This chicken thigh marinade is a savory blend of fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, lemon and seasonings. The marinade can be used for grilled, broiled or baked chicken thighs with perfect results every time!
I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to prepare chicken thighs. Some of my family’s favorite recipes include chicken adobo, Moroccan chicken, chicken shawarma and chicken that’s been coated in this simple and flavorful marinade.
I happen to love chicken thighs – they’re inexpensive, flavorful and are much more tender and juicy than chicken breasts. This chicken thigh marinade brings out the best in this cut of meat, and best of all it takes just minutes to put together.
How do you make chicken thigh marinade?
Whisk together a mixture of olive oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, lemon zest, garlic and herbs in a large bowl. Add the chicken thighs and spoon the marinade over the top. Cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat, remove the chicken from the marinade, then grill, broil or bake it.
How long can you marinate chicken thighs?
You should marinate your chicken for a minimum of 1 hour, and a maximum of 24 hours. If you go over 24 hours, the texture of the meat may change and become softer.
Tips for the perfect marinade
- This marinade can be made up to 3 days before you plan to use it. The olive oil in the marinade may solidify if stored in the fridge for an extended period of time. Simply let the marinade sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes and the olive oil will liquefy again.
- If you’re using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you really can use any cooking method including grilling, sauteeing or baking in the oven. For bone-in chicken thighs, I recommend cooking in the oven for more even heating and air circulation since this cut of meat takes longer to cook.
- No chicken thighs on hand? You can use another cut of chicken for this marinade such as boneless skinless breasts, chicken tenders, or even chicken drumsticks.
- This marinade contains sugar which adds great flavor, but can easily burn if you’re grilling your chicken. Be sure to grill your chicken over medium heat or use an indirect heat grilling method.
How long does it take to cook chicken thighs?
Boneless skinless chicken thighs will cook in about 6-7 minutes per side on the grill or in a pan on the stove. You can bake boneless skinless thighs at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs will bake at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes. You can also use a meat thermometer to gauge when your chicken is done. The chicken should register at least 165 degrees F to be safe to eat.
Chicken Thigh Marinade Flavor Variations
- Spice Lover’s: Like a little heat? Add crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste.
- Herb Lover’s: Add additional tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs such as chives, rosemary, sage, basil or dill.
- Asian Style: Use a blend of olive oil, toasted sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, fresh ginger, green onions and garlic.
- Mexican: Use the chicken marinade from my burrito bowl recipe.
Once you try this marinade, you’ll find yourself using it on a regular basis! It’s a great way to turn plain old chicken into something extraordinary.
More chicken recipes to try
Chicken Thigh Marinade Video
Chicken Thigh Marinade
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Add 2 pounds of chicken thighs to the bowl and spoon the marinade over the top.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook as desired.