How To Grill Juicy Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Wondering how to get juicy, grilled chicken breast every time? It's all in the brine! A quick 30-minute brine makes the difference between dry chicken and perfect chicken.

Overhead view of grilled and brined chicken on a plate.

Simply Recipes / Eliezer Martinez

When it comes to grilling, chicken breasts can be problematic, especially boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The meat itself is lean, and without the bones to insulate it or skin to protect it, that naked chicken breast on the grill has a tendency to easily overcook and dry out.

So, what to do?

Grilled Chicken Breast: The Solution (Brine!)

One method is to marinate chicken cutlets, or chicken breasts pounded to an even thickness, and quickly grill them on high heat. We use this method for our cilantro lime chicken and it works fine.

Another way, which doesn't require you to change the shape of the chicken breasts, is to brine the chicken first.


How to Grill Chicken Breasts

How Long To Brine Chicken Breasts

All it takes is 30 minutes in a simple brine solution of 1/4 cup kosher salt dissolved in 4 cups water. This is all the time you need for the chicken breasts to absorb enough moisture so they can better hold up to the heat of the grill without drying out.

With a half an hour of brining, the salt that is absorbed isn't so much that the chicken becomes salty, but it is enough so that the flavor of the grilled chicken will be enhanced. We would normally salt grilled chicken breasts, right? You don't need to do that if you brine.

Overhead view of grilled and brined chicken on a plate.

Simply Recipes / Eliezer Martinez

How To Grill Chicken Breasts

Then it's a simple rub with paprika (great for color) and olive oil (no sticking on the grill). Onto the hot side of the grill the chicken goes for searing, then the cool side for finishing. And you have beautiful, perfectly juicy grilled chicken breasts!

Love Grilled Chicken? Try These Recipes!

Grilled chicken breast sliced on a plate and two whole breasts behind it on another plate.

Simply Recipes / Eliezer Martinez

How To Grill Juicy Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Prep Time 10 mins
Brining 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 servings

The grilling time depends on the temperature of your grill and the thickness of the chicken breasts. The temperature of a charcoal grill is difficult to regulate, and not all gas grills have a temperature gauge.

It's always a good idea to use a meat thermometer when cooking meat that's at least an inch thick. I take chicken off the grill at a little bit lower temp (155°F) than is usually recommended for poultry, but that's because the chicken will continue to cook for several minutes once it's off the heat and resting. Taking the chicken off the heat at this temperature helps insure that the meat doesn't overcook and get dried out. If you feel more comfortable taking the chicken off the heat at a higher internal temperature, please feel free to do so.


For the brine

  • 4 cups cool water

  • 33 grams salt (1/4 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt, or 2 tablespoons Morton kosher salt, or 1 1/2 tablespoons fine sea salt)

For the chicken

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for the grill)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika


  1. Brine the chicken breast:

    In a large bowl, whisk the salt in the water to dissolve. Add the chicken breasts to the brine. Put in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

    Chicken breasts brining in a glass bowl to show how to cook chicken breast.
    Eliezer Martinez
  2. Prepare your grill:

    Arrange your grill so that one side is for high direct heat, and the other side is cooler. Alternatively, you can use a grill pan set over medium-high heat.

  3. Coat the chicken with oil and paprika:

    Remove chicken breasts from brine and pat dry. Coat with olive oil, and sprinkle evenly with paprika.

    Chicken breasts being brushed with oil on a cutting board to show how to cook chicken breast.
    Eliezer Martinez
  4. Grill the chicken breasts:

    Brush some olive oil on the grill grates. Place chicken breasts on the hot side of the grill (or on the grill pan). Let the chicken grill, undisturbed, until the pieces start getting some grill marks (you can lift up one to check).

    When the chicken pieces have browned on one side, turn them over, and move them to the cooler side of the grill (low heat, not no heat). Cover, and let them finish cooking.

    Remove chicken from grill when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 155°F.

    Three chicken breasts on a grill to show how long to grill chicken.
    Eliezer Martinez
    Chicken on the grill to show how long to grill chicken breast.
    Eliezer Martinez
  5. Rest the chicken breasts, then serve:

    Cover the breasts with foil. The chicken will continue to cook in its residual heat while it rests. Let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

    Grilled chicken breast on a baking sheet and covered in foil.
    Eliezer Martinez
    Grilled chicken breast on resting on each other on a cutting board.
    Eliezer Martinez
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
373 Calories
16g Fat
0g Carbs
53g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 373
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 145mg 48%
Sodium 451mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 53g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 455mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.