How to Grill Chicken

It only takes a few steps to learn how to prepare grilled chicken. We have step-by-step instructions for grilling a whole chicken, plus chicken breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings, so no matter what piece of chicken you're grilling, you've come to the right place. Grab a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce, because it's time to get cooking!

How to Grill a Whole Chicken

All-American Barbecued Chicken

Grilled chicken is a summer barbecue staple, no matter how you make it. Whether you're craving saucy chicken wings or a simple grilled chicken breast, our tips for grilling chicken will help you make it juicy and delicious. Once you've learned how to make grilled chicken, you'll be able to serve it up all summer.

Get our best tips for how to grill a whole chicken

Try our recipe for All-American Chicken with Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

Step 1: Butterfly the chicken

Churrasco De Frango (Grilled Chicken)

Remove chicken from packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Butterflying the chicken makes it easier to cook a whole chicken on the grill. Kitchen or poultry shears are the best tool for the job. Make a cut about 1-1/2 inches apart on both sides of the backbone, cutting all the way down, and remove backbone. Turn chicken breast-side up. Open the two sides of the chicken as if you were opening a book and lay it flat. Break breastbone by firmly applying pressure and pressing down. Tuck wing tips under upper wings.

Get our Grilled Chicken recipe

Step 2: Prepare the grill

Grilled Chicken Salad

Prepare grill for indirect grilling. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Make sure you have the right temperature for grilled chicken, and test for medium heat above the pan. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking.

Brush chicken with olive oil. Season chicken on both sides with salt and black pepper. Place skin-side down on center of grill over indirect medium heat.

Tip: To test for medium heat, use the built-in thermometer on your grill, if it has one. If your grill doesn't have a built-in thermometer, hold your hand above the surface of the grill where your food will cook at about the same height as the food that will be grilled. Count the number of seconds you are able to hold your hand at that height before pulling it away. If you need to pull your hand away after about 4 seconds, the grill temperature is medium.

Follow these instructions to test the temperature of your grill

Try our Grilled Chicken Salad recipe

Step 3: Grill the chicken

Grilled Chicken-Finger Fajitas with Peppers and Onions

Cover and grill for 25 minutes. Turn chicken over. Cover and grill for 25 to 30 minutes more or until juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 180 degrees F. Remove chicken from grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve chicken to serve.

Get the recipe for Grilled Chicken-Finger Fajitas with Peppers and Onions

How to Grill Chicken Breasts

Grilled Chicken with Lemon-Cucumber Relish

Marinate and season chicken as desired. Place chicken on the grill rack directly over medium coals. Grill, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (internal temperature of 170 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling.

Get the recipe for Mediterranean Grilled Chicken with Lemon-Cucumber Relish

How to Grill Chicken Thighs

Grilled Feta-Brined Chicken

Place chicken on grill rack directly over medium coals. For boneless chicken thighs, grill, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (internal temperature of 180 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling.

Get our recipe for boneless Grilled Feta-Brined Chicken Thighs

Get the recipe for bone-in Honey-Sriracha Grilled Chicken Thighs

How to Grill Chicken Drumsticks

For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around drip pan. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Test for medium heat above the drip pan. Place drumsticks on the grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill for 50 to 60 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (180 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling.

Get the recipe for Easy Barbecued Drumsticks

How to Grill Chicken Wings

Customizable Grilled Chicken Wings

Cut each chicken wing at the large joint (you will get two portions from each wing). For charcoal grilled chicken, arrange medium-hot coals around drip pan. For gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Test for medium heat above the drip pan. Place chicken pieces on the grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink; turn once.

Try our Customizable Grilled Chicken Wings recipe

Our Favorite Grilled Chicken Recipes

Jerk Chicken and Pineapple Slaw Wraps

If you're not sure where to start, you can't go wrong with any of these grilled chicken recipes. In the mood for grilled barbecue chicken? We have it! Grilled chicken wings? They're here, too. Just choose your favorite recipe and fire up the grill.

Jerk Chicken and Pineapple Slaw Wraps

Our Best Grilled Chicken Recipes

Healthy Chicken Recipes for Summer

Gai Yang (Thai Grilled Chicken)

Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Glaze

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