How to Grill Chicken

how-to-grill-chicken

Grilled chicken is one of the best ways to cook chicken because it’s juicy on the inside and deliciously charred on the outside.

In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about grilled chicken like what cut of meat to use, how to flavor it, and more!

Why Grill Chicken?

Grilling chicken might look intimidating, especially if you aren’t a seasoned griller. We’re here to tell you that it’s actually easier than you might think! Plus, we know you’ll love the outcome.

  • Easier cleanup
  • Amazing flavor
  • Super customizable

Cuts of Chicken for Grilling

  • Breast: it doesn’t get much better than a perfectly grilled chicken breast! Chicken breast is lean and perfect for topping salads with.
  • Legs: having a party? Go chicken legs! Why? They’re super flavorful, inexpensive, and easy to grill! Try our famous Grilled Chicken Legs recipe.
  • Thighs: my personal favorite cut of chicken to grill is chicken thighs. You can get the skin nice and crispy while keeping the meat juicy and delish.
  • Wings: game day? Try grilling your chicken wings for easy clean-up! You can use our dry rub or buffalo chicken wing recipes, but grill them instead!
  • Whole chicken: a whole chicken?! That’s right! You can grill an entire chicken and it’s easier than you think. Try our grilled beer butt chicken for starters!

Ways to Flavor Grilled Chicken

There are two primary ways to flavor grilled chicken. Both offer great flavor and are relatively easy!

Rubs

Dry rubs AKA spice blends are my personal favorite way to season grilled chicken. They infuse so much flavor and also provide a nice texture once heated on the grill. Here are some of our favorite homemade dry rubs for chicken to try:

pro tip

Don’t be afraid to season your chicken AKA be generous with your dry rub. Just make sure that your drub rub isn’t too salty.

Marinades

Marinades are a great way to get extra juicy grilled chicken with a ton of flavor. Did you know that you can use most salad dressings as marinades? So easy, right?! Here are some of our favorite chicken marinades:

  • Pestohomemade pesto is such a great way to use up all that basil! Plus, it makes for some good pesto chicken kebabs.
  • Greek did you know that Greek dressing can also be a marinade? It infuses your meat with so much good flavor. Try our Greek lemon chicken!
  • Honey Mustard – I love homemade honey mustard because it’s creamy and sweet. This would be such a great marinade for grilled chicken.
  • Italian – you can’t go wrong with marinating your chicken in Italian dressing. We did this once a week growing up! Make your own or use a store-bought dressing.

pro tip

The longer you let your chicken sit in a marinade the better. You can let it sit overnight AND you can even freeze your chicken right in the marinade for an easy flavorful chicken later on.

How to Grill Chicken

If you’ve made it this far in this grilled chicken tutorial, yahoo! It’s time to grill your chicken.

  1. Remove Moisture: First things first, remove your chicken from the package and then use a paper towel to blot as much moisture out of it as you can.
  2. Flavor: Next, flavor your chicken with either a dry rub or marinade. If you scroll up, we give some great options!
  3. Grill: Preheat your grill (gas or charcoal) to around 400ºF. We know that grill temps fluctuate, so don’t freak out if it isn’t exact! We’ve found that 400ºF is the perfect temp for grilled chicken. Hot enough to get you gorgeous grill marks, but not too hot to dry out your chicken. Grill your chicken for around 7-8 minutes over direct heat, flip, and grill for 8-10 more minutes. PS: this is for a 4 oz. chicken breast!
  4. Internal Temp: You know your chicken is completely cooked once it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF. We use a meat thermometer for this, that way you don’t take any risks in eating raw chicken. You can learn more about cooking here from this great article by the USDA.
  5. Let Rest: What is rest time? After you remove the chicken from the grill and it sits, it will continue to cook to the final temperature. We recommend letting your chicken rest for at least 5 minutes so that you can ensure it reaches at least 165ºF to destroy any bacteria.

So remember…

  • Remove moisture before cooking
  • Grill at 400ºF for around 15-20 minutes
  • Cook until chicken reaches 160ºF – 165ºF
  • Let rest for 10 minutes after grilling

Grilled Chicken Q&A

What goes good with grilled chicken? Good news for you, we have tons of grilled veggie sides on Fit Foodie Finds that go great with grilled chicken. Check out some options below.

How do I grill the perfect chicken breast? In order to grill the perfect chicken breast, we suggest heating your grill to 400ºF. Grill chicken for 5-7 per side and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

How long to grill chicken breast? Grill your chicken breast for around 15-20 minutes, flipping after 7-8 minutes. Grill until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

How to prevent your chicken from sticking to the grill? We recommend spraying your grill grates with nonstick cooking spray right before before cooking. Alternatively, you can use a piece of tin foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Is it okay for chicken to be slightly pink? As long as your chicken has an internal temperature of 165ºF, it is safe to eat even if it’s a little pinkish.

Should you let chicken rest after grilling? Yes! By allowing your chicken to rest you not only 1. let it cool so you can eat it, but 2. the chicken continues to cook a little bit and becomes extra juicy and moist.

Perfect Grilled Chicken Breast

Get the perfect grilled chicken every time with this easy how-to grill chicken breast tutorial! 

Prep: 30 minutesCook: 15 minutesTotal: 45 minutes

Fat 2 Carbs 2 Protein 25

Yield 24 1x

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 23 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. First, season chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Option here to sub out 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite dry rub. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. The longer the chicken sits, the more flavorful it will be.
  2. Next, preheat the grill to 400ºF and spray grates with cooking spray
  3. Grill chicken breasts over direct heat at 400ºF for around 7-8 minutes. Then, flip chicken breasts and continue cooking for 8-10 more minutes. You know the chicken breast is done cooking when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
  4. Remove from the grill and let rest* for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • Cook time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breast. Thicker chicken breasts will take longer, just make sure to cook until the internal temperature has reached 165ºF.
  • Your chicken will continue to cook once you remove it from the grill and the internal temperature will continue to rise. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/4 Calories: 135 Sugar: 0 Fat: 2 Carbohydrates: 2 Fiber: 0 Protein: 25

Author: Lee FunkeCategory: ChickenMethod: GrillCuisine: American

Keywords: grilled chicken breast, grilled chicken recipes

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

About Lee Funke

Lee is the founder of Fit Foodie Finds and based in Minneapolis, MN. She started this website in 2010 as a way to share her love for real food and wellness.

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