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Our Favorite Grilled Chicken Thighs Recipe

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Learn how to grill chicken thighs so they turn out perfect and juicy each and every time! Our favorite chicken thighs start with my grilled chicken thigh marinade (same as my grilled drumsticks) that’s made with just a handful of basic ingredients and gives the chicken great flavor and color. Then it’s time to fire up the grill. Serve the bone in grilled chicken thighs with napa cabbage slaw, tortellini pasta salad, or grilled vegetables and some grilled bread for the best summer meal.

The best grilled chicken thigh marinade recipe is the same as my grilled drumsticks recipe for good reason – it’s simple AND delicious! The soy sauce in the grilled chicken thigh marinade doesn’t really give it Asian flavors, but imparts a savory flavor and browns the chicken so well. One try and you’ll be hooked.

Grilled chicken thighs on a platter.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Can You Grill Chicken Thighs?

Yes, you can grill chicken thighs and they are delicious! And I’m sharing my favorite chicken thigh marinade. Read below for all the info on how long to grill bone in chicken thighs and more!

What You’ll Love About Bone-In Grilled Chicken Thighs

  • Savory, delicious marinade
  • Perfectly juicy every time
  • Made with simple ingredients
  • Easy to prep ahead
Grilled chicken thigh on a plate with salad.

Ingredients to Make Grilled Chicken Thigh Marinade

  • Garlic – I would recommend using fresh garlic, but you could also use jarred or frozen garlic for a convenient shortcut.
  • Soy sauce – You can use your preferred soy sauce – either low sodium or regular. If you want a gluten-free chicken thigh marinade, simply swap the soy sauce for coconut aminos or tamari. The soy sauce is used as the salt component for this chicken thighs recipe.
  • Olive oil – Use a high quality olive oil for best flavor.
  • Honey – This adds a subtle sweetness to the marinade. You could also use maple syrup, or a little sugar or orange juice if you prefer.
  • Red pepper flakes – This adds a nice little spice, without too much. Adjust to your personal preference and desired spice level.
  • Chicken thighs – Look for bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs for the best flavor. You could also use boneless chicken thighs, but you’ll need to adjust cooking time as they will cook quicker!
Ingredients to make chicken thigh marinade.

How to Make Grilled Chicken Thighs

This is an overview on how to make grilled chicken thighs, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Mix chicken thigh marinade. In a large bowl, mix together soy sauce, olive oil, honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Chicken thigh marinade in a bowl.
Marinate chicken thighs. Add the thighs into the chicken marinade and mix so that all of the chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate. You can marinated the thighs for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight. Don’t marinate longer or the meat will start to get mushy.
Chicken thighs in marinade in a bowl.
Prep grill. Take chicken thighs out of the fridge to come to room temperature (or close) while preheating grill to medium-high heat. Give the grill grates a quick brush to make sure they are clean.
Grill chicken thighs. Grill thighs over direct heat, flipping half way though (full instructions below) and then move to indirect heat to finish cooking.
Chicken thighs on a platter.
Serve. Rest grilled thighs for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Grilled chicken thigh on a plate with salad.

FAQs

How long to grill chicken thighs?

This is the #1 most common question when it comes to how to grill bone in chicken thighs. The grilling time will vary slightly based on chicken thigh size and grill temperature.

A rough estimate is about 20-25 minutes, but again, it will vary. The best way to ensure your bone in chicken thighs are grilled perfectly is to use an instant read meat thermometer. I wouldn’t grill without it, it’s the only way to cook meat properly.

What temperature do you grill chicken thighs?

We’re using a medium-high heat grill with two different temperature zones. With the lid closed, it’s about 375-400 degrees F.

Initially, we’ll cook the chicken thighs over direct heat to char both sides, but then we’ll move it to the side without flames so that it will continue to cook, but won’t burn the chicken. (This is a must!)

What temperature do you cook chicken thighs to?

So this is interesting and something I learned while researching grilled chicken thighs. While most chicken breast recipes are cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, we’re actually cooking thighs and dark meat to 185 degrees F. This allows the higher fat and collagen content in thighs get a chance to “baste” the white meat, which makes it super juicy, tender, and flavorful. I’m a convert and you will be too!

How many calories in grilled chicken thighs?

This is a really hard question as the chicken thighs vary so much in size! The USDA considers a large chicken thigh about 3.7 ounces, but bone-in chicken thighs were close to 8 ounces each.

So for this grilled thighs recipe, each thigh clocks in at about 569 calories, including the marinade. (All nutrition facts are estimates, but full nutrition stats can be found below.)

Per the USDA database, a large chicken thigh (3.7 ounces) has 255 calories.

Are grilled chicken thighs healthy?

As long as you aren’t a vegetarian! Because I like to keep food neutral, I don’t classify foods as heathy or not, I just call them what they are – CHICKEN THIGHS! You can learn more about this in my videos.

Plate with grilled chicken thigh and salad.

Storage Instructions

Store any leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container (glass storage containers are perfect) in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

How to reheat

Reheat thighs in the microwave or a hot skillet, just until heated through. They are also great served cold or at room temperature with avocado toast or hummus toast for a simple lunch.

Can you freeze grilled chicken thighs?

Yes, grilled chicken actually freezes really well. Store in a stasher bag for 2-3 months. Let thaw overnight in the freezer before reheating.

What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Thighs

Pair your thighs with a carb and veggie side or a few of both, here are some favorites:

How to Feed Grilled Chicken Thighs to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in.

I would recommend serving the XXXXX in a pinch bowl (taster bowl) if it’s a new or learning-to-like it food and let everyone build their own tacos. Serve the meal with a few items you know your kids will eat, like fruit, milk, and/or bread and butter.

Want More?

Follow Emily on Instagram or TikTok for family dinner recipe videos and tips for feeding kids.

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Close up of grilled chicken thigh with a salad on a plate.

More Easy Grilling Recipes

If you like these grilled thighs, you might also like some of these other easy grilling recipes:

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Grilled chicken thighs on a platter.

Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Marinating Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American
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Description

Learn how to grill chicken thighs so they turn out perfect + juicy! This EASY grilled chicken thigh marinade is made with just 5 ingredients.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs (~ 2 lbs.)


Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, honey, and red pepper flakes. (You can also mix the marinade in a ziploc or stasher bag.)

  2. Add chicken to bowl and marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight. Stir chicken or flip bag to distribute marinade occasionally.

  3. Remove chicken from refrigerator to come to room temperature and preheat 2 burners on the grill to medium high, about 375 degrees F.

  4. Grill on direct heat, skin side down for 6 minutes, flip and grill for another 6 minutes, then move to indirect heat and cover. Let cook until chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 180-185 degrees F. Thighs usually take about 20-25 minutes total, but it will really depend on the size and heat of your grill. 

  5. Let rest for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. 



Notes

  • Use tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free grilled chicken thigh marinade.

Keywords: grilled chicken thigh recipe, how to grill chicken thighs, grilled chicken thighs bone in, grilled chicken thigh marinade

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