Sweet Tea Brined Chicken
This incredibly flavorful chicken is marinated in sweet tea and takes mere minutes to prep.

Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 cups (or one 16-ounce bottle) sweet tea*
  • 2 medium sweet onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 sprigs (each 6-8 inches long) rosemary
  • 2 level tablespoons kosher salt**
  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves***


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large zip-top bag and carefully move the bag around to evenly distribute everything. (I gently squeeze just the end pieces of the lemons into the bag but leave the other slices in tact rather than actually juicing the lemons.) If possible, marinate overnight.
  2. When ready to eat, allow the chicken to sit at room temperature as the grill is preheating. Drain and discard the marinade (or do like my husband likes to do and drizzle some of the marinade over the chicken as it cooks—just don’t consume it uncooked), and then grill the chicken over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Total cooking time will vary based on size of chicken breast. (We like to grill the onion and lemon slices, too.) Remove to a platter and allow the chicken to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


  • *You could make your own sweet tea, but purchased is fine. I have used several different brands. The key is that it’s called “sweet tea” and it’s not artificially flavored. Keep in mind that most of the sugar in the tea will be discarded with the marinade. Also, some sweet teas include lemon. I have not used them, relying instead on the addition of fresh lemons, which are nice when grilled and served alongside the cooked chicken.
  • **Kosher salt is coarser than regular table salt and recommended for brining. If you only have table salt and wish to use that, I recommend using 1 1/2 tablespoons the first time you make this recipe.
  • *** The original recipe calls for 3 to 4 bone-in breasts that are baked at 400 degrees F for 35 minutes, give or take a few minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. We have enjoyed grilling boneless breasts, and I have found that the marinade will sufficiently cover 6 of them. With the higher number, however, it is helpful to have an extra large (2-gallon) zip-top bag in which to marinate everything.

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