Why This Recipe Works
Chicken thighs Chicken thighs are tender and juicy and especially tasty when marinated in this cilantro lime sauce. They just really work well in this recipe for grilled, boneless chicken thighs.
Marinades dont have to be complicated, as evidenced by this simple, easy cilantro lime chicken marinade. All it takes is oil, chili powder, ground cumin, garlic, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and a couple hours in the fridge. That cilantro lime taste will really shine through on the grilled chicken thighs!
Simple ingredients You probably have most of the ingredients you need in your fridge or pantry right now. The only thing you might have to get is fresh cilantro, which is at just about every grocery store in the produce aisle.
Family friendly My kids love, love, love this chicken thighs recipe. They dont even question that the chicken isnt the boneless, skinless chicken breasts they are used to. All they know is that its chicken and its delicious!
How To Make Chicken Thigh Marinade
This is one of our favorite marinades because it comes together quickly with just a handful of pantry staples, and yields the most incredible, rich flavor. If you don’t have fresh herbs, dried herbs will work fine! It’s best when you can plan ahead and let the meat marinate overnight, but that’s also not necessary. Just a few hours will still yield delicious chicken thighs!
Can You Freeze Chicken In Marinade
Yes, you can freeze chicken in a marinade! After the marinade is prepared, put the chicken and marinade in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Remove all the air, seal the bag and lay it flat to freeze. You can freeze chicken thighs in marinades up to 3 months.
When ready to use your chicken, transfer the package to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw out before cooking. Typically, I’ll allow my chicken to defrost in the fridge for 24 hours and then bake it or grill it.
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The Dill Greek Yogurt Sauce
For some of us, it’s essential to have a little something to dip or drizzle over grilled chicken. The cool dill Greek yogurt sauce compliments the bold flavors in the grilled chicken. To make it, you’ll mix together just over 1 cup of some creamy Greek yogurt with a little bit of minced garlic, fresh dill, lemon juice, and a dash of kosher salt, if needed. The Greek yogurt sauce can be made one night ahead just keep it in the fridge in a tightly covered container, and give it a stir before serving.
You can also serve these grilled thighs with tzatziki sauce or even this tahini green goddess dressing!
Southern Thai Tumeric Chicken
The lesser known but equally delicious Thai Tumeric Chicken! I was hunting for this recipe for years and years after I sampled it in Thailand.
Ingredients: garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce, turmeric, fresh coriander/cilantro, sugar, pepper
Ideal for: Bone in thighs, also skinless boneless chicken thighs and chicken breast.
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How Do You Reheat Grilled Chicken
You can reheat your chicken on a plate in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on high or you can reheat them in the air fryer if you want them to get crispy while they warm through. To do this simply heat the air fryer to 350 degrees F and place the thighs in the basket. Heat for 3 to 4 minutes and then enjoy.
Chicken Thigh Marinade Flavor Variations
- Spice Lovers: Like a little heat? Add crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste.
- Herb Lovers: Add additional tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs such as chives, rosemary, sage, basil or dill.
- Asian Style: Use a blend of olive oil, toasted sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, fresh ginger, green onions and garlic.
- Mexican: Use the chicken marinade from my burrito bowl recipe.
Once you try this marinade, youll find yourself using it on a regular basis! Its a great way to turn plain old chicken into something extraordinary.
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Easy Grilled Chicken Thighs Recipe
Its time to crack open the grill and make room for these delicious Grilled Chicken Thighs! They are a little spicy, a bit of sweet and sticky, and a whole lot of amazing!
Similar to my Spicy Sweet and Sticky Chicken Thighs, this grilled chicken thighs recipe is also packed with bold flavors that even the pickiest of eaters will want to dive right in.
Okay, first of all, lets pause for a moment of reflection on the fact that summer, technically, is one week away. Lets also pause for a minute and say a prayer for all those Moms/Dads/Grandparents/Caregivers that work from home and their kids are OFF for the summer Thank You!
And so usually the answer to my decision on what to make for dinner on any given summer-night is, chicken on the grill. With Grilled Corn on the side. AND Grilled Peach Shortcakes!
Anyways, lets discuss chicken THIGHS and how to grill em!
Other Ways To Use This Chicken Thigh Marinade
Once you prepare the marinade, you can use it for many things other than just grilled chicken. You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or breast tenderloins in place of chicken thighs.
You can also marinate beef in this simple marinade. Make absolutely delicious grilled kabobs by marinating chicken, beef and shrimp in this flavorful marinade.
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Ingredients For An Easy Chicken Thigh Marinade
This is just a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of this easy marinade. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are provided in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
- Soy sauce: I prefer less-sodium soy sauce, but any variety will work. This adds great salty, umami flavor to the meat.
- Olive oil: the fat that helps transfer fat-soluble flavors onto the meat and also helps the meat retain moisture.
- Lemon juice: the acid that tenderizes the chicken thighs.
- Worcestershire sauce, honey, oregano, rosemary and garlic salt: add so much rich flavor to the marinade.
- Chicken thighs: we prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, but you can substitute with bone-in thighs if you like.
How Long To Marinate Chicken:
- At least 1 hour
- No longer than 2 days
If Im using a ziptop bag, I place it on a half sheet pan in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but hopefully overnight so the chicken has plenty of time to soak up all that goodness.
Every few hours, Ill turn the bag from one side over to the other to keep the chicken coated with the marinade.
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What Cuts Of Chicken Are Best To Use For Grilling
My particular favorite to use are boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They are great for grilling as they are usually smaller and cook quickly. I also love that they are grill to plate ready, you can eat the entire piece of chicken without any extra work! If you choose to use a bone-in, skin on thighs, the cooking time will be longer, around 12-15 minutes.
You can also use chicken breasts for this recipe too, I highly suggest tenderizing the meat first to thin it out a bit, it will cook more evenly this way. Another summer BBQ favorite would be to use chicken drumsticks, they are small and are great for BBQing. No matter what cut of meat you use the marinade will taste delicious!
Can You Freeze Chicken Thighs In A Marinade
Yes, you can prepare this recipe as a freezer meal by placing the raw chicken thighs in a large Ziploc freezer bag with the marinade. Squeeze out all of the air from the bag, lay the bag flat, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use the chicken, place the bag in the refrigerator to thaw overnight before cooking according to the recipe instructions.
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Greek Chicken Marinade For Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs
This is a very easy marinade recipe from the North of Greece. It is primarily used for chicken or pork souvlaki skewers and works just as well when simply grilling boneless skinless chicken thighs. We routinely use it when we are after simple Greek taste notes. Even mushrooms marinated in it and then oven roasted or grilled turn out great.
The flavor profile is bright and aromatic it relies on Greek oregano with its pronounced savory and earthy notes which are so well suited to chicken. If Greece had to proclaim a national herb it would most certainly be oregano!
Besides oregano the marinade ingredients include the usual suspects of Greek cooking extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and lemon juice.
To further the savory dimension and add a bit of sweetness an onion is grated to form the base. Not only does it coat the chicken thighs better when semi-liquified but when grilled it caramelizes and creates a different dimension of surface flavor.
NOTE: Greek oregano is a member of the mint family and has a distinctly robust savory flavor. Do not substitute it with Mexican oregano in this marinade recipe if you want to stay the course with authentic Greek flavor. Mexican oregano which is from the verbena family has a more citrusy and mildly licorice flavor. The two are not perfect susbstitutes for each other.
How Long Do I Grill Chicken Thighs
Boneless skinless chicken thighs take about 10-20 minutes to grill at 400-450 degrees. Place chicken close to direct heat and grill for 6-8 minutes. Once grill marks have formed, flip and move to indirect heat and cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on how thick your thighs are, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Placing a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken can help to tell when the chicken is done. The time can vary depending on the size of your chicken and how hot your grill is. Bone-in thighs can take longer to grill.
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Grilled Chicken Thighs Marinade
When the weather is warm and you can fire up the grill, nothing beats marinated grilled chicken thighs for a quick, inexpensive, and delicious family dinner. The good news? This easy chicken thigh marinade works equally well for baked chicken in the oven, so you can enjoy the tasty supper all year round!
What To Serve With This Mediterranean Grilled Chicken
There are many great sides and salads that compliment this grilled chicken recipe. You can throw some vegetable kebabs or on the grill, or some zucchini to make grilled zucchini boats! Add a hearty salad like piyaz or balela. I’m also a big fan of this simple lettuce salad with anything grilled.
Many people are big on adding something starchy next to grilled chicken, if that’s you, try these Greek baked fries, smashed potatoes, or this Mediterranean orzo salad.
- 2lemons, juiced
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How Should I Season Chicken Before Grilling
Adding rubs or marinades to chicken helps create flavorful chicken and seals in the juices. Here are some other marinades I love making for chicken. Some of these marinades are for chicken breasts but you can easily use it for chicken thighs.
TANDOORI GRILLED CHICKENThis is one of my favorite marinades for chicken. It uses Greek yogurt, rich spices and lime juice. This is one of my go-to marinades. I love how the yogurt helps seal in juices.
3 EASY CHICKEN MARINADES: These three marinades are perfect for your summer grilling. They include a fresh lemon marinade, a Thai coconut curry marinade and a Moroccan yogurt marinade.
CHICKEN SHAWARMA: I make this Chicken Shawarma recipe a lot and pair it with hummus, tabbouleh and chickpeas.
SHISH TAWOOK: If you want a Mediterranean style chicken this is my favorite. It uses yogurt, tomato paste, spices and lemon juice. I love pairing it with this Mediterranean Eggplant Salad.
A Fresh Bright Finish With Ladolemono
While the boneless chicken pieces are sizzling you can take the opportunity to make the Greek lemony oil called ladolemono. It is a classic finish for grilled meats in Greece and we most enthusiastically recommend that you do not skip it.
All you need to do is mix extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a 2:1 ratio .
The ladolemono gets absorbed by the thigh meat really quickly due to the fact that grilling generally dries out meat. In addition to replenishing lost moisture it infuses the chicken with the combined deliciousness of spicy fruitiness from the olive oil and citrus notes from the lemon.
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Boneless Chicken Thighs Vs Bone
Whether you use chicken thighs with or without the bones is really a matter of personal preference, and often depends on the recipe that you’re preparing. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are ideal when you’re looking for fried chicken or roasted chicken with a crispy skin, or a slowly-braised or roasted dish that derives flavor from the fat and bones .
When marinating thighs for the grill or oven, we’re less concerned with the crispy skin, and more concerned with the moist, tender meat and the rich flavor. As a result, we prefer the ease of boneless, skinless chicken thighs here. That said, if you like the bone-in thighs, those will work as well — you just might need to increase the cooking time slightly.
How To Store Leftovers
- Leftover grilled chicken thighs make a great second meal, even served cold! Boneless thighs can be tucked into a wrap with some salad greens, onions, and tomatoes.
- Or, serve leftover grilled chicken on top of a bed of salad greens with some ranch or bleu cheese dressing.
- Keep grilled chicken thighs in a zippered bag or airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To reheat, just microwave for a minute or two and add a little salt and pepper or even homemade BBQ sauce!
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How Long To Grill Chicken Thighs
These thighs are boneless so they cook much quicker than baked chicken thighs.
Grill thighs for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Its best to cook thighs at medium-high heat, making sure to rotate the thighs in and around the hot spots on the grill. This creates evenly grilled pieces. Look for a caramelized, golden brown color all around .
How To Make Grilled Chicken Thighs
Grilled chicken thighs are easy, versatile, nutritious, and delicious.
We eat them at least once a week!
- Grilled chicken thighs are scrumptious on their own, and you can also use the leftovers in a variety of new ways, from salads, to wraps, to quesadillas and more.
- Feel free to scale this recipe for a crowd or make extra for meal prep.
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Tips For The Perfect Marinade
- This marinade can be made up to 3 days before you plan to use it. The olive oil in the marinade may solidify if stored in the fridge for an extended period of time. Simply let the marinade sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes and the olive oil will liquefy again.
- If youre using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you really can use any cooking method including grilling, sauteeing or baking in the oven. For bone-in chicken thighs, I recommend cooking in the oven for more even heating and air circulation since this cut of meat takes longer to cook.
- No chicken thighs on hand? You can use another cut of chicken for this marinade such as boneless skinless breasts, chicken tenders, or even chicken drumsticks.
- This marinade contains sugar which adds great flavor, but can easily burn if youre grilling your chicken. Be sure to grill your chicken over medium heat or use an indirect heat grilling method.
Storing Chicken Thigh Marinades
If you prepare your chicken marinade ahead of time, store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
You can refrigerate chicken thighs in marinades for up to 24 hours in the fridge. Chicken thighs are more tender than breasts so you’re not using the marinades to tenderize the meat youre simply looking to add flavour.
Very important note: never reuse a marinade that is left over from marinating another meat. The bacteria from the other meat will contaminate the marinade. As a result, the marinade will contaminate the chicken thighs.
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What To Serve With Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Salad. Swap the chicken in this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad for diced grilled chicken thighs. For a delicious grilled combo, pair these thighs with Grilled Corn Salad.
- Potatoes. Keep it classic cookout with Potato Salad or use the grill to make Grilled Potatoes.
- Rice. Serve your chicken with a side of Lemon Rice for a tasty meal.
Grilled chicken thighs have the power to make any night more special and scrumptious.
I know youre going to love them, and I hope they are a steadfast answer to your own Whats for dinner???? question too.