Low Sodium Chicken Marinade

This article was written by dietetic student Cattie Clifft & reviewed by Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FNKF, FAND.

Who doesn’t love a summer cookout & throwing some marinated chicken on the grill? Most store bought chicken marinades can be super high in sodium. So, why not make your own low sodium chicken marinade at home?

*Please note that this post contains clearly identified affiliate links.  If you click on these links and choose to make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Benefits of a Low Sodium Diet

Why would anyone want a low sodium chicken marinade anyway? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a goal of 2,300mg of sodium per day. The average American eats much more than that. Most of us are eating about  3,200mg of sodium every day (1).

The goal of eating low sodium is not to completely cut out sodium from your diet. Believe it or not, our body needs salt to function! Instead, the goal is to avoid eating excess sodium throughout the day.  

A diet high in sodium has been linked to kidney problems, like kidney stones and kidney disease. Whereas, a low sodium diet can help prevent several health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and even some cancers.

How Much Sodium is in Chicken Marinade?

The amount of sodium in a typical chicken marinade depends on the type of marinade and the brand, if bought at the grocery store. 

Here is the sodium content in some popular store bought chicken marinades. All sodium amounts are given in 1 tablespoon portion sizes.

  • Lawry’s Teriyaki With Pineapple Juice Marinade – 570 mg
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Garlic Parmesan Marinade – 260 mg
  • Lawry’s Hawaiian with Tropical Fruit Juices Marinade – 300 mg
  • G Hughes Sugar Free Teriyaki Sauce Marinade – 250 mg

As you can see the sodium content in Chicken Marinades varies a lot! These Marinades are all very high in sodium. For comparison, this low sodium chicken marinade recipe contains only 10 mg of sodium.

Comparison of store bought chicken marinade (up to 570mg sodium per tablespoon) with homemade chicken marinade (only 10mg sodium per tablespoon)

Store Bought Low Sodium Chicken Marinade

Making your own low sodium chicken marinade at home is a quick and easy process. But, if you prefer to buy a low sodium chicken marinade, here are some great options:

Low Sodium Chicken Marinade Ingredients

The ingredients in this low sodium chicken marinade are common ingredients that you probably already have around your kitchen. You can also use this recipe as a starting point to create your own low sodium chicken marinade. Just remember the three essential components to a great marinade: an acid, an oil, and something to add some flavor. Feel free to experiment by using your favorite herbs and spices! Here are some of the ingredients I like to use. 

Image of chicken with low sodium chicken marinade ingredients listed around image: paprika, garlic powder, olive oil, black pepper, pineapple juice, cilantro, onion powder, chicken

Pineapple Juice

In this low sodium chicken marinade, the pineapple juice acts as our acid. The juice works to soften and flavor the meat. The pineapple juice infuses into the chicken giving it a unique and refreshing taste. 

Pineapple Juice may not be a pantry staple in your household, but you can easily grab some online*.

Olive Oil

Not only does this help to keep your chicken from sticking during the cooking process. But olive oil can also keep the chicken extra moist during and after cooking, while adding flavor. 

This also adds some tasty heart healthy fat to your meal!

Garlic Powder

Because who doesn’t love garlic?

Onion Powder

This pairs well with the garlic powder mentioned above!

Black Pepper

Black pepper is a classic ingredient in almost any recipe to add flavor. 


Paprika adds some extra flavor so you don’t miss the salt.


Cilantro adds flavor, color, and freshness to this recipe. 

If you don’t like the taste of cilantro, you can substitute fresh parsley or basil for a different flavor profile.

Can I Use This Marinade On Other Foods?

Absolutely! I created this recipe for the flavors to go perfectly with chicken, but it also works with other proteins too!

Use this low sodium marinade on:

  • Pork
  • Steak
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant

How to Build a Low Sodium Chicken Meal

Even with a Low Sodium Chicken Marinade, grilling and hosting cookouts can still result in a high sodium meal if you aren’t careful. Be sure to pair this entree with low sodium options side dishes.

I prepared this Low Sodium Chicken Marinade and paired it with rice, broccoli and some grilled pineapple. 

You can also check out our Low Sodium Summer Cookout eCookbook for more ideas.

Happy Eating!

Low Sodium Chicken Marinade

Enjoy an easy new low sodium chicken marinade the whole family will love!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Main Course, Seasoning
Cuisine: American
Keyword: low sodium chicken marinade
Servings: 1 batch
Calories: 277kcal


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped


  • Take a gallon- sized ziploc bag, or a large bowl. Add your chicken, pineapple juice, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, and cilantro.
  • Mix until all the ingredients are combined and the chicken is fully coated. Close the bag and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours (preferably overnight).
  • Before cooking the chicken, drain the liquid from the marinade, and cook the chicken using your desired method. Grilling, baking and sautéing all work!


Nutrition Facts (per entire recipe): 277 calories, 14 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 0 g added sugar, 2 g protein, 52 mg calcium, 433 mg potassium, 47 mg phosphorus, 15 mg oxalate
*Note that only about 25-50% of marinade ingredients are absorbed by the chicken. The remainder is discarded with the marinade liquid.

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