Fresh Family Meals Made for Everyday Life

How to Make Grilled Chicken Thighs

Recipe At-A-Glance
...
Quick & Easy Chicken30 min
Grilled chicken thighs are juicy, succulent, and packed with flavor. Here's how to make them at home.
Four juicy grilled chicken thighs on a white plate sitting in flavorful juices..

Share this post:

With summer arriving, it’s time to start thinking about delicious BBQ recipes and nothing goes better on the grill than chicken! These grilled chicken thighs are right up there with classics like beer can chicken and they’re just as simple to cook. If you’re looking for an easy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth BBQ chicken recipe, you have to try these grilled chicken thighs.

Close view of chicken thighs cooking on a gas grill.

How long does it take to grill chicken thighs?

Altogether, it only takes half an hour of hands-on cooking time to make grilled chicken thighs, which is a big reason it’s one of my favorite grilled chicken recipes. You spend five minutes making the marinade, and the chicken cooks for 25 minutes on the grill. But you’ll want to start your preparations the night before because the marinade needs to sit on the chicken for overnight to saturate the meat with flavor. 

Should I use boneless or bone-in thighs?

This grilled chicken recipe calls for bone-in chicken thighs. As a general rule, bone-in chicken thighs are less expensive than boneless chicken breasts or thighs, and they’re just as flavorful when soaked in this delicious marinade. 

If you choose to use boneless chicken thighs, make sure you adjust the cooking time. Depending on the size, boneless chicken thighs can cook in as little as 12-15 minutes. This is much faster than bone-in chicken thighs and can lead to dried-out meat if you cook them too long.

Wholefully Protip

Bone-in chicken thighs keep the meat nice and moist while boneless skinless chicken thighs have a tendency to dry out on the grill. 

Overhead of ingredients needed for grilling chicken thighs, including chicken, honey, lime, and seasonings.

What do I need for these grilled chicken thighs?

The best part of this grilled chicken thigh recipe is how few ingredients it requires! You’ll need:

  • A BBQ—you can use a gas grill or charcoal grill
  • Roughly three to four bone-in chicken thighs
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • One lime—you’ll use both the juice and the zest from the lime in your marinade
  • Garlic powder

Most chicken recipes will call for salt and pepper, but we skip it here. The soy sauce provides plenty of that salty flavor on its own!

How do I grill chicken thighs?

This is such a simple recipe! To make grilled chicken thighs:

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a large zip-top bag the night before.
  2. Add the chicken to the marinade, seal the bag, and squish it around until all the thighs have been covered.
  3. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for 12-14 hours.
  4. Preheat your grill to 425°F—this is roughly medium to high heat if you don’t have a temperature gauge on your grill.
  5. Cook your chicken thighs, skin side down, on the grill for 15 minutes.
  6. Flip, and cook on the other side for 10 minutes.
  7. Allow your chicken to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Close view of finished grilled chicken on a plate garnished with chopped fresh parsley.

How do you keep chicken thighs from drying out on the grill?

There are several things you can do to keep your chicken thighs from drying out on the grill. The marinade you soak your chicken in not only provides added flavor but will also add moisture to the chicken, helping to prevent it from drying out. Choosing a bone-in chicken thigh over boneless will also help keep your meat nice and moist on the grill.

Cooking your chicken at the right temperature for the right amount of time is vital in preventing it from drying out. A grill that’s too hot will create char marks on your chicken that will most likely be dry underneath. Cooking your chicken for too long will have the same effect as all the moisture dries up.

The last step to keeping your grilled chicken thighs moist is to allow them to rest after cooking. Resting your meat not only prevents a burnt tongue, but it also allows moisture to be sucked back into the meat, resulting in a moist piece of chicken.

How do you know when the chicken is done?

The chicken thighs are ready when they’ve reached an internal temperature of 165°F. A quick way to check doneness if you don’t have a meat thermometer is to slice the thigh in its thickest part. The meat should be white on the inside and the juices that drip out should be clear, not pink.

Close view of chicken thighs cooking on a gas grill.

What should I serve with my chicken thighs?

Since you’re already using your grill, why not choose some fresh or grilled sides to serve with your chicken thighs? Some great options include:

 
Four juicy grilled chicken thighs on a white plate sitting in flavorful juices..

Grilled Chicken Thighs Recipe

Yield: 2-4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes

Grilled chicken thighs are juicy, succulent, and packed with flavor. Here's how to make them at home.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (about 3-4 thighs)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Juice and zest from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Instructions

    1. Place chicken thighs and remaining ingredients in a large bowl or gallon-sized ziplock bag. Massage to coat the chicken thighs, and marinate overnight, up to 24 hours.
    2. Preheat your grill to 425 degrees (medium-high heat). Place chicken thighs skin side down on the grill, and cook for 15 minutes.
    3. Flip the chicken over, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 thigh
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 677Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 290mgSodium: 1581mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 42gProtein: 57g

These numbers may appear high because they include the full amount of marinade, which is not actually consumed. At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Kaitlyn Bain is a professional health and wellness writer with a passion for helping her clients educate their readers on healthy lifestyles. She loves cooking, reading, and exploring the outdoors on hikes with her family in Northern Ontario.

Leave a Reply

1 Response
  1. Camila Gregoire

    You are awesome for sharing all that knowledge. I really appreciate visiting your website again. Thank you for your generosity!

Meet Cassie
Meet Your Host

Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

Learn More About Me →

Skip to Recipe
Close up of the finished cake on a cake stand with orange glaze and sugared cranberries on top.

No-Stress Holiday Cooking, Simplified!

Tips, recipes and time-saving secrets to magical holiday meals

FREE HOLIDAY GUIDE