Lemongrass Chicken

4.85 from 26 votes
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This spicy, citrusy, garlicky Lemongrass Chicken is one for the books! Succulent chicken thighs are marinated in a homemade lemongrass sauce and grilled to charred, juicy perfection.

Lemongrass chicken on a grill pan.


There’s nothing quite like tender, juicy chicken thighs fresh off the grill, especially when they’ve been marinaded in a flavorful sauce first. And boy, oh boy, is the marinade for this recipe just that. Loaded with fresh lemongrass, lime juice, chili sauce, garlic, and more, it makes its way into the tender meat of the chicken over 2 hours of marinating time.

Then the chicken is grilled to succulent perfection with just the right amount of char. With every bite, the citrusy, spicy, garlicky flavor of the marinade gushes out over your taste buds. It’s insanely good! Serve yours with sliced red chili pepper, chopped fresh cilantro, and/or a couple of lime wedges. You won’t be sorry.

Why You’ll Love Lemongrass Chicken

  • Such a flavorful marinade. Garlicky, citrusy, and just the right amount of spicy with a hint of sweetness, this lemongrass marinade is one for the books. It sinks into every nook and cranny of the chicken, making for incredibly flavorful bites, much like a peri peri chicken recipe.
  • Juicy chicken. I love cooking chicken thighs on the grill. The marinade does a great job of tenderizing the meat, and then the grill gives the meat a perfectly charred outside and gloriously juicy inside. Is your mouth watering yet?
  • Approachable. This recipe helps make Vietnamese cuisine super approachable for the home chef. With easy-to-find ingredients, simple instructions, and minimal active time, it’s easy to get it right. You’ll have your loved ones thinking they just hopped off a plane in Ho Chi Minh City.
Marinading lemongrass chicken.

Ingredient Notes

Here’s what you’ll need to turn this lemongrass chicken recipe into a flavorful reality. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for exact measurements.

For the lemongrass marinade

  • Lemongrass – You’ll want to grab whole stocks from the market and chop them, You’ll only need the bottom white parts. You can discard the rest.
  • Shallot – Red onion would work here as well.
  • Garlic – I highly recommend using fresh garlic as opposed to something like garlic powder.
  • Fresh lime juice – I mean it when I say fresh. The stuff from the bottle just won’t deliver the same bright flavor.
  • Chili sauce – I used plain ol’ chili sauce, but you could use sweet chili sauce instead if you’re less into spicy food. Maybe leave out the sugar, though.
  • Olive oil – Avocado oil or another neutral cooking oil will also do the trick.
  • Soy sauce – I recommend using low-sodium soy sauce. It will allow you more control over the flavor of the finished product.
  • Granulated sugar – The sugar adds a subtle sweetness to the marinade that balances the savory, citrusy feel of the dish nicely.
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – Boneless skinless chicken thighs would also work. You’ll have to grill them for a little longer, though. Same with bone-on, skin on breasts or thighs.
  • Optional garnishes – Red chili pepper (sliced into thin rings), chopped fresh cilantro, and lime wedges for serving.

What is Lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a tropical plant native to Asia that grows in stalks. It’s a super popular ingredient in dishes from Southeast Asia in particular. Think curries, soups, and marinades (like this one!). It has a fresh, citrusy taste and smell, similar to lime but with a little something else. Ginger, maybe. You can find it in the produce section of most Asian markets and more and more commonly in mainstream grocery stores.

Closeup image of grilled lemongrass chicken.

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Fresh ingredients. You can buy jarred lemongrass, bottled lime juice, or garlic powder. But none of it will be quite the same so the fresh, real deal stuff. So grab those fresh limes and whole stocks of lemongrass. Peel a couple of garlic cloves. Sure, it’s a little extra work, but you’ll get a much more vibrant, authentic flavor profile.
  • Don’t skimp on marinade time. You took the time to make your own marinade. You might as well let it do its work on the chicken. So let the two sit together for at least 2 hours before grilling the chicken if you want the flavors to really sink into the meat.
  • Let it rest. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. The juices will redistribute throughout the meat, making for much more flavorful, juicy bites.
  • Consider a different protein. This marinade is not chicken specific! You can totally use it to marinate pork, beef, shrimp, or even tofu! If you go the shrimp route, you’ll only want to let the seafood marinate for 15 minutes or so.
  • No grill? No problem. If you don’t have a grill (or just don’t want to fire it up), you can cook this chicken on a grill pan over medium-high heat for 4 minutes per side. You could also roast it at 425°F for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
Sliced lemongrass chicken on a grill pan.

What to Serve with Lemongrass Chicken

My favorite way to serve this lemongrass chicken is with a bowl of steamed white rice and a side of this Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad. You could also enjoy it alongside a bowl of Instant Pot Chicken Pho. I recommend leaving the chicken out of the pho itself and slicing and serving this lemongrass chicken on top.

Storing & Reheating Extras

  • Refrigerator. Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, seal it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. It will keep for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer. Allow the chicken to cool completely before sealing any leftovers in an airtight container. You can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let the chicken thaw in the fridge before reheating.
  • To reheat. Arrange the leftovers in a single layer in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Otherwise, microwave a chicken thigh or two in 30-second intervals until warm.
Lemongrass chicken on a grill pan with lime slices and chilis.

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4.85 from 26 votes

Lemongrass Grilled Chicken

Spicy and SO delicious lemongrass-marinated chicken grilled to a juicy and tender perfection!
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


For The Lemongrass Marinade

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, chopped, bottom white part only 
  • ½ small shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

For The Chicken

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup lemongrass marinade
  • red chili pepper, sliced into thin rings, for garnish, optional
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • lime wedges, for serving
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For the Lemongrass Marinade

  • Process. In a small food processor or blender, process the lemongrass, garlic, lime juice, and chili sauce until it turns into a paste.
  • Blend. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until incorporated. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more oil and process until smooth.

For The Chicken

  • Marinate. Place the chicken thighs and 1 cup of the marinade in a large ziploc bag. Close the Ziploc bag and massage the marinade around the chicken. Place in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • Preheat. When ready to grill, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high.
  • Cook. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the bag and the remaining marinade. Transfer the chicken thighs to the grill and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. The chicken is done when its internal temperature registers at 165˚F on a meat thermometer.
  • Rest. Remove from grill and let rest about 5 minutes.
  • Serve. Garnish with chilies and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
  • Grill pan instructions. If cooking on a grill pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked.


The marinade recipe yields enough marinade for 1.5 to 2 pounds of meat.


Serving: 2chicken thighs | Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 499mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1.6mg

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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4.85 from 26 votes

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Recipe Rating:


  1. Johnson Bostrom says:

    Thanks for sharing such a fantastic recipe. i really appreciate.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I am very happy you enjoyed this recipe! Thank YOU! 🙂

  2. Mark says:

    This is Wonderful <3

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! 🙂

  3. LenaB says:

    I enjoy suggestions from others who’ve tried something new – like this marinade – so I’d make the dish you featured here to start! After tasting it with that, I’d probably try it with some shrimp or white fish – baked or grilled.

  4. Melissa Carson says:

    I would use a combo of chicken and shrimp. Marinade the protein in the sauce and then cook them on skewers along with some colorful veggies. Nummmmmy

  5. Darcy Robertson says:

    Since I can’t have red meat anymore, it sounds good on chicken,pork and vegetables. I would put in rice and some potato dishes. This will spice up my boring recipes. Can’t wait to use. I’m so excited. Going to Ralphs today. Yea. Thank you for the new recipe. We will try for Father’s day.

  6. Jane says:

    Would be delicious on jumbo shrimp, marinated and skewered with red, yellow and green peppers and pineapple chunks, all brushed with the marinade while grilling.

  7. Chanelle Bermudez says:

    I would use it on homemade cielito lindo, enchiladas, roasted chicken or even soup for my love for spice!!

  8. Melanie huttner says:

    Definitely a shrimp dish!

  9. DealinDiva says:

    I would use this as a marinade for my oxtails.

  10. Jodi Hunter says:

    This sounds like it would be amazing on lamb.