These grilled chicken thighs are coated in a zesty cilantro lime marinade, then cooked until golden brown. This grilled chicken recipe comes out juicy, tender and flavorful every time!

I’m all about grilling these days, and every weekend I cook up a batch of grilled vegetables and grilled chicken, like lemon garlic chicken breasts or these cilantro lime chicken thighs.

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Sliced grilled chicken thighs with cilantro and lime flavoring.

When it comes to cooking on the grill, I often turn to a flavorful marinade to make my chicken extra delicious. These grilled chicken thighs feature a super easy marinade which takes just minutes to put together. Cook your chicken on a charcoal grill or indoor grill pan, then watch the rave reviews pour in!

How do you make grilled chicken thighs?

The star of this recipe is the cilantro and lime marinade. First make the marinade which features the flavors of soy sauce, brown sugar, cilantro and lime. Place your chicken thighs in a large resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Once the chicken is infused with flavor, grill up the chicken until cooked through. Let the chicken rest a bit after grilling, then slice and serve with a little cilantro for a garnish.

Chicken thighs in a bowl of marinade.

Tips for grilled chicken thighs

  • Choose chicken thighs that are all about the same size and shape so that they’ll cook evenly.
  • You can use chicken breasts instead of thighs if you prefer. Just be sure not to overcook your chicken breasts as they tend to dry out quicker than chicken thighs.
  • The marinade can be made up to 8 hours before you plan to use it.
  • You can serve your grilled chicken thighs over potatoes or rice, or make a double batch and use the leftovers in other recipes. I like to add diced grilled chicken to salads, pasta dishes and tacos.
  • This chicken will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days, which makes it great for meal prep.
  • It’s best to cook your chicken thighs over medium heat, as you don’t want the exterior to burn before the inside is cooked all the way through.

Chicken thighs cooked on a grill pan.

How long does it take to grill a chicken thigh?

You can grill chicken thighs on medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side. Cook times will vary depending on the size of your thighs. A smaller chicken thigh can cook in as little as 5 minutes per side, and a large thigh will take 8 minutes per side or possibly longer.

Grilled chicken thighs with a garnish of cilantro and lime wedges.

How do you know when chicken is done?

The best way to tell that chicken is done is by using a cooking thermometer. You want to insert the probe of the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. The meat should reach 165 degrees F to be sure that it is cooked through. If you don’t have a thermometer, cook your chicken on medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side. When you cut into the chicken the center should firm and not rubbery. When cut, the juices in the chicken should be clear and not pink. If the chicken is rubbery or has pink juices cook it a little longer.

Sliced chicken thighs served with tomato salad.

The marinade in this recipe infuses chicken with a wonderful sweet and savory cilantro lime flavor which is enhanced by grilling. You’ll find yourself making this chicken every week during the warmer months!

More fabulous grilling recipes

5 from 27 votes

Grilled Chicken Thighs

AuthorSara Welch
Sliced grilled chicken thighs with cilantro and lime flavoring.
These grilled chicken thighs are coated in a zesty cilantro lime marinade, then cooked until golden brown. This grilled chicken recipe comes out juicy, tender and flavorful every time!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Marinating Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Serves 6


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic


  • Place the chicken thighs in a bowl or resealable gallon sized bag.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken. Marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
  • Heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium. Add the chicken in a single layer.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes per side, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F.
  • Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with additional cilantro for garnish, then slice and serve.


Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 757mg | Potassium: 582mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 2.7mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1.8mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. We are huge cilantro fans, and this was the best recipe! Already planning to make it again next week!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh yum! I am loving the cilantro lime marinade and that these are grilled to perfection. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe.

  3. The marinade recipe is delicious. The lemon flavor and the grilled chicken looks yummy. Perfect recipe for a party platter option.

  4. 5 stars
    Outstanding flavor, super easy to make, and everyone loved them! Thanks so much for this keeper recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Talk about FLAVOR!!! Like WOAH!!! I loved this recipe so much and it will be on my regular summer meal rotation! Thank you!

  6. So excited to make this! I only have bone-in chicken thighs though. Will this recipe still work? What adjustments do I need to make?

    1. Yes you’ll just need to cook them longer, and cook over indirect heat so that the outside doesn’t burn before the inside has a chance to cook through.

  7. 5 stars
    We enjoyed this chicken recipe. I used chicken thighs with bones and skin . As I don’t have a grill, I baked for about 20 minutes at 450. The skin was crispy and the chicken was moist. Thank you.

  8. 5 stars
    I love love love this marinade. I’ve made it numerous times in the past 2 months, and it’s delicious. I usually leave out the cilantro because I don’t have it on hand, and it’s still good.

  9. 5 stars
    We made this last night and it was SO GOOD!!!! We will definitely using this as our go to thigh recipe!