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Marinating chicken parts - how long?

Sarah Aug 18, 2012 06:20 PM

Will be using soy-lemon juice-oil + flavorings -- how long can chicken legs marinate before degrading. Want maximum flavor but not mushy chicken. Thanks for any advice.

  1. Crockett67 Aug 18, 2012 06:24 PM

    You can go as long as overnight. The chicken will not get mushy with just lemon juice as the acid.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Crockett67
      Bacardi1 Aug 18, 2012 06:45 PM

      Second that advice - & I marinate chicken all the time. Chicken legs & thighs in particular can take longer marinating times than the white-meat breasts.

      1. re: Bacardi1
        Joebob Aug 18, 2012 06:59 PM

        Counter or chilled?

        1. re: Joebob
          Crockett67 Aug 18, 2012 09:15 PM

          Always chilled!! Especially over an hour. You don't mess with chicken.

          1. re: Joebob
            Bacardi1 Aug 19, 2012 06:11 AM

            Always in the fridge, EXCEPT for certain recipes that call for a quick (like 30 minute) marinating time & specify that it be left out. I can live with that, but longer times are always in the fridge.

      2. Sarah Aug 18, 2012 07:07 PM

        Maybe the next question should be what is the least amount of time for good flavor? It'll be in the fridge all the while.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sarah
          Crockett67 Aug 18, 2012 09:16 PM

          Sealed in a vacuum sealer, an hour. Without a vacuum (like in a bag or so) 4 hours.

          1. re: Sarah
            Bacardi1 Aug 19, 2012 06:16 AM

            I would say bare minimum for "good flavor" would be 1-2 hours, although I prefer all day or overnight for skin-on bone-in chicken parts. Like I said before, if I'm marinating boneless skinless breasts, I don't like marinating them too long - especially in an acidic marinade - because I think the texture suffers. However, that said, a particular Martha Stewart recipe that I make frequently calls for marinating chicken tenders overnight, & they turn out delicious. Go figure.

          2. e
            ellainespivak Aug 18, 2012 07:29 PM

            I recently marinated chicken in a little fresh lemon juice, some olive oil and mango puree!!! it was beyond juicy and wonderful.. I put them in a zip lock bag and stuck them in the fridge for about 9 hours.. I may never cook chicken again without doing that.. the other way of course is to brine it.. There are LOADS of directions for how to brine online..

            1. j
              janniecooks Aug 19, 2012 01:45 AM

              Usually I marinate chicken parts for about 24 to 28 hours - I make the marinade the afternoon before I plan on cooking the chicken. I don't measure the ingredients, but using the juice of one or two lemons, and enough glugs of olive oil to double the liquid, I think I end up with about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of marinade. This for about a 3 1/2 to 4-pound chicken. The chicken is never mushy even after marinating for up to 30 hours in the fridge.

              4 Replies
              1. re: janniecooks
                janniecooks Aug 19, 2012 10:04 AM

                I forgot to mention that I marinate the chicken in a heavy duty ziploc bag. Marinating in a bowl would require more marinade, I think, and using a bag in which most of the air is pressed out allows one to massage the marinade into the chicken. Turning the bag and massaging every four to six hours (waking hours, that is) also helps ensure even marination.

                1. re: janniecooks
                  hill food Aug 20, 2012 01:32 AM

                  I too like the bag method, not worried about the amount, but the consistency is so much easier to manage.

                  1. re: janniecooks
                    Bacardi1 Aug 20, 2012 08:24 AM

                    I also use large Ziploc bags for all my marinating, whether meat, poultry, or seafood.

                    I do, however, always place the bag in a bowl before putting in the fridge, as a couple of times I've had a bag leak, & who needs raw meat juices & marinade running all over their fridge?

                    1. re: Bacardi1
                      janniecooks Aug 20, 2012 01:54 PM

                      You are so right. I always place the bag in a bowl, though it didn't occur to me to mention it. Thanks for pointing it out.

                2. hill food Aug 19, 2012 02:26 AM

                  like the others and esp. jannie, I'd say chilled and overnight (8+ hours is good but I'd even go a day or two to test the limits) had a really nice grilling recently with your ingredients and VN fish sauce and bead molasses in the marinade. but enough about me.

                  1. f
                    FoodPopulist Aug 19, 2012 11:37 AM

                    My father will often prepare chicken in the middle of the week for grilling on the weekend, so it is not unusual for chicken, beef, or pork to be sitting in the refrigerator marinating for 2-3 days, sometimes more. His standard marinade is mainly soy sauce and citrus of some sort.

                    1. k
                      KSlink Aug 19, 2012 11:50 AM

                      Ditto to all the above responses, but FWIW to anyone else, be careful if using fresh pineapple in your marinade--I let it go too long once and ended up with chicken mush, it couldn't be saved.....

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