How to Perfectly Grill Chicken Thighs

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A summer grilling staple – learn how to grill chicken thighs with confidence. Tender, juicy and super flavorful from the smokey spice rub, these chicken thighs are absolute perfection!

Need more chicken thigh inspiration? Try out my Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs, Chipotle Apricot Chicken Thighs or Balsamic Grilled Chicken Thighs with Bruschetta.

spice rubbed grilled chicken thighs on a plate

Tender, Juicy Flavorful Chicken Thighs Every Time

As we head into the summer, aka grilling season. I wanted to make sure you were fully prepared for all things grilling. One of the biggest questions I get is about how to grill chicken! So, let’s talk how to grill the perfect chicken thigh!? Shall we?

You honestly can’t go wrong with chicken thighs. The flavor is so much richer because of the dark meat, it’s more tender and the quick spice rub that I add on just intensifies everything. Trust me, this will be your new go to chicken thigh recipe.

close up of grilled chicken thighs

The Best Chicken Thighs to Use for Grilling

In my opinion the best chicken thighs to use are bone-in chicken thighs. The bone-in keeps the meat tender and juicy while also infusing flavor from the bone into the meat. However, if you prefer to use boneless you can definitely do that as well. The cook time will be less with boneless. It just depends on your preference.

My Favorite Ways to Season Chicken Thighs

When it comes to dark meat, you don’t really need to add much to make it shine. There are days where I just season with salt and pepper and call it a day, and honestly it’s perfect. But if you want to really make your meal pop here’s what I’d recommend

spice rub for chicken thighs

Chicken Dry Rubs – Every dry rub you can think of is right here in this post. I’ve got a rub for every mood – Lemon Pepper, Smoky Chipotle, Buffalo, Mediterranean and my basic dry rub. One of my favorite things to do with a dry rub is to add olive oil to it, mix it around to form a kind of “paste” and then rub it onto my protein. It creates this crust that is mouthwatering!

Best Chicken Marinades – Another great way to infuse flavor into your chicken thighs is to marinate them for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you have the time. Here are my top 5 favorite marinades for chicken – honey sriracha, teriyaki, zesty greek, sweet balsamic and cilantro lime. You can’t go wrong with any of these!

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How to Grill Chicken Thighs

Let’s make sure there’s no room for error. I’m going to walk you through each step of how to grill chicken thighs so you end up with the most perfect piece of tender meat EVA.

  1. Remove the Moisture: This is an important step! Patting the chicken down with a paper towel to help remove the moisture from the packaging ensures you’ll have a nice sear as soon as the chicken hits the grill.
  2. Season your Chicken Thighs: Once chicken thighs are prepped add on your seasoning. This can be salt & pepper, one of the dry rubs or marinades I referenced above or you could use the dry rub in the recipe card below.
  3. Grill Chicken Thighs: Heat grill to medium-high heat, approximately 350°F-375°F. Place the seasoned chicken thighs on the grill, skin side down first. Grill for 4 minutes. Flip and grill for 4 minutes on the other side. Next, move chicken thighs over to indirect heat where the temperature is more around 300°F and grill for an additional 3-5 minutes. Once internal temperature of chicken reaches is 165°F remove from the grill.
  4.  Let the Chicken Rest: Once chicken thighs are removed from the grill, let them rest for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the juices from the chicken to redistribute and leads to a juicy chicken thigh.
spice rubbed chicken thighs on the grill

How long to Grill Chicken Thighs

I usually grill chicken thighs for around 15 minutes, flipping occasionally. About 10 minutes of that time will be over direct heat and the remaining 5 minutes will be over indirect heat. It is safe to remove chicken thighs once the internal temperature has reached 165°F.

Please note: the amount of time also depends on the size of your chicken thighs. If they are thicker thighs you will need to grill longer. The best rule of thumb for doneness is the internal temperature. Here’s my favorite meat thermometer.

How to Keep Chicken Thighs From Drying out

Honestly, the best answer is don’t overcook it and watch the temperature! I’ve found the best grill temperature is around 375°F. It is hot enough to sear the chicken, but not too hot to overcook it.

Be diligent and set a timer for each step – sear 4 minutes, flip, sear 4 minutes, move to indirect heat and grill another 3 minutes then start checking the internal temperature. This process ensures you have a nice crispy outside and juicy tender inside.

close up of grilled chicken thighs

How to Store Leftover Chicken Thighs

First things first, let your chicken thighs cool down. Then place leftover chicken in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

What to Serve with Chicken Thighs

Every batman needs a robin. When it comes to grilled chicken thighs, here are some of our favorite serving suggestions.

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tongs holding grilled chicken thighs

How to Perfectly Grill Chicken Thighs


Description

A summer grilling staple – learn how to grill chicken thighs with confidence. Tender, juicy and super flavorful from the smokey spice rub, these chicken thighs are absolute perfection!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Instructions

  1. To a small bowl add garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, salt, pepper, olive oil and lime juice. Mix together.
  2. To a medium bowl add raw chicken thighs, and pour spice rub mixture over the chicken thighs. Toss the thighs around to completely coat all of them with spices. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Heat grill to medium-high heat, approximately 350°F-375°F.
  4. Place chicken thighs on the grill, skin side down. Grill for 4 minutes. Flip and grill for 4 minutes on the other side.
  5. Move chicken over to indirect heat where the temperature is more around 300°F and grill for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  6. Once internal temperature of chicken reaches is 165°F, remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 thigh
  • Calories: 287
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 141 mg
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: grilled chicken thighs, how to cook chicken thighs, how long to grill chicken thighs

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