Learn How to Grill Chicken Thighs (boneless + bone-in) so they turn out tender and juicy every time! We have been grilling chicken thighs for years and have all the tips and trick you need for your next backyard cookout!
The BEST Grilled Chicken Thighs Recipe
I don’t know about you guys but chicken thighs are my favorite cut of chicken (yes, more than chicken breasts!). And today we are talking ALL about how to make the perfect grilled chicken thigh! Definitely a summer staple at our house! Whether you are using a gas grill or charcoal grill this tutorial is perfect for you. And if you are looking to take your juicy grilled chicken thighs to the next level (and really up the flavor) you gotta try our Best Chicken Marinade, Greek Yogurt Chicken Marinade or Pickle Brine Chicken Thighs! Serve with some Mexican Street Corn (Elote), Grilled Potato Wedges, and Grilled Broccolini!
Got leftover chicken: try this Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad!
What You Will Need
- Raw Chicken Thighs: either boneless skinless chicken thighs or bone-in thighs will work and we have included instructions for both!
- Olive oil: we rub a bit of this on before seasoning.
- Seasoning: you can either use a classic salt and pepper seasoning OR use a chicken seasoning (a spice blends combination of paprika, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and pepper).
- Marinade: this Chicken Thigh Marinade is a combination of soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and worcestershire sauce.
- Dipping Sauce (optional): you definitely don’t need a dipping sauce, but sometimes we like to use a little simple mustard mayo sauce to dip our grilled chicken thighs in!
How To Grill Chicken Thighs
The first steps to making these easy grilled chicken thighs are to pat dry your cut of chicken dry with clean paper towels. Then rub them all over with salt + pepper or your favorite chicken seasoning.
Preheat the grill up to a medium-high heat (400 degrees F) and clean the grates. Now place the seasoned chicken on the hot grill. Cook over direct heat for 4-6 minutes on each side for bone-in chicken thighs and 3-4 minutes per side for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. For best results when grilling bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, make sure you start with the skin-side down.
How To Know When Grilled Chicken Thighs are Done
Grilled chicken thighs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F at the thickest part of the meat (use a meat thermometer). Also, don’t forget to let them rest for 10 minutes before cutting so the internal juices can redistribute.
Carefully flip them and then remove from grill (see recipe card below for exact times). Let them rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Best Ways To Serve Grilled Chicken Thighs
The options for serving perfectly grilled chicken thighs are endless! We love to keep it simple and serve them up as our main dish along with some delicious side dish recipes. Typically, ones that can also be cooked on the grill for minimal clean-up, like Grilled Potatoes in Foil, Grilled Sweet Corn, Grilled Sweet Potatoes, or any other Grilled Vegetables. They would also be great with a Strawberry Spinach Salad or some Mexican Street Corn!
Keep it simple with some salt and pepper or level up the flavor with a basic chicken marinade, Greek chicken marinade, or cilantro lime marinade. Or just sprinkle on a simple homemade chicken dry rub, if you don’t have the time to let it marinate!
For boneless chicken thighs your grill should be at approximately 400 degrees. For bone-in chicken thighs your grill should be at approximately 450 degrees.
For boneless chicken thighs you will be grilling them for approximately 8 minutes. For bone-in chicken thighs you will be grilling them for approximately 10-13 minutes. Just make sure you keep track of that internal temp, because it has to reach 165 degrees F. Nobody want to eat undercooked chicken!
We highly recommend a meat thermometer, it isn’t very expensive and comes in so handy when cooking any type of meat! If you don’t have one, you will know that the chicken is cooked all the way through if its juices run clear once you remove it from the grill and let it rest for a minute. If you find that you haven’t cooked your chicken all the way back through, return it to the grill quickly and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes at the same temp.
It is best to start with the skin-side down on the hot grill first. This will give it a nice, crispy skin on the outside. Keep the skin-side down for 3-5 minutes, flip, and then keep the skin-side up for the duration of the cook time.
Made this delicious recipe and loved it?! We would love it if you would take a minute and leave a star rating and review – it is also helpful if you made any substitutions or changes to the recipe to share that as well. THANK YOU!
Grilled Chicken Thigh Recipe: follow our step-by-step tutorial on how to grill boneless or bone-in chicken thighs like a pro!
- 6 bone-in or boneless chicken thighs
- 1–2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
Boneless Grilled Chicken Thighs:
- Bring grill to medium high heat (about 400 degrees F) and ensure grill grates are clean.
- Combine salt and pepper in a little bowl.
- Place chicken on plate. Pat dry with clean paper towel.
- Drizzle chicken with olive oil and rub all over. Sprinkle both sides with the salt and pepper mixture.
- Grill chicken on direct heat (directly over flame) for 3-4 minutes per side (the bigger the thigh the longer you will need to cook it), flipping once.
- Remove from grill once the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F (use an instant-read meat thermometer).
- Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
Bone-In Grilled Chicken Thighs
- Bring grill up to medium high heat (about 400 degrees F) and ensure grill grates are clean.
- Combine salt and pepper in a little bowl.
- Place chicken on plate. Pat dry with clean paper towels.
- Drizzle chicken with olive oil and rub all over. Sprinkle both sides with the salt and pepper mixture (make sure to get some under the skin too).
- Grill chicken skin-side down on direct heat (directly over flame) for 4-6 minutes and then flip.
- Cook on other side until internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. (use a meat thermometer).
- Remove from gill and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Meat Thermometer: Having a meat thermometer is SO helpful when cooking meat, especially chicken which has to reach an internal temp (at the thickest part of the meat) of 165 before it is safe to eat. If you DON’T have a meat thermometer, you know your chicken is done when the juices run clear once you remove it from the grill.
- Cook Time Listed: Note that the total cook time listed is 8 minutes – this is for boneless chicken thighs. Bone-in chicken thighs will be closer to 10-13 minutes, depending upon how thick they are.
- Marinade: we love this Easy Chicken Marinade, if you want to try it!
- Brine: Pickle Brine Chicken is one of our favorite recipes!
- BBQ Chicken: if you are wanting to add on some barbecue sauce, then when the chicken thighs are about 10 degrees below your desired internal temp move them to indirect heat and brush on the bbq sauce. Close the grill and let the sauce become tacky. Remove and let rest.
- Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh
- Calories: 188
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 451.7 mg
- Fat: 6.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 0.4 g
- Protein: 29.4 g
- Cholesterol: 140.1 mg
Keywords: how to grill chicken thighs, grilled chicken thighs, boneless chicken thighs, bone-in chicken thighs
Originally published June 25, 2019.