The boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast is one of my go-to quick meals.

Boneless skinless chicken breast can be a grill AND moist.

The boneless, skinless chicken breast is my ultimate meal hack.

The boneless, skinless chicken breast is a staple in my kitchen for a variety of reasons. Versatile. Easy to prepare. Defrosts quickly.  And, I confess, I like them because I’m lazy. I don’t want to fuss with bones and skin. Add to that, I’ve never been a good meal planner. I don’t start thinking about what’s for dinner until about 6 pm. The boneless skinless chicken breast is my ultimate meal-planning hack.

The boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast can help this lazy, non-planner float gracefully through a week of meals.

  • Monday: grilled chicken. I grill at least eight to ten chicken breasts even when it’s just two of us. Serve them with some grilled vegetables and rarely have a pot to wash when I’m done. The rest of the week is leftover magic.
  • Tuesday: Chicken quesadillas 
  • Wednesday: Barbecue chicken and potatoes
  • Thursday: Stir fry (just warming really) chicken and vegetables
  • Friday: Chicken tossed in pasta on Friday

If I´m really clever and meticulous, I have tasty salads with sliced grilled chicken for lunch all week.

Perhaps you’re shaking your head. “Boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill?! They’ll be dry as dirt!” Not at my house. What’s my secret? Sour cream. Not dollops of sour cream on top of dirt-dry grilled chicken. A sour cream marinade. The sour cream-based marinade not only flavors the chicken, but is less likely to cause flare ups and will help retain the moisture.

I don’t have a recipe. Recipes are a bit like meal planning. I have a process. If you already have sour cream and garlic at home, you can probably try this process without having to make a special trip to the store.

Boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast


Your marinade can be different every time. Start with sour cream and garlic, then add the herbs, spices, and condiments that suit you and suit the meal.

Your marinade can be different every time. Start with sour cream, oil, and garlic, then add the herbs, spices, and condiments that suit you and suit the meal.

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Marinade 
    • 1/2 c sour cream
    • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2-4 cloves garlic (OK to sub ½ – 1 tsp powdered garlic or 1-2 tsp garlic flakes if you don’t have fresh garlic)
    • sweet: I usually use 1 tbsp honey, but molasses, agave, coconut or brown sugar also work well.
    • herbs & spices: 1-2 tbsp dried (more if fresh) herbs and spices. This will completely depend on my mood and the sides that will compliment the chicken. The herbs I like to use include basil, rosemary, dill, oregano, thyme, parsley, and sage. Other spices that I might reach for are chili powder, paprika, cumin, other pepper powders, cinnamon, and turmeric.
    • tang: Sour cream is tangy on its own, but I often add a little more tang: 1 tbsp mustard, fresh or pickled ginger, lemon or lime juice, vinegar, or lemon or orange zest.
    • salt to taste (I don’t use salt, but 1-2 tsp should suffice if you do)


  • Grind all of the marinade ingredients in a mini food-processor or chopper/grinder.
Grilled Chicken Breast

Place sour cream, oil, garlic, and seasonings in a grinder, chopper, or food processor and grind. The color of your marinade will depend on the ingredients you include. This one included honey, paprika, parsley, and dill.

  • Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels.
  • Season the chicken breasts: I use a homemade combination of dried herbs and vegetables, but a little salt and pepper will do.
  • Tenderize the chicken breasts: I like to tenderize for a couple of reasons: to work in the seasonings and to “thin out” the thicker parts of the breasts so that they will cook more evenly.
Grilled Chicken Breast

After you pat the chicken dry, season and tenderize. Tenderizing works in your seasonings but also “levels the grilling ground.” Pound the chicken to achieve an even thickness without compromising the composition of the meat.

Grilled Chicken Breast

While the chicken is marinating and the grill is heating, take out a platter and some foil. Have them ready to receive the breasts hot off the grill. Seal and allow the meat to sweat for a few minutes.

  • Toss the chicken in the marinade: I often only marinate it for 15-30 minutes (I’m truly planning challenged), but you can marinate it longer, even overnight.
  • Grill! I start high on a hot grill for and sear each side 2-3 minutes, then turn to med-low for and additional 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness.
  • Cover and sweat: when I remove the breasts from the grill, I like to cover and seal them with foil until we´re ready to serve.
  • Eat!



If you came here looking for grilling “rules” or techniques only to find a little side note for a grilling process, here are a few useful sites that range from geeky to practical: The Science Of Grilling13 Best Grilling Tips, 31 Grilling Tips from Grill Master, Steven RaichlenEstimating Grilling Times.

Copyright © 2015 by Pennie Nichols, All Rights Reserved.