Marinated Whole Chicken – Benefits and How To!

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If you’ve been cooking for a while, you likely know the many benefits of adding a marinade to chicken. But are there any differences you should know about when cooking marinated whole chicken?

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As a matter of fact, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind when attempting to marinate a whole chicken. We will detail the ins and outs of the process here, as well as answer some common questions that pop up in regards to the different ways that whole chicken can be cooked. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Marinated Whole Chicken

How Long Do You Marinate a Whole Chicken?

According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, a whole chicken can be marinated for up to two days. Beyond this point, the marinade may begin to break down the meat in the chicken, causing it to become mushy and lose its original texture.

In case you don’t already know, a marinade consists of several ingredients including oil, spices, herbs, and typically, an acid. The acid usually comes in the form of lemon juice or vinegar and its purpose is usually to tenderize the meat.

By leaving your meat to marinate for more than two days, you are running the risk of the acid in your marinade over-tenderizing your meat. You are thereby yielding a texture that will be unappealing to both you and your dinner guests.

marinated Chicken in skillet

Can You Marinate a Whole Chicken For 2 Days?

You can marinate a whole chicken for two days. But it is not recommended that you marinate it for any longer than that.

Marinated Whole Chicken Overnight

It may seem like common sense to marinate your chicken, or any meat, for as long as possible. But the truth is that marinating a whole chicken for more than two days can be detrimental to the texture of the mat.

Therefore it is best to marinate a whole bird overnight or for up to two days before finally cooking it up.

Is It OK to Bake Chicken in its Marinade?

It is perfectly fine to bake a chicken in its marinade.

Typically, cooking chicken in its marinade using methods such as broiling, grilling, searing, or frying will yield a soggy mess instead of the crispy and juicy outcome expected from cooking methods such as these.

As a result, it is not usually recommended that you cook a chicken in its marinade.

However, when you are baking chicken, cooking the chicken in its marinade can work in your favor.

The extra juice can enhance the moisture in the meat, while also infusing the meat with additional flavor as it cooks. This is especially true if you go the extra mile when preparing your marinated chicken by placing marinade under the skin of the bird, in the bird cavity, as well as on top of the skin.

By doing all of this, you increase the chances of the flavor and moisture from the marinade infusing the meat during the baking process for an exceptional and juicy whole baked chicken in the end.

marinated chicken

Ways You Can Marinate and Cook a Whole Chicken

How to Grill a Whole Marinated Chicken

Marinated Whole Chicken For Smoking

In order to grill a marinated whole chicken, be sure to remove the chicken from the marinade first. You can then either discard the marinade for good, or you can boil the marinade for 5 minutes to kill off any germs before using the marinade over your grilled meat and any veggies you may be serving.

Once ready to grill, place your chicken on your grill and cut off the burners beneath it. Turn on the burners around the bird in order to cook the chicken through indirect heat.

You’ll cover and cook your chicken this way for 50-55 minutes or until your chicken is fully cooked through.

Marinated Whole Roasted Chicken

When roasting a marinated chicken, simply apply your marinade, allow the chicken to rest with the marinade on it for the desired amount of time, and then pop your chicken into your preheated oven to be cooked according to your recipe’s instructions.

Whole Chicken Marinated in Buttermilk

Adding a buttermilk marinade to your whole chicken is a great idea because buttermilk, due to its acidity, can work to tenderize your meat while also infusing it with moisture and rich flavor. It also helps to make your chicken flaky and crispy when overlaid with flour or cornmeal for frying.

Instant Pot Marinated Whole Chicken

To cook a chicken in your instant pot, apply your marinade and let it sit for the desired amount of time. Afterward, brown your chicken on both sides, stuff the cavity of the chicken, and cook your chicken in the instant pot with 1 cup of water for 6 minutes for every pound. Perform a natural pressure release for 15 minutes before removing and serving.

Roasted Chicken

How to Make a Marinated Whole Roast Chicken

Marinated Whole Chicken Recipe

Still confused about how to cook a marinated whole chicken? Try this whole chicken marinade recipe the next time you’re craving delicious chicken!


  • ½ tablespoon Paprika (sweet or smoked, depending upon preference)
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon Onion granules
  • ½ teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt to taste


Marinated Whole Roast Chicken


Combine the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Apply marinade

Apply the marinade to your chicken. When doing this, be sure to place the marinade on top of the skin, beneath the skin, and inside the cavity for extra flavor. 

Stuff your chicken

Stuff your whole chicken with onion, lemon, and garlic if you desire. 

Allow chicken to marinate

Allow your chicken to marinate in this mixture at least overnight or for up to 2 days. 


Once ready to cook, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit before cooking the chicken for 1.5 to 2 hours for 6 pounds of a whole chicken (or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rest and eat

Allow your chicken to rest at least 30 minutes before cutting the meat. Enjoy. 

Marinated Whole Chicken? Easy!

Marinating a whole chicken might sound like a difficult task, but once you get the hang of it, the payoff is well worth it! Marinades provide taste, moisture, and tenderness to your chicken that just can’t be beaten. Give it a go and see what you think!

Until next time!

More about chicken dishes:

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

1 comment

  1. hi Anna, what are your thoughts in roasting a whole chicken breast side down?

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