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Here’s how to grill chicken thighs! This easy method with a tasty marinade works for grilling bone-in or boneless thighs.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Got some chicken thighs? If it’s the season, grilled chicken thighs are where it’s at! Marinate them in a zingy mixture of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and spices, then throw them on the grill and cook until they’re juicy and infused with smoky flavor. You can make either grilled boneless chicken thighs or bone-in with this recipe, or a mix of both! Here’s everything you need to know (or go to our other favorite methods, Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs or Pan Fried Chicken Thighs).

What you need for grilled chicken thighs (boneless vs bone-in)

To make grilled chicken thighs, you’ll need 8 large or 12 small for 4 servings. Many chefs and experts say that chicken thighs are the best cut of chicken, so you’re in for a treat! They’re fattier than chicken breasts, which gives them a more intense, rich flavor than the white meat.

  • This recipe works for both grilled boneless chicken thighs and bone-in, skin-on thighs.
  • Bone-in, skin-on thighs have the best flavor. When you cook chicken with the bone in, the flavors inside the bone spread out onto the meat, leaving you with a meatier, richer flavor (per Bon Appetit, who says “bone-in chicken thighs are just plain better.”). The skin also becomes crispy and seasoned.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs also work, and are easier to eat. They also taste great grilled, and take slightly less time to grill.
Grilled Chicken Thighs

Tips for the grilling marinade

This grilled chicken thigh marinade uses less liquid than marinades you might be used to. This allows all the flavor to stay on the chicken, making it more flavorful overall. The consistency is in between a dry rub and a wet marinade.

Add the marinade to the chicken thighs, place it in a sealed container, and allow to marinate refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. If desired, you can marinate for up 8 hours in advance. The ingredients in this chicken thigh marinade are:

  • Olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce or a1 sauce
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, and dried thyme
  • Salt

How long to grill chicken thighs

How long to grill chicken thighs depends on the size of the thighs and whether they are bone-in or boneless. At medium-high heat, small chicken thighs take 9 to 11 minutes to grill and large take 10 to 13 minutes to grill, with boneless at the shorter end of each range. Here’s how to grill chicken thighs:

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375°F to 450°F).
  2. Grill the thighs smooth side down until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 5 to 6 minutes for small thighs and 6 to 8 for large thighs. Flip and cook until the internal temperature is 165°F, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes for maximum juiciness.
How long to grill chicken thighs

Sauces for grilled chicken thighs

These grilled chicken thighs come out perfectly seasoned, but take them up a notch with a dipping sauce! One of our favorite sauces for chicken thighs is this buffalo ranch, which we like to serve with our crispy baked chicken thighs. Here are a few more chicken thigh sauce ideas:

Buy organic chicken if possible

When shopping for grilled chicken thighs, keep in mind: the best chicken to buy is organic. Buying organic makes sure that it is the highest quality meat that was raised sustainably. Organic chicken, free from chemicals and additives, is not only a healthier choice but often has superior flavor!

Per the USDA, organic chicken must be raised in living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors (like grazing on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not given antibiotics or hormones.

Buffalo Ranch

More chicken recipes

Grilled chicken thighs is an essential recipe for grilling season! Here are a few more basic chicken recipes you’ll love:

This grilled chicken thighs recipe is…

Gluten-free and dairy-free.

Print
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Grilled Chicken Thighs

Grilled Chicken Thighs


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Here’s how to grill chicken thighs! This easy method with a tasty marinade works for grilling bone-in or boneless thighs.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 large or 12 small chicken thighs, boneless skinless or bone-in, skin-on (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or a1 sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and kosher salt.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Add the chicken to a container and pour on the marinade. Use your hands to evenly cover the chicken with the marinade. If using skin-on chicken thighs, make sure to use your fingers to get the marinade under the skin. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375°F to 450°F).
  4. Grill the chicken thighs smooth side down until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 5 to 6 minutes for small thighs and 6 to 8 for large thighs. Flip and cook until the internal temperature is 165°F, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes for maximum juiciness. Taste and if desired, add a few more pinches of salt to taste.
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Grilled
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Grilled chicken thighs, how long to grill chicken thighs, grilling chicken thighs, grilled boneless chicken thighs, chicken thighs on the grill

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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