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Chiavetta’s chicken marinade is a Buffalo, New York tradition that yields tender, moist, and juicy meat. It’s made from pantry staples that you probably have in your kitchen right now!

chiavetta's

Growing up in Western New York, Chiavetta’s chicken was the highlight of summer barbeques and camping trips, local carnivals, and the Erie County Fair!

Grilled over a charcoal fire, the chicken has a smoky, savory aroma. One whiff takes me back to cookouts growing up.

chiavetta's chicken marinade

My dad manning the grill on the deck in the backyard, and my mom whipping up her tuna noodle salad, potato salad, or famous taco salad in the kitchen.

Dad joking that he can grill anything to perfection – cake included – but today it’s just chicken. Mom asking my sister, my niece, and I for help. Not because she needed it, but because she wanted us with her.

Everyone lighthearted, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.

One whiff brings me back home.

If you’re looking for the absolute best ever chicken marinade, look no further than Chiavetta’s. It’s tangy, savory, and yields chicken that’s perfectly moist and tender inside with crispy skin outside.

And the marinade is easy to make with ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen!

marinated chicken on plate with corn and coleslaw

Copycat Chiavetta’s Marinade Recipe (The Best Chicken Marinade)

The name Chiavetta’s is known in the Buffalo, New York area. Poultry farmers Thomas and Eleanor Chiavetta began as a catering company. Because of the popularity of their marinade, Thomas and Eleanor eventually started bottling and selling it.

In the Western New York region, you’ll find charcoal-grilled Chiavetta’s marinated chicken at just about any and every summertime event!

You can read more about the history of Chiavetta’s here.

holding piece of chiavettas chicken

Why You’ll Love Copycat Chiavetta’s Marinade

  • If you like tender, moist, and juicy chicken, this marinade will be your new best friend. It makes delicious chicken effortless!
  • You probably already have most (if not all) of the ingredients for this marinade in a well-stocked pantry.
  • This recipe is quite forgiving and works well around your schedule. You can let the chicken marinade for just 1 hour or up to 24 hours!

The Best Chicken Marinade Recipe

Ingredients

chicken marinade ingredients
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Vegetable oil or avocado oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh garlic
  • Sugar
  • Dried poultry seasoning
  • Salt
  • Celery salt
  • Black pepper
  • White pepper

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Marinate Chicken

how to marinate chiavetta's chicken
  1. If you start with a whole chicken, cut it up into pieces as desired. My chicken was on the smaller side (a little over 2 pounds), so I cut it into 4 pieces: 2 leg quarters (drumstick + thigh) and 2 breast pieces (breast + wing).
  2. Add all of the marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, and toss to coat the chicken.
  4. Cover and marinate in the fridge. (Bone-in chicken like this should marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours; see the recipe below for more times.)

Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Grill Marinated Chicken

brushing chiavetta's marinade on chicken on the grill
  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 400F). Put the chicken on the grill and brush it with some of the marinade.
  2. Flip the chicken after about 15 minutes and baste it with more of the chicken marinade. Continue cooking (flipping occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly) until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F for white meat and 175F for dark meat.

How to Store Chiavetta’s Marinade

You can store the marinade covered in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month before using it to marinade meat or vegetables.

chiavettas chicken

Tips

  • You can substitute white vinegar for apple cider vinegar in this recipe.
  • When grilling chicken that’s been marinated with Chiavetta’s, baste the chicken with the marinade as it cooks.
  • Make a double batch of this chicken marinade because it stays good for up 1 month in the fridge!
chiavetta's chicken copycat graphic

Chicken Marinade FAQs

How Long Should I Marinade Chicken in Chiavetta’s?

I’m sharing marinade times for boneless and bone-in chicken. Note that timeframes are given as a range; the longer you let the chicken marinade, the more tender and juicy it will be. However, the vinegary flavor also increases with marinade time.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts:

Marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Bone-In Skin-On Chicken:

Marinate bone-in skin-on chicken for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

juicy chiavetta's chicken

Can You Marinade Steak in Chiavetta’s?

Yes! Chiavetta’s marinade is delicious on beef, lamb, and pork as well as chicken. Additionally, Chiavetta’s is great on vegetables!

Why Was My Chiavetta’s Chicken Vinegary?

If your Chiavetta’s chicken tastes overly vinegary, it’s most likely because it marinated too long.

However, note that this is a vinegar-based marinade. Similar to Carolina-style barbeque sauce, vinegar is the base of Chiavetta’s chicken marinade. This results in tender, juicy, and moist chicken!

The longer you let chicken marinade, the more vinegary it will be. Be sure to follow the guidelines for marinade time in the recipe below.

What Goes With Chiavetta’s Chicken?

This chicken goes well with anything that you’d serve along with any grilled or smoked chicken!

Here are a few ideas:

chiavetta's marinade recipe

More Summer Chicken Recipes to Make

grilled marinated chicken

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Copycat Chiavetta’s Marinade Recipe (The Best Chicken Marinade)

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Other Time1 hour
Yields: 8 servings
Chiavetta’s chicken marinade is a Buffalo, New York tradition that yields tender, moist, and juicy meat. It’s made from pantry staples that you probably have in your kitchen right now!

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

To Make the Marinade:

  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.

To Marinate the Chicken:

  • Use this amount of marinade for about 2 pounds of chicken.
  • Marinate boneless skinless chicken breasts in Chiavetta’s for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • Marinate bone-in skin-on chicken for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

To Cook the Chicken:

  • Cook the chicken on a medium-high grill (about 400F) or in a 375F oven until fully cooked. It should reach an internal temperature of 165F for white meat (breast pieces) and 175F for dark meat (leg quarters). This will take about 35 to 50 minutes on the grill or in the oven, depending on the size of your chicken.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of marinade, which is enough to marinade about 2 pounds of chicken.
  • To Thicken the Marinade: If you want a thicker marinade, whisk in 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Substitute: You can use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar in this recipe.
  • Baste the Chicken as it Grills: If you’re grilling Chiavetta’s chicken (instead of cooking it in the oven), baste the chicken with the marinade as it cooks.
  • Storage: You can store the marinade covered in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month before using it to marinade meat or vegetables.

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Buffalo Food
Keyword: Chiavetta’s, Chiavetta’s Chicken, Chiavetta’s Marinade, Chicken Marinade

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the best chicken marinade pin
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. Hi Faith,
    I’m from Orleans county to the east of Buffalo and now a transplant out west in Colorado. I know what you mean about when you get a whiff of chiavettas chicken cooking. Out in the mid-west they do carry Chiavettas along with some other NY favorites. So I try to stock up when I’m back home visiting. I’ll definitely have to give your recipe a try though so I can have a taste of home when ever I want. Thank you for sharing :)

  2. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe. Thanks so much for making Chiavettas available to the West Coast! I had the opportunity to taste it head-to-head against a bottle of the OG stuff and there are a few differences, but the end result is great either way.

    1. OG Chiavettas doesn’t have any oil 1n it. No fat at all. It is thickened a bit with xanthan gum though resulting in a similar consistency to emulsified oil in vinegar.

    2. OG Chiavettas has WAYYYYY more salt.

    I used French’s brand Worcestershire and did the math. The nutrition facts listed in the recipe or 630 mg per serving may not have considered that 1 g of salt is only 0.4 g of sodium as the chloride component is not listed on nutritional labels, or perhaps a serving in their calculation is different than a tbsp
    – If you make this recipe with table salt it has ~ 22 g of sodium per quart. (350 mg per tbsp)
    – If you make this recipe with Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt it has ~15 g or sodium per quart (250 mg sodium per quart)
    – OG Chiavettas has 32 g of sodium per quart. (500 mg per tbsp)

    3. OG Chiavettas has way more black pepper. I can’t math this out like I did the salt, but I would guess at least double.

    Otherwise, it’s spot on. YUM!

  3. 5 stars
    To me grilled chicken is usually pretty dry and unenjoyable but this chicken isn’t like the rest. Tender juicy and crispy all in one

  4. 5 stars
    What fond memories of family get togethers, and Chiavetta’s on the grill! Thank you so much Faith, for sharing this post! ☺️💖

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