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Proof that going back to basics doesn’t have to taste basic: Grilled Chicken Thighs. Lightly charred outside and spectacularly juicy within, this is a speedy, lip-smacking dinner you’ll pull out all summer long.

The best grilled chicken thighs on a plate

Why You’ll Love This Smoky Grilled Chicken

  • Juicy. Historically, I’ve been a Grilled Chicken Breast kind of girl, but in the last few years, I’ve seen the light that is chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are inherently juicier than chicken breast, making them much more difficult to dry out. Plus, these chicken thighs are marinated, meaning they’re extra juicy.
  • Flavorful. Dark meat has a richer flavor than white meat. It’s one of the reasons Mr. Well Plated will pick Air Fryer Chicken Thighs (yes, you can cook chicken thighs in an air fryer!) over Air Fryer Chicken Breast every single time. (Braised Chicken Thighs are also delish!)
  • Healthy. Chicken thighs are healthy! While they do have more fat than chicken breast (why they are juicier and more flavorful), they are still an excellent, lean source of protein that deserves to be in your diet. And, chicken thighs contain more vitamins and minerals than chicken breasts.
  • Fast. If you’ve stayed away from chicken thighs because you think they take a long time to cook, prepare to be shocked. It only takes 8 to 10 minutes to grill boneless chicken thighs on a gas grill or charcoal grill (flip chicken thighs once halfway through grilling). They’re perfect for a fast and tasty dinner!

Grilled chicken enthusiasts, you’ll want to check out my Chicken Kabob recipe.

A plate of healthy grilled chicken thighs

How to Make Grilled Chicken Thighs

The Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a healthy, flavorful, and quick protein option. Using skinless thighs helps to keep the chicken thigh calories low.

Substitution Tip

If you’d like to use bone-in chicken thighs, see the FAQ section below for tips.

  • Marinade. The key to grilling chicken thighs that are tender, juicy, and flavorful. Whether you choose to use one of my delicious homemade marinades, a spicy grilled chicken thighs marinade, or any other marinade is up to you.
  • Oil. Oiling your grill grates helps ensure that the chicken does not stick.

The Directions

Raw meat in a plastic bag
  1. Marinate the Chicken. At least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  2. Prep the Grill. Clean and oil your grates and preheat the grill (375 to 400 degrees F is the cooking temperature for grilled chicken thighs).
Raw meat being cooked
  1. Grill the Chicken. Chicken thighs need about 8 to 10 minutes at medium-high heat.
Grilled chicken thighs on a grill
  1. Flip the Chicken Halfway Through. Yes, you do flip chicken thighs on the grill so you have even cooking and nice char marks.
Lemon slices and grilled chicken thighs on a plate
  1. Rest. Let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. Finish with herbs and lemon or lime juice. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • To Reheat. Rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave. 
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 12 hours in advance, add the chicken thighs to the marinade. Refrigerate until you’re ready to grill.

A plate with grilled chicken thighs

Leftover Ideas

Grilled chicken thighs are scrumptious on their own, and you can also use the leftovers in a variety of new ways. Add them to salads (like Spinach Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing), pastas (like Lemon Pasta), sandwiches (like Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Chicken Caesar Wrap), and quesadillas (like Chicken Quesadilla).

What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Thighs

Juicy grilled chicken thighs on a plate

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Choose Your Own Marinade. You can use any marinade you like. This Chicken Thigh Marinade with soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and olive oil and this Chicken Marinade with lemon juice and spices are two excellent options, but feel free to use your favorite (even store-bought salad teriyaki sauce or salad dressing).
  • Marinating Matters. Now that we’ve discussed the different marinade options, it’s also important to discuss how long to marinate. I recommend marinating chicken for at least 30 minutes, but even 15 minutes will work. If you’re able to refrigerate your chicken and let it marinate longer, I think 5 to 6 hours is the perfect amount of time. The marinade helps add flavor and keeps it from drying out on the grill, so don’t skip it!
  • Use a Thermometer. If you’re planning to grill a lot and you don’t own an instant read thermometer, I highly recommend grabbing one. Aside from following the recommended cook time, they are the absolute best way to check for doneness and ensure you don’t overcook your chicken.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

4.70 from 39 votes
Marinated grilled chicken thighs are a healthy, versatile dinner that's ready fast! Charred outside, juicy inside, and ready in 10 minutes.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 batch marinade Chicken Thigh Marinade or Chicken Marinade (see notes)
  • Chopped fresh herbs a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, optional for serving
  • Oil for grilling

Instructions
 

  • In large ziptop bag, combine all of the marinade ingredients, then add the chicken.
  • Seal the bag to evenly coat the chicken with the marinade. Place in a pan or bowl to catch any drips. Let the chicken marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate to marinate for up to 12 hours (5 to 6 hours is ideal). Even 15 minutes is better than nothing!
  • When ready to grill, preheat the grill to medium-high (375 to 400°F). If your chicken has been in the refrigerator, remove it and allow it to come to room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grates.
  • Place the chicken thighs on the grill presentation (smooth) side down, shaking off any excess marinade. Cover the grill and let cook 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, then flip. The chicken should lift off the grill relatively easily; if it is sticking, allow it to cook another minute or two, then try again.
  • Continue cooking on the other side for 4 to 6 minutes more, or until the chicken is cooked through (chicken is considered cooked at 165°F. I remove mine around the 155/160°F mark and allow the carryover cooking to finish the rest). DO NOT OVERCOOK or your chicken will be dry.
  • Remove the chicken to a plate, cover, and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice as desired.

Video

Notes

  • TO MAKE OVEN GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS: Place the chicken in a single layer in an oven-safe grill pan (don’t let the chicken touch). Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake the chicken for about 13 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover thighs in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. 
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350°F or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 341kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 45gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 215mgPotassium: 678mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 131IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 3mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Do You Flip Chicken Thighs on the Grill?

You only need to flip them once, but if the chicken isn’t done yet and you want to even out how cooked they are on each side, you can feel free to flip them once or twice more.

How Long Does It Take to Grill Bone-in Chicken Thighs on a Gas Grill?

For bone-in chicken thighs on the grill, cook over direct heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side, then move to indirect heat and continue cooking until the meat registers 165 degrees F.

How Do I Grill Chicken Thighs in the Oven?

You can make oven grilled chicken thighs using an oven safe grill pan. Place the chicken in a single layer in an oiled oven safe grill pan (don’t let the chicken touch). Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the chicken for about 13 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly charred. Cover and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. (See my Baked Chicken Thighs for more inspiration.)

Can I Use Skin-On Chicken Thighs?

While we prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you can make this recipe with skin-on thighs. Grill chicken thighs skin-side down first to help it crisp up.

Can You Cook Chicken Thighs from Frozen?

No, I do not recommend cooking chicken thighs from frozen. If you’d like to use chicken thighs that are frozen, I suggest letting them thaw completely before beginning the recipe.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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8 Comments

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  1. Because my spouse inaccurately believes that thighs aren’t good chicken pieces, and she wanted the recipe made with chicken breasts, we compromised on tenders. Marinated according to recipe, gas grilled at 400 for 3 minutes on first side and 1-1/2 on second, and it was fabulous. Juicy, yet grilling flavors abounded. Spices and lemon juice melded into wonderful flavors. Had with risotto broccolini and green salad with homemade dressing. Whole shebang only took about a half hour, minus marinating. We’ll have this again and again.5 stars

    1. Hi Steve! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback on using the tenders.

  2. Hey Erin Clarke! Your grilled chicken thigh recipe is a game-changer! I love how your marinade incorporates simple yet flavorful ingredients. I’m also a big fan of the grilling tips you shared, such as using indirect heat and flipping the chicken only once. These are small details that make a big difference in achieving perfectly cooked and juicy chicken.

    Your suggestion to let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving is spot on. It’s a step that is often overlooked but is crucial in ensuring that the chicken remains tender and juicy.

    I appreciate how you provided different seasoning options, such as the Italian seasoning and the spicy Cajun seasoning. It adds variety and allows me to switch things up from time to time.

    Overall, your recipe is a winner and has earned a permanent spot in my recipe book. Thank you for sharing your grilling expertise with us, Well Plated!
    – Helen Knight 5 stars

    1. Hi GMJ! It’s in the area above the comment sections under Frequently Asked Questions. It says 4 to 5 minutes per side, then move to indirect heat and continue cooking until the meat registers 165 degrees F. Also this recipe is for 2 pounds. Hope this helps! Enjoy!

  3. First time grilling thighs. Worked out great. The cook times mentioned were spot on with boneless skin on thighs.5 stars