How Can You Marinate Already Cooked Chicken

How can you marinate already cooked chicken? Is that possible? This is a fairly prevalent question asked by those who are unhappy with how their chicken turned out after it had been cooked and want to do something about it rather than throwing it in the bin.

Marinating chicken is a superb way to add moisture and flavor to the meat. It doesn’t matter if you have purchased cheap chicken cuts; as long as you use the correct spices, your chicken will end up tasting amazing.


Can You Marinate Cooked Chicken

You might have made some chicken wings that turned out to be disappointing. Maybe you messed up the recipe, or the online trend that you saw on TikTok did not quite work. Whatever the reason behind wanting you to make amends is, we are happy to let you know that you can definitely marinate already cooked chicken.

Poultry is a versatile dish that can be prepared in countless ways. However, before making your meat, you must keep a couple of things in mind and prepare it accordingly.

Marination is when food is covered and soaked in a mixture of different spices and other liquids like oil or wine. It is the most crucial process to ensure that the meat retains texture, flavor, and moisture. Moreover, marination tenderizes the meat and keeps bacteria away. Usually, bacteria start to grow on food, making it go bad quickly. However, marination ensures that this process is delayed.

You can marinate chicken before cooking it or after it has been cooked. However, many people are not aware of dipping already cooked chicken in marination sauce.

The truth is that already cooked chicken can be marinated easily, but you need to remember that ingredients like honey, red wine, or soy sauce must be added to the marinade so that the cooked chicken will not lose its moisture.

Did you know that marinating already cooked chicken is a common practice in several cuisines worldwide? We aren’t joking- Indian, Thai, and many other Asian cuisines swear by this practice.


Why Would One Marinated Already Cooked Chicken?

The idea might sound absurd for someone who has never marinated already cooked chicken. However, people usually do this to chicken and other kinds of meat because this method helps infuse the meat with triple the flavor while simultaneously making it more tender.

Marination is a great way to ensure that the meat is juicy as the acid in lemon juice and vinegar helps break down the connective tissues in the meat, making it moist and supple.

Cook your favorite chicken dish and marinate it, and trust us, you will have the time of your life enjoying a flavorful and moist meal that your guests will also fall in love with.


How to Marinate Already Cooked Chicken?

Now that we know that it is possible to marinate already cooked chicken, there are certain guidelines you will need to adhere to to ensure the result is as impressive as you had hoped it would be.

The prime thing to be mindful of is that the process of marinating uncooked chicken and cooked chicken is different. This is because the marinade would require different ingredients, depending on the state of your meat.

Uncooked chicken must be soaked in a highly acidic liquid, such as lime juice. On the other hand, cooked chicken can use other flavors to tenderize it and add more flavor, such as honey, barbecue sauce, and red wine.

Another thing to remember is that the longer you marinate cooked chicken, the heightened the flavor will be because the liquids will have more time to be absorbed by the meat.

Moreover, when you cook chicken, sodium gets lost in the process. Hence, when marinating already cooked chicken, you will have to add more salt to your marinade.

Here are all the steps needed to marinade already cooked chicken:


Step 1: Prepare the Chicken

The first step is to take the chicken out of the fridge. Before you cook it, the chicken must be thawed. Thawing the chicken is essential as it ensures easy cooking and eliminates the bacteria that could have formed on the meat while it was freezing.

Then, you will preheat a gas grill, so the fire is moderately hot. Wait till you get the perfect temperature and start seasoning your chicken. Use salt and pepper to do this before you cook it on the gas grill.


Step 2: Start Making the Marinade

Once you’ve cooked the chicken, start prepping the marinade. There are many options for making the marinade, depending on the taste you want the chicken to have. The most common ingredients used as soy sauce and ginger or honey mustard.


Soy Sauce and Ginger

If you want your chicken to taste unique, ginger and soy sauce are the two ingredients you need to use. Start by mixing the soy sauce with some brown sugar and throw some crushed ginger into the mix.

You can switch ginger with another kind of spice you like or even garlic powder.


Honey Mustard

Start by whisking some honey and mustard. You can use any kind of mustard to make this marinade. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the mix for a boost of flavor. Mix all the ingredients, and once ready, set this mixture aside.


Step 3: Dip the Chicken

Once the marinade is ready and set aside, pour it into a big bowl that will fit your entire chicken. Take the chicken and put it in the mixture carefully, making sure not to spill anything. You can use a spoon to cover all sides of the chicken and get the marinade in every crevice you can find.

Use plastic wrap to cover the bowl once done and let it rest in the fridge throughout the night. Remove the chicken from the mixture and bake it as you would the following morning. You can also cook the chicken in a saucepan if that is a method you would prefer.

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Quick Tips to Remember

  • To prevent the chicken from drying while cooking it, save some marinade and pour a few tablespoons on top of the meat while it cooks.
  • If you want a more intense flavor, add more seasoning. However, remember to keep your salt and pepper in check, as these two can easily ruin a perfectly good dish.
  • Don’t leave the marination on the chicken for too long. Over time, the seasonings and spices can cause the fibers in the meat to break down, making it soft and mushy.
  • Put your marinated chicken in an airtight container, so it does not attract bacteria in the fridge.
  • Do not use the same plate used to marinate the chicken again. Instead, put it in the wash.


How to Make Frozen Cooked Chicken Taste Good?

If you are not satisfied with the taste of the frozen cooked chicken in your fridge, don’t worry- you will not have to toss the entire chicken out. Instead, here are some ways you can fix it:

  • Get rid of any burnt freezer pieces on the chicken.
  • Marinate the meat using your favorite ingredients or those mentioned above.
  • Shred the chicken using a fork or use a grinder for easy shredding.
  • Put it in some sauce- barbeque sauce tastes fantastic.
  • Use the chicken to make some soup or broth.
  • Make some delicious stew/curry.
  • Send the chicken back if you have purchased it from a grocery store near your house.


Should the Marinade be Thrown Away?

Many recipes you find online may instruct you to get rid of the marinade after it has done its job of marinating the food it was meant for. However, we recommend that you reserve a couple of spoons of the marinade before you add your chicken to it or make an extra batch so it can be used later.

As mentioned before, you will need some marinade when you are cooking your chicken to ensure that it does not become dry. Moreover, the marinade can be used as a glaze if you want to consume your chicken with some rice or use it in a salad- the options are endless, and you should never let a good marinade go to waste.


What is the Best Temperature to Marinate Chicken?

Chicken should never be marinated at room temperature or kept outdoors (1). Instead, always store marinated chicken in the refrigerator. If raw meat is not kept in the fridge, it will attract bacteria that will multiply within minutes.

You might find some older recipes recommending readers to use room temperature marinade but keep in mind that this will put your chicken in a danger zone, so it is better to be careful.


What is the Ideal Time for Already Cooked Chicken to be Marinated?

If you want your chicken to have the best texture and flavor, you should recommend it for anywhere between 5 hours to overnight. However, if you do not have that much time, you can marinate it for 10 minutes so the chicken can absorb that flavor.



Knowing that you can marinade already cooked chicken is a life hack that everyone should know. It ensures that your finished product is flavorful, tender, and of course, absolutely unique.

Once you understand how to marinate cooked chicken, you can experiment with your own flavors and marinating recipes that will help you fix a wonderful dish that will make your family fall in love with your cooking.

Remember to use red wine, lemon juice, or vinegar so that the flavors can soak into the already cooked chicken and ensure that you are left with some moist chicken that you can use any way you want!