Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs may not be the first thing you think of when choosing your chicken for the grill, but I’d like to make a case that they should be!   They have all of the juicy meat/crispy skin appeal of roasted chicken, plus that inimitable grilled food flavor (and gorgeous bits of browned skin around the edges).  Please don’t think for a moment cooking these are any harder than grilling chicken breasts; just pay a bit of attention to the fire and mind any flare ups.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Grilled Chicken Thighs Marinade

This marinade is not shy, rather bursting with flavor.  It’s based off of a favorite grilled turkey marinade and as with that one I decided to use a combo of melted butter and olive oil for richness.   There is also some vinegar for acidity, shallots and garlic for the invaluable support from the onion family, and it’s rounded it out with Worcestershire sauce, honey, and oregano.  Use whatever herb you have around or like best.   

You can marinate the chicken in a container or in a large sturdy zipper-top sealable bag.  Marinate the chicken between 12 and 36 hours; the longer it marinates the deeper the flavor will be.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

How to Cook Chicken Thighs on the Grill

You’ll want to heat the grill to medium, medium-high at the most when cooking chicken thighs.  This will allow the outside to get nice and crispy and browned, but not burned, while the middle cooks to tender juicy perfection.  

If you can, use a two-zone grilling system with one half of the grill at medium high, and the other at medium, and then you can move the chicken pieces back and forth as needed, hotter when you feel they need more browning or cooler if the outside seems to be cooking too quickly.  This will allow the skin to crisp up nicely, and the interior to cook completely and evenly.  

Grilled Chicken Thighs: An easy marinade infuses chicken thighs with robust flavor, while keeping the inside extra juicy on the grill.

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Grilled Chicken Thighs

How Long to Grill Chicken Thighs

The skin should be browned and crispy, the underside of the thighs should be golden brown, and when you slide a knife into the thickest part, the juices should run clear.  Flip the chicken as you see fit, and keep moving it about if there are flareups or if a particular area of the grill seems too hot or too cool.  

Start checking the thighs at 30 minutes, again turning them as needed.  Also consider using an internal meat thermometer; remove the chicken from the grill when the internal temperature in the thickest part reaches 165°F.  Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let sit for 10 minutes serving so the juices redistribute in the meat.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

How to Stop Grill Flareups

If there are flareups (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.  If you want to keep a little spray bottle of water near the grill, that can be handy for quashing a persistent flareup.

What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Thighs:

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Other Grilled Chicken Recipes:

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Grilled Chicken Thighs

An easy marinade infuses chicken thighs with robust flavor, while keeping the inside extra juicy on the grill.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Diet: Gluten Free



  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter , melted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 8 to 12 pieces)


  • Make the marinade: in a container with a lid large enough to hold the chicken thighs, combine the butter, olive oil, vinegar, shallots, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, honey or brown sugar, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the chicken thighs, turning to coat them well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, up to 36 – 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. Place the thighs skin side down one the grill, reserving the marinade. Cook for about 8 minutes (turn them earlier if they start to catch fire or smoke a lot), then baste the chicken and turn the pieces over and cook for another 6 or so minutes, then flip every few minutes, basting once more, until they are cooked through, with an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant-read thermometer and the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife. If there are flareups (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.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 887kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Monounsaturated Fat: 33g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 314mg | Sodium: 864mg | Potassium: 688mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 607IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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  1. Wow, what perfect Summer Sunday dinner! The leftover chicken and peppers are going into your Greek Pasta Salad for dinner tomorrow

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