Basic Grilled Chicken Thighs

The temperature hit 70F here in Vermont today. You know what that means?!

It’s grilling season!

This isn’t so much a recipe as as reminder that grilled chicken thighs (or breasts) are the building block of many awesome meals. Fresh off the grill, this chicken is crisp and garlicky with a satisfying char. Dressed up with seasonings, sauces, and vegetables, the leftovers are so versatile, they’re easily transformed from “basic ingredient” to a meal worthy of licking your plate clean. Use them to throw together Pad Thai, Gado Gado, Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Vietnamese Chicken Salad, or Caesar Salad in a flash. (You could also sub grilled chicken for pork in this Fried Rice recipe! Or make Egg Foo Yong!)

Or enjoy them surrounded by delicious vegetables and drizzled with a luscious sauce, like Lizard Sauce, Spicy Coconut Mayo, or Chimichurri.



Basic Grilled Chicken Thighs

Prep 15 min. | Cook 10 min. | Whole30 compliant

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Preheat a gas grill with all burners on high and the lid closed, about 10 minutes.


Place the chicken pieces on a large platter or baking sheet in a single layer, smooth side facing up. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper. Flip the chicken and season the other side.


When the grill is hot, place the chicken smooth side down on the heated grill and close the lid. Cook 5-6 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 5-6 minutes with the lid closed. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear, and it has turned toasty brown on both sides.

No Grill?

Preheat the oven to 425F. Follow seasoning instructions for grilling then place the chicken in a single layer, smooth side up, on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes until the juices run clear and the tops are well browned.

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  • Frances Caplan says:

    Thanks so much for this Mel! After 30 years of vegetarianism, I am regularly surprised at what basic techniques for preparing meat I do not know!