These grilled boneless chicken thighs are quickly marinated in a smoky and zesty marinade before being grilled to perfection. It’s a foolproof 30-minute meal the whole family will love!
Chicken thighs are one of those proteins you can dress with any flavor and cook using any method, whether it’s the air fryer, oven, sous vide, or stovetop, and they’ll always turn out juicy and delicious. Grilling is yet another easy way to cook chicken thighs while infusing deep, smoky flavors into the meat!
In this grilled boneless chicken thighs recipe, you’ll learn how to marinate and grill chicken thighs in less than 30 minutes. It’s a foolproof meal that’s always a hit for family dinners, potlucks, and barbecues.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love these juicy grilled chicken thighs
- Ingredients needed
- How to grill boneless chicken thighs
- Tips to make the best recipe
- Flavor variations
- What to serve with this dish
- Storage instructions
- Recommended tools to make this recipe
- More flavor-packed chicken thigh recipes
- Frequently asked questions
- Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs (Recipe Card)
Why you’ll love these juicy grilled chicken thighs
These grilled boneless chicken thighs take half the time to cook as bone-in, which means that (1) dinner will be on the table faster and (2) you get evenly cooked meat every time.
- A simple grilling recipe. Need an easy dinner for tonight? Looking for another juicy meat to serve at the barbecue? Make these grilled chicken thighs! They’re easy to prepare and will always please a crowd, no matter the occasion.
- Zesty, smoky marinade. The boneless chicken thigh marinade is made from a mix of lime juice, olive oil, smoked paprika, and cumin to give the meat layers of irresistible flavors.
- An easy 30-minute meal. Like grilled tenderloin, from marinating to grilling to serving, this recipe is ready in 30 minutes flat!
The star of the meal, boneless chicken thighs, are packed with flavor thanks to an easy marinade made from a handful of ingredients. This is what you need:
- Boneless chicken thighs. Without the bone, chicken thighs grill much faster! Use the skin-on variety if you love crispy, crunchy skin.
- Lime juice. Acid is a key component in chicken marinade recipes because it balances the other flavors and breaks down the meat fibers.
- Olive oil. To tenderize the chicken and prevent it from sticking to the grill grates.
- Dry spices. Cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
How to grill boneless chicken thighs
This is a foolproof recipe that’s done in 3 simple steps:
Make the marinade. Stir the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and smoked paprika together in a bowl.
Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken into a shallow dish or large ziplock bag and pour the marinade over top. Massage the marinade into the chicken thighs, then set aside to allow the flavors to soak into the meat.
Grill. Take the chicken thighs out of the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Transfer the thighs to a hot grill, skin-side down, and grill until they’re cooked through.
Rest, then serve. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Let the chicken thighs come down to room temperature before grilling. This way, they’ll cook evenly.
- Before grilling, shake off the excess marinade from the chicken but DO NOT pat the chicken dry. This helps the skin get crispy on the outside while the inside stays juicy.
- If you only marinated the chicken for 30 minutes or less, baste the excess over the chicken thighs as they grill to infuse them with more flavor and moisture.
- You’ll know the thighs are cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
The best way to customize this recipe is by playing with the marinade. Check out these ideas for inspiration:
- 4-ingredient chicken marinade: A savory, tangy blend of garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, and thyme.
- Honey soy marinade: It’s salty, tangy, and subtly sweet.
- Greek chicken: Marinate the thighs in a mix of oil, garlic, lemon juice, and dried oregano.
- Spicy chicken marinade. Kick up the heat by stirring in red chili flakes, cayenne, or harissa paste into the marinade (or slathering hot honey sauce!).
Alternatively, use a dry rub to add flavor to the thighs instead of marinating. Use the smoky chicken dry rub from my smoked chicken wings recipe, then baste the thighs with barbeque sauce as they grill to prevent them from drying out.
What to serve with this dish
One of the best ways to serve these zesty chicken thighs is over a bed of cilantro lime rice with black beans, sauteed veggies, and salsa for a burrito or taco bowl. For a lighter option, swap the rice for cauliflower rice or leafy greens.
Or make them the star of the show by serving the chicken thighs as a main dish paired with all kinds of side dishes. They go well with air fryer asparagus, curly fries, corn on the cob, potato wedges, grilled sweet potatoes, sauteed brussels sprouts, potato salad, roasted cauliflower, and more.
To store: After they cool, store the leftover grilled chicken thighs in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
To reheat: To prevent them from drying out, wrap the thighs loosely in foil and reheat them in a 325ºF oven until warmed through (about 15 minutes).
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Large shallow dish or gallon-size ziplock bag. To hold the chicken and marinade.
- Grill. You can use an electric, gas, or charcoal grill, or a grill pan on the stove.
- Meat thermometer. To ensure the chicken thighs are cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
More flavor-packed chicken thigh recipes
- Peri Peri Chicken
- Pollo Asado
- Keto Chicken Soup
- Slow Roasted Persian Chicken
- Oven Fried Chicken Thighs
- Baked chicken leg quarters
Frequently asked questions
The chicken should be left to soak in the marinade for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you have more time, feel free to let them marinate for a maximum of 12 hours instead.
The marinated chicken thighs will only take between 10 to 12 minutes (5 to 6 minutes per side) to grill.
I don’t recommend it because of how easily raw chicken can spread harmful bacteria. The only way to reuse chicken marinade, as the USDA recommends, is to boil it for at least 5 minutes. This thickens the consistency, making it better used as a baste.
Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs
- In a bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Stir well to create a marinade.
- Place the boneless chicken thighs in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are fully coated. Let the chicken marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to four hours.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off.
- Place the chicken thighs on the preheated grill, skin side down if using skin-on thighs. Cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when measured with a meat thermometer.
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