Favorite Grilled Chicken Thigh Marinade (Quick & Easy)

There is nothing easier in the summertime than grilling! Marinate some meat and veggies, light up the grill, and in 20 minutes or so, you have dinner! Today I’m sharing this super easy grilled chicken thigh marinade.

Since summer is busy for us all and we don’t want to be wasting time inside in the kitchen, this recipe is short and sweet. Minimal ingredients and prep. You can either use your grill or a grill pan. If you don’t have either, you can pan fry or bake in the oven.

It is so good and makes a great protein for BBQs, picnics, or get-togethers. Serve it with some veggies and carbs for a nice balanced meal, top it on a salad, use it in a power bowl, or just eat it plain if you like. It works great for meal prep too!

Close up of a grilled chicken thigh surrounded by more chicken thighs.

Why we love this grilled chicken thigh marinade

  • so flavorful! – the combo of coconut aminos + spices gives you the perfect sweet and spicy flavor. The chicken gets a perfect char with crispy edges while remaining juicy and tender.
  • just 5 ingredients
  • versatile – use it from tacos, in a power bowl, on salads, sliced in sandwiches, or just as a quick protein option paired with some carbs, veggies, and fat for a complete meal.
  • makes a ton – we are using 3 pounds of chicken with this marinade (you can adjust down if desired). Perfect to prep at the beginning of the week to have on hand.

Marinade ingredients

  • chicken thighs
  • coconut aminos
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • ground ginger
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
Overhead shot of a package of raw chicken thighs, bowl of olive oil, bowl of ground ginger, bowl of garlic powder, bowl of salt and pepper, jar of coconut aminos, and a bowl of red pepper flakes.

How to make grilled chicken thigh marinade

  1. Make the marinade. Add the coconut aminos, olive oil, garlic powder, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a small bowl or jar and mix well to combine.
  2. Marinate your chicken. Add chicken to a large baking dish or plastic bag and pour over marinate. Mix well to combine. If desired you can turn/mix chicken every few hours to ensure coating. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.
  3. Grill. Heat grill to medium-high heat (around 400-450 degrees). Once hot, place chicken close to direct heat and grill for 6-8 minutes. Flip and move to indirect heat (not directly over fire/coals) and cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on how thick your thighs are, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Enjoy! Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!

How do you marinate chicken thighs?

To marinate chicken thighs, simply add all marinade ingredients to a small bowl or jar and mix well to combine. Then add to a large glass baking dish or plastic bag and with the chicken and mix well to combine. If desired you can turn/mix chicken every few hours to ensure coating.

How long should you marinate chicken thighs?

Depending on the marinate, you can marinate chicken anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The longer the marinating time, the more flavor the chicken will have. If you have a marinade with a lot of citrus in it, it is best to only marinate for 30 minutes up to 2 hours as the citrus can break down the chicken and change the texture.

I suggest marinating for at least 2 hours, but around 8 hours if you can, for this recipe for the best flavor!

Overhead shot of chicken thighs in a baking dish marinating.

How long do I grill chicken thighs?

Boneless skinless chicken thighs take about 10-20 minutes to grill at 400-450 degrees. Place chicken close to direct heat and grill for 6-8 minutes. Once grill marks have formed, flip and move to indirect heat (not directly over fire/coals) and cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on how thick your thighs are, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Placing a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken can help to tell when the chicken is done. The time can vary depending on the size of your chicken and how hot your grill is. Bone-in thighs can take longer to grill.

Can I use chicken breasts?

Yes, chicken breasts will work the same, they just won’t get the same charred bits as chicken thighs do.

Close up of a grilled chicken thigh on the grill.

What if I don’t have a grill?

If you don’t have a grill, this marinade still works great.

  • bake – preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 35-45 minutes until cooked through.
  • stovetop – heat up a large cast-iron with 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add thighs and fry for 5-6 minutes until the bottom is golden brown and you can easily flip the chicken. Flip and cook for another 8-10 minutes (or longer), depending on how thick your thighs are, until cooked through and the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

What to serve with grilled chicken

The reason I love this recipe so much is the chicken is so versatile and goes with so many sides. Here are some of my favorites:

Storage

  • refrigerator – store chicken in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • freezer – cook according to directions and let the chicken cool completely. Add to a bag (we love these silicon reusable ones) or a freezer dish – you can use a large container or freeze in individual servings. Defrost for a quick and easy protein option. Chicken should last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Plate of two grilled chicken thighs, sweet potato fries, and a salad.

Substitutions

  • chicken thighs – I like boneless and skinless chicken thighs, but bone-in will also work. Chicken breasts will also work.
  • coconut aminos – low sodium soy sauce or tamari will work instead, it will just change the flavor a bit. If using soy sauce, the recipe will not be gluten-free. Do not use liquid aminos as they are way too salty.
  • olive oil – any kind of neutral-tasting oil will work.
  • garlic powder and ground ginger – I like using ground spices as it distributes in the marinate more. You can use fresh garlic cloves and freshly grated ginger if desired – use 2 tablespoons.

More healthy grilled chicken recipes

If you love quick and easy healthy recipes, check out our free 30-Minute Meals Recipe Book!

Overhead shot of grilled marinated chicken thighs on a baking sheet.
Overhead shot of grilled marinated chicken thighs on a baking sheet.
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Grilled Chicken Thigh Marinade

Easy grilled chicken thigh marinade combines coconut aminos, olive oil, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper for a naturally sweet and spicy flavor. Super versatile and goes with just about any side dish. Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken thigh marinade for grilling, chicken thigh marinade grill, grilled chicken thighs marinade
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 278kcal
Author Kelly

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Make the marinade. Add the coconut aminos, olive oil, garlic powder, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a small bowl or jar and mix well to combine.
  • Marinate your chicken. Add chicken to a large baking dish or plastic bag and pour over marinate. Mix well to combine. If desired you can turn/mix chicken every few hours to ensure coating. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.
  • Grill. Heat grill to medium-high heat (around 400-450 degrees). Once hot, place chicken close to direct heat and grill for 6-8 minutes. Flip and move to indirect heat (not directly over fire/coals) and cook for another 5-10 minutes depending on how thick your thighs are, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy! Serve with your favorite side dishes and enjoy!

Notes

nutrition will depend on how fatty your chicken thighs are. Only 1/2 of the marinate is included in the nutrition since 1/2 of it is discarded.

Nutrition

Serving: 3.75ounces cooked | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.7g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 13.8g | Saturated Fat: 3.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.2g | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 3.2g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1.9mg

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Favorite Grilled Chicken Thigh Marinade (Quick & Easy)