One key to making juicy grilled chicken is coating it in cooking oil prior to grilling, which allows spices to adhere better while dissolving more of its fat-soluble flavor compounds for an intensely flavorful experience.
Chicken thighs offer extra flavor at an economical price point, thanks to marinating in an easy blend of garlic, vinegar, and dried herbs that takes as little as 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
1. Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaica is known for its variety of jerk chicken recipes, each one made by different chefs on the island and each featuring the same method: coating chicken in a seasoning mixture rich with spices and chiles before grilling it. One such self-taught chef of Chinese and Jamaican descent working at Food & Wine’s mail room created this version that’s fiery hot yet aromatic; everything that one expects of great jerk!
At first glance, this recipe may appear odd, but its flavors come together seamlessly when hot off the grill. Sweet yet smoky notes from brown sugar and molasses combine with woody allspice or cloves, fresh ginger, thyme, and fiery Scotch bonnet peppers for a marinade that is unabashedly bold yet dynamic with just enough char to give depth of flavorful dimension and dimension to this marinade.
This recipe requires at least 4 hours of marinating time, though you can prepare it up to several days ahead by mixing all of the ingredients and placing in an airtight container in the fridge. Or you can cook this dish in an oven prepping all of its components then baking for 15 minutes at 350 degrees until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Serve this authentic Jamaican jerk chicken dish alongside coconut rice and fried plantains for an amazingly delectable Caribbean dinner, perfect for backyard BBQs or potluck dinners.
2. Italian Grilled Chicken Panini
Inspired by a caprese salad, this lemony and herbal grilled chicken dinner pairs beautifully with tomatoes, mozzarella, grilled eggplant and fresh parsley for an easy weeknight dinner option. A meat mallet works just as well to achieve uniform size for all chicken breasts for even cooking; or use a rolling pin.
Ground allspice and paprika-chile paste add depth of flavor to this delicious grilled chicken recipe, which doubles as salad dressing. Instead of cooking directly on the grates, this version uses a skillet on the grill to ensure a smoky aroma without burning.
3. Grilled Chicken Gyros
Greek chicken recipes with their simple yogurt marinades have become year-round favorite grilling recipes, especially at tailgating events or family dinner nights. Not only is the yogurt marinade light and fresh, it tenderizes the chicken for an extra juicy finish that makes this dish perfect for entertaining large groups or tailgating events.
Lean chicken breasts can quickly dry out when grilling, so marinating in a moist mix like this one is key to keeping them juicy and flavorful. A medium temperature grill should also be considered; too high and their breasts could become tough. To ensure they reach an appropriate internal temperature it’s wise to utilize a meat thermometer frequently and monitor.
Once the chicken has finished marinating (it should stay in for between 30 minutes and 24 hours, though I usually only allow an hour), grill it until golden brown, using a probe thermometer inserted in its thickest part to measure 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once complete, layer warm pita bread with the chicken, crisp lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, pickled red onions, feta cheese and drizzle generously with an easy homemade Tzatziki sauce!
These gyros are delicious on their own, but for a full meal experience I love serving them alongside one of these colorful salads: Traditional Greek Salad, Mediterranean Couscous Salad or Grilled Zucchini Salad. This recipe makes an ideal meal prep option, family dinner menu item, lunch on-the-go solution or entertaining food because the chicken, tzatziki sauce and pitas can all be prepared ahead of time and simply heated when needed – ideal for meal prepping!
4. Grilled Herb-Roasted Chicken Thighs
An easy marinade combining citrus juice, zest, garlic, crushed red pepper and fresh herbs turns lean chicken breasts into succulent flavor bombs. Lemon slices or rosemary sprigs may also be added for more aromatic depth during grilling time.
To create this delicious grilled chicken salad recipe, succulent thighs are mixed with scallions, charred corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumbers and cucumbers in a simple vinaigrette of white wine vinegar, minced garlic, mustard powder and hot paprika for extra crunch and flavour. A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds also provides a fun crunch.
Chicken thighs, with their higher levels of fat compared to skinless breasts, remain juicy and flavorful when marinated using this simple recipe. A garlic and herb blend including parsley, thyme, and rosemary (dried versions are acceptable too) is ideal here; an instant-read thermometer can help ensure even cooking without overcooking.
Chef Fermin Nunez created an unforgettable grilled chicken dish by infusing crushed juniper berries, garlic cloves, and herbs into this succulent whole chicken recipe. For maximum smokiness and rich flavors this showstopping main can be served either at a backyard gathering or casual weeknight dinner party with friends.
5. Greek Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Cutlets
This quick and delicious family favorite grills quickly, pairing perfectly with a zesty mixed green salad and crunchy panko breadcrumbs. A yogurt marinade tenderizes chicken cutlets while also acting as glue to adhere panko breadcrumbs to them – just 30 minutes should do nicely, but additional marinating time may be desired).
This versatile grilled chicken recipe uses just herbs and spices for flavor, making it suitable for grilling, oven baking or air frying and pairs well with any variety of sides such as roasted vegetables, rice pilaf or mashed potatoes. Plus it’s easily double or tripled for meal prep purposes!
Greek yogurt tenderizes chicken perfectly for this recipe, giving it an effortless light texture and juicy finish that’s easy to chew. Feel free to use 0%, 2% or whole milk plain yogurt depending on your personal taste – don’t forget fresh herbs which will only taste their best during their peak seasons!
Pounding chicken breasts helps ensure even cooking and adds an appealing crunch to the final dish. A meat mallet or wine bottle are great alternatives; simply cook over moderate heat to prevent burning or drying out; use an instant-read thermometer to ensure complete doneness, then allow the chicken to rest before cutting for optimal results!
6. Green Chile-Cilantro Chicken Burgers
Sugar adds the perfect finishing touch to these chicken burgers when placed on the grill, or substitute a teaspoon of honey instead. This recipe can also be prepared ahead of time–for up to an hour in the fridge will allow its flavors to come together further–though you could certainly throw together as soon as you want to cook; either way just be sure that your hands are protected with spray oil or water before handling this wet mixture; it can become slippery quickly!
If you’re grilling chicken patties, pounding them to an even thickness is key for an efficient process and an even cook. Pounding also tenderizes and retains moisture within the chicken; making this recipe extremely straightforward! For best results, marinate for at least 30 minutes but up to multiple hours (or overnight if possible).
These grilled chicken sandwiches are packed with protein and vegetables, making them an ideal lunch choice for children. Simply light toasting the buns gives them additional texture and flavor. Spread a tablespoon of our zesty mayonnaise before topping with a chicken patty, mixed greens and our creamy Jalapeno Havarti drizzle for an added dose of spice!