Delicious Italian Keto Chicken Marinade
If you’re planning to roast or grill some chicken breasts, this Italian keto chicken marinade is perfect to add some extra flavor – while still keeping the carbs in check! Just toss your chicken breast in this for a few hours in the fridge, and you’ll love all the flavor it imparts.
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Ingredients for this recipe
You’ve probably already got the ingredients you’ll need on hand to make this. Here’s what to gather up from your kitchen:
- Olive oil
- Dried rosemary
- Dried thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Optional but not shown: garlic
That’s it! You’ll whisk together your ingredients then pour them over your chicken in a zip loc bag or bowl. We usually use this marinade with about 1 ½ pounds of raw chicken breast.
Marinades are interesting to try to calculate nutrition facts on. While it’s easy to simply add up all the ingredients, it ignores the fact that you don’t actually eat the entire amount. In fact, a chef friend of ours said that most animal proteins usually retain about 10% of the total marinade.
We’ve calculated it at 20% to leave a little margin of error, just in case, and we’re assuming you’re using 1 ½ pounds of chicken breast to give you four servings of chicken. Raw chicken to cooked chicken is about a 25% weight change, so each serving of cooked chicken would be about 4.5 ounces.
Phew – now that all those assumptions are made, we can figure out that each serving of chicken with marinade contains 225 calories and less than half a gram of net carbs. The specific breakdown is:
- 30% fat
- <1% carbs
- 68% protein
Now you might be a little nervous, because that seems like a lot of protein in comparison to fat. Naturally, a leaner piece of meat like chicken is going to be more protein heavy. BUT this is where you can add in a nice fatty side dish to have a more well-balanced meal that gets your fat macros up a bit!
High fat side dishes to go with this meal:
To achieve your best keto macros for this meal, add in a high fat side dish (or structure your other meals in the day to be concentrated in fat). Here are some ideas that combine nutrient-rich veggies with high fat accompaniments:
- Steamed or roasted broccoli topped with lots of our keto queso
- Cheesy zucchini gratin
- Bacon-wrapped green beans (Just wrap bunches of 4-5 (raw) green beans with a piece of bacon, and bake in the oven at 375 for 30-40 minutes until the green beans are tender and the bacon is cooked through. I know people like to blanch the green beans ahead of time but I swear by this easier method, as the green beans cook in the bacon fat!)
- Smashed cauliflower made with cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives
- Keto creamed spinach
How to make other delicious marinades
While I’ve got the great Italian combination for you here, I thought it might be helpful to share some info about just creating your own marinades in general. That way, if you want to whip up different combinations on your own, you know how!
My wife taught me that the key to any good marinade is generally a combination of four elements:
1) Fat: We veer towards extra virgin olive oil for much of our cooking, but avocado oil is also an excellent choice here.
2) Acid: Lemon juice, lime juice, or any type of vinegar can be used to add the acidic component, which is thought to help tenderize the meat and add a balance of flavor. Sometimes, acidic dairy products like sour cream or buttermilk are used.
3) Flavor: Get creative here! Herbs and spices are clearly a go-to option, from the Italian seasonings like rosemary and thyme used in this recipe – or Mexican-inspired seasonings like cumin and chili powder that can be used in other marinades. But you can also think of other flavor elements here too – for example, ginger, citrus zest, soy sauce, fresh chilis, or garlic. Keto-friendly sweeteners like allulose, monkfruit, or erythritol might be also used depending on the type of marinade (for example, a teriyaki style sauce would often include a sweetener).
4) Salt: Technically, this is optional – but definitely recommended. You don’t want to go overboard, and the purpose is not to make it taste salty. However, salt (or sodium found in sauces like soy sauce) help to bring out the rest of the flavors in a dish.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, so don’t take this as the be-all, end-all of marinating. But the possibilities are really endless if you loosely follow a breakdown like this. For example:
- Teriyaki style: sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Lakanto golden, ginger, garlic, green onions
- Keto honey mustard marinade (I use this to coat my keto pork chops – kind of more along the lines of a sauce in that recipe but you can use as a marinade too): Mayo, mustard, Lakanto golden, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper
- Mexican style marinade: olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper
- Balsamic marinade: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, optional Lakanto golden, garlic, salt, pepper
- BBQ style: Use our keto BBQ sauce recipe to marinate!
Store bought low carb marinades
If you don’t feel like whipping up your own, you may find that several keto-friendly marinades on the market that can be used on chicken, beef, fish, or other proteins. Don’t forget to look at regular sauces and dressings that aren’t necessarily labeled as marinades, as most are versatile! Below are a few of my favorites:
*Quick note – I personally believe that a keto diet is based on the metabolic state of being in ketosis – not an arbitrary “off-limit” list of ingredients that the diet market has capitalized on. While most products that contain sugar are off the market, sometimes marinades will contain very small amounts of sugar. As long as you are using it in the correct serving size – i.e. the amounts here that contain 1-2 grams of net carbs per serving – it should by no means kick you out of ketosis despite seeing it in the ingredients. If you disagree with this definition, feel free to skip over these recommendations and choose your own.*
- Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Sauce – 0 net carbs per serving
- Frank’s Red Hot (yes, you can marinate in this with melted butter and it’s amazing!) – 0 g net carbs per serving
- Lawry’s Steak and Chop – 1 g net carbs per serving
- Newman’s Own Oil and Vinegar – 1 g net carbs per serving
- Dale’s Steak Seasoning – 1 g net carbs per serving
- Guy Gone Keto Sauces – including steak sauce, thai chili, BBQ, and teriyaki (check out our review of their products; we love these!) – these contain about 0.5 to 1.5 g net carbs per serving. Note that the labels are a little confusing because the FDA requires that allulose is named as an added sugar, despite the fact that it is a keto-friendly sweetener without an impact on blood sugar (similar to monkfruit or erythritol).
- Lemonette Dressings – including lemon garlic, Mediterranean herb, and zesty cumin – 2 g net carbs per serving
- G Hughes Orange Ginger Marinade – 3 grams net carbs per serving (this is a little on the high side for a marinade, but can definitely still work into a keto day!)
Alright – I hope all this info helps you in creating or purchasing your own low carb marinades! Enjoy this delicious keto chicken marinade and if you get a chance to try it, be sure to leave a recipe rating or comment below.
Italian Keto Chicken Marinade
For the marinade:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
- 24 ounces chicken breast (generally two small-medium chicken breasts)
- Combine all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk well. Pour them over the chicken breast in a ziptop bag (or large bowl) and place in the fridge for a few hours.
- To roast your chicken breast, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a fork to pick up each piece of chicken breast, letting the excess marinade drip off, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 22-26 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Enjoy!
- This recipe assumes four final servings of chicken breast with marinade, of approximately 4.5 ounces of cooked chicken breast per serving. It assumes that 20% of the marinade calories are retained.
- Nutrition analysis (per serving, assumes 20% retention of marinade): 225 calories, 7.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 150 mg sodium, 0.4 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g fiber, 0.1 g sugar, 0.3 g net carbs, 38 g protein, Vitamin A: 1%, Vitamin C: 2%, Calcium: 1%, Iron: 4%
- Nutrition analysis (for entire marinade recipe - only in case you need this to calculate nutrition facts for another protein or recipe – but remember not all of this is consumed): 508 calories, 54.5 g fat, 7.5 g saturated fat, 1183 mg sodium, 7.8 g carbohydrate, 1.3 g fiber, 1.3 g sugar, 6.5 g net carbs, 1 g protein, Vitamin A: 2%, Vitamin C: 37%, Calcium: 5%, Iron: 11%
Share: What’s your favorite keto chicken marinade to make/use? If you tried this recipe, what did you think?