A few simple ingredients and a grill transform a run-of-the-mill chicken breast into our wildly flavorful Asian Marinated Chicken. Lime juice, honey, fish sauce, soy sauce, and honey are the ensemble of ingredients making up the ultra flavorful marinade the chicken is immersed in before it’s thrown on the grill. What results is a slightly charred on the outside, moist on the inside chicken breast that’s worthy of the most glorious summer weekend. We serve the juicy chicken with an easy Snap Pea Panzanella and then relish in the fact that this easy dinner took virtually no effort to put together.
Asian Marinated Chicken
It’s quite remarkable to see how five simple ingredients can transform a simple chicken breast. After a quick meet-up with the grill, our Asian Marinated Chicken takes a once blank one-note canvas and produces a flavorful, juicy healthy protein you’ll have no problem eating on repeat.
We take an equal combination of briny fish sauce, citrusy lime juice, sweet honey, and nutty sesame oil and let the chicken marinate until the sweet, sour, and salty notes permeate the core of the chicken, then throw it on a screaming hot grill until it’s charred on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.
Even better? We serve it over an Asian-inspried summery panzanella studded with vibrant crunchy snap peas and cilantro. It’s the perfect all-in-one meal and the perfect way to change up your chicken and grilling game this summer.
Let’s get started!
Ingredients in Asian Marinated Chicken
Chicken. I like to look for smaller organic chicken breasts. Make sure they’re similar in size. Also, if they are much thicker on one side than the other, use a rolling pin or meat mallet to make them relatively even in size. This will help them to cook evenly on the grill.
Fish sauce. Fish sauce is not for everyone. It has a very briny umami-like flavor, but can be very strong. I don’t usually care for it in large doses, but here it’s balanced out really nicely from the lime juice and honey. If you’re still weary, start off with the half the amount I call for and add more in to suit your taste.
Limes. Fresh lime juice is key! I also like to zest the lime first and add the to the marinate for an extra lime essence.
Sweetener. I like to use honey here, but agave, maple syrup, or brown sugar will also work great.
Sesame oil. I love the slight nuttiness sesame oil adds to this. Use as much or as little as you’d like.
Soy sauce. This is where our saltiness comes in. Use regular or low-sodium.
For the Panzanella
Bread. I like to use an artisan sourdough, but any sturdy good-quality bread will work. Usually you want to use day-old bread for panzanella, but I often buy fresh and dry it out on a low temperature in the oven.
Snap peas. I love the crunch and vibrant green color of snap peas. We leave some whole and slice some so they tender peas cascade out.
Cucumbers. Texture is the name of the game in our panzanella and we stay in line with crisp cucumbers. Try to grab an English cucumber. Their skin is thin and there are no seeds to be found.
Cilantro. Lots of it! I go heavy on the cilantro here, I think it compliments the chicken really nicely. Use as much or as little as you’d like.
Dressing. We mimic the same ingredients in the Asian marinated chicken in the dressing. Sesame oil, lime juice, and honey are the only ingredients you’ll need. And plenty of salt and pepper.
Let’s Make Asian Marinated Chicken
Pound out the chicken. If your chicken breasts aren’t even, use a meat mallet to thin them out until they are even in thickness.
Make the marinade. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and honey to a large ziplock baggie. Add the chicken. Massage the marinade in to the chicken. Place in a bowl or shallow dish. Marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours.
Prep the grill. Make sure your grill is clean. Preheat to medium high or 400 degrees. Gently oil the grates with a neutral oil such as canola oil.
Use tongs to transfer the chicken to the grill, letting any excess marinade drip off. Close the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken has grill marks and is slightly charred. Flip over and grill on the other side another 5-6 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove, cover with foil and let the chicken rest 5-7 minutes to reach 165 degrees and let the juices redistribute.
Make the Panzanella
Make the bread cubes. While the chicken marinates, use this time to assemble the components of the slight. Slice hearty bread into 1-inch cubes. Toss with a little olive oil, ground ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and toast until crisp.
Make the dressing. Add lime juice, ginger, and honey to a small bowl. Whisk in sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss. Add the veggies to the bread. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the chicken and serve with the panzanella salad.
Can I make this in advance?
You can prep many of the components a day in advance. Toast the bread. Slice the cucumber. Make the dressing and make the marinade.
Because there is a significant amount of lime juice in the marinade, I wouldn’t recommend marinating it longer than eight hours. But this means you can marinate in the morning and grill in the evening.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- For more citrus, add in a 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.
- Don’t over cook the chicken. Your best friend is an instant read thermometer when it comes to chicken, use it!
- Swap out whatever you want for veggies in the panzanella salad. It would also be lovely served with fried rice or our Thai Ramen Salad.
More simple chicken dinners we love
- Our Chicken with Artichokes is bursting with lemon flavor in a creamy artichoke sauce. Ready in about 35 minutes.
- Always a favorite when I’m craving something cheesy, this Baked Chicken Saltimbocca is a true winner in the impressive dinner category.
- This Creamy Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes is on the cozier side and something I always reach to when I want a little comfort.
- 4 medium chicken breast 6-8 ounces each
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup fish sauce 1/8 cup if you want a less heavy fish sauce flavor
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 large garlic clove, grated
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Panzanella
- 8 oz loaf artisan sourdough bread cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp canola oil or olive oil
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger, divided
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 cup sugar snap peas
- 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
- Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound out each chicken breast so they are even in thickness.
- Add the honey, fish sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic to a large plastic baggie. Add the chicken. Massage the marinade into the breasts. Place the plastic baggie in a bowl or shallow dish. Marinate for at least four hours and up to eight.
- While the chicken marinates, make the panzanella. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add bread cubes to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Use hands to evenly coat the bread. Sprinkle the bread with 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Again, use hands to evenly coat. Spread the bread on the baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- Add the lime juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon groun ginger, honey, garlic, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Whisk in sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add snap peas, sliced cucumber, and green onion to a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Toss to combine. Add the bread and drizzle with remaining dressing. Toss to combine. Add cilantro. Toss. Season with salt and pepper. Can be assembled 1 hour in advance.
- When you're ready to grill the chicken. Make sure the grates are clean. Preheat the grill to medium-high. You want it at about 400 degrees. Lightly oil the grill with canola oil.
- Use tongs to take the chicken out of the marinade. Let excess marinade drip off. Season both sides with a little bit of salt and pepper. Place on the grill. Close the grill. Cook for 5-6 minutes until you have good grill marks. Do not try to flip the chicken before then. After 5 minutes, flip chicken and cook on the other side for another 5-6 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove, cover with foil and let the chicken rest 5-7 minutes to reach 165 degrees and let the juices redistribute.
- Slice the chicken and serve with salad.