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Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs

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Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs will be your new favorite main dish! The easy marinade infuses the chicken with incredible flavor and you’ll want to double the recipe to have leftovers all week long

overhead shot of finished grilled chicken on a white platter with limes and cilantro garnish

It’s no secret that I am a die-hard dark meat girl. My parents never cooked with white meat, and the times I had it at restaurants it was always way too dry.

My one white meat recipe on the blog is my Citrus Marinated Grilled Chicken Sandwich. And the key to the tender deliciousness is the simple, yet very flavorful marinade.

I recently made Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing and only made a small batch, so I had a half a can left. I didn’t want the rest of the milk to go bad, so I put on my creative cap and created Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • The marinade comes together in minutes.
  • The marinade makes the chicken so tender
  • You can easily adjust the marinade ingredients to your taste.

I have this thing where I dance around the kitchen when I hit the jackpot with a recipe. Yep, I definitely did that dance after one bite of Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs!

close up shot of grilled chicken on a white plate with cilantro garnish

MARINADE FOR GRILLED THAI CHICKEN THIGHS

The marinade is so easy and flavorful, and I literally made it up as I searched the fridge and pantry.

Coconut Milk is the base and works just like buttermilk to tenderize the chicken. I use full fat coconut milk because that’s what I have in the pantry, but you could certainly substitute light coconut milk.

Sesame Oil is powerful, and a little goes a long way. This is the one time I’m generous with sesame oil because the coconut milk balances it out.

Fish Sauce adds a strong earthy flavor, and I highly recommend it for the marinade.

Fresh ginger, garlic, and cilantro are critical. I roughly chop all three, and toss them in the marinade. I am very generous with the cilantro because I love it.

Chili paste adds great heat and I use Sambal Hot Chili Paste. You could also substitute Sriracha or your favorite chili paste.

I add just a little Low Sodium Soy Sauce for one more layer of flavor.

PREPARING THE CHICKEN

I originally did this recipe with frozen chicken only. But if you have fresh chicken, the only difference is the marinating time.

FROZEN CHICKEN: marinate at least 8 hours until thawed, up to overnight.

FRESH CHICKEN: marinate 4-8 hours.

Skin or no skin? I marinate and cook Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs with the skin on. And then it’s very easy to remove the skin before eating.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Add all marinade ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.

overhead process shot: marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl

Pour marinade into a Ziploc bag. Add chicken, press the air out of the bag, and seal. Massage the marinade into the chicken and place the bag in the fridge.

FRESH CHICKEN: marinate for 4-8 hours

FROZEN CHICKEN: marinate at least 8 hours, until thawed

overhead process shot: of marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl

Remove the chicken from the fridge right before heating the grill. Using tongs, remove chicken from the bag and place on a platter. DON’T THROW AWAY THE MARINADE!

Preheat the grill to 350°. Spray grill grates lightly with oil or cooking spray. Place chicken skin side down on the grill and cook for 12-15 minutes per side.

overhead shot of chicken on the grill

While the chicken cooks, pour the marinade into a sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. This will kill any bacteria in the marinade and reduce it slightly.

Brush both sides of chicken with the reduced marinade and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

Process shot: chicken on the grill, being brushed with cooked marinade

Remove chicken from grill and serve.

overhead shot of finished chicken on a white platter with limes on the side
LEFTOVERS

Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs are perfect as leftovers, and I’ll usually make a big batch and eat them throughout the week.

Preparing for leftovers:

  • Keep the skin on the chicken, to retain moisture when reheating
  • Store the chicken and extra marinade in separate containers in the fridge.
  • The chicken will last up to one week; the marinade 3-4 days.

To reheat: pour a little marinade on the chicken and reheat in the microwave for about 2 minutes per piece at 70% power.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I adjust the cooking time for other cuts of chicken? Cook chicken breast for 8-12 minutes per side (depending on thickness), and boneless thighs for about 6 minutes per side

Can I bake the chicken instead of grilling? Absolutely, and I recommend baking it in the marinade. The temperature and cooking time will remain the same

What if I don’t like sesame oil? Believe me, I was team hate for a long time! It is very powerful, but the milk really does tone it down a lot.

overhead shot of finished grilled chicken on a white platter with limes and cilantro garnish
MORE DELICIOUS CHICKEN RECIPES
MORE RECIPES MADE WITH COCONUT MILK
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overhead shot of finished grilled chicken on a white platter with limes and cilantro garnish

Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs

Yield: 4 chicken thighs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs has an easy Thai inspired marinade that infuses the chicken with incredible flavor. About 30 minutes on the grill and you have a delicious meal

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients except chicken into a large bowl and whisk to combine
  2. Pour marinade into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
  3. Add chicken, press out the extra air, and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into chicken and place into the fridge
  4. FROZEN CHICKEN: marinate for at least 8 hours, until thawed. Marinating overnight is fine
  5. FRESH CHICKEN: marinate 4-8 hours
  6. Remove chicken from the fridge
  7. Preheat oven to 350°, and spray grill grates with cooking spray
  8. Place chicken skin-side down and grill for 12-15 minutes per side, depending on size
  9. WHILE CHICKEN COOKS: pour marinade into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. This will cook out any bacteria, and thicken it slightly
  10. Brush marinade on both sides of chicken and finish cooking for 4-5 minutes
  11. Remove from grill and serve

Notes

I like to use Sambal hot chili paste. You could also substitute Sriracha or your favorite chili paste.

I marinate and cook Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs with the skin. And then it’s very easy to remove the skin before eating

Cooking the marinade separately will kill any bacteria from the raw chicken.

LEFTOVERS

The chicken is fabulous cold. Or, heat it in the microwave at about 70% power for 2-3 minutes per piece.

In an airtight container in the fridge, the chicken will last up to one week and the marinade will last 4-5 days.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do I adjust the cooking time for other cuts of chicken? Cook chicken breast for 8-12 minutes per side, and boneless thighs for about 6 minutes per side

Can I bake the chicken instead of grilling? Absolutely, and I recommend baking it in the marinade. The temperature and cooking time will remain the same

What if I don’t like sesame oil? Believe me, I was team hate for a long time! It is very powerful and a little goes a long way. I would recommend trying a smaller amount to start. The milk really does tone it down

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 1080mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 11g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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Jenni LeBaron

Sunday 21st of July 2019

Every time I see this recipe, that photo stops me in my tracks. This grilled Thai chicken recipe looks packed full of flavor and is so perfect for summer grilling!

Karyl

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Thank you SO MUCH for the kind words Jenni! I really appreciate that. And yes, it tastes as good as it looks :)

Anne Lawton

Sunday 21st of July 2019

We love grilling chicken, and this marinade sounds fantastic with so many flavors in it.

Karyl

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Thanks Anne! I hope you get a chance to try it.

Kelly Anthony

Sunday 21st of July 2019

I grew up only eating white meat until my husband introduced me to dark meat and now I will never go back. I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken thighs and your recipe will be perfect for our family.

Karyl

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Dark meat has so much more flavor! I hope you and your family love this dish as much as I do

Amanda Mason

Sunday 21st of July 2019

Wow - this looks so delish and creamy but I'm allergic to coconut! I want to make this so is there anything else I can use instead of the coconut milk? This looks like the most delicious chicken thigh recipe!!!

Karyl

Thursday 29th of August 2019

You could try it with buttermilk. I have NOT tried it with the buttermilk, but the consistency is pretty much the same.

Marisa F. Stewart

Saturday 20th of July 2019

We eat chicken several times a week and we eat dark and white meat although I do believe that dark meat is easier to cook with. The Thai chicken sounds scrumptious!! I'm so glad you cook the marinade after you marinate the chicken. I bet it is so yummy. The coconut milk looks like it makes such a great tasting sauce. Can't wait to try it.

Karyl

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Thanks Marisa! I learned about cooking the marinade a few years ago, and it is such a great idea, and adds even more flavor to the dish

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