My sister Fiona’s phenomenal grilled green chicken may be the best thing you throw on the grill or in your oven! This zingy, herby green Whole30-friendly marinade is downright magical because it transforms chicken into the tastiest you’ve ever eaten.

A collage of the cooking steps to make the best paleo and Whole30-friendly grilled chicken, Fiona's Grilled Green Chicken.

The best chicken marinade!

I’ve heard your many requests for an awesomely Paleo-friendly marinade, so I went to my sister, the bestest chef I know, and begged her for a recipe. After lots and lots of pestering (I’m an expert whiner, a skill honed with years of practice), she relented and sent me a recipe for her go-to Thai-inspired, herb-y green marinade. This marinade is PHENOMENAL, and can be used on a wide variety of meats or as a tasty condiment. This recipe is idiot-proof, people.

My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken cooking on the grill.

Can you make it ahead of time?

Yes! Pro tip: Make a double batch. Cook ½ and freeze the other half. Check out this post to see how to do it!

Trust me: You need this recipe in your repertoire.

Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • Sweet onion: shallot also work!
  • Cilantro
  • Basil leaves
  • Mint leaves
  • Red Boat fish sauce
  • Garlic cloves
  • Limes
  • Black pepper
  • Aleppo pepper
  • Apple juice (or 1 teaspoon maple syrup if you’re not on a Whole30)
  •  Diamond Kosher salt

How to make Fiona’s Green Chicken

Gather the ingredients…

The fresh herbs and other ingredients used to make the Whole30 and paleo marinade for My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

…and make the marinade by adding the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime zest, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, and apple juice to a high powered blender.

Adding fish sauce and lime zest to a blender to make the marinade for Green Chicken
Ingredients for the Whole30 marinade for Green Chicken in a blender.

Purée until smooth.

Someone blending the ingredients for the marinade for Green Chicken.

Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. This is a marinade, so feel free to be a bit more heavy-handed with the salt than you normally would if using this as a sauce.

Toss the chicken into a gallon-sized food-safe zipper bag…

Raw chicken pieces in a Ziplock storage bag.

…and pour the marinade over it.

Adding the Whole30 marinade to the raw chicken in the Ziplock storage bag to make My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken
An overhead shot of the green paleo marinade on the raw chicken in a Ziplock bag to make Green Chicken.

Rub the chicken through the bag to make sure the marinade is well distributed.

An overhead shot of the green gluten-free chicken marinade distributed evenly over the raw chicken in the ziplock bag.

Seal the bag and marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge for at least one hour and up to one day. About an hour before you’re ready to grill, take the chicken out of the fridge.

(No grill? No problem—you can roast the chicken in the oven by roasting on a wire rack for 35-45 minutes at 400°F. If you’re using thighs instead of drumsticks, start with the chicken skin-side down, and flip it skin-side up at the 20 minute mark.)

A side-by-side shot that shows My Sister’s Green Chicken uncooked on the left and roasted on the right.

UPDATED June 2, 2015: Check it out—VICE Munchies came to my house and shot a video of me making this Green Chicken in the oven! See? You totally don’t need a grill!

Whenever I can, though, I try to grill my Green Chicken. Set the grill to high, and place the chicken on the grates. Then, immediately decrease the heat to low.

My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken placed on the grill to cook.

Grill the chicken for approximately 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F), turning every 5-7 minutes.

My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken cooked on the grill.

But be patient: Don’t go and flip the bird (legs, that is) before they naturally release from the grill surface—otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of tasty, crispy, marinated skin stuck on the grates! You want your chicken to be pretty, right?

A closeup shot of My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken on the grill.

Serve the chicken with lime wedges.

By the way, you can always make Green Chicken ahead of time, and freeze the drumsticks by following these directions. Also, the marinade is great on EVERYTHING. Fiona’s Phenomenal Fish Packets are just one example!


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

My Sister’s Phenomenal Grilled Green Chicken

4.87 from 29 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
This zingy, herby green Paleo marinade is downright magical because it transforms chicken into the best dang dish you’ve ever eaten.

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 medium sweet onion peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems
  • cups packed basil leaves
  • ¼ cup packed mint leaves
  • ¼ cup  Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • zest from 1 lime
  • plenty ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice or 1 teaspoon maple syrup if you’re not on a Whole30
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • 3 limes optional
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Instructions 

  • Gather the ingredients, and make the marinade by adding the onion, cilantro, basil, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime zest, black pepper, Aleppo pepper, and apple juice to a high powered blender.
  • Purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. This is a marinade, so feel free to be a bit more heavy-handed with the salt than you normally would if using this as a sauce.
  • Place the chicken in a gallon-sized food-safe zipper bag, and pour the marinade over it. Rub the chicken through the bag to make sure the marinade is well distributed. Seal the bag and marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge for at least one hour and up to one day. About an hour before you’re ready to grill, take the chicken out of the fridge.
  • No grill? No problem—you can roast the chicken in the oven by roasting on a wire rack for 35-45 minutes at 400°F. If you’re using thighs instead of drumsticks, start with the chicken skin-side down, and flip it skin-side up at the 20 minute mark.
  • Personally, I prefer making Green Chicken on the grill. Set the grill to high, and place the chicken on the grates. Then, immediately decrease the heat to low.
  • Grill the chicken for approximately 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F), turning every 5-7 minutes. Be patient: Don’t go and flip the bird (legs, that is) before they naturally release from the grill surface—otherwise, you’ll leave a lot of tasty, crispy, marinated skin stuck on the grates!
  • Serve the chicken with lime wedges. 

Video

Notes

This marinade is super versatile! use it on all your favorite proteins!

Nutrition

Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 22g | Fiber: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

 

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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25 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Is there a substitution for apple juice? Can I use the limes juice? Or honey instead?

    I made this once as directed and it was yummy but I don’t want to have to buy apple juice each time just for this recipe – would rather save the money and use something on hand!

    1. I buy a pack of mini 100% apple juice drink boxes to use as needed. You won’t need the whole box for a single recipe, but it is a lot less waste. Look for the farthest out expiration date so it is shelf stable for as long as possible.

  2. 5 stars
    This sounds delicious! I’d love to try it – but is there a way to make it without the cilantro? I cannot eat cilantro – it tastes like soap to me.