Our 30 Best Chicken Recipes for Grilling Season (It's Here!)

From spicy kebabs to juicy burgers, sticky wings to smoky whole birds.

April 23, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Every corner of the world has a (delicious, delicious) take on grilled chicken, from Indonesia’s largest island to your local mall’s CPK. We’ve gathered our 30 favorite recipes with three ingredients or fourteen, dry rubs or wet marinades, whole birds or its parts, so forget armchair travel and let your barbecue take you places.

Best Grilled Chicken Recipes


1. Halfsies Chicken

The winner of our Best Hands-Off Recipe contest, Halfsies Chicken’s recipe is pretty much in its title: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne slathered over 2 pounds boneless skinless thighs (four halves make 2!). Leave it to rest for 10 to 20 hours before grilling. I’ve made this recipe so many times—in a grill pan, skillet, or the oven—and guess what? You can eyeball the ingredients and it will still be bonkers.

2. Aromatic Grilled Chicken Thighs

A simple dry spice blend is all these bone-in thighs need to tick all the right notes. Feel free to swap out the spices with whatever you have on hand.

3. Grilled Chicken Thighs With Lemongrass Glaze

Inspired by the flavors of Thailand and Vietnam, these boneless thighs get an extra caramelized surface from the marinade’s sugar. Perfect alongside rice, or you can serve it at room temperature with a salad or inside tomorrow’s sandwich.

4. Grilled Foil-Pack Chicken Nachos

Chicken gets grilled twice here—first on its own, then all nestled up with nachos. I personally love that this recipe gives you an excuse not to share.

5. Chicken Inasal

This chicken Inasal comes to us from the Philippines via Papa Urb's Grill in Stockton, California, and has a marinade involving lemon-lime soda. Good news if you were also planning on getting gallon bottles of Sprite for a cookout.

6. Garlic & Herb Marinated Chicken Thighs

What herbs, you ask? Oregano and thyme, made zippy with both lemon juice and zest.

6. CPK-Style BBQ Chicken Pizza

CPK’s barbecue chicken salad was the first salad I ever chose to eat of my own accord. I realize this recipe is for pizza, not salad, but I personally have no issue swapping out lettuce for pizza dough.


7. Finger Lickin' Finger Lakes Chicken

Did you know you can use aioli as a marinade? Now you do! Community member aargersi says, “We tried both breasts and thighs, and also tried it both warm and cold. AND – I used the extra aioli to marinate a pork tenderloin which I also grilled. All variations were tender and delicious.”

8. Shish Taouk With Toum

This rendition of Lebanese shish taouk includes two different types of skewers: halloumi and vegetables alongside chicken skewers. Perfect for vegetarian guests!

9. Persian Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Joojeh kabab gets its golden hue from a saffron yogurt marinade. Perfect with buttery rice and a diced tomato and cucumber salad.

10. Grilled Herbed Chicken Breasts with Radicchio

If anything will convert the radicchio nay-sayers in your life, it’s a crown of grilled chicken.

11. Back-Pocket Marinade for Grilled Chicken

Memorize this recipe; it won’t take long, and the rewards are infinite.

12. Cuban-Style Grilled Chicken in Adobo

The heart of this dish is a paste made from dried ancho and guajillo chiles. You’ll have a bit of long-lasting paste leftover to use in enchiladas, soup, and as a replacement for the hot sauce in the Back-Pocket Marinade above.

13. Ultimate Chicken Tikka Masala

The “ultimate” comes from how you grill the chicken in this curry. It’s true that you won’t have the satisfaction of seeing those perfect grill marks, but you will taste them, and it will be worth it. You can also double the grilling portion of the recipe to use for non-curry purposes (sandwiches, salads, eating it plain with your own two hands).

14. Alabama-Style Chicken Kebabs

Recipe author inpatskitchen swaps horseradish for sambal oelek in Alabama’s signature white barbecue sauce. Spice lovers have the option to scale the sambal up and up. (If you want to make the classic before the remix, keep scrolling.)

Legs & Drumsticks

15. Mojo Chicken

This recipe won our Best Recipe Cooked Over a Fire contest. That’s it; that’s the whole story.

16. Tamarind Chicken

Based on the hot, sour, salty, and sweet flavors of Southeast Asia, what we said about it back then still holds up today: “If you can put ingredients into a bag, then you can make this dish.”

17. Kevin Gillespie's Barbecue Chicken With Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Alabama white barbecue sauce, which gives tomato a day off, is just that good.


18. Party Wings With Cholula Butter

A big hit from our Any Night Grilling cookbook from Paula Disbrowe that pairs Cholula with parsley in a very welcome manner.

19. Za'atar Grilled Chicken Wings With Fava Bean Feta Dip

Don’t skip the dip! It’s the Clyde to this chicken’s Bonnie.

20. Tangy Rose’s Lime–Glazed Wings

We love chicken wings, can you tell? Here’s another Food52 cookbook recipe, this time from Tyler Kord’s Dynamite Chicken. Lime cordial rather than lime juice makes these wings delightfully sticky.

20 & 1/2: Basic, Bang-Up Blue Cheese Dressing

It does not feel right to talk about chicken wings and not blue cheese dressing, so here’s a very good recipe for it. Since it is a dressing after all, we love it spooned over a side of fresh tomatoes or lettuce.


21. Chicken Tsukune

If you’re not grilling these would make fantastic meatballs, but because you are, skewer them up. This is an authentic Japanese preparation that will convince you to make tare a regular part of your life.

22. Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Chicken burgers have major middle child vibes, and as a middle child, I have to throw some love its way. This buffalo chicken burger pairs very well with blue cheese dressing, and you can just as easily make a sausage version.

23. Jerk Chicken Burgers

If you want jerk chicken but didn’t plan ahead enough to let it marinate for a day, these burgers are the solution.

24. Banh Burgers

This recipe calls for ground pork, but swap it for ground chicken and you still get the burger edition of a banh mi.

Whole Bird

25. Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is a rite of passage for anyone grilling chicken. This recipe includes a nifty tip: Add a couple of garlic cloves straight into the beer can before grilling.

26. Chicken al Mattone With Thyme Pesto

This Tuscan-style chicken means to butterfly a chicken and weigh it down with a brick, which is exactly what this recipe asks you to do. The earthy thyme pesto you eat on the side can be made up to a week ahead.

27. Jerk Chicken Kebabs

Cube pieces of whole chicken for this boneless interpretation of Jamaican jerk chicken. The marinade comes together in minutes thanks to a blender.

28. Chicken Alla Diavola

From Canal House, the brains behind the famous Genius Chicken Thighs With Lemon, this tingly-spicy grilled chicken uses a similarly short ingredient list (besides the chicken, you probably have everything in your pantry).

29. Twice-Cooked Javanese Grilled Chicken

The first of the two cooks in this recipe is a three-hour braise (keep reading!) that’s so worth it. The reduction of coconut and tamarind water with macadamia nuts (a substitute for candlenuts), and galangal yields a singular dish. Could you skip the grilling? Sure, but that’s not why we’re here! And that’s the easiest part: Just pop the braised chicken on the grill and that’s that.

30. Thai Grilled Chicken With Hot & Sweet Dipping Sauce

A peppercorn-cilantro paste mixed with fish sauce packs in the flavor here. Make the dipping sauce as your bird marinates.

What's your favorite grilled chicken recipe? Let us know in the comments.
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Former Associate Editor at Food52; still enjoys + talks about food.