By July 26, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

Thai Grilled Chicken Thighs

Thai chicken thighs

I used to own a Weber charcoal grill. When I moved to Arizona, I purchased a gas grill which I love. It’s is so darn convenient. With just the turn of a knob, my fire is ready. But, I don’t get the charcoal flavor that I got on my old grill.  I’ve learned that I can make up for the missing charcoal flavor by using  marinades. It’s the marinade that makes these Thai chicken thighs so tasty and perfect for grilling. They are full of flavor from the basil, cilantro and ginger. They’re just a bit spicy from the red chili flakes, and they have a nice balance of salt from the soy sauce and sweet from the brown sugar.

Before I get started with the marinade I need to prepare my chicken. I can’t find boneless chicken thighs at my local grocers so I have to remove the bone myself. To do this, I use a method that I learned from one of my favorite food gurus, Alton Brown. I use my trusty kitchen shears to cut the bone out! First, I remove the skin and any large pieces of fat. (I like to leave a little bit of the fat on the thigh. It helps to keep the chicken moist while grilling.)

removing thigh bone1

With the bottom side of the chicken thigh facing up, I locate both ends of the bone. Then I cut along the length of the bone at the point where the meat is thinnest.

removing thigh bone 2

Next, I start making  small snips along the length of the bone.

removing thigh bone 3

I rotate the bone as I continue making small snips along the length of the bone.

removing thigh bone 4

I continue this process until the bone is cut loose. These particular chicken thighs had a separate small piece of cartilage that I also cut out.

thigh with diamond slits

I’m not sure where  picked up this next tip, somewhere on the internet I imagine. This is how I get the chicken thighs to marinate quickly and have loads of flavor in every bite. I cut diagonal shallow slits, about 1/4 inch deep into the meat. Depending on how thick the chicken thigh is, I will do this either just on the top side or on both the top and bottom sides of the chicken thigh. I try not to cut all the way through the piece of chicken.

Thai ch thigh ingredients

Now it’s time for the marinade. The ingredients are pretty basic: fresh cilantro, fresh basil (from my garden), soy sauce, fish sauce, olive oil, red chili flakes, fresh ginger and garlic. The only thing you might not be familiar with is fish sauce.

Thai fish sauce

If you purchase your fish sauce from an Asian market it will look something like what is pictured on the left. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to an Asian market. I’m sure you can find the more Americanized fish sauce, pictured on the right, in the Asian section of your local grocery store. Please don’t be put off by the word “fish”. It does not taste the least bit fishy. This is a salty sauce that’s in all Thai food, it’s like the Thai version of soy sauce.

Thai marinate

Today I used my mini food processor to mix my marinade ingredients, but most of the time I chop up the ingredients real fine and stir them together. As you can see, this is not a liquid marinade, but it is more the consistency of a pesto.

Thai chicken in marinate

If you don’t want to handle the chicken you can place the chicken and marinate in a ziplock bag and give it a massage. I use a bowl and mix the marinate into the chicken with my hands. I cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

All that is left to do is throw the chicken thighs on the grill. I get my grill nice and hot before I put the chicken on. Then I grill the chicken, lid down, over a medium flame for 5 minutes per side. All grills are different, so grilling temperatures and times may vary, just don’t cook it to death!

grilled chicken platter

My finished Thai chicken thighs are moist and juicy. They are coated with flecks of flavorful green herbs, red pepper, garlic and ginger. Delicious! I wish I could say this chicken recipe is my own creation, but I cannot. I got it off the web many years ago.  It’s from barb63 at (used to be Recipe Zaar back in the good old days). If you like any kind of Asian food, I guarantee that you will love these Thai chicken thighs. If you don’t have a gas grill you can use an indoor grill pan or your oven broiler.


A tasty side dish to the Thai chicken thighs is Pad Thai noodles. I buy a convenient box that comes with  the noodles and sauce. You can find this in the Asian section of the grocery store.

pad thai noodles

I follow the box instructions only I substitute lightly sautéed carrot and red bell pepper strips for the meat and bean sprouts. Don’t forget the condiments: chopped cilantro, diced jalapeno pepper, chopped dry roasted peanuts, and lime wedges.

ThaI chicken bowl

The sliced grilled  chicken on top of the pad Thai noodles makes a fun to eat, Asian noodle bowl!

Thai Grilled Chicken Thighs

Servings 4
Meal type Main Dish
Moist grilled chicken with a good balance of Thai flavors.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar


Step 1. Mix together all the ingredients except the chicken thighs. Place in a Ziploc bag.
Step 2. To prepare the chicken, make shallow, 1/4 inch deep and about 1 inch apart, slits diagonally across the top of the chicken thigh. Cut slits in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern.
Step 3. Place the chicken and the marinate in a ziplock bag. Rub the marinate into the chicken being sure it gets down into the slits. Marinate for 2-3 hours.
Step 4. Heat grill. Place chicken on grill and cook, lid down, for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until no longer pink.

Special Notes:

I've been making this Thai chicken for years. The original recipe was posted by barb63 on (used to be called Recipe Zaar )

Posted in: Poultry, RECIPES

1 Comment on "Thai Grilled Chicken Thighs"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Margie Schaefer says:

    I’d love to make this for dinner tonight but the only thing I have on hand is the chicken thighs! Actually I do have a few of the ingredients, but I have to plan ahead next time. Can’t wait – looks and sound absolutely fabulous.

Post a Comment