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!
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.
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!
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!
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
- Apple cider vinegar
- Vegetable oil or avocado oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh garlic
- Dried poultry seasoning
- Celery salt
- Black pepper
- White pepper
Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Marinate Chicken
- 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).
- Add all of the marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, and toss to coat the chicken.
- 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
- Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 400F). Put the chicken on the grill and brush it with some of the marinade.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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:
More Summer Chicken Recipes to Make
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad – the pasta salad that goes well with anything
- Shish Tawook (Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken Skewers) – your favorite new way to make chicken kebabs
- Keto BBQ Chicken Salad – a lighter-in-carbs meal that’s still satisfying
- Chicken Caprese with Lemon and Thyme – fresh, bright flavor profile
- Instant Pot Crack Chicken – use your Instant Pot so you don’t have to fire up the oven
Copycat Chiavetta’s Marinade Recipe (The Best Chicken Marinade)
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.
- Recipe Yield: This recipe makes about ¾ 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 ¼ 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.