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World’s Easiest Make-Ahead Marinated Chicken Recipe

This make-ahead marinated chicken recipe is SO easy, frugal, and delicious! Perfect for a simple weeknight dinner idea!

Looking for a delicious but super simple chicken recipe? This World’s Easiest Marinated Chicken Recipe is it.

I’m pretty sure you can’t beat it in simplicity. Best of all? Since salad dressing is often on sale for less than $1 per bottle, you probably have some of it in your stockpile most of the time.

(For those of you who have read here for awhile, this is the freezer-friendly version of my Crockpot Italian Chicken. I was going to try and explain how to freeze that and decided it might just be easier to do a separate recipe post for it!)

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  • Mindy says:

    Newman’s Olive oil and Vinegar. mmmmm! Been doing this for years and it couldn’t be simpler.

  • Shayna says:

    This is exactly what I love to do – the only difference is that I let the chicken/marinade sit in the fridge for 12ish hours and then freeze it. That way it soaks up more of the flavor before you freeze it 🙂

  • Love that you have a crockpot version and an oven version. I often have to come up with an oven version of certain meals when I forget to put them in the crockpot on time!

  • Heather Chandler says:

    I do this too!
    Often I will go ahead and cut a bunch of chicken into stir-fry sizes, marinate in Newman’s Balsamic Vin. dressing overnight, then freeze in batches.

  • Lisa says:

    Does frizen chicken absorb the marinade? I think I’m confused on why you are putting marinade on frozen chicken and then freezing the chicken in the marindate?

    (I understand how to do it. Just not getting why.) I think pregnancy brain didn’t go away with the delivery of the baby. LOL!

    • Stephanie says:

      First it saves a step, and secondly I think marinating like this makes it tender and more flavorful.

  • Gail says:

    Kraft makes a Parmesan Vin. that taste absolutely delicious !!! Thanks for the idea about freezing with the marinade added. I usually just marinade in the fridge over night. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      I do that sometimes, too. But I’ve found it’s nice to have them in the freezer all ready to go when I just don’t feel like taking any extra steps to pull dinner off. 🙂

  • When I get chicken on sale I divide it up into several different bags and marinate Bbq chicken, Italian chicken, Teriyaki chicken, Taco meat chicken, and several other kinds!

    • Crystal says:

      Do you have the recipe for these on your blog? I’d love to check them out!

    • Stephanie says:

      Me too! I always buy as much chicken as I can afford when it goes on sale. Just this weekend I was staring at 3 packages trying to figure out how to prep them for meals!

  • Brenda says:

    This is one of our favorites. We add a drizzle of honey to the Italian salad dressing. If you grill the chicken it tastes just like Cracker Barrel’s grilled chicken. Mmmm!

  • Rebecca says:

    BTW…..LOVE the way you have formatted your recipes on a colored background with the easy print option!!!!

  • amanda says:

    My husband adds italian dressing, a little bit of mustard and some chili sauce. He sometimes adds a few other things in the fridge. It tastes amazing when he grills it!

  • Tami Calhoun says:

    This is great on the grill! It always come out so moist and juicy,

  • Allison V. says:

    Don’t forget the even quicker “It’s dinner time already?!” version…frozen chicken in a baking dish, pour dressing on top, bake. (Btw, the chicken tenders cook through much faster because they’re smaller. I’m always cooking them straight from the freezer.)

    “Plan ahead” these days means I go to bed with the intention of waking up in the morning. Who has time to marinate? 😉

  • Traci says:

    I like to chop up some veggies and marinade those as well. So yummy! I haven’t made it for a while, so I think I’ll have to make it again soon! – Never thought about freezing it. What a wonderful idea! Thanks!

  • Kristin says:

    We cut the chicken into cubes so that we can skewer it and throw it on the grill. We add veggies (cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini) and canned whole potatoes for a meal on a stick. The skewers make such a pretty presentation that we make this for guests frequently.

  • Amy F says:

    We add soy sauce. If you add just a table spoon or two you can’t taste it but it kicks up the Italian dressing. Or add a cup for a really bold combined flavor. That is our version of this staple in our house.

  • Kendra says:

    I do this too except I also add some orange juice. Gives it a nice twist to the flavor and so tender.

  • Amanda W. says:

    I do this with Italian dressing and soy sauce. You can add as little or much soy as you’d like. Delicious!

  • Angela says:

    For the chicken with Italian dressing, I also like to put a pineapple ring on top of each chicken breast before I bake them. So good with white rice on the side!

  • Tyedye says:

    This is one of my go-to marinades for grilling chicken! I almost always use Italian dressing dry packets and make it with my own oil, vinegar and water though.

  • crystal says:

    I like to do this but I also like to do the chicken in a pan on the stove sometimes. I thaw the chicken half way (I think its easier to cut that way) and cut in to small pieces. Spray pan with I cant believe its not butter spray. add chicken and cook till white. pour fat free Italian dressing on and simmer for 15mins in the dressing. I use boneless skinless chicken so pretty healthy. I make whole grain rice on the side and some times chicken broth for the rice (kinda like a soup)

  • Lorrie says:

    Love the ideas! Always looking for healthy easy recipes to feed my busy family. Think I will try it next week for dinner! Just an FYI, I often put a whole pork roast or tenderloin roast into the crockpot frozen, cover with water, and cook on high all day. That night I have pork ready to shred and use for pulled pork sandwiches, burritos or the like. So easy, especially when I forget to thaw out the roast!

  • Nancy says:

    I’m not sure if any posted this already but I do this with all sorts of meat. Generally I buy something like london broil, put it into a feeezer bag with marinade or dressing and then freeze. This is great with chicken parts and BBQ sauce, just freeze together, thaw and cook in the oven, easy, yummy BBQ chicken.

  • Ashley says:

    We’ve been making chicken with Italian dressing for years. My hubby loves to grill it! 😀

  • Tifani says:

    I do this every time I get home from the store. It is part of my “putting up the groceries” routine. I leave these items out and get them in the freezer. It’s well worth the time. I also pre-cook my hamburger meat. Just buy a big portion of it and then measure into 2-2 1/2 cups depending on if it is 80/20 or 85/15 and then place those in sandwich bags after it cools. Then I put those in a large freezer bag since they are more expensive. We have been doing this for years and it saves me sooo much time for tacos, etc.

  • Kellie Watson says:

    World’s Easiest Make Ahead Marinated Pork Chops – put pork chops in zip-loc bag with Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce and then freeze. Thaw out then either broil or grill them!! They are AWESOME!! I do this all the time!

  • Kelly Irene says:

    ha! I just left a comment in your freezer cooking post about this! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  • Kathryn says:

    Someone already asked this, but I didn’t see an answer… Does this work with the already frozen chicken (3 lb bag usually), since it is “ice glazed”? (like what’s pictured) You just put the dressing on it frozen and put it back in the freezer? Or do you thaw it first, then re-freeze?

  • Leah says:

    Yay! Thanks for reminding me about this. I used to do chicken this way, then just sort of…forgot about it. My favorite is to add the chicken, salad dressing, a few diced potatoes, a tbsp of Italian seasoning and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese into the crockpot. Yum!

  • kate says:

    Have you ever tried it with no-yolk noodles instead of rice? I like it both ways. Also, I add sliced mushrooms to marinate with the chicken in the dressing.

  • Connie says:

    I always buy chicken in bulk and cut into pieces if necessary. Then I first check out all the salad dressings I have in the frig. I make BBQ, Italian, and even ranch (when thawed roll in flavored bread crumbs). It takes the work out of it later.

  • TJo says:

    These are great! Do you have other freezer recipes that you don’t have to cook first? I need all the ones I can get!

  • lurae says:

    silly question, but important to clarify….do you cover to bake? i assume so, so chicken does not dry out.

  • Summer says:

    I’m new to freezer cooking and have been wondering about marinated chicken. I often see the bags of breast and thighs, but isn’t it already frozen? Do you have to thaw it, add the dressing and the refreeze? And is that safe to eat?

  • Tracy says:

    Can u use frozen ck or does it have to be fresh??

  • I love this idea! I found your site through FB and CANNOT wait to try some freezer cooking! Actually, I just put a batch of French Onion Soup (last night’s leftovers) in the freezer…my first step! I looked at Wal-Mart for a waffle iron today, can’t believe I don’t have one…and they were sold out! My kids eat frozen waffles like there’s no tomorrow, almost every day! I am actually digging through recipes now and making a list so that I can plan my first actual freezer cooking slot! I want to do my first batch before school lets out for summer so I can see how I do….without all the additional distractions! LOL! Thanks for all you put into this!

  • Susan says:

    If I use fresh chicken, will it absorb too much of the marinade?

  • Cheryl Sechrest says:

    Have this recipe in oven right now. Cooked 1 hour per instructions. One large chicken breast. Meat terribly tough.

  • Kayla says:

    We love doing this, but we do equal parts of Italian and Teriyaki. It’s so good grilled or baked!

  • Linda Fordham says:

    I first did this last yr before I went to camp then I pan fried it …. OMG it was GREAT ! Cant wait to do it again this yr ! Something about all food cooked outdoors! YUM

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