6 Easy Flavor-Filled Grilled Chicken Recipes

Alice CurrahAlice CurrahBuckah! What's for dinner tonight? Why, chicken, of course, but since the weather's nice and warm out, we'll be hitting the grill. Two things, though, come to mind. The first is: boring! And the second is: dry. But, it doesn't have to be that way. If you want tender, juicy grilled chicken and interesting recipes, read on.

So, first things first. How do you make grilled chicken that's moist, tender, and flavorful instead of dry, rubbery, and bland? Well, you can choose to use thighs, which have higher fat content and less of a tendency to dry out, but, if like many health-conscious people, you prefer boneless, skinless chicken breast, we have a few tips that ought to help.

Use a brine: A brine is a simple salt water solution that will help meat stay moist as it cooks on a grill; as a rule of thumb, dissolve a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of sugar, if using, per cup of water. Brine chicken breasts for only 2-3 hours for best results.

Use a marinade: A marinade consists of three basic things - an acid, aromatics, and oil. Acid helps tenderize the meat, aromatics impart flavor, and the oil binds together all of the ingredients.

Use a brick: Wrap a brick in foil and place it on top of the breasts as they cook. Covering them helps keep them from drying out, makes them cook more evenly by flattening them, and also gets you nice grill marks.

Use your frustrations: Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness using a meat mallet or the back of a heavy pan to ensure even cooking and shorter cooking times. Shorter cooking times give chicken breasts less of a chance to dry out.

Use a meat thermometer: While some people may lament the loss of juices by essentially poking a hole in the chicken, when it comes to food safety, it's better to be safe than sorry. (Testing just one is usually enough, so if you're cooking multiple breasts, this isn't too much of an issue; just give the tester to someone who's been misbehaving.) The magic number you want to hit is 165 degrees. Some recipes will tell you to pull them off the grill at 160 and let carryover cooking do the rest. We like this idea, but if it makes you a little uncomfortable, by all means, wait for 165.

Grilled Citrus Chicken

Chef Luis Vega of Zin American Bistro in Palm Springs, Calif., shares a recipe for juicy, tender grilled chicken with a citrusy sauce flavored with roasted red bell pepper, thyme, and juniper berries.

Click here to see the Grilled Citrus Chicken Recipe.

Chicken Tawook Skewers

Sawsan Abu Farha, author of Chef in Disguise, worked hard to perfect this famous Middle Eastern dish, and the results paid off. She says, "All I have to say about this recipe is… We don't order shish tawook when we eat out any more." Her marinade consists of tomato paste, ketchup (yes, that's right), garlic, mustard, soy sauce, yogurt, olive oil, and spices.

Click here to see the Chicken Tawook Skewers Recipe.

Grilled Chipotle Orange Chicken

With just seven ingredients, Elana Amsterdam, author of Elana's Pantry shares an easy and gluten-free way to serve grilled chicken.

Click here to see the Grilled Chipotle Orange Chicken Recipe.

Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Barbecue Sauce

Is watermelon your favorite fruit? Then you'll love this delicious grilled chicken recipe from Erika Monroe-Williams, who is The Hopeless Housewife. Sautéed watermelon, onion, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and garlic sauce form the base for the homemade barbecue sauce.

Click here to see the Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Barbecue Sauce Recipe.

Gai Yang with Bird's-Eye Chile Dipping Sauce

Looking for a little culinary adventure? Perhaps you'll want to try this recipe by Cree LeFavour, author of the Poulet cookbook. It's a classic Thai dish that should be next on your list if you're ready to make a leap away from pad thai. The dipping sauce is an addictive, simple blend of Thai chiles, garlic, raw sugar, and vinegar that forms a perfect balance of hot, sweet, and sour.

Click here to see the Gai Yang with Bird's-Eye Chile Dipping Sauce Recipe.

Thai Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers (pictured above)

My kids cannot resist these tender, juicy Asian-inspired chicken skewers. The combination of ginger, cardamom, and curry, sweetened by brown sugar, is sweet, savory, and bold! Serve them with a side of peanut-coconut sauce and your taste buds will thank you.


For the chicken:
3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Peanut-Coconut Sauce:
One 13.50-ounce can coconut milk
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste


For the chicken:
Soak 24 wooden skewers in ice-cold water for 15 minutes to prevent them from burning; then set aside.

Place the chicken in a medium bowl. To make the marinade, whisk all the next 8 ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage the meat with your hands for 1 minute to coat the cubes well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

Spray a grill rack with nonstick cooking spray and set the heat to high or use a grill pan. Thread 6-8 chicken cubes onto each skewer. When the grill is ready, cook the chicken for 8-10 minutes, turning the skewers over halfway through. Remove the skewers from the grill and allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Serve the Peanut-Coconut Sauce alongside.

Peanut-Coconut Sauce:

Combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, and red curry paste in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Recipe Details
Servings: 8
Cuisine: Thai

Click here to see more great grilled chicken recipes

-Will Budiaman, The Daily Meal