Grilled Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

This grilled rosemary-garlic chicken made with a quick marinade—no waiting all day or overnight!—is a fast and complete weeknight dinner served over arugula. And it’s being lauded as “amazingly tender” and “restaurant quality” and “perfectly balanced”  and “simple enough for a weeknight and elegant enough to serve to our guests” by those who’ve made it.

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette

There’s a lot to love about this grilled rosemary-garlic chicken with arugula and balsamic vinegar. It’s quick, easy, entertaining-worthy, and memorable in the best possible way. Even better, it leaves very few dishes to do after dinner. If you’re uncorking a bottle of wine to go with this, opt for pinot noir or Chianti. Originally published June 10, 2016.Renee Schettler Rossi

Grilled Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 4 to 8
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • 1 lemon, 1/2 juiced and 1/2 sliced into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed from 2 sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Fine sea salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups arugula, stemmed


  • 1. Cut the lemon in half. Juice half the lemon and cut the remaining half into wedges. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, the leaves from the 2 rosemary sprigs, garlic, and 4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil. Seal the bag and firmly mix with your hands. Add the chicken, reseal, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • 2. Heat your gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat and let it get nice and hot to the tune of 400°F (204°C). (If using charcoal, the coals should be lightly covered with ash.)
  • 3. Add the sprig of rosemary and the remaining 1/2 cup (118 ml) olive oil to a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and then immediately remove from heat. Discard the sprig of rosemary and pour the oil into a small bowl.
  • 4. When the grill is ready, remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Place the chicken thighs on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 9 minutes. Flip and cook until the chicken thighs are cooked through and register 165°F (74°C), 4 to 5 more minutes.
  • 5. Remove the chicken thighs from the grill and place them on a large cutting board. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • 6. While the chicken rests, mix the balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes into the rosemary oil. Season with pepper and salt. Drizzle over the arugula and gently toss. Divvy the arugula among plates and arrange 2 chicken thighs on each arugula salad and garnish with lemon wedges.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Loved this grilled chicken recipe. The final product was amazingly tender, crisp, tasty chicken over the arugula salad along with the tangy vinaigrette. I ended up marinating the chicken for close to 2 hours as I got distracted. The grilling time ended up being a little longer. I did the 9 minutes on one side, then 6 minutes on the other side. We ended up eating it just as is, without anything else. This fed the 5 of us pretty easily.

We really enjoyed this grilled chicken recipe. It’s visually appealing with the appearance of a restaurant-quality dish. The flavors of the rosemary, garlic, and lemon all come through and are perfectly balanced in the finished dish. The rosemary-infused oil and balsamic vinaigrette perfectly complement the chicken, as does the peppery flavor of the arugula. The dressing also adds a nice amount of moisture to the dish. I had some left in the bowl after composing the dish and I drizzled the last bit of dressing over the chicken. The dish could easily serve more than 4, depending on the size of the thighs. Mine were almost a half pound each and with the salad and some oven-roasted potatoes, one thigh was a perfect serving for each guest. We served the dish with a Chianti and it paired very well.

It's really great when a recipe test turns into one of the best (and easiest) dinners you've had all week. The entire hands-on process took 25 minutes, including making the mustard mixture and dressing. Because the mustard mixture was a little thick, it took a little effort to make sure it was evenly distributed among the thighs. If I’d used more than the 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice I got from the 1/2 lemon, it possibly would've loosened the mixture up a bit. I really loved the vinaigrette. The rosemary-infused olive oil provided enough flavor that nothing more than small hit of balsamic vinegar was needed. Topped with a bit of sea salt, the salad was perfectly balanced. To round out the meal, I served it with Trader Joe's Harvest grain mix cooked in vegetable stock.

This grilled chicken recipe was simple enough for a weeknight dinner and elegant enough to serve to our guests. The recipe was easy to follow, required minimal effort, and resulted in tender chicken with great flavor. The arugula salad took the taste and presentation to the next level. This will be a regular standby all summer long. The servings depends on the size of the thighs. Mine were large and served 4 adults and 2 kids with leftovers. Overall the recipe was very accurate and easy to follow. Served it with some grilled asparagus and a rustic loaf of bread. A keeper!

The flavor of the grilled chicken was wonderful and it went very well with zucchini.


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  1. This was amazing! So tender, so moist. I’m a novice barbeque-er and this was perfect, so easy. Love, love, love your recipes. Thank you!

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