Grilled Chicken with Yogurt Garlic Marinade

A dip in a garlicky yogurt marinade keeps these grilled chicken breasts moist and flavorful. A dose of cumin, paprika, and pepper make this grilled marinated chicken a keeper.

Moroccan Spiced Grilled Chicken
Elise Bauer

I’ve recently been cooking my way through some of the older recipes on Simply Recipes and came across this gem—Moroccan spiced grilled chicken breasts. It’s a winner!

Boneless skinless chicken breasts are marinated in yogurt mixed with a Moroccan-style spice mix of cumin, paprika, and cinnamon, and then simply grilled.

The yogurt helps tenderize the breasts and the marinade brings life to otherwise boring boneless skinless chicken.

What I love about this recipe is that with just the barest of preparation, you can have a delicious meal within minutes. The yogurt-based marinade is only mildly acidic, so you can leave the chicken in the marinade all day, while it gently tenderizes the meat while infusing it with the spices.

Just put the chicken in the marinade before leaving for work in the morning, come home, heat the grill, chicken is done in less than 10 minutes. Simple. Easy!

The recipe is one we adapted from a recipe in the Sacramento Bee years ago. To the original recipe we've added lemon juice to the yogurt and cinnamon to the spice blend.

Grilled Chicken with Yogurt Garlic Marinade

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinating 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts


  1. Marinate the chicken:

    Mix the marinade ingredients (yogurt, lemon juice, cilantro, olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper) together in a medium sized bowl.

    Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and thoroughly coat with the marinade.

    Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator from 2 hours to overnight.

  2. Grill the chicken:

    Heat your grill on high heat if you are using a gas grill, or prepare coals for direct heat if you are using charcoal. Allow for one side of the grill to be the "cool" side. If you do not have a grill you can use a cast-iron grill pan on your stove.

    Grill the chicken breasts over direct high heat a couple of minutes on one side. Then turn them over and move them to the cool side of the grill. Cover and cook for a few minutes more, until the chicken is cooked through.

    (The easiest way to test for doneness is with your fingertips. See The Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat. Or use a meat thermometer, remove the meat from the grill when the internal temperature of the chicken breast reaches 165°F.)

    Take care not to overcook, as chicken breasts can easily dry out.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
338 Calories
10g Fat
4g Carbs
55g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 338
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 146mg 49%
Sodium 414mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 554mg 12%
*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.