Beer and Garlic Grilled Chicken

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Juicy, incredibly flavorful grilled chicken is easier than you might think; especially when it starts with a marinade loaded with flavor from beer, garlic, and a sprinkling of herbs. This simple Beer and Garlic Chicken Marinade has become a staple in our house over the past few years.

The chicken turns out absolutely perfect; tender and juicy every time.

Beer and Garlic Marinade for Grilled Chicken - get the recipe at



Beer Chicken Marinade

I used beer in a marinade for the first time when I made the Smoky Chicken and Bacon Burgers almost five years ago. (And yes, those burgers are every single bit as amazing as they sound!)

We loved the flavors so much I immediately started playing with a larger batch marinade recipe for grilled chicken.

I’m not a fan of beer myself and I don’t much like the taste or smell of it at all. I do, however, LOVE this marinade. 

If you do not typically have beer in your house (and don’t want to buy a six-pack just to try a new recipe), I have a tip for you. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, they sell individual bottles of beer for less than $1. (You can thank my awesome little sister for that tip.)

Beer and Garlic Grilled Chicken is perfect for quick meals all week long! - recipe at

We like to grill a good bit of extra chicken each time we are grilling and then keep it in the fridge for easy lunches, like the Southwest Chicken Salad pictured here. I frequently double this marinade recipe and will grill a huge batch of chicken all at once.

We’ll quite happily eat it all week by itself, over salads, and in sandwiches and wraps.

There’s nothing better than having pre-cooked chicken in the fridge ready to use through the week. Try it in one of these recipes for a terrifically tasty and EASY weeknight meal.

A close up of a plate of food, with Chicken and Grilling

Chicken Marinade Recipes

It’s amazing what a great marinade can do for a simple piece of chicken and I’m of the opinion that you can’t have too many awesome ways to marinate chicken. This Very Green Grilled Chicken by Kalyn’s Kitchen and Honey Buttermilk Roast Chicken by The View From Great Island both sound delicious.

Chipotle Chicken Marinade and Mojo Marinade are a couple more go-to chicken marinade recipes that I reach for frequently. Loaded with some of our favorite flavors, these chicken marinades make all the difference between just another chicken dinner and a meal that the whole family will love.

Beer Chicken Marinade is a go-to marinade that works for countless chicken dishes!

Beer Chicken Marinade Recipe

  1. Place the chicken in a gallon-size zip-close bag or an airtight container. Stir together the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. Seal and turn the bag or container to coat the pieces evenly.

  2. Let rest in the refrigerator for 12-36 hours. I try to marinate chicken for a minimum of 24 hours most of the time because the longer time makes a huge difference in the flavor.

Freezer Meal Instructions

Combine the marinade and chicken in a gallon-size zip-close bag and freeze them together. When you are ready to cook the chicken, thaw in the refrigerator, allowing the marinade to work its flavors throughout the meat. Once thawed, cook as directed.

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Beer and Garlic Grilled Chicken

5 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings


  • 11 ounces dark Mexican beer
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • 5 large cloves of garlic minced, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3-4 pounds chicken I typically use 9-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs


  • Place the chicken in a gallon size zip-close bag or an airtight container. Stir together the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. Seal and turn the bag or container to coat the pieces evenly. Let rest in the refrigerator for 12-36 hours. I try to marinate chicken for a minimum of 24 hours most of the time, because the longer time makes a huge different in the flavor.
  • When ready to cook the meat, let the chicken rest on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour prior to cooking. Preheat the grill to medium heat. For boneless skinless chicken thighs, cook the meat 6 minutes on each side. Then increase the heat closer to medium-high and cook an additional 4 minutes, as needed. Enjoy!


The nutritionals from the recipe card are calculated based on the full recipe of marinade. However, the chicken will only absorb a small percentage of the marinade.


Calories: 244kcal · Carbohydrates: 2g · Protein: 16g · Fat: 18g · Saturated Fat: 4g · Cholesterol: 61mg · Sodium: 495mg · Potassium: 177mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 1g · Vitamin A: 173IU · Vitamin C: 2mg · Calcium: 20mg · Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 1/9/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 8/6/19}

This Beer Chicken Marinade is an incredibly flavorful garlicky marinade that you're going to love!

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Three-Cookies says

    I think beer marinate might be a step towards liking beer. Next time you marinate, drink a tablespoon, increasing dosage each time and a time will come when you will have difficulty saving beer for the marinate:)

    • Mary says

      When Donna and her husband were at our house, I marinated blsl chicken breasts for them instead of the thighs. It's the same marinade and method for the breasts as for the thighs listed above. Just watch your cooking times, they might cook a minute or two quicker. I hope that helps!

  2. Mary says

    You men are totally cracking me up today. A tablespoon a day? LOL! My marinades always make it into the bags, funny enough. I've never been tempted to drink the beers.

  3. Marjie says

    My grandmother always threw a "Miller Short" into her beef stew. She swore that it would tenderize an old shoe into great beef. I hate beer; always have, and, yet, even when I was little, my grandmother's stew was the best around. I don't have a trader joe's around, and alcohol sales in this state are major-league screwy, so I'd have to either buy a case at an "authorized distributor", or go to a restaurant, and order some food to buy a 6-pack. It's just nuts.

  4. Jenny Fletcher says

    Dark Mexican beer? I'm trying to equate this to something in the English beer spectrum and not really sure. I might just use the can of Gales HSB that has been in the fridge for ages. FYI that's a bitter real ale.

    • Mary says

      I don't know what the equivalent would be. I even tried to figure it out via Google, but that wasn't very helpful. I've made this with all sorts of beer though and we like them all. I simply like the Negro Modelo version best of all.

    • Mary says

      The sesame oil provides a lot of flavor to this recipe. I imagine that you could use a plain olive oil instead, but I haven't tried that myself. Good luck!

    • Mary says

      I don't own a traeger and I've never smoked this chicken. I imagine it will require the same time frames as any other chicken recipe, Tracy. I'm sure it will taste amazing that way!

  5. Christina says

    Can you fill me in about grilling this recipe. Is it cooked under a flame (in USA called broiling I think but in Oz called grilling) or is it cooked in a char grill frypan over a hotplate? Thanks but this has always stumped me!

    • Anonymous says

      In the States and Canada, it'll be cooked outdoors on the barbecue – metal grate over gas or charcoal flame. Broiling would cook the top of the meat and dry it out while leaving the lower parts undercooked or raw.
      A char grill frypan over a hotplate sounds a bit foreign to me, so I'm assuming you mean a metal grill pan placed over the stove elements. Yes, it would work – you don't get the same smoky flavour as you would grilling it outdoors, but you'll still get the chicken cooked and those nice brown grill marks. Hope this helps?

  6. Anonymous says

    Great recipe. The chicken came out delicious. The second time I made it I substituted the beer with equal parts of tequila, fresh orange juice and lime….tasty!!

  7. Deborah says

    I'm going to take this on our glamping trip next week. Looks great. I think I'll also take some chicken skin that I have frozen, to lay over the chicken pieces and keep them from drying out. I'll take the skin off for the last 4 minutes of cooking, to get the grill marks and sear the meat. Looking forward to it – thanks for the recipe.

  8. Jackie says

    Is there a missing ingredient? Above the oregano it says “1 1/2 tablespoons” – but nothing after it (at least on my screen). I’d like to put the marinade together now so I was just wondering! Thanks!

    • Mary says

      It should say: 5 large cloves of garlic, minced, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons. Meaning, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic. I hope that helps!

  9. Jack says

    Finally cooking this on the grill tonight after letting the chicken marinade for a day. We can’t wait. Thanks for recipe!

  10. Dorothy Miner says

    This chicken BBQ recipe is better than any Fire Department BBQ… what flavor… it was WONDERFUL5 stars

  11. Roy says

    This recipe is so easy and we are so impressed with the flavor of the chicken, moist and juicy, usually my BarBQ chicken is dry and burnt, not this time. I cooked it on a charcoal grill and with very little oil, I didn’t have any flare ups. Thanks a million for this recipe. Roy5 stars

  12. Theresa says

    Made this tonight and it was delicious! Marinated it about 12 hours. It was a nice change from ordinary grilled chicken. Thanks for the recipe5 stars