Crispy Grilled Chicken Thighs on a Gas Grill is an easy recipe using just thighs and simple seasoning. Juicy, moist, and tender, they make a flavorful, economical dinner.
Chicken thighs—skin-on bone-in but skinless may be used
Seasoning—Kosher salt and black pepper. We add garlic with our All-Purpose Seasoning
- 👨🍳How to Grill Chicken Thighs on a Gas Grill
- ⏲️How Long to Grill Chicken Thighs
- Ingredient variations
- 🌡️The Best Final Internal Temperature for Chicken Thighs
- ♨️The Grill Setup
- What is uneven grilling—The secret to grilled thighs
- 🍴Serving suggestions
- Storing leftovers and reheating
- How to grill skinless or boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
- 📖 Recipe
Featured comment from Jen:
"I made this for my family tonight and it was delicious. The chops were fork tender and the breading stayed on perfectly. I appreciate the step by step and look forward to making this recipe often!"
There are lots of things to love about chicken thighs. The meat is delicious, moist, and flavorful because the fat keeps it that way. Plus, you can have them your way; bone-in, boneless, or skinless and boneless are all easily available and economical.
The problem with grilling chicken thighs is the fat drainage causes flair-ups that keep burning your chicken. To solve the fat issue, first, trim the fat as much as possible. Second, do "uneven grilling" (see section below), where the skin faces up more than down during cooking, and we move around the grill to avoid fat flair-ups.
You can also get great crispy thighs with Oven Baked Chicken Thighs. For drummies, see Grilled Chicken Drumsticks or Oven Baked Chicken Legs. For chicken breasts, see Grilled Chicken Breasts or Baked Chicken Breasts. And if cooking for a large group, see Chicken for a Hundred.
👨🍳How to Grill Chicken Thighs on a Gas Grill
- Preheat the grill to about 450° surface temperature.
- Trim the thighs of any trimmable fat and extra skin, pat dry, and season to your taste.
- Grill over directed heat using uneven grilling with the skin-side up for 5-6 minutes. Flip to skin-side down for 4 minutes. Also, move between areas of the grill to avoid flair-ups from the fat. Keep repeating the uneven grilling until done.
- COOK TO THE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE, not by time. The correct internal temperature for thigh meat is 185° to 195°—usually about 25-30 minutes of total grilling time.
This is a summary of the steps and ingredients. See the recipe card or the step-by-step photo instructions below for complete instructions.
⏲️How Long to Grill Chicken Thighs
It takes about 25 to 30 minutes grilling time to cook bone-in chicken thighs, but the exact grill temperature, the thickness of the thighs, and their temperature at the start of grilling will make the exact time variable.
Boneless thighs will be about 5 minutes less and tend to be thinner, so watch your internal temperature starting at 15 minutes.
Always cook to a final internal temperature. Please, never by time alone. Use an instant-read or meat thermometer.
Chicken thighs—Skin-on bone-in chicken thighs usually, but skinless thighs may be adapted (See FAQs below.)
Seasoning—Kosher salt and black pepper would do, but use the seasoning of your choice. We use All Purpose Seasoning with kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Various marinades and other herbs and spices may be used, also.
Barbecue Sauce—Option to make BBQ chicken thighs (see discussion in FAQs.)
🌡️The Best Final Internal Temperature for Chicken Thighs
The best final internal temperature for grilled chicken thighs is 185° to 195° when the connective tissue melts and the meat becomes moist and tender. According to the FDA, the minimum safe internal temperature is 165° for chicken, but they will be tough and stringy from connective tissue.
The connective tissue will start to melt at 175°. By 185°, you are getting moist and tender results. America Test Kitchen takes it further for both thighs and drumsticks, suggesting 190° to 195° as the target internal temperature range.
♨️The Grill Setup
The grill should be 450°-500° surface temperature. That is usually about medium-high heat on most gas grills. Preheat the entire grill, not just a section, so you can move the thighs around to prevent flair-ups.
If you have questions about grill setup, see A Beginners Guide to Grill Temperature on a Gas Grill.
Can I use a charcoal grill?
Charcoal can be used, but you will need enough grill grate area and to get the surface temperature correct.
What is uneven grilling—The secret to grilled thighs
Uneven grilling is my method to avoid flare-ups from draining fat and burnt skin. So, it's only needed in skin-on thighs.
There are two parts to this method:
1) The skin side of the thighs can burn quickly, so you should have less time facing the flames. Start with skin side up for the first period and grill for 5-6 minutes. Flip to skin side down for 4 minutes. Continue to go back and forth using the same timing until done.
2) Alternate sides of the grill surface with each flip. You will get fat drainage flare-ups. Moving the chicken to the other side of the grill at the flips will allow hot spots from fat drainage to burn out.
You can skip the uneven grilling times for skinless thighs—you have no chicken skin you are trying to protect. But you will still need a large surface area to move around and avoid flare-ups from the fat drainage.
Storing leftovers and reheating
Store in an airtight container refrigerated for 3-4 days. They will freeze well for 4 months if sealed in an airtight container.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in an oven or air fryer. A microwave will adversely affect the texture.
How to grill skinless or boneless skinless chicken thighs
While this recipe is for bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, the meat is all the same and will cook with a few minor adjustments.
Boneless chicken thighs will cook a few minutes faster since bones will absorb more heat, and they always seem thinner. Thickness is a significant variable in cooking time, so pay attention to the internal temperature.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs can also be used. You can skip the uneven grilling I discussed—you have no chicken skin to protect. But you will still need a large surface area to move around and avoid flare-ups from the fat drainage. Plus, give them a nice brush of vegetable oil before grilling, and they will cook faster since they are thinner and boneless.
There is a lot of fat on chicken thighs. The competition grillers will remove the skin and trim all the fat under the skin, but that is not needed for great thighs at home.
Trim off most of the visible fat on the underside and along the edge of the skin. Trim off any excess skin, but I like to leave the skin firmly attached to the thigh.
Skip the seasoning and brush lightly with your favorite BBQ sauce for the last 5 minutes to make great BBQ thighs. Give them a second brush of sauce when you remove the thighs from the grill.
I suggest my homemade BBQ sauce, Memphis Barbecue Sauce, but use what you love.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Start with skin-on bone-in chicken thighs and the seasoning of your choice. Boneless and skinless-boneless may be used and are discussed in the post.
Preheat the grill to 450° surface temperature. That is medium to medium-high heat on most grills. Use the entire grill surface. Clean and oil the grill grate well.
While the grill is preheating, trim the thighs of any trimmable fat and extra skin. Allow them to rest at room temperature until the grill is ready.
Before placing them on the grill, use the seasoning you prefer, or just give all sides a sprinkle of Kosher salt and black pepper. I use my All-purpose Seasoning Mix, which is salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If using skinless thighs, give them a light brushing of vegetable oil before seasoning.
Using only half the grill surface, place on the grill over direct heat with skin side UP. Grill for 5-6 minutes, then flip onto the other side of the grill and skin down—grill for about 4 minutes with the skin down. Continue to go back and forth between the sides of the grill and skin up and down with the same timing. But if the skin is getting too dark, turn down the area used for skin side down. If using skinless thighs, you can grill both sides for 5 minutes until done but do alternate sides.
Grill to 185° internal temperature—about 25-30 minutes, but this will vary some with your exact grill surface temperature and the thighs' temperature and thickness.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grilled Chicken Thighs on a Gas Grill
- 4 chicken thighs
- Salt and Pepper or seasoning of choice
- Start with skin-on bone-in chicken thighs and the seasoning of your choice. Boneless and skinless-boneless may be used and are discussed in the post.
- Preheat the grill to 450° surface temperature. That is medium to medium-high heat on most grills. Use the entire grill surface. Clean and oil the grill grate well.
- While the grill is preheating, trim the thighs of any trimmable fat and extra skin. Allow them to rest at room temperature until the grill is ready.
- Before placing them on the grill, use the seasoning you prefer, or just give all sides a sprinkle of Kosher salt and black pepper. I use my All-purpose Seasoning Mix, which is salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If using skinless thighs, give them a light brushing of vegetable oil before seasoning.
- Using only half the grill surface, place on the grill over direct heat with skin side UP. Grill for 5-6 minutes, then flip onto the other side of the grill and skin down—grill for about 4 minutes with the skin down. Continue to go back and forth between the sides of the grill and skin up and down with the same timing. But if the skin is getting too dark, turn down the area used for skin side down. If using skinless thighs, you can grill both sides for 5 minutes until done but do alternate sides.
- Grill to 185° internal temperature—about 25-30 minutes, but this will vary some with your exact grill surface temperature and the thighs' temperature and thickness.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- Grill on a medium grill not super hot. About 450° surface temperature. Use a grill surface thermomenter if you have one never believe the thermometer in the hood of the grill
- You can cook this will the hood open, but it is better closed.
- Trim any extra skin and any visible fat to prevent flair-ups.
- Use the uneven grilling technique discussed, and use the whole grill surface and alternate sides with your flips to prevent flare-ups.
- Use the seasoning of your choice, I used my homemade seasoning. Just some Kosher salt and pepper would do.
- Boneless thighs will cook faster since the bone absorbs heat and they are thinner.
- If using skinless thighs, give them a light brush of vegetable oil before going on the grill and there is no need for uneven grilling but you will still need to move the chicken around due to flare-ups from the fat.
- Do not try this with partly frozen chicken; you will never get to the correct internal temperature.
- A little rest at room temp before cooking helps (30 minutes max).
- Use 185° as my final internal temperature. This is where the thighs are done. They are safe at 165° but are still tough.
- As always, cook to the final internal temperature. Do not cook on time alone.
- Good refrigerated for 3-4 days and good frozen for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published August 1, 2015. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.