With the subtle taste of your favorite beer, these Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs are juicy, tender, and dang delicious! Serve with your favorite salad or grilled veggies for an easy, healthy dinner any night of the week.
An Easy Grilled Chicken Recipe
During the hot summer months, I absolutely loathe heating up the kitchen unless absolutely necessary. For that reason, you’ll find me outside at the grill almost any night of the week. Grilling, in my opinion, is one of the easiest ways to get perfectly cooked, juicy meats, and I love the added flavor the grill gives to everything.
One of my go-to’s on the grill this year has become these Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs. With some chipotle peppers mixed in, these chicken thighs are just bursting with flavor. A little tangy but not too spicy and though most of the alcohol cooks off, you’re still left with very subtle hints of your favorite beer.
The beer, along with the vinegar, works as a tenderizer in this recipe, which means the chicken is all but falling off the bone by the time you take it from the grill. Just imagine that first bite into juicy, tender chicken thighs. 🤤 Is your mouth watering, yet? I know mine is!
This beer marinated chicken is great for when you need dinner in a pinch, too. While it does need 4 hours to marinade, the active cooking time is just 20 minutes! And, as long as you have a bottle of beer in the fridge, you probably have everything you need to make these grilled chicken thighs, already. Little time and no special ingredients is the way I roll for weeknight dinners in the summer!
IF you’re not into grilling, definitely try my Honey Beer Sauce Chicken Thighs!
What You’ll Need
This easy beer marinade for chicken comes together with a handful of ingredients, many of which are in your pantry.
For the Marinade
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – Adds a kick to the beer marinade.
- Yellow onion – Chopped finely for flavor.
- Beer – Any can of your favorite beer works.
- Balsamic vinegar & apple cider vinegar – Vinegar helps to tenderize the chicken and provides a contrast to the beer.
- Olive oil – Just a small amount of oil is added to the marinade.
- Maple syrup – A bit of maple syrup helps to sweeten the marinade and balance the beer and vinegar.
For the Chicken
- Chicken thighs – I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can also use chicken breasts.
- Pineapple rings – These are optional, but I find them to add a nice, sweet touch for serving.
How to Make Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs
Making grilled chicken in this beer marinade is surprisingly easy! Though it does require 4 hours to marinate the hands-on time is under 30 minutes.
- Prepare the marinade. Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup for later.
- Marinate the pineapple. Place the pineapple rings in a ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of marinade. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Marinate the chicken. Add the remaining marinade to the chicken thighs in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Prep the grill. Preheat the grill to 400˚F. Discard the marinade from the chicken thighs; let chicken sit at room temperature as the grill preheats. Brush the grill grates with oil.
- Grill the chicken. Place the chicken thighs on the hot grill over direct heat. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip and brush with reserved marinade. Cook for 5 more minutes or until chicken reaches 165˚F. Continue to brush on reserved marinade. Remove from grill and allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.
- Grill the pineapple. Grill the pineapple on both sides until golden brown and grill marks appear. You can do this while the chicken is cooking or resting.
- Serve and enjoy! Move the chicken thighs to a plate and serve topped with pineapple rings.
Tips for Success
Ready to make perfectly juicy grilled chicken thighs? Just follow these easy tips.
- Trim the fat. Before you even marinate the chicken, take the time to trim off any excess fat. It is guaranteed to burn and cause flare-ups on the grill.
- Use chicken breasts instead. While I love chicken thighs, if you prefer white meat chicken breasts, then you can easily adapt this recipe. You’ll only need to adjust the cooking time by a few minutes to fully cook the chicken breast.
- How to tell when chicken is done on the grill. The most sure-fire way to tell when your chicken is finished is to use an internal thermometer. Chicken is done when it reaches 165˚F, but I usually leave chicken thighs on the grill under 170˚F, as a personal preference.
- How long to marinate chicken. I recommend letting this chicken marinade for a minimum of 4 hours. However, you can let it marinate overnight or up to 24 hours, too.
- Omit the peppers. For a more mild flavor, you can easily omit the chipotle peppers from this recipe.
What to Serve with Grilled Chicken
One thing I love about the flavor of this beer marinated chicken is that it pairs well with so many things. I usually serve this with some veggies, or a salad and potatoes, but the possibilities are endless. Here are a few ideas.
- Grilled veggies. Turn this into an easy meal by cooking your veggies at the same time. Grilled Corn on the Cob or Asparagus would both make an easy, tasty side dish.
- Salad. Of course, the salad also pairs well with grilled chicken. A few of my summer favorites are watermelon feta salad and creamy Radish Cucumber Tomato Salad.
- Potatoes. For a heartier meal, serve your beer marinated chicken thighs with some potatoes too. I love these garlic herb grilled potatoes and basil pesto grilled potatoes. Alternatively, these sweet potato wedges are another healthy option.
How to Store Leftovers
One thing I love about grilled chicken is that the leftovers always taste even better the next day!
- Store leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in foil. The chicken will remain good for up to 4 days.
- Reheat chicken in the microwave or eat it cold.
- Leftovers of this beer marinated chicken tastes great on salads and sandwiches!
Can I Freeze This?
- Yes, you can freeze this grilled chicken. Allow it to cool completely then place in freezer-friendly plastic bags or wrap in plastic wrap then in aluminum foil.
- It will last in the freezer for 3 months.
- Allow to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs
For the Marinade
- 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce finely chopped, use more peppers for spicier taste, or use less for those that prefer a milder marinade
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced OR grated
- 12 ounces your favorite beer
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, use sugar free maple syrup whenever possible
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl combine chopped chipotle peppers, onions, beer, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, oil, maple syrup, and salt; whisk until completely incorporated.
- Place pineapple rings in a ziploc bag and add ½-cup of the prepared marinade to the pineapples. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Place chicken thighs in a large 1 gallon ziploc bag.
- Remove ½-cup of the marinade to use for later. Keep refrigerated.
- Add the remaining marinade to the chicken thighs; seal the bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Preheat the grill to 400˚F.
- Remove chicken thighs from ziploc; discard the marinade. Let thighs sit at room temperature while preheating the grill.
- Brush the grill grates with oil.
- Transfer chicken thighs to the hot grill and place over direct heat; cook undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Flip the chicken over; brush with the reserved marinade and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and internal temperature registers at 165˚F. Brush on more of the reserved marinade while the chicken is cooking.
- Remove chicken from grill and set aside for 5 minutes before serving. Keep covered.
- While the chicken is cooking or resting, grill the pineapples on both sides until grill marks appear; about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
- Place chicken thighs on a plate and serve with the pineapple rings.
- NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION NOTE: Since we are not actually consuming all of the marinade, there IS an overestimation of the nutrition information.
- FOR THOSE FOLLOWING WW, the points for the chicken thighs and the pineapple rings amount to 5, and the marinade points are 3.