Grilled Chicken Thighs With Lemongrass Glaze

May 21, 2019
12 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 50 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 6 whole chicken thighs
Author Notes

This recipe is inspired by the flavors of Thailand and Vietnam. Lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili, and fish sauce are the essential ingredients in the glaze. The addition of lime and fresh cilantro, added at the end as a garnish, provide an extra layer of freshness and acidity. The chicken thighs are quickly marinated, charred on the grill, then painted with this utterly flavorful glaze. A simple and delicious recipe.

This chicken works well served alongside rice, or you can serve it at room temperature atop a salad. It's also tasty inside a sandwich. —Josh Cohen

What You'll Need
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Grilled Chicken Thighs With Lemongrass Glaze
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh red chili, minced (fresno chili works here, or something hotter if you prefer spicier food)
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, tender bottom parts only
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 handful roughly chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the water, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, chili, and ginger. Using a microplane, finely grate two of the lemongrass stalks into the marinade. As you are grating the lemongrass, discard any fibrous outer layers that are too hard to grate. Set the final piece of lemongrass aside for later. Add the chicken thighs to the marinade, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  2. When the chicken thighs have marinated for 45 minutes, remove them from the marinade and grill them over medium-high heat for a couple minutes on each side. The chicken will caramelize quickly, due to the sugar in the marinade. When the chicken looks nicely charred on each side, grill them over lower heat for an additional 5-10 minutes, flipping them occasionally, until they are fully cooked.
  3. While the chicken is grilling, transfer the leftover marinade to a large skillet, and cook the marinade over high heat for about 3-5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency. This reduced marinade will now be your glaze.
  4. When the chicken is finished cooking, toss it in the glaze. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the chopped cilantro and lime juice. Using a microplane, finely grate the remaining lemongrass over the platter of chicken. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

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8 Reviews

Also did this with Shrimp.
Linda D. May 16, 2023
Absolutely delicious! Did not have lemongrass so I used the zest from a whole lime. Thank you!
cosmiccook June 15, 2022
I typically jump at J.C recipes. I used shrimp instead of chicken, and subbed w coconut palm sugar. Per others suggestions I cut back a little on the sugar. Grating the Lemongrass was a PITA! since I had dried lemongrass I made a tisane w the water required. The shrimp didn't char --BUT my husband used a grill mat and typically nothing chars w these. Next time I'll try w chicken and use the full brown sugar amount.
Rupa July 20, 2020
This was absolutely sensational - a very low effort/high payoff recipe, my favorite kind! I didn't have ginger and left out the chili to accommodate a 5-year-old's palate but it was still immensely flavorful - I also marinated it for around 5 hours, as 45 minutes didn't seem like enough!
Candice April 28, 2020
Excellent recipe. I've made this 3 or 4 times now, including once for a dinner party, and everyone loves it! I recommend barbecuing the chicken if you can to get some nice char on it, then finishing it in the oven. We use chicken drumsticks and it's the perfect late spring/summer dish! Thank-you!
Rhonda C. August 30, 2019
Love, Love, Love these flavors! I have made this many times. I also used 1/4 cup brown sugar.....hubbie is diabetic. Flavor and browning still is wonderful with less sugar. One of our FAVS!
Rhonda C. June 24, 2019
Absolutely delicious! I halved the brown sugar. My family loved it! Will be on our summer rotation list!
Kylie H. June 24, 2019
Really just a great, simple dish. I served with broccoli grilled in a foil packet. My only note was that the sugar content in the marinade is on the high side. I decreased it almost by half, and it was still plenty sweet. I guess that comes down to preference!