When The One and I met, what feels like a millennia ago, I was a breast man. (No, the irony isn’t lost on me.) For years, he raved about the superiority of chicken thighs. Juicy, more flavorful, and more tender.

Eventually, he wore me down with his weekly interventions, and I went through a kind of conversion therapy. (Yup, I heard that, too.) Since then, it’s been thighs all the way.

Throughout the colder months, he cranks out chicken thighs with lemon, olives, and prosciuttoMoroccan-inflected chicken over vermicelli noodles; and chicken paprikash

But during warm weather, I elbow him out of the way and head to the Weber. (While neither of us is a great griller, we prefer our chicken not incinerated, so I gay-man the tongs.)

Whether you’re a grillmaster or have questionable skills, like The One and me, these chicken thigh recipes are easy and impressive. From tangy and spicy to sweet and savory, there’s a little something for everyone.

And let’s not forget about the endless possibilities for sides–grilled veggiescorn on the cob, a killer bacon-flecked German potato salad–the options are endless.

The word "David" written in script.
Two pieces of grilled lemongrass chicken on top of rice with scallion garnish on a blue plate.
Kate Sears
1 of 4

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

Vietnamese cuisine inspired this slightly spicy gluten-free dish, which is fragrant with lemongrass.
Recipe
Grilled chicken thighs on a platter with a sprig of rosemary on top.
yelenayemchuk
2 of 4

Grilled Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

These grilled rosemary-garlic chicken thighs rely on a quick and simple lemon marinade and a quick turn on the grill for their robust flavor and tender juiciness. Simple enough for weeknights. Special enough for dinner parties.
Recipe

This grilled rosemary-garlic chicken 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!

Mary D.
A tray of chicken thighs with balsamic barbecue sauce, corn on the cob, glasses of beer, forks, and plates
Colin Price
3 of 4

Chicken Thighs with Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

Why did it take someone so long to think up chicken thighs with balsamic barbecue sauce? Simple, easy, and made with pantry staples, such as ketchup, honey, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce, this meal comes together quickly. Take advantage of late-season corn to round out the meal.
Recipe

I was searching for a quick, yet tasty, chicken dish and found this one for grilled chicken thighs with balsamic barbecue sauce. It was perfect!

Flavorful and succulent, tangy and sweet, and easy to put together with everyday ingredients. I will definitely add this to my recipe go-to list

Joan h.
Three easy marinated chicken skewers on a blue plate and a fourth one on top of a piece of flatbread.
Laura Edwards
4 of 4

Easy Marinated Chicken Skewers

These chicken kebabs are a cinch to throw together. Whip up a flavorful honey, soy, and chile marinade, let the pieces of chicken thigh soak up all that flavor, and then quickly grill or broil.
Recipe

Grilled Chicken Thigh FAQs

What internal temperature should chicken thighs be cooked to?

Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). An instant-read thermometer is the best tool for measuring the internal temperature of chicken.

How long can I marinate chicken thighs?

Chicken thighs can absorb marinade flavors quickly, so 2 to 4 hours is usually plenty. If you’re adding any acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to your marinade, don’t let it soak for longer than 2 hours, as the chicken may become mushy.

How do I prevent chicken from sticking to the grill?

To avoid your chicken sticking to the grill, always preheat and clean your grill well before cooking. You can also lightly oil your the grates using an oil-soaked paper towel and a set of tongs. Don’t use too much oil, though, as it could cause the grill to flare up.

Once you’ve added the chicken to the grill, resist the urge to flip frequently. When it’s ready to be flipped, it will release easily and naturally from the grill.

While grilled chicken thighs are a summer staple, they’re not the only cut that can be grilled to juicy perfection. If you’ve got chicken breasts on hand, try this spicy grilled chicken sandwich or these honey lime chicken breasts. If chicken wings are a family favorite, you can’t go wrong with these slightly sweet maple bourbon-grilled chicken wings

A platter of grilled boneless chicken thighs topped with pickled red onion, mint, lemon, and pita on the side.

5 Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipes

5 / 2 votes
When we're craving a grilled chicken feast, we turn to these ☞ SPICED GRILLED BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS. They're outstanding, particularly when served with warm pitas, homemade pickled red onions, fresh herbs, and garlic yogurt sauce.
David Leite
CourseMains
CuisineAmerican
Servings4 servings
Calories676 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients 

For the pickled red onions

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium (12 oz) red onions, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch thick rings (3 mm)

For the garlic yogurt

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • Kosher salt

For the grilled chicken thighs

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 lemons, divided
  • 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil, plus more for the grill
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 pounds (about 6 small thighs) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 store-bought or homemade pitas, for serving
  • 1 bunch fresh mint or fresh cilantro

Instructions 

Make the pickled red onions

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the white vinegar, water, sugar, and salt, stirring often to dissolve. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, remove from the heat and immediately add the onions. Let cool to room temperature. (The onions can be made up to several days in advance; they only get better with time.)

Make the garlic yogurt

  • Finely grate 1 garlic clove into a small bowl and stir in the yogurt. Season to taste with salt.

Make the grilled chicken thighs

  • Grate the garlic cloves into a large bowl. Add the yogurt, the juice of 1 lemon, and the vegetable oil and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper and season the mixture with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt. Whisk well to combine.
  • Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and turn to coat. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes while you prepare a grill for medium heat, or heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium heat. (If you’re going to marinate them longer – which you should; they only improve with time, cover and keep chilled in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours and pull them out 30 minutes before cooking.)
  • Once the grill is preheated to medium (you should be able to hold your hand over the grate for about 5 seconds before it gets too hot), lightly oil the grill grates.
  • Using tongs, remove the chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and transfer it to the grill. Cook, undisturbed, until it’s nicely charred underneath and naturally releases from the grates, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Flip the thighs and cook until just cooked through, 4 to 7 minutes more. (An instant-read thermometer should register 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.) Let the chicken thighs rest on a plate while you grill the pitas.
  • Warm the pitas on the grill while the chicken rests, about 1 minute per side.
  • Cut the remaining lemon into 4 wedges and pick the leaves from 1 bunch of mint or cilantro.
  • Slice the chicken against the grain into 1/2-inch thick (12 mm) strips and serve on a big platter alongside the pitas, pickled onions, garlic yogurt, lemon wedges, and mint or cilantro for a build-your-own kinda sitch.

Notes

Check out the full recipe post for our testers’ reviews, more info, and tips on making these grilled chicken thighs.
Cook This Book Cookbook

Adapted From

Cook This Book

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 676 kcalCarbohydrates: 72 gProtein: 54 gFat: 18 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 5 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 229 mgSodium: 3763 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 33 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
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About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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