How Do I Choose the Best Mustard Chicken Marinade?

Cynde Gregory
Cynde Gregory

Nothing beats the tangy taste of mustard when it comes to preparing chicken for the grill or oven. There are dozens of types of mustard chicken marinade, from sweet to hot cha cha. The best depends entirely upon what the cook and the diners prefer.

Safflower is a light oil.
Safflower is a light oil.

Mustard and honey are natural partners. The most basic mustard chicken marinade pairs them together along with some light-tasting oil, such as safflower and a little vinegar. Adding some minced ginger brightens the flavors. Lemon provides a high note and encourages the mustard to sing.

Another way to go is with soy or tamari sauce. Both are fermented from soybeans, but tamari contains no wheat, so it’s perfect for anyone who is gluten sensitive. In addition to the mustard and soy sauce, some melted butter will keep the chicken moist. Garlic adds character, and cilantro finishes it off.

Mustard and honey make excellent chicken marinades.
Mustard and honey make excellent chicken marinades.

Fans of the kind of true barbeque flavor that comes from cooking with aromatic wood such as cedar or hickory will find that adding a liquid smoke flavoring to brown mustard and oil does as good a job. A splash of soy sauce helps the smoky flavor. Mincing ginger, garlic, and onion brings this mustard chicken marinade to perfection.

The purpose of any marinade is dual. It makes the meat tender by breaking apart connective tissues like collagen, and it also infuses flavors while helping coat the meat so it doesn’t dry out. Tenderizing involves something acidic like vinegar or soy sauce. Wine, yogurt, and citrus juices also work.

There are dozens of different varieties among mustard chicken marinade recipes.
There are dozens of different varieties among mustard chicken marinade recipes.

Marinating chicken pieces in a mustard and yogurt mixture produces a dish so moist it almost melts in the mouth. This marinade is great with some curry powder or jarred curry mixed in. A splash of apple juice smooths out the flavors, and basil is the perfect herb to finish it.

The wise cook keeps a bottle of white wine or sherry along with some stone ground mustard for an elegant, easy meal. Marinating chicken in them, along with a little oil and a splash of orange juice, creates a delicious treat. This marinade works well with basil and curry for those who like it.

Dry rubs featuring mustard may be a good choice for grilling or baking.
Dry rubs featuring mustard may be a good choice for grilling or baking.

Adding heat to any mustard chicken marinade is simple. A few shakes of a red-hot sauce will provide as much or as little burn as desired. Mustard stands up well to fruitier heat, such as that offered by Caribbean-style hot sauces. Red chili pepper seeds or hot pepper in the marinade also work well.

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    • Safflower is a light oil.
      Safflower is a light oil.
    • Mustard and honey make excellent chicken marinades.
      Mustard and honey make excellent chicken marinades.
    • There are dozens of different varieties among mustard chicken marinade recipes.
      There are dozens of different varieties among mustard chicken marinade recipes.
    • Dry rubs featuring mustard may be a good choice for grilling or baking.
      Dry rubs featuring mustard may be a good choice for grilling or baking.
    • Marinating chicken in a blend of mustard and yogurt produces a moist, flavorable dish.
      Marinating chicken in a blend of mustard and yogurt produces a moist, flavorable dish.