Greek lamb marinade, you’ll get the the most flavor-filled grilled Greek lamb. It’s a must-try.
  • Pork. Juicy grilled Greek pork? Sign me up!
  • Kebabs. Because it is so versatile you can easily mix & match your favorite protein + veggies to create the ultimate grilled Greek kebabs.

My personal favorite way to put this marinade recipe to use? As a greek grilled chicken marinade! Marinate some chicken thighs, & grill them over medium-high heat until crusty & charred. Dice the grilled Greek chicken into bite-sized pieces & serve it with some grilled pita, castelvetrano olives, & feta cheese. Then, add a squeeze of lemon juice from a grilled lemon wedge if you’re feeling fancy!

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.

I can’t wait for you to try this Greek Marinade recipe. It is the perfect way to bring Mediterranean flavors to any weeknight grilling venture! 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 grilling marinade ideas? We’ve got you covered! Check out our 15 Go-To Grilling Marinades next. Happy grilling! ♡

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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.

Greek Marinade

  • Author: Jess Larson | Plays Well With Butter
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Condiments
  • Method: Marinade
  • Cuisine: Greek

Description

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 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!


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
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

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 yogurt, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, oregano, Kosher salt & ground black pepper to a bowl or jar. 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

  • Suggested marinade time: Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you’d like to use. Because of the amount of lemon juice used in the marinade, it’s important not to marinate for too long, as it will really negatively affect the texture of meat. Having tested this Greek marinade on a variety of different proteins with a variety of different marinating times, here’s what we suggest:
    • Seafood – at least 20 minutes & no more than 1 hour.
    • Chicken & pork – at least 4 hours & up to 6 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Beef & lamb – at least 12 hours & up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Veggies – at least 20 minutes & up to 24 hours.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: If you’d like to marinate something later in the week, I suggest making the marinade in advance, whenever you’re meal prepping for the week. Store it in a jar or an airtight container for up to 5 days – the flavors meld together even more as the marinade sits. At least 4 hours before you’re ready to hit the grill, simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy peasy!
  • It 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!

Keywords: Greek marinade, greek yogurt marinade, greek chicken marinade, greek lamb marinade

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.

If you love this Greek Recipe, here are more grill marinade recipes you have to try this summer!

  • Tuscan Marinade – Another lemony garlic and herb marinade, pure simple grilling magic!
  • Cuban Mojo Marinade – Made with tons of citrus & garlic, this marinade tastes like sunshine!
  • The PWWB All-Purpose Marinade – A little smoky, a little spicy, a little sweet, & perfect on pretty much anything!
  • Honey Mustard Marinade – Absolutely classic, absolutely delish.
  • All PWWB Go-To Grilling Marinade Recipes – 15 go-to recipes you’ll turn to time & time again, all summer long.

Obsessed with all things grilled? Here are some grilling recipes you’ll love this summer!

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Thank you so much for reading & supporting Plays Well With Butter. This post includes affiliate links for products I truly love & use on the reg in my own home. All opinions are always my own! Should you make a purchase using one of these links, PWWB will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, which helps me continue to bring you great original & free content.

Don’t forget to pin this Greek Marinade recipe for later!!!

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

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. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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! 💜

  8. 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!

  9. 7.11.20
    Vanessa said:

    Thanks for sharing! Does the marinade keep long?

  10. 7.11.20
    Suzanne said:

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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! 🙂

  13. 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! 🙂

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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!!

  18. 7.5.19
    Vanessa said:

    Thanks for sharing! Any side recommendations with this marinade?

  19. 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