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posted May 31, 2019

Grilled Chicken Thighs

These grilled chicken thighs are one of my favorite things to cook on the grill. They’re moist and tender with a fresh herb flavor. Chicken thighs grill up in less than 15 minutes, making them the perfect weeknight dinner for yourself and loved ones.

grilled chicken thighs on a plate with fresh lemons.

Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs

If you’re looking for a easy, flavorful way to cook up some chicken, you can’t go wrong with grilled chicken thighs. Boneless chicken thighs are cheap, flavorful, and a breeze to cook. They also make a nice change from the same old chicken breasts that we tend to reach for so often.

Chicken thighs have more dark meat and a higher fat content than chicken breast, allowing them to stay moist and juicy when grilled. They also hold up well to high temperature grilling, meaning you can grill them quick and fast and get a gorgeous texture that simply melts in your mouth.

Another great bonus with choosing chicken thighs over chicken breast is that thighs taste incredible. More fat content means more flavor, making thighs a fantastic option when you want a flavorful cut of meat before adding any seasoning.

grilled boneless skinless chicken thighs with parsley and lemon.

Garlic Chicken Thighs Marinade

I love marinades, and I believe they really help to add flavor to your meat. When you combine just the right ingredients in your marinade, they work together perfectly to create a balanced flavor profile and tenderize the meat before you get it on the grill.

All my marinades have the following 5 ingredients to create a perfectly balanced flavor:

  • Acid- This element tenderizes the meat and adds that lip-smacking, come-back-for-another-bite flavor.
  • Fat- Acts as a buffer between the acid and the meat to prevent the protein from breaking down.
  • Salt- Every great marinade needs a savory element. Beyond flavor, salt acts on a deeper level helping deliver flavor to the interior of the meat itself.
  • Sugar- Creates balanced flavors on your taste buds. Also acts as salt to convey flavor into the meat on a molecular level.
  • Herbs and Spices- Punches up the overall wow factor of your marinade. Fresh herbs, garlic, onion, and chiles are all great options!

The marinade for these chicken thighs makes for the most amazing chicken ever. The chicken comes out crispy from the grill with a fresh herb flavor. The lemon and white wine add some brightness to the chicken and beautifully compliment the sharp garlic.

How to Grill Chicken Thighs

When cooking chicken, I often recommend using 2-zone grilling with indirect and direct heat to get your chicken just right. However, chicken thighs are thinner, and you can grill them on direct heat the entire time. The thinner cut of the thigh cooks very quickly, and the direct heat creates good char on the outside while the interior is cooking through.

Here’s the step-by-step process to grilling tender, boneless chicken thighs:

  1. Marinate the thighs. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a bag and add the chicken. Marinate for 4-8 hours.
  2. Preheat your grill. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (between 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit)
  3. Grill hot and fast! Place chicken thighs on grill grates and grill for approximately 6-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Rest for 10 minutes. Remove chicken thighs to a plate or serving tray, cover lightly with foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

grilled chicken thighs on a wooden plate next to lemon wedges.

How Long to Grill Chicken Thighs

Not only do chicken thighs taste amazing, they cook up fast!

Most boneless chicken thighs are going to take less than 15 minutes to finish cooking. Because chicken thighs can be cooked hot and fast on direct heat, they only require 6 to 7 minutes per side to get them to that perfect doneness.

It is extremely important to use a meat thermometer to keep track of your internal temperature when cooking chicken. The FDA recommends chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees F. I like using my ThermoWorks ThermoPop for quick and fast dinners to make sure my chicken thighs have reached 165 degrees F before removing from the grill.

Once my chicken thighs have reached 165 degrees, I remove them from the grill and wrap them in foil to rest for 10 minutes. Chicken thighs contain connective tissue that starts to breaks apart at 170 degrees F. This resting period with the chicken wrapped in foil helps the meat get up to that higher temperature and stay moist and juicy. The chicken basically steams itself in the foil, allowing that connective tissue to break down and the meat to become incredibly tender.

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

Chicken is my family’s go-to protein of choice for our busy weekday dinners. If you’re on the hunt for more creative ways to cook up chicken thighs and breasts, check out some of our chicken recipes below:

Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipe

Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own grilled chicken thighs at home. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page. Let’s make some good food together!

Grilled chicken thighs stacked on a wooden plate with lemon halves.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Susie Bulloch (
These grilled chicken thighs are moist and tender with a fresh herb flavor. They grill up in less than 10 minutes, making them the perfect weeknight dinner.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 15 mins
Marinating Time : 4 hrs
Total Time : 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings : 6
Calories : 317kcal


  • 22 in. Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill



  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh minced rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley (finely minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme (chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest and juice of one lemon


  • Make the marinade. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a gallon sized zip top bag.
  • Marinate the chicken. Add whole chicken thighs to bag. Remove excess air, and seal tightly. Massage the bag to evenly coat chicken thighs in marinade, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 -8 hours.
  • Preheat the grill. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (between 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Grill the chicken thighs. Remove chicken thighs from marinade, and shake off any excess pieces of herbs or garlic. Place the chicken thighs directly on grill grates and grill for approximately 6-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.
  • Rest the chicken and serve. Remove chicken thighs to a plate or serving tray, cover lightly with foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 628mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 355IU | Vitamin C: 4.5mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2.8mg
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