Chicken Thigh Marinade – A Couple Cooks


This chicken thigh marinade makes juicy, perfectly seasoned thighs! It’s easy to whip up and works for grilled or baked.

Chicken Thigh Marinade

Want to infuse major flavor into your chicken? Try this chicken thigh marinade! This cut of chicken is easily the most flavorful already, and this mix of a handful of pantry ingredients really makes it shine. Rub on this mixture of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and spices to make the very best juicy and seasoned flavor! This works best for grilled chicken thighs but is also great for baked chicken thighs too! Come, experience the magic.

Boneless vs bone-in chicken thighs

Chicken thighs are extremely flavorful, making them one of our favorite cuts of chicken. Thighs are fattier than chicken breasts, which gives them a more intense, rich flavor than the white meat. You can buy two types of chicken thighs: bone-in or boneless skinless. As you might imagine, bone-in thighs have a richer flavor than boneless, so they’re our top choice for this recipe. However, it also works with boneless and skinless!

  • Bone-in, skin-on thighs have the best flavor. When you cook chicken with the bone in, the flavors inside the bone spread out onto the meat, leaving you with a meatier, richer flavor (per Bon Appetit, who says “bone-in chicken thighs are just plain better.”). The skin also becomes crispy and seasoned.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs also work, and are easier to eat. They also taste great grilled, and take slightly less time to cook.
Chicken Thigh Marinade

Ingredients in this chicken thigh marinade

This chicken thigh marinade has a consistency that’s between a dry rub and a wet marinade, so it’s not very watery like marinades you might have used in the past. This allows all the flavor to stay on the chicken, making it more flavorful overall. The ingredients in this chicken thigh marinade are:

  • Olive oil: Olive oil carries the flavorings and allows the mixture to adhere to the chicken.
  • Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard adds character and tangy, spicy notes.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice brings a zesty freshness. If you don’t have it, substitute the same amount white wine vinegar or rice vinegar.
  • Worcestershire sauce or a1: Use either sauce to round out the flavors in the marinade.
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and salt: These spices bring savory, seasoned notes.

How long to marinate

Spread this thick marinade onto the chicken thighs before placing them into a sealed container. Keep in mind that if you’re using skin-on thighs, use your fingers to liberally spread the marinade under the skin. This ensures that the flesh will be adequately seasoned (otherwise too much of the seasoning stays on the skin).

How long to marinate chicken thighs? It’s important to allow chicken thighs to marinate refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. If desired for even better flavor, you can marinate for up 8 hours in advance.

Chicken Thigh Marinade

Tips for grilling chicken thighs

The best way to cook marinated chicken thighs is grilled, but you can make them baked as well! At medium-high heat, small chicken thighs take 9 to 11 minutes to grill and large take 10 to 13 minutes to grill, with boneless at the shorter end of each range. Here’s how to grill chicken thighs:

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375°F to 450°F).
  2. Grill the thighs smooth side down until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 5 to 6 minutes for small thighs and 6 to 8 for large thighs. Flip and cook until the internal temperature is 165°F, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes for maximum juiciness.

Alternative: marinated baked chicken thighs

You can also use this chicken thigh marinade for baked chicken thighs! However, keep in mind we have a separate recipe for baked chicken thighs that uses a dry rub and baking powder to make them very crispy. For that recipe, go to Baked Chicken Thighs.

To use this marinade for baked chicken thighs, do the following:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Marinade the chicken as noted in the recipe below. Then arrange the chicken thighs on a oven-safe rack that’s placed on top of a baking sheet (or use an oiled aluminum foil-lined baking sheet).
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken at its thickest part is 165°F.
Chicken Thigh Marinade for grilled chicken

Ways to serve marinated chicken thighs

These marinated chicken thighs are juicy, delicious and full of bold flavor! Here are a few ways to serve them:

More chicken recipes

And that’s it! Looking for more dinnertime inspiration? Here are a few more chicken dinners to browse:

This chicken thigh marinade is…

Dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print

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Description

This chicken thigh marinade makes juicy, perfectly seasoned thighs! It’s easy to whip up and works for grilled or baked.


  • 8 large or 12 small chicken thighs, boneless skinless or bone-in, skin-on (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice*
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or a1 sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and kosher salt.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Add the chicken to a container and pour on the marinade. Use your hands to evenly cover the chicken with the marinade. If using skin-on chicken thighs, make sure to use your fingers to get the marinade under the skin. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375°F to 450°F).
  4. Grill the chicken thighs smooth side down until grill marks appear and it releases from the grates, 5 to 6 minutes for small thighs and 6 to 8 for large thighs. Flip and cook until the internal temperature is 165°F, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes for maximum juiciness. Taste and if desired, add a few more pinches of salt to taste.

Notes

*If you don’t have a fresh lemon, substitute the same amount white wine vinegar or rice vinegar. 

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Chicken
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Keywords: Chicken thigh marinade, marinade for chicken thighs, marinade for grilled chicken thighs



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