Grilled Chicken Thighs

5 from 22 votes
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Succulent, savory, yet sweet, and cooked to a juicy perfection, these tender Grilled Chicken Thighs smothered with a brown sugar glaze are a must-try for any barbecue enthusiast.

Like our popular Spicy Sweet and Sticky Chicken Thighs, this recipe for grilled chicken is all about those bold flavors, so irresistible that even the fussiest eaters will be tempted to try it. Or are these Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken Thighs more your thing?

Overhead shot of Grilled Chicken Thighs with Brown Sugar Glaze arranged on a serving platter, with grilled asparagus placed next to the chicken thighs.


 

It’s that time of the year to fire up the grill and make room for the star of the show, aka our bbq chicken thighs. With a touch of heat, a hint of sweetness, and a sticky glaze, these thighs are nothing short of amazing!

With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to explore new grilling recipes because the answer to the nightly question, “What’s for dinner?” is simple—grilled chicken! Pair the chicken with grilled corn, red cabbage coleslaw, and the best peach cobbler for a complete summer feast.

Why This Recipe Works

Chicken Thighs — When it comes to grilling or baking, boneless or bone-in chicken thighs steal the show every time. They’re not just easy to whip up; they’re like flavor sponges that soak up any deliciousness you throw their way.

Marinade Magic — When I concoct a marinade, it’s all about the combo of oils, vinegars, a drizzle of honey, and various sauces. These “wet” heroes, especially the acids, are the secret agents that carry all the savory, sweet, and spicy flavors deep into the chicken, ensuring every bite is as tasty as can be.

Simple Seasoning — With such a powerhouse marinade, the seasoning doesn’t need to be too loud. I go for a hint of pepper, a sprinkle of dried basil, and a touch of ginger powder. Trust me, it’s all you need to make those barbecue chicken thighs even better, whether you’re firing up the grill or opting for the oven.

Overhead, close-up photo of Grilled Chicken Thighs with Brown Sugar Glaze arranged on a serving platter, with grilled asparagus placed next to the chicken thighs.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make your chicken thighs the most delicious ever! The combination of ingredients guarantees juicy, flavorful chicken every time. It works on chicken breasts, too! And wings and drumsticks.

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: Bone-in thighs can also be used, but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time accordingly because bone-in meat takes longer to cook. Chicken (any cut) is done when its internal temperature registers at 165˚F on a meat thermometer.
  • Soy Sauce: I like to use low-sodium soy sauce because I can better control the flavors of the dish. You can also use Tamari for a gluten-free option or coconut aminos for a soy-free and lower-sodium choice.
  • For the Marinade: In this recipe, the marinade, which also acts as a glaze, is made with a blend of ingredients designed to infuse the chicken with layers of flavor. Soy sauce provides the umami foundation, light brown sugar and honey meld together for sweetness, and olive oil ensures an even coating. Apple cider vinegar introduces a tang, complementing the heat from the sriracha hot sauce.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder (or fresh garlic), dried basil, and a hint of ginger powder sneak in some herby and spicy notes, with a dash of fresh ground black pepper to round it all off.

How to Grill Chicken Thighs

Grilling chicken thighs to perfection is easier than you think! Follow my simple steps to achieve juicy, flavorful thighs with a beautiful char every time.

  1. Prep the chicken thighs. First, trim the fat. Excess fat can cause flare-ups when it comes into contact with the grill, so it’s best to trim any large pockets of fat.
  2. Make the marinade. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, oil, vinegar, hot sauce, garlic, basil, ginger, and pepper in a bowl, set aside 1/3 cup of this marinade for later, and douse the chicken with the rest.
  3. Marinate. Marinate the chicken thighs for a minimum of 30 minutes. However, if you can marinate them for up to 4 hours in the fridge, that would be even better!
  4. Prep the grill. Preheat the grill to around 400˚F to 425˚F. Also, oil the grates before you start cooking.
  5. Grill: Figuring out how long to grill chicken thighs can make all the difference in your barbecue game. Place the chicken thighs on the grill grates, aiming to cook them for about 11 to 15 minutes, depending on their size. Don’t forget to use a meat thermometer to ensure they’re just right. While boneless chicken thighs are fully cooked at 165˚F, I like to grill mine a tad longer, until they hit about 170˚F to 175˚F. I’ve found that the dark meat’s texture improves, becoming more tender when it goes slightly beyond the minimum safe temperature.
  6. Oven Method: To make these glazed, bbq chicken thighs in the oven, preheat your oven to 425°F and bake them for about 20 to 25 minutes. Again, use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 165°F to make sure they are fully cooked and safe to eat.
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Brown Sugar Glaze - Juicy, savory-sweet brown sugar glazed chicken thighs grilled to a tender perfection! 

Recipe Tips For Success

  • Marinate: You should soak the chicken in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours to deepen the flavor and tenderize the meat. However, avoid marinating too long as this can start to break down the meat.
  • Preheated Grill: A properly heated grill sears the chicken quickly, locking in juices and flavor.
  • Clean the Grill: Wipe down the grill grates before cooking and brush them with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Dry for Crispy Skin: If your chicken thighs have skin on them, pat them dry before grilling to ensure the skin gets crispy.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: Please use one. Chicken thighs are best enjoyed when cooked to that perfect temperature because they remain juicy and tender, not tough and dry.
  • Let it Rest: Let the chicken rest for 5 to 8 minutes after grilling. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Serving Suggestions

When serving glazed grilled chicken thighs, you’ll want sides that complement their sweet and savory flavors. Consider pairing them with a refreshing tomato and cucumber salad for a cool and crunchy contrast. Rosemary garlic mashed potatoes make for a cozy and creamy addition, while grilled asparagus provides a dang good smoky bite!

For a touch of sweetness, a side of maple roasted carrots would be perfect. Don’t forget warm, crusty bread or naan to soak up the delicious brown sugar glaze. 

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5 from 22 votes

Grilled Chicken Thighs

Give this grilled chicken thighs recipe a try for an easy meal that turns out perfectly juicy and flavorful! The savory, sweet brown sugar glaze is what makes the chicken amazing!
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

For The Chicken

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs,, trimmed

For The Marinade/Glaze

  • cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder
  • fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
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Instructions 

  • Arrange the chicken thighs in a large mixing bowl or baking dish and set aside.
  • Whisk the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, oil, vinegar, hot sauce, garlic, basil, ginger, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  • Reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade mixture for later use; pour the remaining of the marinade over the chicken thighs. Cover and place the chicken thighs in the fridge for 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, brush the grill grates with oil and preheat the grill to medium-high heat; about 400˚F to 425˚F.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade.
  • Place the chicken thighs on the grill over direct heat and cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and grill until the second side is browned, 5 minutes more, or until cooked through and the internal temperature is at least 165˚F.
  • When the chicken is nearly cooked through, brush on the reserved marinade/glaze on both sides of the chicken thighs and continue to cook until done.
  • Remove from grill and set aside, covered, for 5 minutes.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • Marinade: A good marinade adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat. Marinate your chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
  • Trim the Fat: While a bit of fat can help keep the chicken juicy and enhance flavor, too much can cause flare-ups on the grill. Trim off any large pieces of fat before marinating.
  • Cooking Temps: Chicken thighs are best cooked on medium to medium-high heat. Too high, and the outside may burn before the inside is cooked.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer:  Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Glaze at the Right Time: If a glaze contains sugar, like the brown sugar glaze here, always apply it towards the end of cooking. Sugar can burn quickly, and adding it too early might result in a charred exterior.
  • Let it Rest: After grilling, allow your chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moister and more flavorful bite.
  • Storage: If you have any leftover chicken, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 2chicken thighs | Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 214mg | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 625mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2.6mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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62 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    I make this recipe all the time! I follow the recipe exactly as written and the chicken is so tender and just the right amount of flavour. Because it takes such a little amount of time to cook, it’s a perfect weekday meal although it is so easy and tasty that I serve it to guests as well.

    1. Katerina says:

      It’s wonderful to hear you’ve made this recipe a regular part of your meal rotation! Its quick preparation time makes it an ideal choice for busy weekdays, and it’s fantastic that it’s also a hit with your guests. Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. Andrea Potgeter says:

    One of our favorite recipes!

  3. CJ says:

    I just made this, I had the chicken thighs marinating for 24 hours.
    And served it with rice
    Everybody loved it.
    Thanks for sharing
    I think it would be a great idea for a potluck.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great! I’m very glad everyone enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  4. Alexis says:

    Can I bake in the oven instead?

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Absolutely! Make sure to use boneless thighs and cook in a preheated oven at 425˚F for about 35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165F. Half way through cooking, baste the chicken with the liquid.

      1. Amanda says:

        Why can’t you use bone-in chicken ? In the oven ?

  5. Wanda Chaffee says:

    For this recipe could I replace for boneless chicken tenders

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Yes, absolutely, but those will need less time to cook through. If you can, use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. Chicken is done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.

    2. Sharon Royal says:

      This is an amazing g recipe…..hit with kids and adults so yummy!!
      People are asking me for the recipe!

      1. Katerina Petrovska says:

        That’s great! I’m very happy everyone enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂