Can You Over Marinate Chicken? What You Need to Know

Can you over-marinate chicken? Yes, you can over-marinate chicken if left in for too long. If your marinade includes lemon, vinegar, or yogurt, you shouldn’t leave your chicken in it longer than 24 hours as this will only leave your chicken soft and mushy.

Marinating is the process of soaking your foods in a seasoned liquid to tenderize them before cooking. There are two types of ways you can make a marinade. The purpose of marinating chicken is to add flavor to it however you need to make sure you don’t overdo it.

Chicken is one of the easiest meat you can get wrong on the barbecue hence you need to first get marinating it right. A good marinade is meant to add moisture to your chicken thereby making grilling it even better.

Everyone has their specific way of marinating chicken. When you are working with raw chicken, food safety is another paramount part of marinating to consider. So, before marinating your chicken for too long, you need to learn if you can over-marinate it.

Can You Over Marinate Chicken?

You can over-marinate chicken if left in the acid marinade for more than 24 hours.

Marinating chicken is not as complex as t sounds however you have to be careful not to over marinate it. For food safety reasons too, you should avoid letting chicken over marinate.

6 hours is enough for time or marinating chicken however you can go longer for tough cuts nothing more than 24 hours. If you are marinating raw chicken, some of the bacteria from it will get into your marinade, so the leftover marinade should be discarded.

So, generally, you can over marinate your chicken especially if you are using a marinade that contains lemon juice or vinegar. These ingredients break down the muscle fiber of your chicken quickly leading to soft mushy chicken if left in for too long.

Marinating chicken and beef together
Image: @Mehaniq via Twenty20

Can you marinate chicken too long?

If you are using acidic marinade on chicken, you shouldn’t marinate it for too long however leaving it in the non-acidic marinade for too long is not advised either. Enzymatic marinades that make use of figs, papaya, guava, ginger, or pineapple are great for marinating chicken but you shouldn’t leave your chicken soaking in it longer than 5-6 hours either.

Is it OK to marinate chicken for 3 days?

For food safety reasons, do not marinate chicken for 3 days. The longer chicken can be marinated is 2 hours and it has to be in the fridge during this process. Dangerous amounts of bacteria can grow on your chicken if you marinate it for longer than 2 days and you can get sick from eating it.

Is it OK to marinate chicken for 24 hours?

24 hours is the perfect time recommended for marinating your chicken. Chicken marinated for 1 hour already tastes great, but marinades never really go deep into a chicken, it might stay on the surface hence you can let it stay for 24 hours for perfect flavor but nothing more than this.

Is it safe to eat chicken that has been marinating for 2 days?

You can safely eat chicken that has been marinating for 2 days provided it has been in the refrigerator. However, chicken marinating for 2 days might end up with an undesirable taste or texture.

Generally, two hours or less is enough to marinate your chicken but if you plan to marinate your chicken for up to 2 days, it is best done in the fridge but keep in mind that marinating for too long can result in poor dry texture and flavor.

Wrapping Up

Marinating makes a lot of difference in your chicken but marinating for too long will only ruin the flavor you are going for. In addition, you should freeze marinated chicken if you are not ready to cook it. Food safety is another paramount factor to consider when marinating. Always marinate in the refrigerator and not the counter.