Lemon, Basil, Honey, and Garlic

First of all, this lemon basil honey grilled chicken was bound to be a favorite for me — due to this list of characters alone!  Obviously, you can’t really go wrong. Lemon. Basil. Honey. Yep– certainly.

Oh and I didn’t even mention — but perhaps above all, GARLIC!  Duh to garlic. Maybe just assume until I say this recipe does not include garlic, it probably does.  Huge fan.  Especially because of these frozen dorot cubes.  They’re for sure one of the most important things in my whole kitchen, making cooking so much easier, and I would argue, delivering all the flavor of fresh garlic, without the weird after-taste of jarred.  And perhaps even more importantly, all with like zero hassle!  I wish this were sponsored, but nope. I’m just a huge fan of my time and non-stinky hands.

As a result of these babies, all you’re gonna do is pop a frozen cube (or ten) out of a little box right into your recipe. A DREAM. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, Stater Brothers, or Ralphs.  So maybe you can too! Crossing fingers for you.

Now let’s talk chicken.

Breasts or Tenderloins?

Since we’ve decided that the flavors are winners, next let’s talk chicken!

I’ve always been a huge fan of chicken tenderloins because I feel like they’re so much easier to grill and result in juicy, tender chicken. HOWEVER, having said that, when fresh breasts are on sale, I can’t resist!  So that’s what I used for this lemon basil honey grilled chicken and they were perfect.  What I love about breasts is that they’re so much easier to prep than the tenders… less weird stuff to trim (you know what I mean ew). ALSO– they make the perfect size for a chicken sandwich, like this chicken parmesan!

But when I’m grilling up full breasts, I prefer to butterfly first BECAUSE:

  • They have a quicker grill time
  • They make for easier and even cooking
  • You get more crispy edges, which is always a good thing in my house
  • They make for the the perfect surface area to fill a whole sandwich if you want, without having a softball-sized hunk of chicken in your mouth with each bite. Win win.

Here’s all you do

  • First, Butterfly your chicken (or not) and throw it in a big ziplock
  • Next, Zest and squeeze a lemon
  • Then add to it your apple cider vinegar, basil, garlic, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper… then whisk it up!
  • Last, pour your marinade over your chicken and let her soak!
  • Just don’t forget one more sprinkle of salt before you grill.

Where to use this lemon basil honey grilled chicken:

There’s really no where I wouldn’t use it! The flavor is classic enough to go with just about anything, just like my staple honey dijon chicken. It’s perfect for any sandwich, wrap, salad, rice bowl… anything! We like to grill a bunch for Sunday dinner and use the leftovers throughout the week for meals like these:

Finally, skeptical of leftover chicken? Me too.

First of all, I would NEVER sit down to a plate of microwaved chicken. (I shouldn’t say never.  If I were on Survivor and starving, I would most likely eat microwaved chicken… maybe even brown bananas. No probably still not brown bananas- THE WORST– but in real life, NEVER.) Secondly, I’m not a huge meal-prepper because I love to see what I feel like each day!  But I do LOVE to have protein prepped in my fridge to work with, so that a delicious and balanced meal is never more than a few minutes away.

So while over-microwaved on a plate is not what I hope and dream for the life of this chicken– it is PERFECT to have chopped up cold in salads, or warmed for literally about 10-15 seconds in the microwave and then used in rice bowls, wraps, or sandwiches. The trick is NOT TO GO FOR HOT. Just barely enough to take the cold edge off, and then pair with warm food that kind of brings it back to life. I’m always surprised how great it works in those chicken sandwiches! Especially a panini where it’s getting the residual heat in the pan. Don’t write it off! Because WHO wants to cook meat every single night.

Now get preppin.

Grilled chicken on cutting board

Lemon Basil Honey Grilled Chicken

A delicious and easy marinade for clean, almost-oil-free chicken! Great for meal prep or just .. meals. Ha.
5 from 1 vote
Author Lillie
Course chicken
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 -14
Calories 153 kcal


  • 4 lb chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 12 cloves of garlic or frozen dorot cubes!
  • 10 frozen Dorot basil cubes or a large handful of finely chopped basil
  • 1.5 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • EXTRA kosher salt for right before grilling


  • (Optional)* Carefully butterfly your chicken breasts by cutting them in half lengthwise so each piece is thinner and easier to grill evenly. (Of course you could also use tenderloins or you can cube your breasts for some fabulous skewers like these Moroccan ones.)
  • Place chicken in a large ziplock bag
  • Whisk together all marinade ingredients and pour it over chicken. Let in marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Heat grill, grill pan, or a heavy-bottomed pan over medium high heat. (We always grill for less mess and more cook-space!)
  • Spray preheated surface with cooking spray, sprinkle chicken with one more good pinch of kosher salt and grill for about 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness… until it’s no longer pink inside. (Duh- I feel like there’s some rule that I’d better say that- ha.)
  • Remove and tent with foil while it rests for 5 minutes.


  • *You can always grill the breasts whole. I just prefer, when I’m working with whole chicken breasts, to either cut in chunks and skewer, or butterfly, for ease of grilling and a little more crispy surface area.
  • If you track in My Fitness Pal, you can search “Lillie Eats and Tells Lemon Basil Honey Grilled Chicken” and log as many grams of COOKED chicken you eat!


Serving: 100gCalories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 2.3gProtein: 29.2gFat: 2.6g
Keywords barbecue, basil, chicken, grilled, healthy, honey, lemon, protein, summer

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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  1. Do you thaw the garlic and basil dorot cubes before putting in marinade? I’ve never used them, but picked some up at the store today and am unsure!

    1. No! You pop them in there frozen and they thaw quickly. The basil takes a little longer so if I’m in a hurry to make basil mayo or something, I’ll heat it for just a few seconds in the microwave to soften. But they’ll thaw and dissolve into the marinade quickly!

  2. How many tenderloins do I use for this recipe? It looks amazing!! I have kids with allergies and can’t do mustard so this one works for us. I like the idea of cooking a big bag of tenderloins and just roll with that:)

    1. Oh no I’m so sorry I missed this comment! Probably too late to help but inside on a grill pan or just a fry pan works great!

    1. Overnight is fine! There’s just a risk when there’s so little fat to protect the protein from the lemon, that it could toughen it. I haven’t had a problem with tenderloins… but maybe I’ve noticed it if I marinate overnight with breasts?? I usually just marinate for the afternoon…

    2. And I don’t know how I missed this comment… I just realized how ridiculously late this response is! Ha ha… as if you need this answer now. SO sorry!