Grilled Chicken Thighs
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
These Grilled Chicken Thighs are one of our favorite easy chicken thigh recipes. They have the best seasoning and always turn out tender and juicy!
In the summer, we like to keep our meals simple. Grilled chicken is one of our summer staples, and we alternate between our favorite Grilled Chicken Breast recipe and these grilled chicken thighs, depending on what cut of chicken we have on hand.
While I love a good grilled chicken breast, I’m often partial to grilling chicken thighs because they’re more foolproof. Even if you overcook chicken thighs a bit, they will still be juicy and full of flavor. When it’s not grilling season, you’ll often find Baked Chicken Thighs, Instant Pot Chicken Thighs or Air Fryer Chicken Thighs on our meal plan.
We love to serve these chicken thighs with side dishes like Roasted Zucchini, Greek Salad, Potato Salad or Fruit Salad, plus Peach Cobbler for dessert. I’ll often grill up extra chicken, too. The leftovers are perfect for adding to salads or sandwiches for lunch.
How to Make the Best Grilled Chicken Thighs
The seasoning mix that I use on these grilled chicken thighs is a variation of my favorite Chicken Seasoning recipe. The seasoning ingredients are brown sugar, paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. The brown sugar helps to caramelize the outside of the chicken and makes it especially juicy and delicious.
After patting the chicken thighs dry, rub them with a little olive oil. The oil helps the seasonings to stick. Then rub the seasoning mixture over all sides of the chicken thighs. For the most flavor, let the chicken thighs rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours after rubbing on the seasonings. This marinating time makes the meat more flavorful.
Grilled Chicken Thighs Marinade
If you prefer to use a marinade instead of a spice rub, you can use my Chicken Marinade recipe to marinate the chicken thighs before grilling or try my marinated Cilantro Lime Chicken. You’ll combine the marinade ingredients and chicken thighs in a bowl or zip-top plastic bag and then let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours before grilling.
Boneless or Bone-In Thighs
Whether you grill boneless chicken thighs or bone-in thighs is just a matter of preference. My family and I love both, but we grill boneless chicken thighs most often because they cook faster and are easier to slice and eat.
You’ll find instructions and cook time for both boneless and bone-in chicken thighs in the recipe card below.
How to Grill Chicken Thighs
Once you’ve seasoned the chicken (and let it marinate if desired), you’re ready to prepare the grill! You can grill the chicken on a gas grill or charcoal grill. It’s best to start with clean, oiled grill grates.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Once you add the chicken to the grill, you’ll reduce the heat to medium. Using moderate heat ensures that your chicken won’t burn on the outside before the inside is cooked through. Cover the grill while cooking to keep the heat even around your meat.
How Long to Grill Chicken Thighs
Grill boneless, skinless chicken thighs for 7-10 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through to 165° F. Using an instant read thermometer is the best way to check if your chicken is done. Be sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
If you are grilling bone-in chicken thighs, they will take longer to cook through. Grill them for about 9-15 minutes per side, or until cooked through to at least 165° F.
For extra flavor, serve the chicken with my easy Homemade BBQ Sauce. If desired, you can baste the chicken with some BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of cooking.
More Grilled Chicken Recipes
Grilled Chicken Thighs
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Combine brown sugar, paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until well mixed.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry and rub with the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken and rub to gently coat the chicken on all sides.
- For the best flavor, let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours before cooking. If you do not have time to marinate, you can cook the chicken right away.
- When you are ready to grill the chicken, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the hot grill and reduce the heat to medium. Grill boneless chicken thighs for 7-10 minutes per side, or until chicken registers 165° F at the thickest part when tested with an instant read thermometer. The cook time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces. (See note below for cook time for bone-in thighs.)
- Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Bone-in thighs may also be used but will take longer to cook through. Grill bone-in thighs for about 9-15 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature is at least 165° F at the thickest part of the meat away from the bone. This seasoning mixture makes enough for 2-3 pounds of bone-in thighs.
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