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May 15, 2024

Grilled Chicken Thighs

This grilled chicken thigh recipe is one of our summer staples! It’s quick, simple, and pairs deliciously with all the classic BBQ sides.

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Grilled chicken thighs with beautiful grilled marks on a platter with a serving fork
Photography by Gayle McLeod

A Tasty, Simple, Foolproof Grilled Chicken Thighs Recipe

We love a classic recipe: simple enough to be a weeknight dinner yet easy enough to dress up for company. And, we guarantee it’ll be a crowd-pleaser! Doused in a flavorful marinade that can go with really, anything and almost effortlessly, you can pull a meal together with grilled chicken as the star! On those hot summer days, when you don’t feel like turning on the oven, make the grill your best friend. We envision a full picnic spread with favorites like refreshing Watermelon Cucumber Salad and spicy Elote (Mexican Street Corn), or choose for yourself from our 30 Best Summer Side Dishes. Look no further, we’ve got the perfect grilled chicken thighs recipe for you.

brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika & pepper in a glass bowl beside a small bowl of olive oil
raw boneless chicken thighs marinating in brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, pepper & olive oil

How Long Does It Take To Make Chicken Thighs on the Grill?

Due to their ease of prep and cooking time, chicken thighs on the grill are perfect for when you have less than an hour to prepare dinner! Marinated chicken gets placed over low heat undisturbed for about five minutes to slow roast and create those beautiful grill marks. This process gets repeated a few times, flipping once or twice. In about 20 minutes, from grill to plate, these chicken thighs will be ready to go! Our Baked Crispy Chicken Thighs take about 30 minutes to crisp up in the oven.The results? Tender, juicy thighs with a crispy, lightly charred exterior. If you’re looking to take grilled chicken thighs up a notch, we recommend our Huli Huli Chicken. The total cooking time will depend on the size of your thighs, so, if possible, when choosing which to buy, look for those uniform in shape. When in doubt, ask your local butcher! In this recipe, we use boneless chicken thighs for quicker cooking time but feel free to make it with bone-in chicken thighs, they will just take a bit more time.

chicken thighs marinated in brown sugar, salt, garlic & onion powder, paprika, pepper & olive oil being grilled

Basic Ingredients, But Not So Basic Chicken!

Spice blends and marinades are crucial to layering on the flavor! When available, use the freshest spices you can find as flavor dwindles over time. To make sure your pantry is always well-stocked, check out this Pantry Essentials: Five Spices We Always Have in Our Kitchen post. To make this marinade your own, play around with the spices! Swap out sweet paprika for smoked paprika. Add a squeeze of lemon! Throw in some fresh parsley. This grilled boneless chicken thighs recipe is your oyster.

Seven simple pantry ingredients come together in a pinch to make a delicious grilled chicken marinade:

  • Brown sugar adds a subtle sweetness and helps create a crispy outside

  • Salt helps keep the chicken moist and tender

  • Garlic powder and onion powder pack a flavorful punch

  • Paprika adds color and a hint of flavor

  • Fresh cracked pepper, and emphasis on the fresh cracked

  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) assists with distributing the spices as well as helping the chicken thighs not stick to the grill!

You could also use this marinade on chicken breasts, BUT we absolutely love to use thighs for their hearty texture and flavorful umph. If using chicken breast, pull them off the grill right when they reach 165°F so they don’t dry out!

grilled chicken thighs resting on a baking sheet

How to Make Perfectly Grilled Chicken Thighs

Boneless chicken thighs go through a quick marinade and then get placed on the grill over low heat. It might be low in effort, but we can attest it’s high in flavor!

Here's how to make our Grilled Chicken Thighs:

  1. Make the Marinade! Add your spices and olive oil to a bowl and mix generously - this will help hydrate and distribute the spices. Coat each thigh evenly with the marinade.

  2. Wait! If you haven’t already, preheat the grill while you allow the chicken thighs to marry with the flavors of the marinade. Pro tip: marinate your chicken thighs overnight for even more flavor!

  3. Grill em’ up! Cook them over low heat without disturbing them to achieve those perfect grill marks we all envy!

Grilled chicken thighs on a serving plate marinated in brown sugar, salt, garlic & onion powder, paprika, pepper & olive oil

Tools You’ll Need

Wondering What To Serve With Grilled Chicken Thighs?

Make it a picnic! Serve them alongside all your favorites!

Looking for other ways to spice up your chicken game?

Grilled chicken thighs with beautiful grilled marks on a platter with a serving fork

Your Favorite Go-To Chicken Recipe – Right?!

This ready-to-go-in-minutes recipe is a staple in our house, and we hope it becomes one in yours too! If you love it as much as we do, snap us a picture of your Grilled Chicken Thighs! Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Grilled Chicken Thighs

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 272

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Method

  1. Preheat the grill to high heat.

  2. In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, black pepper and the olive oil. Add in chicken thighs and toss until coated. Cover and set aside.

  3. Reduce heat on grill to low and add the chicken. Cook undisturbed until slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue cooking until the other side is charred, about 5 minutes longer. Continue flipping until the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant read thermometer, about 5-7 more minutes. Remove from the grill and arrange on a large platter.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories272
  • Protein38 g
  • Carbohydrates4 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium296 mg
  • Total Sugars2 g

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • cynthia

    how do you cook the chicken on the grill without the skins comming off?

    If you are having an issue with the skins try brushing your grill grates with oil before placing them on the grill. Hope you enjoy Cynthia!

  • Mimi

    I want to make boneless chicken thighs for a side dish that will go over steam rice . How can I keep it from drying out

    Follow this recipe and make sure to remove the chicken from the oven when it is 165f internally. Hope you enjoy Mimi!

  • Teresa

    I am one of those folks who, sadly, doesn't have access to a grill. Would you recommend baking? I do have a fantastic grill pan, perhaps that would work in a pinch?

    Grill pan would work just fine! Hope you enjoy Teresa.

  • Anne

    How low should the heat be? 300 F?

    Probably 350 would be better. Hope you enjoy Anne!

  • Laura

    Great recipe, go's good with grilled corn and a good potato salad. THANKS

    Thanks Laura, we are so happy you loved it!

  • John

    Yeah perfect thanks

    Thanks John! We are so happy you loved it!

  • Alice

    That was so great things are here. I love that. That all was so uniqe.

    Thanks Alice!

  • Rachel

    We found this recipe on a search for "grilled chicken thighs", and man-- I'm SO glad that we clicked on this link! This has become our go-to recipe for grilled chicken. It's so flavorful and easy to assemble while the charcoal heats up. If I could give it more than five stars, I would!

    Thank you Rachel! We are so happy you love it! It's always so exciting to hear when something has become a go-to!

  • Kay

    These were outstanding. I was a little nervous, I had never grilled thighs before but they turned out so juicy and wonderful!

    So glad you took a risk and it turned out well!