You’ll love the Mediterranean flavors of this Grilled Tahini Chicken! Tahini gives the chicken a nutty flavor and keeps it tender and juicy. Serve this grilled chicken with a side of lemon dill rice for an easy and delicious dinner!
Grilled chicken is on the menu around here at least twice a week during the summer. Anything from grilled chicken breasts, grilled chicken thighs, and I’m always in the mood for chicken skewers, especially these Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Skewers.
Grilling chicken always seems to give it extra flavor and so does a good marinade. This Grilled Tahini Chicken has an amazing marinade that not only gives the chicken tons of flavor, but also makes it extra tender and juicy.
Tahini, lemon juice, garlic, fresh dill, parsley, and dried spices are the key components in this chicken marinade. It’s Mediterranean in flavor and I can’t get enough of it.
Serve it with the lemon dill rice shown in the photos and this Cucumber Tomato Salad for the perfect summer dinner.
Why Use Tahini In A Marinade?
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is a staple used in many cuisines, especially Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Tahini helps to tenderize meat in marinades just as yogurt or oil does. It’s adds a nutty flavor to the chicken without being overwhelming. It also helps to create a nice char on the exterior of the chicken while it grills.
Ingredients For Grilled Tahini Chicken
Chicken Breasts or Thighs – Both boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs work well for this recipe. I used a combination of both.
Tahini – Use a good quality creamy, runny tahini. I highly recommend trying Soom tahini.
Lemon – The acidity for the marinade and the lemon dill rice. Add a bright, fresh, citrus flavor. Use a fresh lemon versus bottle lemon juice.
Olive Oil – Helps to tenderize the chicken while it marinates.
Dill and Flat Leaf Parsley – Fresh herbs add so much flavor to marinades. You can used dried, but the flavor won’t be quite the same. If using dry you’ll also want to use less.
Garlic – Depending on the size of your garlic cloves you’ll need 1-2 of them. I always grate garlic into marinades and vinaigrettes so that it melts in and you don’t bite into and chunks. A microplane zester works best for grating.
Cumin and Smoked Paprika – Adds an earthy and smoky flavor to the chicken.
How To Make Tahini Marinated Chicken
- In a glass measuring cup or bowl whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, parsley, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons of warm water. The water will thin out the marinade a little.
- Add the chicken to either the bowl that you made the marinade in or a plastic freezer bag. I generally prefer to use a freezer bag so that I can really massage the marinade well into the chicken. If you’re just adding it to a bowl make sure all pieces of the chicken are covered in it.
- Let the chicken marinate for at least an hour or up to 4 hours. I don’t like to marinate the chicken for a really long time to avoid changing the texture and having it become mushy.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat or about 400-425° F. Clean and oil the grill grates before adding the chicken to them. While the grill is heating make the lemon dill rice.
- Add the rice to a saucepan along with the water and salt. Stir in the dill and lemon zest and bring it to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower the heat, and let the rice cook for 15 minutes. Once it’s cooked, turn off the heat, add in lemon juice. Cover it again with the lid and let it steam for 10 minutes then fluff it with a fork.
- When the grill is ready place the chicken onto the grates. Let it cook for 4-6 minutes and then flip it over and continue to cook until the internal temperature is 165° F. Remove it from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes and then serve with the rice.
What To Serve With It
More Grilled Chicken Recipes
Did you make this Grilled Tahini Chicken? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination
Lemon Dill Rice (Optional)
- 1 cup white or brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups water (2 cups if using brown rice)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- In a glass measuring cup whisk together all of the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chicken to a freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal it, then massage the marinade into the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for 1-4 hours.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat or about 400-425° F. Clean and oil the grill grates before adding the chicken to them. While the grill is heating make the rice.
- Cook the rice according to package instructions with the addition of adding in the dill and lemon zest before bringing it to a boil. Once the rice has cooked, turn off the heat, and add in lemon juice. Cover it again with the lid and let it steam for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and taste for seasoning.
- When the grill has heated place the chicken onto the grates. Let it cook for 4-6 minutes and then flip it over and continue to cook until the internal temperature is 165° F. Remove it from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes and then serve with the rice. During the last few minutes of grilling place a halved lemon on the grill cut side down and let it cook until golden brown
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 45g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.