These grilled chicken thighs come out tender and juicy each and every time. Perfect as a kid-friendly main course or topper for your favorite salad!
This chicken thigh recipe is the definition of foolproof. Not only does it require a measly 5 minutes of prep, but it also calls for just 3 simple ingredients. I love serving it for everything from large parties (it’s ridiculously easy to batch cook) to summer picnics to camping trips. Even if you’re not making it for a big group, I highly recommend you double or triple the recipe. Trust me, you’re going to want the leftovers!
The BEST Grilled Chicken Marinade
It might seem a little weird, but using store-bought ranch dressing as a marinade is a game-changer. By letting the chicken thighs marinate in the creamy dressing overnight, you get ultra-tender and moist grilled chicken with minimal fuss. The result? A grilled chicken that has both a subtle sweetness and savoriness. If you’re not a huge fan of ranch, you can easily use caesar salad dressing for a similar effect.
Not a fan of bottled dressing? Whip it up homemade with our recipe for light ranch dressing. It’s made with a blend of sour cream, buttermilk, mayo, garlic cloves, black pepper, and fresh parsley and dill. Crazy easy and delicious!
How to Prepare Grilled Chicken Thighs
Preparing these grilled chicken thighs is so simple, a kid could easily put them together. Below, find a simplified overview of the process before you dive in.
- Prep the Chicken Thighs: Using a sharp knife, slice the chicken thighs in half and place them into a large bowl.
- Marinate the Chicken Thighs: Next, season the chicken thighs with garlic salt and the ranch dressing, making sure each one is evenly coated. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and marinate the chicken for at least 6-24 hours.
- Grill the Chicken Thighs: Preheat the grill to high (about 380°F if you’re using a gas grill). Place the chicken thighs on the grill grates and grill them until golden brown on each side and fully cooked through. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Did you know? The safe internal temperature for grilled chicken is 165°F. To take the guesswork out of gauging the doneness of your chicken, invest in an instant read thermometer. I’ve been using this one for years and it’s saved me SO MUCH stress.
Tips for the Most Tender Grilled Chicken Thighs
Here you’ll find a handful of pro tips to help you make the most tender grilled chicken thighs.
- Use skinless boneless chicken thighs. Nothing compares to the cooking speed and juiciness of grilled boneless skinless chicken thighs. You can always use bone-in thighs, but they will take much longer to grill.
- Avoid over-flipping the chicken. If you want those quintessential grill marks, refrain from flipping the chicken too much. Ideally, you’ll only have to flip it once!
- Keep prepped chicken stored in an airtight container. If you grill the chicken ahead of time, keep it stored in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve it. The steam will keep the chicken both flavorful and moist.
Kabob Hack: If you’re a fan of kabobs, slice the chicken thighs into quarters versus halves. Then, soak some wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes (this prevents them from burning over high heat). Assemble the chicken pieces on the skewers and grill them on both sides until golden brown. YUM!
Ways to Serve Your Grilled Chicken Thighs
There are a million and one different ways to serve these grilled chicken thighs. For a comforting, well-rounded meal, serve them with a side dish of creamy mashed potatoes or olivier salad (Slavic-style potato salad). Or, if you’re trying to keep things light serve the thighs on top of a homemade caesar salad or berry spinach salad.
How to Store Your Leftovers
Whether you have a couple of thighs to stow away in the fridge or a batch you’d like to freeze, find all our top storage tips here.
- Refrigerator: To keep your chicken thighs on hand for up to 5 days, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. This will keep them from drying out quicker.
- Freezer: If you’d like to keep your chicken thighs on hand for up to 1 month, store them in individual freezer-safe bags. To thaw, place them in the fridge overnight.
Reheating Tip: The best way to reheat your chicken thighs is in the microwave or an air fryer (if you don’t have one yet, I love this model from Cosori).
Other Must Try Chicken Recipes
- Grilled Chicken Kebabs – Juicy, marinated chicken skewers
- Baked Chicken Legs – The perfect sheet pan meal
- Grilled Chicken Wings – Easy, 3 ingredient wings
- Chicken Lo Mein – Noodles, chicken and veggies in the best sauce ever
- Grilled Teriyaki Chicken – Sweet and savory teriyaki chicken
- 2 lbs chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp Garlic Parsley Salt
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- Prepare all ingredients for the recipe.
- Cut the chicken thighs into halves and place them into a bowl. Season them with the garlic salt and pour the ranch dressing on top. Using your hands, massage the chicken until the seasoning is evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 6 hours (overnight preferred).
- Preheat the grill on high (about 380°F). Grill chicken on both sides until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Serve and enjoy!
These were great and so quick and easy. Thank you.
You're welcome, Mary! Thanks for leaving feedback. 🙂
So I measured The ranch and garlic salt correctly I made sure and I marinated it overnight for roughly 24 hours. It came out super salty once grilled. Like extremely salty. I used 2 lbs chicken thighs as stated. What went wrong? Did you happen to mean garlic powder and not salt?
Hi Stacey - Sorry it turned out too salty on your end. We typically use Hidden Valley and garlic parsley salt in these exact measurements. If you make it again, you can definitely swap the garlic parsley salt out for garlic powder. Hope this helps!
Delicious and easy!!
Thank you, Olya!
What’s the portion size? The nutritional info is off the rails.
Hey Deborah, the nutrition as calculating ranch, thanks for catching that. This recipe makes 4 sergivngs.
Looks delicious gotta try it asap!
This chicken is amazing, so easy! Let me know what you think when you try it 🙂
Awesome recipe to try at home during lockdowns! Grilling chicken will also provide a healthy and safe way to cook chicken. I would just like to add that chicken shouldn’t be washed directly under the sink as juices can spill on countertops and ready-to-eat food spreading microbes.
Hey Mischelle, thank you for sharing your tips. I am confident that it will help many readers!
Would chicken breast work for this recipe? thanks
Yes, you would need to adjust the cooking time.
Just made this, and this recipe is a keeper. The chicken turned out moist and seasoned, super delicious . Thanks a lot for this recipe 🙂
Irina, I am so happy tom hear such an awesome feedback. Thank you for sharing!
Would it be ok to marinade this for 2 nights?
Yes, it will be just fine to marinade for several days.
Would it be ok to marinade for 2 nights?
Yes, totally fine to marinate for a few days!
I made these the other day and I fell in love. They reminded me of chicken breast that I grilled before with Mayo and a few other ingridents. And even reminded me of the pork ones that my dad grills. Yet this is so simple and taste similar. I loved it!!
Olga, I agree with you. I make this dish several times a month. Next batch us coming up this Saturday 🙂
This will sound odd, but I have made Baked Chicken breasts with bottled Ranch dressing.. and 1/2 tsp. of grated fresh Ginger added! There is no strong flavor of Ginger, just some underlying "zing". I will have to try this way, grilling the chicken cut in chunks. Yum
That sounds very interesting. I bet the flavors are great with all the ginger.
It makes only 5 skewers or more? I want to make these for a large party and want to make sure I get enough chicken to feed 30 adults.
I would do at least 1/2 per adult. If you are not serving much food you can do a little more.
Hello just wondering do you think I'd be able to grill these on a panini/griddle? I wanted to make these for when we go camping but won't be having a grill. Thank you!
You definitely can use griddle. In the winter time that's what I use. Have fun camping 😉
can I fry them on the stove top in a skillet with a little oil?
Yes you can. They will still be just as great!
Natalya, thank you for the awesome recipe! the best recipes are always the simpliest ones. I made these last night for unexpected company and they had enough time to marinate and soak in flavor with in the time my hubby fired the grill. this will be my go to recipe. thank you
Oh my! So awesome. You make me smile so big. Thanks for your comment, it keep me excited to continue blogging 😉
These look amazing!! If I were to bake these in the oven what temperature would you recommend and for how long?
Here is the recipe for an idea for you. It may be helpful. http://momsdish.com/r405
is it gona be delicious if i make it in the oven?
Yes, I think it will be good. Maybe not as crispy but it will taste good 🙂
Serve them while worm? ;))
Heheh 🙂 even my husband didn't catch that. He looks over my recipes.