Grilled Citrus Chicken in a Yogurt Marinade

Citrus Grilled Chicken
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Grilled Citrus Chicken marinates quickly and tastes divine. With garlic, oranges and limes, this yogurt marinated chicken is an easy way to please everyone.

Grilled Citrus Chicken

When I’m in a pinch I rely on some basic recipes to see me through. This citrus marinated chicken is a standard. It’s as simple as placing boneless chicken breasts or thighs into a big ziplock bag with a bit of yogurt and garlic and citrus juice. Add a few spices and you have chicken that tastes not just great, but tender and juicy, too. I know you will love it. And after being going so long, I better supply you with something worth waiting for. Feel free to vary the spices,  but I love a touch of ras el hanout and a bit of smoked paprika. Don’t have ras el hanout? No worries. You will still love this chicken,

Why a yogurt marinade?

This citrus chicken is a combination of several recipes. You might detect a taste of shawarma and possibly some tandoori chicken. Tandoori chicken is marinated in yogurt which helps tenderize the chicken and give it flavor. Though chicken marinated with yogurt can sit overnight, it is the citrus that will keep you from doing that. Citrus marinated chicken can become tough if left too long.

What I love about this recipe is that in just an hour you can still create a chicken dish that tastes like it’s been marinating overnight.  With yogurt and citrus juice the chicken absorbs flavors fast and becomes tender quickly, which is precisely why I like this recipe. Between the citrus flavors and the tanginess of yogurt, this flavorful chicken is a winner.

Grilled Citrus Chicken

How to Serve Citrus Marinated Chicken

The day I made this chicken I found myself with a friend exploring new markets. We discovered some great Denver Middle Eastern bakeries which is where I bought this beautiful  Iraqi pita. If you are in Denver don’t miss Shahrazad Bakery where they bake fresh bread and amazing baklava daily. It seemed made just for this chicken. However lacking pita, citrus chicken would be great on a bed of rice or couscous. It would also be perfect on a bun or on a salad. The skies the limit, because this grilled citrus chicken will work with most anything.

Grilled Citrus Chicken

Now  to the rest of the story. It’s been a tough year, but not as tough as my father. He fought his stroke battle valiantly and provided us with many tender moments all summer long. People have asked me if I thought he knew what was going on. I have to answer yes. I don’t think he was cognizant of everything, but he gave it 100%. One afternoon with a crowd of visitors  in his room, my dad looked up and in a very clear voice  asked my mother , his wife of 62 years, if we had enough wine glasses for everyone. Another time a doctor came in and asked him where he was. Dad looked around and with a question in his voice said, “Prison?” Then the doc asked who’s our president and after thinking about it he stuttered, “Well, I didn’t vote for him.” You always knew where you stood with dad.

Ultimately he passed away on July 23rd, very early in the morning. The skies thundered, the clouds poured, and we said our goodbyes. It was hard, but I know my dad wanted to live life on his terms and the terms he was left with were not what he would have wanted. My dad was a gentleman who recognized the meaning of life and mortality.

I was in Phoenix the majority of the summer helping deal with the myriad of things one needs to deal with. It was exhausting and stressful and needless to say I had no time to think about doing anything else. We had a beautiful funeral for him that was attended by some 150 people. Jewish funerals are usually held within 24 hours and in that time childhood friends flew in from Kankakee and we found a bagpiper to  play Amazing Grace; which he always told us he wanted. I spoke, my brother spoke, and so did Alex and Zoe. They were outstanding. He would have been so proud.

My dad was a kind gentle soul that everyone adored. He was friends with everyone and the people that stopped by to pay their respects gave us a remarkable gift. It is truly amazing to see your parent through someone else’s eyes. The one theme my dad left us with is this: There is never a wrong way to do the right thing;   something we all need to practice. As Zoe would say he also taught us to always know your waiter’s name, and when you ask someone how they are, mean it!

My dad loved good food and it didn’t matter whether it was mac and cheese or freshly shaved black truffles. He loved good wine too, but mostly he loved people to share it with. I hope I can continue doing that with you. Thank you my readers. You’ve sent me notes and comments and asked me what’s going on and it meant a lot to me. So let’s get this party rolling again. L’chaim! To life!

To see what I wrote about dad,  you can see it here.

The end of summer is here. Check out a few more summer ideas:

The Libby Cocktail

The Libby Cocktail

Shrimp Burgers (Asian Style)

Grilled Asian shrimp burgers

Labor Day Favorites

Old Bay Potato Salad has the flavor of Old Bay, and all kinds of goodness. If you love potatoes you will love this version of potato salad! #potatoes #potatosalad #salads #cookouts See More great food at:

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Citrus Grilled Chicken

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Grilled Citrus Chicken

Grilled Citrus Chicken in a Yogurt Marinade

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10-20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American


Grilled Citrus Chicken marinates quickly and tastes divine. With garlic, oranges and limes, this yogurt marinated chicken is an easy way to please everyone.



1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken

4 cloves of minced garlic

1 orange, juiced and zested

1 lime juiced

1/4 c yogurt or more if chicken isn’t covered well

1 t fresh ground black pepper

1 t smoked paprika

1 t ras el hanout

1 t salt


Combine all ingredients in a big zip lock bag. If your chicken breasts are large I recommend butterflying them and pounding them a bit.

Preheat grill on high. Oil the grill grate and place chicken pieces on grill. Turn grill down to medium high and cook until there are grill marks on the underside-about 5 to 8 minutes. Then flip and do the same.

If you like give the chicken another squirt of citrus and serve.


I served my citrus chicken on pita that I had dolloped with a yogurt sauce made from the same ingredients I used in the chicken marinade. I also drizzle on some Sriracha and some Zhoug, a great herby green sauce that I buy at Trader Joe’s. And if you want to try Middle Eastern yogurt, try labneh. It is sensational.

Keywords: citrus chicken, citrus marinaded chicken, citrus chicken marinade, citrus chicken recipe, citrus grilled chicken, citrus chicken breast marinade

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Being Mortal

My brothers and I read this book during Dad’s hospital stay. If you are going through tough decisions it may help.

Where to buy Ras El Hanout:

Ras El Hanout

Al'Fez - Ras El Hanout Spice Mix - 42g

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  • Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    August 28, 2019 at 5:54 am

    So sorry to hear about your dad Abbe. But I’m so glad you got to be there to help your mom and have some time as a family. I don’t know if you ever get stop missing your father, I never have. This is a lovely recipe and we’re so glad you’re back. You have been missed!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 28, 2019 at 11:47 am

      We did get to have some time with the family and the best thing was my brother’s wedding 5 days before. We were all together and you can’t ask for much more than that. Thanks Tricia!

  • Juliana
    August 27, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Oh Abbe…I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your dad…I lost my dad when I was 20…and until this day I miss him…memories are my treasures.
    Your chicken looks delicious, and I absolutely love how you serve it. Thanks for the inspiration…

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 27, 2019 at 9:40 pm

      Thanks Juliana. I had him a long time and for that I am grateful. You are right. Memories are treasures.

  • mae
    August 26, 2019 at 5:31 am

    My condolences on your father’s death, may his memory be a blessing.

    The citrus chicken sounds delicious. I used to make something like that, should start again.

    best…. mae at

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 11:55 am

      Thank Mae. It is appreciated.

  • Holly
    August 25, 2019 at 7:59 pm

    Abbe, thanks for sharing the photo of your parents and for sharing your eulogy. Kind and heartfelt words which were surely exactly right for the occasion. I know I would have enjoyed meeting your dad, he sounds like a wonderful man who loved his family very much.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Yes Holly. He would have loved meeting you, too. This blogging thing always fascinated him!

  • Susan
    August 25, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Sincere condolences on the loss of your father, Abbe. You certainly were busy, even though it wasn’t the kind of busy we wish for. Glad to see you back and the chicken marinade sounds wonderful!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Appreciate it Susan. You are right. Not the right kind of busy, but definitely a part of life. Thank you.

  • Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    August 25, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Hi Abbe, I love this photo of your parents. And this chicken sounds genius. A must make and very soon. And thanks for the heads-up on that bakery. I’m feeling a foodie field trip in my future. 🙂

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 11:58 am

      Thanks Lea Ann. Any time you want to do a foodie field trip, I am ready. It is always a lot of fun!

  • Mimi
    August 25, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Oh goodness, I’m so sorry. But wow – married for 62 years! What a busy summer you’ve had, and not the kind of busy you want. Such a challenging time for us with elderly parents. But, this chicken looks wonderful and i love how you present it. Yogurt is a common marinade in my kitchen. Such a smart ingredient, and so versatile!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 11:59 am

      62 years is a long time. I don’t know how they did it and make it look so easy. And yes, you will love this chicken!

  • Healthy World Cuisine
    August 25, 2019 at 6:07 am

    Dear Abbe, so sorry to hear about your loss. Thought, prayers and lots of hugs coming your way. Your dad may be gone from this physical word but his wisdom and love will live on forever. If you need anything please let me know, we have lost both of my parents recently too,

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks Bobbie. So sorry to hear about you loss, too. It’s never easy, is it? You are right about wisdom living forever. Hope to continue that!

  • angiesrecipes
    August 25, 2019 at 3:48 am

    I am so very sorry to hear about your dad’s passing, Abbe. He seemed like a very kind person with a sense of humor. This is a very beautiful contribution to your dad, Abbe.
    The grilled citrus chicken looks so yum!

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      Great sense of humor, Angie. And until the end he still had it! Thank you.

  • Liz
    August 25, 2019 at 12:15 am

    I’m so sorry , Abbe. May your wonderful father rest in peace. You were exactly where you needed to be. Sending you love, hugs and wishes for comfort.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 12:03 pm

      Kind words, Liz. They are appreciated! I guess I was where I needed to be. And those hugs are really appreciated.

  • John / Kitchen Riffs
    August 24, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Abbe, I’m sorry. Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful guy, and I know you miss him and are hurting. Beautiful post. I’m glad to see you post again — I missed YOU! — but please do take care of yourself. Because all of your readers really do care for you.

    • Abbe Odenwalder
      August 26, 2019 at 12:04 pm

      Nice to be missed John. I really missed you guys, too. Feels good to be back but so much to get caught up on!