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Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken

Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken made with just four simple ingredients, is one of our summer favorites. Juicy and flavorful, this spatchcocked chicken is so easy to cook on the grill. The tart lemon halves only add to the the deliciousness of the chicken when squeezed over before serving.


Summertime grilling is pleasure in my book. It lets me escape the heat of the kitchen and head to the heat in the yard…but hey…at least it’s still outside! I love guessing what my neighbors are having for dinner and sometimes they also entice me to get my fire started. Everything smells so glorious in summer…just like when you are outside of the worst Chinese restaurant in the world and then the aroma of garlic comes through and instantaneously you are hungry! Have you ever noticed that?

Well, this Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken has the same effect. This chicken begins with making a simple marinade of 4 ingredients. It is amazing how 4 ingredients can transform something ordinary into something magical. But lemon, garlic and oregano seem to do just that. A part of the marinade is left for drizzling over the chicken when it is taken off the grill. And besides that and the squeeze of a fresh grilled lemon, the hardest thing when making this recipe is cutting the backbone out of the chicken.

Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken

Cutting the backbone out of a chicken is called spatchcocking. Kind of a funny term but when it comes to chicken, this is the secret to cooking chicken faster and to getting a crispier skin. It is much easier to lay the bird on the grill without a backbone, which  allows the skin closer contact to the grill. Trust me, when I started doing this years ago it was truly a game changer. Since then my favorite kitchen tool has been my kitchen shears. If you don’t have a pair get one!

Now you don’t need to worry about getting mismatched pieces of chicken. When you cook a whole chicken everything is the right size unlike getting a huge breast and then a teeny one…which happens to me all the time. Chicken tastes so much better when it is cooked whole. It is juicier and when done the proper way, it is easier to flip an entire chicken over rather than worrying about each individual piece. This Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled chicken was served every year at the Greek festival where I grew up. The Greek festival was something to look forward to in Kankakee and we used to hang out in the yard next to the church and eat chicken and souvlaki and steal tiny ouzo glasses with hopefully something still in them, from the picnic tables.  Oh, were we bad. But in a good kind of way. Just like this chicken.

Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken

Check out some more Grill Food Ideas. I’ve made a Grilled Caesar before and it really is good. This version from Family Food on the Table is similar to mine. There is nothing like cheese on the grill and halloumi cheese is the best. This Grilled Halloumi with Strawberries and Herbs from Boulder Locavore sounds heavenly. And the ultimate grill food with a ginger teriyaki sauce from Princess Pinky Girl would be this Grilled Rib Eye Steak . 

Plus Some More I can’t wait to make again this summer!

Grilled Mexican Pork

Mexican grilled pork platter, pickled onions, salsa, avocado cream, grilled cabbage

Grilled Icelandic Lamb with Honey Herb Chimichurri

These grilled Icelandic baby lamb chops are prefect on the grill. And this chimichurri with mint and cilantro, red onion and honey is truly amazing and so perfect for lamb! #lamb #sauce #chimichurri

Grilled Wild Mushroom Pizza

WildMushroomPizza6 1

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Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken

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grilled chicken

Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 to 60 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hr and 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American


Lemon Oregano Greek Grilled Chicken made with just four simple ingredients, is one of our summer favorites. Juicy and flavorful, this spatchcocked chicken is so easy to cook on the grill. The tart lemon halves only add to the the deliciousness of the chicken when squeezed over before serving.



3 whole lemons

5 cloves garlic, minced

3 T minced fresh oregano or 2 T dried (I used both)

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

1 whole chicken 3 1/2 to 4 lbs


In a large measuring cup grate 2 t zest from 1 of the lemons. Split that lemon in half and squeeze 3 T juice into the cup. Add garlic and oregano. Whisking constantly slowly drizzle in olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pat chicken dry and place breast side down on large cutting board. Using sharp kitchen scissors, remove the backbone by cutting along either side of it.  Turn chicken over and lay flat. Press firmly on breast to flatten the chicken. For added stability run one metal skewer through one thigh and through the breast. Do the same on the other side. Tuck wing tips behind back. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Pour half of vinaigrette into a large zip lock bag. Add chicken and massage vinaigrette into the chicken. Let marinate as long as you can.

If using charcoal start it now. If using gas which is what I have, preheat covered grill for 10 minutes at highest heat. Turn off half of the burners and place chicken on the cooler side of the grill with legs facing towards the hotter side. Cover grill. Cook until thermometer inserted into deepest part of the breast reads 120, about 30-45 minutes.

Carefully flip chicken and place skin side down on the hotter side of the grill with breasts pointed towards cooler side. Reduce heat to medium low. Press down firmly with a large spatula to increase contact between the bird and grill grates-to ensure a crispy skin. Cover and cook until thermometer registers 145 to 150, about 10 minutes longer. If chicken is not cooked all the way slide to cooler part of grill and cook until done. Do not leave lid off through this entire process unless checking temperature. If you do it will take longer to cook.

I also grilled some peppers and onions to go with my chicken. Add these if you’d like.  When you remove the chicken from the grill add split lemon halves and place cut side down on the hotter part of the grill. Grill until well browned. Carve chicken and drizzle with remaining vinaigrette. Squeeze grilled lemon halves over and serve.


Please read all instructions before grilling.

Each grill is different. This is what works with mine. Please make sure your chicken is at room temperature before grilling.

If you want more vinaigrette, please double the recipe.

To make peppers and onions I sliced one pepper and cut into wedges one onion. I tossed them with some olive oil and salt and pepper and placed them on a grill tray to grill them. You could also use the same vinaigrette from the recipe.

Thanks to Serious Eats for this inspiration.


Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

GiGi Eats

Thursday 21st of June 2018



Thursday 14th of June 2018

Love love love. Simply perfect.


Thursday 14th of June 2018

Such a great looking dish! I'd go straight for the drumstick and thigh :) Your recipe reminds me that I haven't bought an oregano plant yet. Need to get one potted :)


Thursday 14th of June 2018

I love seeing your artist’s eye in your food styling. So beautiful and delicious!

Meeting my sister and BIL in Denver tomorrow for lunch on our way to Beaver Creek for a wedding. Wish I had time to see you!!!

John / Kitchen Riffs

Thursday 14th of June 2018

Love chicken prepared this way! I make a similar vinaigrette marinade, though I usually use chicken pieces rather than a whole chicken. This definitely tastes like summer -- thanks!