Marinate Chicken in White Wine For a Tantalizing Meal

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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When marinating chicken, the cuts are what matter. Slices of chicken breast will absorb any juices, sauces, and a good dry rub, or wet sauce for that matter, on some wings are always a treat.  

Mixtures with oil, an acid, with seasoning seem to yield tastier, juicier, and tenderer chicken because the acids help break down the dense proteins, tenderizing the meat in the process. The oils help the meat stay juicy even through cooking. 

Meat being grilled - Marinate Chicken in White Winel.

How do you marinate chicken with white wine?

There are a plethora of white wine marinade recipes. A good wine marinade mix will include wine (obviously), herbs, spices, oils, and seasonings. 

When making your marinade, it is important to have a nice level of acidity, fatty oils like butter or olive oil, spices like cumin, coriander, or paprika, and lastly, employ the use of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage. 

Provided is a recipe from Bobby Flay:

“Whisk vinegar (white wine), soy sauce, olive oil, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper together in a bowl and pour into a resealable plastic bag. 

Add chicken, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours.”


What does white wine do in a marinade?

White wines, especially those labeled with high acidic levels, are good for tenderizing the chicken. However, try and avoid sugary vintages, for they will overwhelm the flavor of the chicken. Many experts say the go-to in this situation would be a dry wine, like a Pinot Noir. 


For how long should you marinate chicken in white wine?

Time management is key during events like Thanksgiving or other holidays, but consider how much of the bird you are cooking. 

With chicken, there are multitudes of different cuts. Four hours for simpler skinned cuts will do the trick. However, this will not suffice with an entire bird that may require at least twelve hours. 

Skinless chicken breast requires less time, such as thirty minutes. Using a fork to “tenderize” or poke holes in the meat will allow the marinade to enter the breast. A full two hours will give ample time for the cuts to absorb the seasonings. 

Here is a quick list of different parts of the bird and the marinating times required:


  • Whole bird – four hours, at max twelve hours. 
  • Skinless, boneless chicken breasts – thirty minutes to four hours.
  • Skin-on, bone-in breast – One to two hours.  
  • Chicken quarters, drumsticks, bone-in-wings, wing – one to six hours


Which white wines are great for the chicken marinade?

When selecting a wine to cook with, think “drier is better” and “Tenderer chicken with higher acidity.” A list of known white wines that pair well with chicken meat is provided. 


  • Pinot Grigio
  • Oaked Chardonnay
  • Viognier
  • Champagne


White wines you should avoid when marinating chicken?

As mentioned earlier, sugary wines will overwhelm the flavor of the chicken. The drier vintages will pair better but do not go for the sweet labels. Here are three wines to avoid when preparing a marinade for a chicken dinner: Riesling, Moscato d’Asti, and Sauternes. 

Final Thoughts on Marinating Chicken with White Wine

When marinating chicken is of the utmost importance that extra sugars are avoided, and a drier, lighter-bodied vintage is chosen. Think about the cuts of meat you are preparing. Make sure to have ample time to marinate correctly. 

Lastly, the wine selection process should be fun. Wine is fun, especially when drank in moderation.