This grilled caesar marinated chicken recipe is a delicious way to jazz up boring chicken breasts. A tangy, homemade caesar dressing makes the perfect marinade for meaty chicken. Packed with garlic, lemon, zesty capers, and of course parmesan cheese, you'll wonder why you haven't used caesar dressing a marinade before!
Why This Recipe Works
Quick and easy marinade! The marinade for this chicken comes together in under a minute. No complicated equipment needed, as you would generally need to make caesar dressing.
No anchovies! Traditional caesar dressing has anchovies in the dressing, for a salty element. While I don't personally mind the anchovies, I don't have a ton of uses for them, so I don't generally keep them on hand. This dressing has no anchovies, and all the flavour!
Versatile marinade! The caesar marinade is also a delicious salad dressing, or dip. That means, be sure to make extra!
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts: I like to use bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts because both the bone and skin add extra flavour, fat, and moisture to the chicken breasts.
- Mayonnaise: This caesar marinade is mayonnaise-based. For that reason, I recommend using a good quality, full fat mayonnaise, that you know and love.
- Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard adds a delicious, savoury and tangy flavour to the marinade, and is a traditional element in caesar dressing. I recommend dijon mustard over plain yellow mustard, as yellow mustard is more overwhelming.
- Fresh capers: Capers are my favourite substitution to anchovies. They add a salty, briny element to the marinade that you would also get from anchovies. You can mince the capers into a paste, or keep them a little bit chunky.
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh lemon
A full list of ingredients with measurements is located on the recipe card, below.
Prep Work Before Cooking
Collecting all your ingredients - This will make cooking so much easier. Gather all the spices you will need, and keep them nearby.
Pat the chicken dry - Using a paper towel, pat the chicken breasts dry on both sides. This will help the marinade stick to the chicken, and will allow the skin to crisp up.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the marinade. Reserve one quarter of the marinade in another small bowl.
Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, and let the chicken marinate for 10-15 minutes. If you have more time, you can let the chicken marinate for up to 24 hours.
Preheat your grill to 425°F, or a grill pan on medium-high heat. Spray the grill or grill pan with cooking spray.
Sear the chicken, skin-side down, for approximately 20 minutes on each side. If using a barbecue, you can keep the heat lower on one side of the barbecue, and transfer the chicken breasts to the cooler side to continue cooking. Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant read thermometer.
Finish the chicken by brushing with the remaining caesar dressing onto the hot chicken.
Before grilling the chicken, drain off the excess marinade. This will prevent flare ups and excess burning while grilling or searing the chicken.
- Chicken breasts: Feel free to use chicken thighs, drumsticks, or a whole chicken broken down for a variety.
- Dijon mustard: You can use grainy mustard, or brown mustard, in place of dijon. They both are packed with a similar tang and bite.
- Capers: You can use anchovies or anchovy paste if you prefer, or have it on hand.
- Fresh lemon: If you are in a pinch, bottled lemon juice works as well.
- Roasted garlic: For a sweet, mellow garlic flavour, swap out fresh garlic for homemade roasted garlic.
This is what I used to make this recipe - Please be mindful that different equipment and cooking utensils may yield varying results. Most of my favourite equipment can be found on my storefront.
- Mixing bowls
- Grill pan or BBQ
- Pastry brush
Make Ahead & Storage
Make Ahead Instructions
The caesar marinade can be made 2-3 days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Alternatively, you can marinate the chicken in the caesar dressing 24-48 hours in advance. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Store leftover grilled chicken in an airtight container, in the fridge. The chicken will keep well for 2-3 days. Store the reserved caesar dressing in a separate airtight container in the fridge.
To reheat, cover with foil and heat in the oven, or the air fryer.
I do not recommend freezing caesar marinated chicken. The dressing is mayonnaise-based, and will likely separate once it is defrosted. It is best to make this marinade and chicken fresh.
Serve up this grilled chicken with air fryer smashed potatoes, a fresh, panzanella salad, or crispy glazed brussel sprouts.
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Grilled Caesar Marinated Chicken
- 4 Chicken breasts bone-in, skin-on
- ¾ cup Mayonnaise
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon Capers minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper coarsely ground
- 1 Lemon juiced
- Salt to taste
- Mix marinade: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the marinade. Reserve one quarter of the marinade in another small bowl.¾ cup Mayonnaise, 3 cloves Garlic, 2 tablespoon Capers, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon Black pepper, 1 Lemon, Salt
- Marinate chicken: Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, and let the chicken marinate for 10-15 minutes. If you have more time, you can let the chicken marinate for up to 24 hours.4 Chicken breasts
- Grill chicken: Remove the excess marinade from the chicken. Grill the chicken, skin-side down, for approximately 20 minutes on each side. Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant read thermometer.
- Finish & serve: Finish the chicken by brushing with the remaining caesar dressing onto the hot chicken.
- Barbecue note: If using a barbecue, you can keep the heat lower on one side of the barbecue, and transfer the chicken breasts to the cooler side to continue cooking. This will help with flare ups, and avoid burning the chicken.
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