Skip to content

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Looking for an easy and flavorful chicken recipe? These grilled chicken thighs are the answer! Marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce, these juicy and tender thighs are perfect for a summer BBQ or a quick weeknight dinner.

Grilled chicken thighs on a plate.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read disclosure policy.

Ready in Under 1 Hour!

These succulent grilled chicken thighs are juicy, tender, and full of delicious flavor! And the best part? They’re extremely easy to make. 

The key to these irresistible thighs is the marinade. It’s a simple sweet and tangy chicken marinade or you can make it even simpler by using Italian dressing instead! The thighs sit in it for as little as 30 minutes or up to twelve hours for maximum flavor.

You grill the thighs on a gas or charcoal grill or even a grill pan on the stovetop will work. They only take a few minutes per side, so you won’t have to spend too much time tending to them, which is exactly what you want in a quick and easy meal!

Serve these smoky charred chicken thighs with some roasted potatoes and grilled veggies on the side any night of the week.

Recipe Ingredients

Isn’t it great when you can take simple ingredients and turn them into a mouthwateringly good dish? This grilled chicken thigh recipe uses ingredients you most likely already have at home which is also a bonus!

Grilled chicken thigh ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Marinade: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar (or lite soy sauce if you prefer), Dijon mustard, garlic, brown sugar for a hint of sweetness, and some lemon for a bright acidic kick.
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs: Boneless chicken thighs grill up very quickly, which makes them a great option for weeknight dinners. You can use skin-on chicken thighs if you like.

Variations

Switch up the marinade! Experiment with your flavors to find the perfect combo for you. Just remember you need an oil, an acid (like vinegar or citrus juice), and herbs or spices for seasoning.

Check out the FAQ section below about how you can grill bone-in chicken thighs if you prefer or if it’s raining make these baked chicken thighs instead!

If you are a sauce fan, you may want to make grilled BBQ chicken. You can also easily grill chicken breasts if that’s what you have.

How to Grill Chicken Thighs

I like to marinate the chicken to help keep the thighs super juicy and also to give it a punch of flavor. You can marinate them anywhere from 30 minutes up to 12 hours, so plan ahead depending on how long you have!

Grilled chicken thighs marinating in a bowl.
  • Make the marinade. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large zip-top bag or large bowl.
  • Marinate the chicken. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel then place them into the marinade and seal the bag or cover the bowl. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  • Grill the thighs. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. This step is very important so the thighs don’t stick to the grill! Place the chicken on the grill for 5 – 6 minutes per side until cooked through. They should be golden brown in color and no longer pink in the center. A digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 160°F to 165°F.
  • Rest and serve. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle down into the thighs before serving.

Expert Tips for Grilling Thighs

  • Avoid tearing the meat. When flipping the chicken, do not pull it if it is sticking. Keep cooking it a little while longer. It will naturally release after 1 to 2 minutes.
  • If your grilled chicken thighs are browning too quickly on the outside, try using indirect heat on the grill. This means keeping one side of the grill cooler and placing the thighs on the cooler side to finish cooking without burning them on the outside.
Chicken thighs cooking on the grill.

Recipe FAQs


How long does it take to grill chicken thighs?

It takes about 5 – 7 minutes per side to grill thighs over medium-high heat. It could take a bit longer depending on how big the thighs are.

You’ll know that they’re done when they are golden brown on the outside and the center will no longer be pink. You can also use a digital thermometer to read the internal temperature which should be 160°F – 165°C.

How long will bone-in chicken thighs take to cook on the grill?

Start with grilling the thighs for 25 – 30 minutes over medium-high heat then take their internal temperature to test for doneness. You’re looking for the same temperature as the boneless thighs.

Do I have to marinate the chicken thighs before grilling them?

It’s not essential, but I encourage you to give it a try! The marinade helps to infuse the chicken with flavor, and it also makes the meat very tender.

If you’re pressed for time, you can marinate the thighs for just 30 minutes or you can leave them in the fridge for up to 12 hours. If you want to skip it altogether, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and other spices and grill.

Can I make this recipe in the oven?

Yes, you can use a grill pan on the stovetop, or you can bake sheet pan chicken thighs at 425°F for 10 – 15 minutes. If you’d like a charred look on your chicken, put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Thighs

You can’t get much more versatile than chicken thighs on the grill. Serve them up with some grilled corn and potato salad and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer evening meal. 

Sometimes I’ll set out some of my homemade BBQ sauce for dipping or I’ll brush it over the thighs just before serving for added flavor. Add a crisp Caesar salad or some cilantro lime rice for another delicious dinner option!

Storing Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To reheat, place the grilled chicken thighs in a microwave-safe dish and heat in 30-second intervals until warmed through.

Grilled chicken thighs on a white plate.

Ways to use leftovers: Use leftover thighs to make chicken burritos or BBQ chicken tacos. Or chop them up to make a creamy chicken salad or add to some tasty chicken pad thai

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all the newest recipes!

Chicken thighs cooking on the grill.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

5 from 8 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Looking for an easy and flavorful chicken recipe? These grilled chicken thighs are the answer! Marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce, these juicy and tender thighs are perfect for a summer BBQ or a quick weeknight dinner.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4

Video

Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar , or lite soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Juice from 1 lemon , optional
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Instructions

  • In a zip-top bag or large bowl, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, if using.
  • Add the chicken to the marinade and seal or cover. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place chicken on the grill 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until a digital thermometer reads 160°F to 165°F and the center is no longer pink. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

Grilling tip: When flipping the chicken, do not pull it if it is sticking. It will naturally release after 1 to 2 minutes.
Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 738mg | Potassium: 394mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Let’s connect

Join our community of over 5 million!

Featured on

  • Taste of Home
  • Martha Stewart
  • Country Living
  • BuzzFeed
  • Yahoo
  • Food Network
  • Today