How to Grill Chicken Breasts (so they turn out juicy every time!) – a how-to on grilling the perfect chicken breast EVERY TIME!
How to Grill Chicken Breasts 101
I don’t know about you guys, but we grill A LOT in the summer. And more often than not, its chicken. We throw in the occasional pork chop or burger, but we do chicken quite a bit. I know grilling can be intimidating for a lot of people, so I thought I would break down how you cook several different kinds of chicken this summer – you can learn more about grilling chicken thighs here and grilling chicken legs here – now lets talk about grilling chicken breasts!
How to Prepare Chicken Breast for the Grill
- Pat Dry: always pat your chicken dry first with a clean paper towel.
- Season: you can use either simple kosher salt + pepper or a fun seasoning like this Smoked Chicken Dry Rub (which is good on any kind of chicken).
- Marinade (optional): if you want to use a marinade here is a great option for you!!
How long does it take to grill chicken breasts?
Not very long at all! Approximately 15-17 minutes (or until they reach an internal temp of 160 degrees) – then let rest for a minimum of 5 additional minutes during which time the internal temp will continue to rise. Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temp of 165 at the thickest part! (see recipe below for all the details!)
How do you grill chicken breasts without drying it out?
The key is to cook on direct heat (over flame) for the first 8-10 minutes (flipping halfway), but then switch to indirect heat for the last 5-7 minutes. ALSO – do not leave it on the grill until it reaches an internal temp of 165 (which is the internal temp chicken needs to be before it is safe to eat) – remove it from the grill when it is around 160 (between 155-160) and then let it rest off the grill. As it rests, it will continue to cook and the temp can continue to rise nearly 10 degrees! So imagine if you did leave it on the grill until it reached 165? It would continue to cook and might reach 175 before you eat it! It would be over-cooked and dry.
What temperature should I grill chicken breasts?
Medium heat – which is approximately 400 degrees.
Do You Grill Chicken on Direct or Indirect Heat
We recommend both actually – start on direct heat to get that initial sear and then move over to indirect heat (see recipe card for step-by-step directions).
How to Tell When Chicken Is Done
Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. at it’s thickest part, but I recommend taking it off the grill when it hits approx. 160 degrees F. because the temperature will continue to rise as it rests.
How to Grill Chicken Breasts
Step One: pat your boneless, skinless chicken breasts dry with a clean paper towel.
Step Two: season with either salt and pepper or with a fun seasoning!
Or, you can use a marinade of your choosing!
Step Three: Ensure gill grates are clean and preheat grill to medium/medium-high heat.
Step Four: cook over direct heat for approximately 4-5 minutes per side. Then, move over to indirect heat for an additional 5-10 minutes (no need to flip) until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees at its thickest point. Then remove from grill and let the chicken rest 5-10 minutes (during which time the internal temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees).
Other recipes you might like:Print
How to Grill Chicken Breasts (so they turn out juicy every time!) – learn to how to grill perfect chicken breasts!
- 6 medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
- Combine salt and pepper in small bowl
- Place chicken breasts on plate and sprinkle both sides with a generous amount of the salt and pepper mix.
- Heat grill to medium heat (approximately 400 degrees).
- Place chicken on direct heat (direct flame) and cook at medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side.
- Move chicken away from the direct heat (direct flame) so that it is cooking on indirect heat (maintaining the same grill temp) and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes (you don’t need to flip during this point because the chicken will cook as if it is in an oven) or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reads 160 on your meat thermometer.
- Remove from grill and let rest at least 5 minutes (the chicken will continue to cook during this time and the internal temp will continue to rise up to 10 additional degrees).
- Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees (at thickest part of the breast).
Keywords: grilled chicken breasts, how to grill chicken breasts
Originally published May 16, 2019 – the photos have been updated and additional information has been added.