Easy Grilled Chicken Thighs

This recipe for grilled chicken thighs makes any weeknight dinner an easy one to prepare without compromising on that great BBQ flavor.

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A white oval platter with BBQ grilled chicken thighs and red onion, next to a green and white napkin with large fork.

Grilled Chicken Thighs Made Easy

I am a lover of dark meat on chicken. I find the moisture and flavor of chicken thighs preferable over chicken breast, but having said that, you can absolutely substitute chicken breast in this recipe for easy grilled chicken thighs if you are in the opposite camp to me. To each their own! Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or simply craving a delicious weeknight dinner, keeping your grilled chicken juicy and tender while ensuring it is properly cooked is the goal. It’s not hard – let me show you how easily you can cook grilled chicken thighs, providing a few tips and tricks to ensure a scrumptious outcome. If you’re grilling chicken breast, the same rules apply. Just adjust your timing to the size of the chicken breasts you are grilling and make sure they register at least 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.

Chicken thighs seasoned with a spice rub on a plate with various seasonings around it.

Marinate or Season

Marinating chicken thighs before grilling is a good start, infusing them with depth and complexity of flavor, but that requires forethought which doesn’t come naturally to many of us. A quick and easy way around this is to put a dry rub on the chicken thighs. Combine the spices in a small bowl and rub them all over the chicken thighs. Then, let them sit at room temperature for as long as it takes you to make the enhanced BBQ sauce – about 15 minutes. Of course, you can leave them for longer, but we’re trying to keep this easy.

Ingredients for a BBQ sauce on a butcher block next to a small saucepan with whisk and basting brush.

Quick and Easy BBQ Sauce Hack

You can simply use your favorite BBQ sauce if you like, but I like to doctor mine up with a little something to make it my own. Adding some apricot preserves for sweetness and a little soy sauce for seasoning enhances the BBQ sauce, giving it a nice sweet-salty tang. Just combine these ingredients in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil, simmering for a few minutes. 

Looking down on chicken thighs and red onions cooking on an indoor grill with a small saucepan, whisk and basting brush next to it.

The Key to Even Cooking

Achieving evenly grilled chicken thighs starts with proper preheating and preparation. Ensure that your grill is preheated to medium-high heat, whether it is an indoor electric grill or an outdoor gas or charcoal grill, allowing the grates to get hot before placing the chicken thighs on them. If you’re outdoors, you should only be able to hold your hand about 2 inches above the grill for 2-3 seconds before you want to pull it away. If it’s an indoor grill you are using, pre-heat it at its highest setting for about 10 minutes. A hot grill helps create those appetizing grill marks and prevents sticking. 

BBQ Chicken Thighs and red onion cooking on an indoor grill pan.

Time and Temperature Balance for Grilled Chicken Thighs

Timing and temperature are crucial elements in grilling chicken thighs to perfection. Once you’ve started by searing the chicken thighs on the hottest part of the grill for a few minutes on each side, brush the BBQ sauce on both sides and move them to a cooler part of the grill (or lower the heat on your electric gill). Continue cooking until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (74°C) on an instant read thermometer. Set them aside and tent with foil to rest – the temperature should rise at least another 5˚F while they are resting. 

A white dinner plate with BBQ chicken thigh, corn on the cob and coleslaw, next to a green and white napkin and place setting.

What to Serve with BBQ Grilled Chicken Thighs

There are any number of great BBQ side dishes out there that compliment these easy grilled chicken thighs. Some ideas… coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, or perhaps this grilled corn and zucchini salad with Parmesan, a summer orzo salad, a peach caprese salad, or this cool cucumber slaw would fit the bill for you.

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Easy Grilled Chicken Thighs

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 22 m
  • Total Time: 37 m
  • Servings:


  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  • pounds bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup apricot preserves


  1. Make the spice mix by combining the paprika, dry mustard, dried thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Rub the spice mix on both sides of the chicken pieces. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes to absorb the spices.
  3. In a small saucepan, whisk together the BBQ sauce, soy sauce and apricot preserves. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Set the sauce aside.
  4. Pre-heat your indoor or outdoor grill to medium heat (about 375°F). Place the chicken, skin side down, on the grill over direct heat and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Then brush the sauce on the chicken and move it to indirect heat on your outdoor grill and close the grill lid. If using an indoor electric grill, lower the heat to 350˚F and close the lid (if you have one). Cook for another 10 to 12 minutes, until the chicken reaches and internal temperature of 160°F on an instant read thermometer.
  5. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, loosely tented with foil and then serve with more BBQ sauce at the table if you like.
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Comments (2)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    Can I try the following Garlic Dressing as a dipping sauce with this dish?
    Or, Please suggest me a perfect dipping sauce.

    1. These chicken thighs are tasty all on their own, but you certainly can serve your chicken with any sauce or dressing you like. The chicken does have a mild flavor, so a garlic dressing should be a nice accompaniment to the dish.

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