Chicken is the bird of summer. It’s pretty healthy (particularly put up against burgers and steak), and affordable (especially if you go with chicken thighs). It grills up fast, and readily changes its character, depending on what you marinate it with, and how you sauce or glaze it—so however basic it seems, it never needs to be boring.
Whether you’re making grilled chicken breast, grilled chicken thighs, or grilled chicken wings, we’ve got a recipe for you. If you need a side dish, check out our summer salad guide, or our most interesting BBQ sides to go along.
Some of the same stuff that flavors good guacamole—lime juice, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro—goes into the marinade for these. It’s a dish as laid-back as guac, too, whether cut up fajitas-style or served whole. Get our Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lime Cilantro Marinade recipe.
Stasher Silicone Storage Bags, $9.99-$19.99 from The Container Store
These reusable air-tight bags are great for marinating, among other things.
Light and zesty as summer itself, the marinade gives these boneless skinless chicken breasts a bright hit of lemon, chile, and black pepper. This is a recipe you’ll lean on often, as it’s the perfect easy main dish for summer. Get our Grilled Chicken Breasts with Easy Lemon Marinade recipe.
Related Reading: 9 Chicken Marinades That Make It Good to the Last Bite
In vivid style, yogurt, lemon, fresh ginger, garlic, smoked and hot paprika, cumin, and cayenne flavor cubes of boneless chicken thigh. Thread the pieces onto skewers, fire up the grill, and enjoy a perfect taste of summer. Get our Spicy Yogurt Chicken recipe.
Related Reading: 11 Super Skewer Recipes for Summer BBQs
Marinate your chicken breasts in this high-flavor marinade that combines balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, and fresh rosemary, creating an unusually bold flavor profile. Get our Grilled Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Rosemary Marinade recipe.
10-Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar, $19.95 from Sur La Table
A shortcut to deliciously complex flavor.
Honey and Dijon go into a time-honored dipping sauce for fast-food chicken nuggets, why not apply them to the marinade for grilled chicken breasts at home? Sweetness and pungency in perfect balance, to give chicken breasts the oomph they need. Get our Grilled Chicken Breasts with Honey-Dijon Marinade recipe.
Inspired by Mexican pollo al carbon, this grilled chicken gets an overnight marinade in a mixture of achiote paste, jalapeños, garlic, lime, cilantro, and fresh orange juice. Eat it with Arroz Verde and grilled veggies the first night, then shred the leftover meat into tacos the next. Get our Mexican BBQ Chicken recipe.
Related Reading: More Mexican BBQ Recipes
Simpler and lighter than teriyaki, this marinade of soy sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, and garlic is a three-ingredient wonder for making grilled chicken thighs taste delicious. Since you probably already have the marinade ingredients in your pantry, it’s good for an impromptu meal, too. Get our Grilled Chicken Thighs with Soy Marinade recipe.
Related Reading: The Best 5-Ingedient BBQ Recipes for Easy Summer Eats
This looks deceptively similar to the recipe above, but it has a totally different flavor profile. Sweet, earthy yellow miso blends with fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy, and chile garlic sauce to make the fullest-flavored marinade imaginable for chicken thighs. Get our Grilled Chicken Thighs with Miso Marinade recipe. Try serving them over cold noodles.
Marinated with cilantro, garlic, brown sugar, white pepper, Asian fish sauce, and soy sauce, this take on grilled chicken breasts packs a flavorful punch. This recipe serves as a great last-minute main dish, as it only takes 30 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. Pair with a simple green salad and you’re all set! Get our Easy Thai Grilled Chicken Breasts recipe.
Marinating these chicken wings in a mixture of buttermilk, garlic powder, and hot sauce ensures that they won’t get dry out on the grill—and they’ll be way healthier than the usual deep-fried version. Frank’s is the classic choice, but use any hot sauce or even barbecue sauce you like to adjust the hotness of your chicken wings, and pair with your favorite dipping sauce. Get our Easy Grilled Buffalo Wings recipe.
If you’ve never grilled a whole chicken, it’s easier than you think, especially when you butterfly it so it lays flat on the grill. That helps it cook quickly and evenly, and the oregano-infused marinade keeps the meat moist. The hardest part is finding a place in your fridge for the baking dish holding the spatchcocked chicken while it soaks up all that flavor overnight. Throw lemons on the grill to char for a smoky, citrusy finishing touch squeezed over the meat. Get our Oregano Marinated Grilled Chicken recipe. (Use any leftover meat in a Mediterranean-inspired chicken salad, or wrap it up in flatbread with a quick yogurt sauce.)
Related Reading: 7 Things to Grill Now and Eat Later
16 Piece Stainless Steel Grilling Tool Set, $38.56 from Amazon
A good set of tools makes grilling WAY more fun
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