The Best Grilled Chicken Thighs Marinade – chicken marinated in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, mustard, and brown sugar. Sweet and tangy in every bite!
In this house, we have probably cooked chicken just about every way possible with many, many seasoning combinations. Having a quick and easy recipe for grilled chicken is essential and this recipe is a keeper because it uses ingredients you are nearly certain to have on hand and it’s delicious!
You can definitely make this with grilled chicken breasts, legs, or even a whole rotisserie chicken. I generally love to cook chicken thighs on the grill with this marinade. It’s smokey, tangy, and a tiny bit sweet which goes great with the chicken thighs. They are still boneless and skinless and the flavor soaks all the way through.
This grilled chicken thighs marinade is a homemade seasoning and flavor blend so every bite is as flavorful as it is juicy. The marinade is a blend of balsamic, basil, brown sugar, and garlic. Yum!
This chicken goes perfectly with southern comfort food side items like macaroni and cheese, Green Beans, or a caprese salad. If you want something lighter, a simple side salad with balsamic vinaigrette suits it perfectly.
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How to Grill Chicken Thighs
- Make sure your chicken is mostly even in thickness. You don’t need to pound thighs, but I generally lay them out flat before marinading.
- Marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight (you can do less time but it won’t brine or seep as well into the chicken)
- Cook chicken on medium heat for 6-7 minutes on each side.
- Let the chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Frequently asked questions:
According to FDA Guidelines, the safe minimum internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees.
If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, you can always do a little cut into the middle to check that it’s just about opaque in the center. With bone-in pieces, if you insert a small knife to the bone and juices run clear, you are good. If they are still pink, let it go a little longer. Chicken thickness and different grills can have hot spots or more direct heat in places, so a universal cooking time is hard to pin down.
This really helpful Guide to Grill Hacks and Cooking Temperatures is super handy for all your grilling needs (and has some fun tricks). There are even some more great marinade recipes included.
The funny thing was that I over cooked our chicken on the grill for years until my husband taught me a better way. Because we use ½-3/4 inch thick chicken, you can tell the texture changes in cooked vs raw meat. It’s very similar to the palm test used for steaks. After a few times of paying attention to the firmness of chicken on the grill, you can get the hang of it quick and never overcook your grilled meats again! We grill on a medium temperature for gas or charcoal.
Serve: You can keep cooked chicken at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be refrigerated.
Refrigerate: Cooked can be kept in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil or in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Don’t cut up the meat until ready to reheat.
Freeze: Cool your chicken to room temperature, and place in a freezer or foodsaver bag to minimize freezer burn. Freeze for up to 4 months. You can pre-cut this for salads and sandwiches to reduce thaw time.
Make sure your chicken is mostly even in thickness. We use a meat tenderizer to about ½-3/4 inch thick. Thicker will keep the natural juices in, but thinner will cook more evenly and capture more marinade.
Marinate in container for at least 2 hours or overnight (you can do less time but the chicken won’t brine or seep as deeply).
Cook chicken on medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.
Let the chicken breasts rest for 5 minutes before serving.
More Great Chicken Recipes
- Honey Teriyaki Chicken Kebabs
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Blackened Chicken Recipe
- Oven Baked Chicken and Rice
Grilled Chicken Marinade
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup soy sauce reduced sodium
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh basil 2 tsp if using dried
- 2 tbsp mustard yellow is fine. If using dijon, use 1 tbsp less
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 2.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts
- Whisk together all marinade ingredients.
- Make sure chicken is all relatively the same thickness. Pound out with a meat mallet if necessary.
- Place chicken in a gallon Ziplock bag. Pour the marinade over chicken.
- Seal bag and marinade 2 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
- Grill over medium heat until done, 12 to 15 minutes.
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