Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Lemon

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Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Lemon are the perfect, easy summer grilling recipe.

Platter of Grilled Chicken Thighs

This recipe for grilled chicken thighs starts with chicken thighs marinated in a very simple mixture of ingredients. The marinade is very lemony, beginning with plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest.  A small amount of olive oil and chopped fresh thyme are added to the lemon juice.  Honey is mixed in too for a pop of sweetness to balance out the tangy lemon flavor.

Tips on marinating chicken in a lemon juice based marinade:

  • Never marinate in a metal container; the acid in the marinade can react with the metal.  I like to use a large plastic zip bag.
  • Marinate chicken in any kind of lemon marinade for up to 2 hours. Chicken marinated for longer than 2 hours in lemon juice can break down, ruining the texture of the cooked meat.

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Lemon

About Chicken Thighs:

Chicken thighs have a higher amount of fat than chicken breasts, which results in a richer flavor and a more tender texture.  This recipe calls for skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Sometimes the chicken thighs you find in the store will have a ton of fat attached to them that will need to be removed prior to marinating.  Look for skinless, boneless chicken thighs that are more meaty. 

I like to buy mine at a better quality market or look for a good organic brand.  Sometimes spending a little bit more on chicken thighs is worth it since you have to cut away so much fat on a cheaper packaged brand.

Platter of Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Lemon

How to find the juiciest lemons:

Since this recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, finding the juiciest lemons you can is important!  When looking at lemons in the market, pick a lemon up and hold it in your hand.  A juicy lemon will feel heavy for its size and will have a thinner skin.  Look for lemons with a bright yellow color and no green on them. 

Also, a juicy lemon should have a little give to it when you hold it in your hand and squeeze it.  Just before juicing, roll your lemons firmly across the counter before cutting to loosen up the juice inside the lemons.

Grilled Chicken Thighs

You’ll grill boneless chicken thighs about 5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.  Alternately, these marinated chicken thighs may be cooked under your oven’s broiler instead of grilling.  These Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Lemon make a delicious addition to salads too.

If you’re looking for more chicken thigh recipes, try these:

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Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Lemon

Simple marinade for grilled chicken thighs!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings (2 thighs per serving)
Calories 249kcal
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken thighs, grilled chicken thighs, grilled chicken thighs with thyme and lemon


  • 1 ½ cups (6 or 7 large lemons) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 16 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the first 5 ingredients in a large zip- top plastic bag. Add the chicken; seal the bag. Chill 2 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag; discard the marinade. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on your grill rack; cook 5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through.


  • *When I make recipes using chicken thighs, I like to spend a little more money and get some nicer quality, organic chicken at Whole Foods or a similar place. Regular thighs tend to have SO much fat on them. The organic will have a more meaty portion. Cut off any extra fat.
  • *Alternately, these chicken thighs may be cooked under the oven broiler.


Serving: 1serving (2 thighs) | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 297mg | Potassium: 472mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 110IU | Vitamin C: 20.1mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.7mg
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  • skypainter wrote:

    So tasty! I utilized oregano since I didn’t have thyme on hand. Delicious!