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How Do I Choose the Best Greek Chicken Marinade?

By Gregory Hanson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Selecting the best Greek chicken marinade mostly boils down to finding a mixture of flavors that fits within the Greek culinary tradition and is pleasing to the palates of the people who will be eating the cooked chicken. Many cooks prefer to make a Greek chicken marinade from scratch, using the mixture of ingredients that they find most pleasing. In some cases, however, cooks lack the time or the inclination to make a homemade marinade and prefer to purchase a prepackaged variety.

A Greek chicken marinade can be made with almost any combination of the spices and other flavors used in Greek cooking. Some of these ingredients are common to ethnic cuisines throughout the Mediterranean world. Garlic and olive oil are almost always part of a Greek chicken marinade, and black pepper is very common. Lemon and sometimes lime juice is often added. Oregano, mustard, rosemary, and thyme are all common ingredients in this sort of marinade.

Other options are less well-known outside of the eastern Mediterranean. Sumac, for instance, is a common in food in the Middle East. It brings a distinctive, pleasantly bitter tang to dishes and is often used to flavor chicken dishes. It is not well known in Europe and the Americas but is widely available and quite inexpensive.

When making a marinade from scratch, a certain amount of improvisation is called for. Most marinades rely on a liquid base, mostly made up of olive oil. This base is augmented with various types of seasoning. Cooks making a marinade from scratch may wish to select several different recipes and make small batches of each to compare. Some cooks may also wish to create fusion-style marinades, adding ingredients from other culinary traditions that blend well with a Greek chicken marinade.

Cooks who do not wish to make a marinade from scratch have many options. Salad dressings are often billed as marinades too. These are often serviceable as basic preparations consisting of oil, vinegar, and simple spice combinations. An enterprising cook on a time budget can flesh out one of these basic marinades by adding a handful of fresh spices.

Products designed to be used as marinades are also sold. A customer should consider which spices they would like in a packaged marinade and should also give some thought to how sweet they wish a marinade to be. Commercial varieties run the gamut from nearly unsweetened to very heavily sweetened and calorie dense.

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