Mediterranean Chicken Recipe

April 13, 2019

Perfect for any meal this Mediterranean Chicken is flavored with lemon, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and oregano. Whether you make it in your Instant Pot, oven or stove-top, it comes out delicious and juicy every single time and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Easy Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

This is one of my go-to marinades that flavors the chicken in very little time. Whenever I have time, I prefer to refrigerate it for 10 minutes. That adds more flavor and keep the chicken moist and juicy after cooking.

I put this marinade together with mostly pantry ingredients. In a mixing bowl or a large ziplock bag, I combine, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, ground cumin, cinnamon, garlic, chili flakes, oregano and paprika. This marinade can be used for assorted vegetables, lamb, fish and even Shrimp.

Adding chicken to a ziplock with Mediterranean spice mix
Adding chicken to a ziplock with Mediterranean spice mix

Versatile Recipe for Meal Prep Sundays

This recipe is part of my meal prep repertoire over the weekends.  I usually make a double batch on Sundays and use it for multiple meals through the week.

Some favorite meals that I use this chicken for are Greek Salad, Chicken wrap or Chicken Sandwiches for the kids.  It works great as a Pizza topping too.  It makes for a real satisfying dinner when I pair it with Saffron rice or Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad.

Grilled mediterranean chicken plated with mixed olives

How to Score Chicken Breast for Marination

If you are marinating chicken breast in this recipe, scoring it helps the chicken absorb the marinade flavors and stay moist and juicy for longer. Here is how to score chicken:

Using a sharp knife, make shallow parallel cuts in one direction, about 1/4 inch deep and 1/2-inch apart.

Making parallel cuts in chicken breast using a sharp knife
Making parallel cuts in chicken breast using a sharp knife

How to Make Mediterranean Chicken in an Instant Pot

I prefer to use the pot-in-pot method to cook the marinated chicken in the Instant Pot. By doing that the marinade gets absorbed in the chicken really well. If I were to place it directly in the broth, those flavors would get diluted.

Step 1: Marinade chicken by combining all the spices, lemon juice and olive oil in a large ziplock bag (or mixing bowl). Add chicken, close the bag and toss it well. Depending on time, refrigerate it for 10 minutes.

Chicken marinating in mediterranean spices in a large ziplock bag
Chicken marinating in Mediterranean spices in a large ziplock bag

Step 2: Add water to the cooking pot. Water quantity depends on the size of cooker you have, 3/4 cup for a 3QT, 1 cup for 6QT, 2 cups for 8QT.

Adding water to the Instant Pot
Adding water to the Instant Pot

Step 3: Place the trivet in the pot. I like using trivets with handles, it comes in handy when pulling it out after cooking. I recently got a silicone trivet that looks great for this.

Placing a trivet or any stand in the Instant Pot
Trivet placed in the cooking pot

Step 4: Using tongs, place the chicken pieces on the trivet. Don’t over crowd the trivet. If you have too many pieces, you can stack another trivet on top of the other one and place the additional chicken on that.

Marinated Chicken breast placed on a trivet in the Instant Pot
Marinated Chicken breast placed on a trivet in the Instant Pot

Step 5: Close lid, set vent to sealing position in DUO models and set the pressure cooking time. I use manual or pressure cook mode (high pressure), 6 minutes for chicken thighs and 8 minutes for chicken breast.

Pressure cooking in Instant Pot
Pressure cook 6 mins (8 mins for breast)

Step 6: After cooking, let the pressure release naturally (NPR), else wait 10 minutes after cooking time, and then release pressure manually (QR). In DUO models, turn the valve to ‘Venting’ position, and in ULTRA, press down the pressure valve. Once the pin drops, open the lid away from you to avoid the hot steam that releases.

Releasing the pressure manually by pushing down the pressure valve
Let pressure release naturally, or wait 10 mins and do a quick release

Step 7: Remove the chicken and rest it for 10 minutes before slicing it. If you want to store it, wait for it to cool down for another 10-15 minutes. If you want to slice it, follow the steps below:

How to Slice Chicken

Here’s an easy technique that shows you how to slice chicken at an angle, also referred to as against the grain. Against the grain just means in the opposite direction of the muscle tissue.

That results in clean-cut and juicy slices of chicken, that not only looks pretty, but is also easier to use in sandwiches or plate for dinner. You can use this method for slicing chicken breast as well as thighs. Here’s how:

  • Use tongs to hold the chicken still on a cutting board. Hold a sharp knife at a 45 degrees angle over the chicken.
  • Start cutting the chicken from the pointed edge to the rounded (thicker) edge.
  • Slice the chicken from top to bottom using long knife strokes.
  • Cut the chicken as thin or as thick you like. I make 1/4 inch slices for sandwiches, and 1/2 inch slices for serving it for dinner or salad.
Pictures showing How to Slice Chicken Against the grain
How to slice chicken against the grain

Pro-Tips for the Perfect Chicken

  • When using chicken breast, score the chicken lightly so the marinade can penetrate and flavor the chicken evenly.
  • If using chicken thighs, trim off the excess fat, that allows for an even crisp exterior.
  • If you have the time, let the chicken marinade for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator. The chicken come out more moist and juicy this way.
  • This chicken can be cooked in multiple ways: on an outdoor grill, oven broiler, oven-baked, pan-grilled and even steam-cooked in an Instant Pot using the pot-in-pot method.
  • Mediterranean chicken is an excellent way to enjoy a low-carb meal by pairing it with a greek salad.
  • For meal-prep, let the chicken cool down completely before slicing it. Store it in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 4-5 days.
Mediterranean rubbed chicken served with assorted olives

Serving Suggestions for Mediterranean Chicken

Besides Pita, Sandwiches and Salads, this Mediterranean Chicken pairs well with the following:

Grilled mediterranean chicken plated with mixed olives

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Mediterranean rubbed chicken served with assorted olives

Mediterranean Chicken Recipe

Perfect for any meal this Mediterranean Chicken is flavored with lemon, paprika, cumin, cinnamon and oregano. Whether you make it in your Instant Pot, oven or stove-top, it comes out delicious and juicy every single time and can be used in a variety of dishes.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Marinate: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 176kcal
Author: Aneesha

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs (Fat trimmed)

Spice Rub

For Cooking in Instant Pot

  • 1 cup water

Instructions

Prep

  • If using Chicken Breast:  Score the chicken using a knife so that the spice rub gets absorbed.  If using Chicken thighs, trim off the extra fat and cut into half width-wise.
  • In a gallon size ziplock bag (for easy clean-up) or a bowl, add all ingredients listed under “Spice Rub” and mix well.  Add chicken pieces. Seal the ziplock bag. Mix well to get chicken coated with the rub.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes if you have the time (optional).

Oven recipe

  • Chicken Breast:  Place the chicken breast on a lined baking sheet. Turn on the oven on BROIL mode. Broil chicken for 8 minutes on the first side. Chicken should be golden brown by now. If not, broil it for another 2 minutes. Flip the chicken and broil for 6 minutes on the other side.  Cooking time may differ based on the thickness of the chicken, so adjust accordingly.  Rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Chicken Thighs:  Place the chicken thighs on a lined baking sheet. Turn on the oven on BROIL mode. Broil chicken for 6 minutes on the first side. Chicken should be golden brown by now. If not, broil it for another 2 minutes. Flip the chicken and broil for 5-6 minutes on the other side depending on the thickness.  Rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Instant Pot recipe

  • Turn ON the Instant Pot. Pour 1 cup water in the inner pot. Place the trivet in. Place the chicken breast on top. Close the lid. Cook on Manual or Pressure Cook (high-pressure) for 8 minutes for Chicken Breast, or, 6 minutes for thighs. Release the pressure naturally (NPR), or QR after 10 minutes.  Rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Stove top recipe

  • Heat a skillet on medium-high for 30 seconds-1 minute. Place the chicken breast and cook for 7-8 minutes on the first side. Flip and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for another 5-6 minutes. Cooking time may differ based on the thickness of the chicken breast, so adjust cooking time accordingly. Rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Notes

  • When using chicken breast, score the chicken lightly so the marinade can penetrate and flavor the chicken evenly.
  • If using chicken thighs, trim off the excess fat, that allows for an even crisp exterior
  • If you have the time, let the chicken marinade for 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator. The chicken come out more moist and juicy this way.
  • This chicken can be cooked in multiple ways: on an outdoor grill, oven broiler, oven-baked, pan-grilled and even steam-cooked in an Instant Pot using the pot-in-pot method.
  • Mediterranean chicken is an excellent way to enjoy a low-carb meal by pairing it with a greek salad.
  • For meal-prep, let the chicken cool down completely before slicing it. Store it in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 4-5 days.
If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and for the chicken only, they do not include sides.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 527mg | Potassium: 439mg | Vitamin A: 5.9% | Vitamin C: 2.8% | Calcium: 1.4% | Iron: 5.1%
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: greek chicken recipe, mediterranean chicken marinade, Mediterranean chicken recipe
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

This recipe was originally posted in 2017, but was updated in April of 2019 with new photos, helpful information, tips, and step-by-step photos.

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