Sometimes I get all wrapped up in outdoing / improving / out-creating some of my most favorite / simple / craveable recipes.
It’s easy to get caught up in the complicated when I see all sorts of crazy inspiration and crazy mash-ups on the big, ol’ www. Totally inventive concoctions that take humble and mundane basic recipes I’ve always known and loved, then stuffed them into a firecracker with whatever’s trending at the moment, lit the wick, and ka-boom-er-ama!
That’s not this recipe.
This recipe is right back to the basics. The very basic. The elemental and absolutely essential. The simplest, juiciest chicken breast recipe you might ever make / grill /eat that will be the base to every chicken recipe you throw on the griiiiiilllll. And it just might possibly lead you to lick that wick and send you over the moon.
When Craftsy asked me if I’d like to share some secrets about the best grilling tips I said, yes, let’s do! Let’s give the people something to accent their mad cooking skills. Because that’s what Craftsy’s all about, too.
Like Craftsy’s online classes, I’m a teacher too. I mean, that’s what this blog is all about, sharing and caring and giving you the guide to make deliciousness at home. We’re sort of kindred spirits that way.
With Craftsy, you’ll learn from some of the best instructors demonstrating step-by-step instructions in your own home. To get schooled in everything from knife sharpening to cake decorating while wearing yoga pants and a top knot with no make-up required. That’s what I call the ideal scenario.
In the interactive classes you’ll even get feedback from your instructor, and be able to show off for other classmates. Because you will OWN those mad skills.
Take the classes whenever you want (no need for excuses to skip school OR WORK! to grab a coffee break) and keep them forever, to view as many times as you want. Whenever and wherever you want.
I wish that was the case with my college Spanish class. Because I could use some short cuts to speaking the Español because after 6 years of Spanish classes, I have forgotten EVERY SINGLE WORD!
¿Qué? Oh please, why not?
About the recipe
This recipe is the main building block and grilling guide I use as the base for nearly all of my grilled chicken recipes. The secret to juicy grilled chicken isn’t in the seasonings or complicated marinades. It’s all about HOW you grill the chicken. Start off by searing your chicken on both sides over high heat, then, turn off one burner (or move the coals to one side if you’re grilling with charcoal) and move the chicken to the side of the grill where the heat has been turned off.
Cover, and let the chicken bake in the indirect heat until it hits an internal temp of 165 degrees F or juices run clear. That is seriously the secret, to pay attention to the internal temp of your chicken.
I’ve tried dozens of thermometers and have hated so many of them due to inconsistent readings. I finally found this digital thermometer that I absolutely love! It’s an investment but totally worth it.
In testing the chicken breasts for internal temperature, slide the thermometer laterally at one end, so it hits the center of the piece. If you’re using chicken on the bone, be sure your thermometer doesn’t hit the bone, just the chicken meat, or your temp will be off.
Simple seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper is where all the flavor starts. From there you can add more dried seasoning if you’d like. Sprinklings of chipotle powder, smoked paprika or lemon pepper have all made there way to my grilled chicken at one point or another. But more often than not, I keep it simple with the salt and pepper.
I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. If you’re a fan of a cut whole bird or the darker meat chicken thighs, the same principles apply, just change up your cooking time.
Transfer to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to allow the juices to rest. Cutting the chicken too early will cause the juices to run out.
Have you grilled lemon halves before? They’re one of my favorite grilled food flavor enhancers. The heat caramelizes the cut side and brings all of the juice front and center, making the lemon’s ultimately squeezeable. Try it on fish or veggies too. And if you’re a fan of limes or oranges, go crazy and experiment!
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lemons, halved
- Bring an outdoor grill to high heat.
- Drizzle the chicken breasts with extra virgin olive oil and rub into the breasts. Season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill. Cover and cook for 10 minutes then flip the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lemon halves to the grill, cut side down, and cook for 3-5 minutes then move the lemon halves to the top rack of the grill. Turn off one side of the grill and move the chicken to the other side and cook for 10 more minutes or until the breasts have an internal temperature of 165-170 degrees. The length of cooking time will depend up on the thickness of the breasts.
- Remove from grill with the lemon halves. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon on the chicken if desired for extra flavor.
This post is sponsored by Craftsy. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.