This perfect grilled chicken thigh recipe is one of our summer staples! The cilantro and lime marinade is quick, simple, and pairs deliciously with all the classic BBQ sides. This easy marinade tenderizes and infuses flavour into the meat, ensuring the grilled chicken thighs are succulent and tender every time.
Whether you want to dry brine and roast a whole chicken, or use your air fryer to turn chicken breasts into satisfying Caprese Chicken for two, there’s a perfect poultry recipe for you on this blog. Check them out by typing ‘chicken’ in the search bar.
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Grilled Chicken Thighs
Chicken is the second most popular animal proteins in the world and one of the most versatile. There are so many ways to cook chicken but today, we’re focusing on this incredibly easy grilled chicken thighs recipe.
I like to keep one or two chicken recipes up my sleeve for those days when I need a tasty dinner with minimal effort. This boneless chicken thighs recipe is especially handy during grilling season. Simple side dishes like fragrant Ginger Rice and smashed cucumber or chopped salad compliment this juicy grilled chicken perfectly.
It takes minutes to prepare the easy marinade before you leave for work in the morning. The chicken marinates in those amazing flavours all day and is ready for grilling when you get home.
Grilled chicken thighs are a healthy, versatile dinner that’s full of flavor. Charred outside and juicy inside, they grill in just 10 minutes. Say goodbye to the 5 o’clock dinner dilemma forever!
Ingredients for Grilled Chicken Thighs
When it comes to flavour, fresh is best! Fresh cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest are the life of this tasty marinade while garlic and chili powder provide the backbone. There is just a hint of sweetness, due to the maple syrup in this well-balanced marinade.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Maple Syrup
- Chili Powder
- Olive Oil
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For this recipe it is easiest to use boneless skinless chicken thighs. This recipe will also work with chicken breast or tenders, however grilled chicken breasts require more attention during grilling and will become dry if over cooked even a little bit. Chicken thighs contain more fat and thus are more forgiving, tender, and juicy.
Pro money saving tip: Buy skin-on bone-in chicken thighs and remove the bone and skin at home… or don’t. Chicken drumsticks are also economical and great for marinating and grilling. However, note that bone in chicken will take more time on the grill and require a bit more attention than boneless cuts.
Fresh limes provide the zest and juice for the marinade while sliced wedges are served with the final dish. When buying fresh limes or other citrus, select fruits that have a hefty weight for their size and a slight give or softness when given a gentle squeeze.
Pro tip: To get the most juice out of limes (or other citrus) try microwaving it for 20-30 seconds, then roll it on the counter under your hand before zesting and juicing.
Feel free to substitute the equivalent amount of honey for the maple syrup and use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder for the best flavour.
How to Make These Grilled Chicken Thighs
The Cilantro Lime Marinade
Wash the cilantro, then dry and roughly chop it (keeping some for the final garnish). Chop the garlic, then zest and juice the limes. Place them in a medium glass mixing bowl then add the maple syrup, garlic, chili powder, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Mix marinade ingredients well then add the chicken thighs and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to marinate for at least one hour and up to 8 hours.
Alternatively, place all the marinade ingredients in a freezer bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag while removing as much air as possible. Place the bag on a plate in the fridge and allow to marinate for the recommended time.
How to Grill Chicken Thighs
To cook marinated chicken thighs, preheat the grill to high heat with the lid closed. Next, remove chicken from the fridge and discard the marinade. Oil grill (if needed) then cook chicken thighs over medium high heat.
Cook for 4 minutes then flip chicken thighs and grill for another 4 minutes. If the chicken is charring too quickly, remove it from direct heat and cook over indirect heat, adjusting cooking time as needed.
Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the largest chicken thigh. Once chicken reaches 165 F internal temperature (take temperature readings from multiple pieces), remove chicken from the grill.
Place chicken thighs on a platter and garnish with lime wedges and reserved chopped cilantro.
How to Grill Tender and Juicy Chicken Thighs
We’ve all been there; hangry and staring at a dinner plate full of dry, rubbery grilled chicken. While this is more likely to happen with chicken breasts than thighs, it is possible to overcook chicken thighs. Instead of reaching for the BBQ sauce, here are a few simple tips to help prevent dry thigh syndrome.
- Congratulations! Using a marinade is the first step in grilling perfectly juicy chicken thighs.
- Preheat your barbecue on high, then reduce the temperature. This allows the grill to be hot enough for the initial sear but not too hot as to overcook the chicken.
- Oil the grill if needed to keep the chicken from sticking to the grill.
- Grill the chicken with the lid closed. This traps the hot air in the barbecue and allows for more even cooking.
- Use a combination of direct and indirect grilling. Sear the thighs for two minutes per side before flipping, then move them to indirect heat.
- Use an instant read thermometer to check chicken temperature. 165 F is the ideal final temperature for all cuts of chicken, thighs included.
- Rest the chicken for a few minutes before slicing.
Hi! I’m Bernice Hill and I’ve been the sole recipe developer, photographer, and writer at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen for the past eleven years. It is my pleasure to share easy to follow recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and approachable for the whole family.
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FOR THE MARINADE
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro
- lime wedges
- Add all the marinade ingredients to a medium glass mixing bowl and mix together well.
- Add the chicken thighs and stir to coat.
- Cover the bowl and place in the fridge to marinate for at least one hour and up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the grill to high heat.
- Oil grill (if needed) then place chicken on the hot grill. Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 4 minutes per side.
- Once chicken reaches 165 F. remove from the grill and arrange on a platter. Serve with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 273mgSodium: 733mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 55g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.