Pink Lemonade Makes A Surprisingly Good Chicken Marinade Base

Traditionally, the last thing you want your chicken to be is pink. However, the latest TikTok trend has us rethinking our stance on the color spectrum for chicken. 

A TikTok video displayed a user utilizing Minute Maid's frozen pink lemonade as an unusual — albeit surprisingly delicious — base for a chicken marinade. In the video, the TikToker demonstrated the flavorful abilities of pink lemonade concentrate by marinating two chicken breasts in pink lemonade: One was marinaded in only the Minute Maid mix, and the other had additional ingredients added to the lemonade base, such as mustard, honey, soy sauce, and garlic.

The chicken cooked in plain pink lemonade seemed good but not great, while the TikToker's response to the fully doctored marinade made it seem surprisingly delicious. However, neither chicken breast seemed like a significant improvement on the tried and tested methods of marinating chicken, which leaves us to wonder whether this trendy choice should stay on the smartphone screen.

Why pink lemonade works as a marinade base

Though the concept may sound jarring, using lemonade to provide a sour, acidic kick to chicken is not unusual. Lemon pepper chicken is a cultural staple in many major cities across the United States, most notably Atlanta. Pink lemonade may seem like its own thing, but while more colorfully vibrant, it isn't so different from its yellow counterpart.

Several recipes specifically call for using lemonade in a chicken marinade or sauce because of the drink's ability to mimic a sweet and sour flavor profile. Though most recipes do not specify the need for pink lemonade, it's virtually identical to the original in every way other than color. 

In some recipes, pink lemonade is made by introducing an additional fruity ingredient, such as cherries or strawberries. On the other hand, Minute Maid's pink lemonade gets its color from concentrated grape juice, which contributes nothing except aesthetic — but not to the chicken itself, which looks exactly as you'd expect when cooked. While pink lemonade's inherently sweet and sour quality gives you a jumping-off point for your seasoning game, you might want to customize it to suit your palate by adding extra ingredients.