Quick Cook
30 minutes or less

Click here for recipes from the 2010 Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest!

Flavoring Chicken

Adding flavorings to chicken before, during or after the cooking process can greatly enhance the flavor and texture of the meat. For suggestions on marinades, rub-ons or basting sauces, check out some of our tips below.


Marinating your chicken from 1 hour to overnight not only adds flavor, but also helps keep the chicken moist. It is especially effective when grilling boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which cook quickly and tend to dry out on the grill. When marinating chicken keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always marinate chicken in the refrigerator in a non-metallic bowl or Ziploc® bag.
  • Never re-use marinade. When chicken is removed, it is best to dispose of the marinade. Never use marinade from raw chicken on chicken that has been cooked. If some of the marinade is desired for basting the chicken during cooking, it is best to remove a portion and set aside before raw chicken has been added.
  • If marinade is used as the basis for a sauce, bring it to a full, rolling boil before applying to the cooked chicken.

Try creating your own marinades with the seasonings you like best. Here are a few suggestions for approximately 4 servings of chicken:

  • Asian Ginger Marinade: 1/4 cup lite soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon minced parsley leaves.
  • Mediterranean Yogurt Marinade: 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons minced green onion, 2 tablespoons chopped toasted almonds, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Honey Mustard Marinade: 2 tablespoons prepared mustard, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 4 teaspoons honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • Citrus Herb Marinade: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme.


Rub-on seasonings are a form of dry marinade. Mixtures of spices are hand rubbed directly onto the chicken and then allowed to set from 20 minutes to overnight in the refrigerator before putting the chicken on the grill. Experiment with varying mixtures to find flavors that please you. Any combination of spices may be used. Here are some suggestions for approximately 4 servings of chicken:

  • Hot and Spicy Rub: 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  • Spicy Mediterranean Rub: 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  • Indian Ginger Rub: 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Basting Sauces

Basting sauces are slightly different from marinades in that they are brushed onto the chicken while it is cooking. It is usually best to apply sauces to chicken on the grill only during the last 10-20 minutes of cooking. This prevents overcooking. Here are some suggestions for approximately 4 servings of chicken:

  • Original Barbecue Sauce: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a fry pan. Add 1 small chopped onion and sauté. Stir in 1/4 cup minced celery, 1/2 cup water, 3/4 cup catsup, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar. Cook about 10 minutes over medium heat.
  • Asian Mustard Sauce: In a small saucepan, mix together 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons prepared mustard, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoons vinegar; bring to boil.

Back to top

Get recipes and cooking tips in our e-mail newsletter