Grilled Chicken Thighs with Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade

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Tender and juicy, with a wonderfully crispy skin, these chicken thighs are a great change of pace in your grilling repertoire!

Grilled curry-marinated chicken thighs on plate

Chicken thighs are already inherently juicy, but for even more tenderness, soak them in an Indian curry yogurt marinade to add next-level moistness and bump up the flavor. When the chicken thighs first come out of the curry marinade, they won’t look like they could possibly get so crispy on the grill, but you will soon see that they really can. These Indian grilled chicken thighs are a great change of pace for your grilling repertoire! You’re also going to want to take a gander at Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs.

Serve these chicken thighs with grilled vegetables and some rice for a perfect summer meal.

Grilled curry-marinated chicken thighs and veggies on plate.

Chicken Thighs with Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade: Tender and juicy, with a wonderfully crispy skin, these chicken thighs are a great change of pace in your grilling repertoire!

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Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Thighs With Curry Yogurt Marinade

The marinade used in this recipe is inspired by the Indian mixture of yogurt and various curry spices. However, it takes a pretty serious shortcut with the addition of some premade curry powder. If you are well-versed in Indian cuisine, you should feel free to sub in a tablespoon of whatever curry mixture you prefer or blend up at home.

  • Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade – This recipe combines yogurt, onion, lemon, cilantro, and some spices to create a perfect flavor blend for the chicken.
  • Chicken thighs – Buy bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for the best flavor.
  • ChutneyMango chutney and cilantro chutney would both pair great with this dish.
Adding curry powder to bowl of yogurt marinade.

How to Grill Curry Yogurt Chicken Thighs

When cooking chicken thighs, you’ll want to heat the grill to medium or medium-high at most. This will allow the outside to get nice and crispy and browned, caramelizing the yogurt-marinated chicken while the middle cooks to tender, juicy perfection.

Optimally you should use a two-zone grilling system with one half of the grill at medium-high and the other at medium. This allows you to move the chicken pieces back and forth as needed. Shift them to the hotter area to deepen the browning, or transfer them to the cooler side if the exterior seems to be cooking too quickly. This will allow the skin to crisp up nicely (even with the thick yogurt marinade!) and the interior to safely cook through to juicy perfection.

Kitchen Smarts

Find pointers for how long to grill chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs on grill over fire.

Chicken on the Grill Flare-Ups

When you cook chicken with skin on the grill, especially one with a thick marinade like this one, there will almost definitely be flare-ups. Simply move the chicken away to a cooler spot on the grill and then move them back to the hotter area when the flames subside. I like to keep a little spray bottle of water near the grill to spritz into the flames if there is a persistent flare-up.

Marinated chicken thighs cooking on hot grill.

Tips and Variations

  • You can marinate the chicken in a container or in a large, sturdy zipper-top sealable plastic bag. Marinate the chicken between 12 and 36 hours; the longer it marinates the deeper the flavor will be.
  • When you remove the chicken, allow any excess marinade to drip off. Then, make sure to dump the excess marinade for safety reasons (marinade that touches raw meat should never be reused).
  • You don’t need to baste these thighs while they are cooking — between the dark meat, the bone-in and skin-on cut, and the yogurt marinade, these will be plenty juicy, believe me.
  • You can make this recipe with any kind of chicken: breasts, legs, and even wings would be delicious. Try to use a bone-in, skin-on option no matter what cut of chicken you are using. And adjust the cooking time according to the size of your chicken — larger pieces like thighs take much longer than small pieces like wings on the grill. Dark meat takes longer than white meat.
  • For a vegetarian option, you can make this recipe using tofu. Another great option is paneer, a type of firm cheese often used as a vegetarian protein option in Indian food. Follow all the same instructions with tofu or paneer as you would with the chicken thighs, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Plate of grilled chicken thighs and veggies on picnic table.

What to Serve With Grilled Chicken Thighs

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5 from 2 votes

Chicken Thighs with Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade

Tender and juicy, with a wonderfully crispy skin, these chicken thighs are a great change of pace in your grilling repertoire!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinade: 12 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Make the marinade in a container with a lid large enough to hold the chicken thighs or a large zipper-top bag. Add the chicken thighs, turning to coat them well with the marinade. Cover or seal and refrigerate for 12 to 36 hours; the longer the marinating time, the deeper the flavor.
  • Heat the grill to medium-high, trying to leave some of the grill (gas or charcoal or pellet) a bit cooler. Carefully oil the grates. Remove the thighs from the marinade, allowing excess to drip off, then discard the marinade. Place the thighs skin side down on the grill. Cook for about 8 minutes (turn them earlier if they start to catch fire or smoke a lot), then turn the pieces over and cook for another 6 or so minutes, then flip every few minutes, until they are cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 F (use an instant-read thermometer) and the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife. They should take about 30 to 40 minutes total; check them for doneness starting at 30 minutes.
    If there are flare-ups (which there likely will be), just move the chicken away from the flames to a cooler spot in the grill, and move them back when the flames subside.
  • Remove the chicken to a cutting board or a serving platter. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • You can marinate the chicken in a container or in a large, sturdy zipper-top sealable plastic bag. Marinate the chicken between 12 and 36 hours; the longer it marinates the deeper the flavor will be.
  • When you remove the chicken, allow any excess marinade to drip off. Then, make sure to dump the excess marinade for safety reasons.
  • You don’t need to baste these thighs while they are cooking — between the dark meat, the bone-in and skin-on cut, and the yogurt marinade, these will be plenty juicy, believe you me.
  • You can make this recipe with any kind of chicken: breasts, legs, and even wings would be delicious. Try to use a bone-in, skin-on option no matter what cut of chicken you are using. And adjust the cooking time according to the size of your chicken — larger pieces like thighs take much longer than small pieces like wings on the grill. Dark meat takes longer than white meat.
  • For a vegetarian option, you can make this recipe using tofu. Another great option is paneer, a type of firm cheese often used as a vegetarian protein option in Indian food. Follow all the same instructions with tofu or paneer as you would with the chicken thighs, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 114mg, Sodium: 177mg, Potassium: 317mg, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 245IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 83mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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