Traditional recipes

Grilled Spiced Chicken

Grilled Spiced Chicken

In a large container, combine yogurt, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, fresh ginger, ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, and salt making sure the spices are evenly mixed with the yogurt.

Cut shallow incision in the chicken pieces at about 1/2-inch intervals. Add chicken to the bowl with yogurt-spice mixture and coat evenly, rubbing the yogurt-mix in the incisions. Marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

Light the grill. Grill the chicken over moderately high heat, basting with oil, for 10 minutes. Turn and cook, basting with the remaining oil, until just done, about 10 minutes longer for the breasts, 12 for the thighs and drumsticks.


Reviews ( 11 )

Hi - you just needed to put the rub under breast, legs and thighs skin for the flavour - we also use mesquite chips in our smoker for flavour on the direct side - using the convection method on the grill putting the chicken on indirect heat with medium to medium high heat with an old fry pan without the handle with water in it for moisture and to catch the fat stopping flare ups - hope you try this method again because it is the better then cooking on direct grill heat and then putting it in the oven - we only cook on the bbq all year round - great with smoker for stuffed turkey for Christmas and Thanksgiving and we live in a snow belt area.

It was great! I followed your directions on prepping and cooking the chicken. I used my own rub, so I can't comment on that, but I followed how you used the rub. My chicken came out moist and delicious. It had great flavor and the perfect char to it. Definitely my new way of cooking chicken. Thanks!

I thought this was a great recipe. The rub is tasty and the chicken turned out surprisingly tender and moist. I made 50% more rub per the other reviews and made sure to get it under the thighs and legs. I used a gas Weber Spirit grill. I used all 3 burners on medium for phase 1. I had some problems with the fat catching fire so I had to watch it close. I only needed 5 mins per side. Then I turned off the front 2 burners and turned the back burner up to high, which kept the grill between 325 and 350 deg. It took my 4.5 lb bird the initial 10 mins of direct heat and then another 55 min to reach 165. I took the temp measurement from the breast because the thighs reached 165 way early.

this was very juicy !! cut backbone completely out with heavy shears. double+ the spices. put olive oil on chicken to adhere the rub better. roasted in convection oven @ 350 on a rack using the probe set internally to 183. came out beautifully! served with cheese grits and spinach salad with pears, red onion, celery etc. daughter kept saying how good the chicken was. she doesn't like sweet tastes in her poultry, so i told her about the brown sugar when she was all finished !!

Excellent recipe! Tried it twice already and both were winners. I used a Weber Q300 gas grill that has built-in direct/indirect heat options and so following the recipe was very easy. The result is an extremely tender and flavorful chicken

The chicken was incredibly flavorful, especially when rubbing the legs and thighs as well as per the recommendation of a previous user. I placed foil over the chicken, not just using the cover of the grill. The chicken was very moist & juicy. Excellent recipe, and my entire family enjoyed it!

did this on the stove and in the oven (set to 350) in a cast iron skillet. was very tasty and juicy! perhaps the broiler would have been better than the stove for the first part and a broiler pan would have been better than the skillet so that the juices/fat don't collect around the meat. anyways - try this even if you don't have a grill! very simple and easy as long as you have an hour to wait for dinner.

If you follow the cooking instructions exactly, this is the juiciest, most perfect chicken ever! Definitely put some of the rub on the legs and thighs.

This was delicious! I love the idea of doing the chicken on the grill, so it doesn't heat up the house. I was a little confused about the instructions to cut along the backbone (this was my first time cooking a whole chicken) - reading another recipe later that described butterflying a whole chicken, I believe that I was supposed to spread the chicken out on the grill, but I didn't realize that, so I just folded it back up and laid it on the grill as if I hadn't cut along the backbone. This meant that it took longer than 45 minutes, but it still came out fine. I agree with the earlier poster that the breast is really the only part that gets the spice rub - next time I'll be sure to sprinkle it on the legs and thighs too. I served it with a tomato-peach salad and grilled corn, for a really great summer meal. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because the butterflying instructions were unclear - next time I'll do it differently and the recipe will be a keeper.


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Recipe Summary

  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a shallow glass dish, mix the oil, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Add chicken, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Preheat grill for medium-high heat.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Drain and discard marinade. Grill chicken for 6 to 8 minutes each side, or until juices run clear.

The nutrition data for this recipe includes information for the full amount of the marinade ingredients. Depending on marinating time, ingredients, cook time, etc., the actual amount of the marinade consumed will vary.


Begin by pounding the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness.

This both tenderizes the meat and ensures even cooking. Left in their natural shape, the thin side of the fillet dries out while the thicker side finishes cooking.

Next, make the marinade by combining the olive oil, spices, salt, garlic and sugar in a bowl or directly in a sealable plastic bag.

Place the chicken and marinade in a freezer bag, press the air out and then massage the marinade into the chicken until the breasts are evenly coated. Marinate in the fridge for 5-6 hours.

When you’re ready to eat, preheat your grill to high. It’s important that the grill is very hot — you want nice grill marks and char in the short amount of time it takes to cook these.

Grill just a few minutes per side for perfectly tender chicken breasts.


Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken

Za’atar is one of my favorite spice blends of all time which is why it thrills me beyond belief to see it becoming trendy these days. The truth is, when I open up a bag of fresh za’atar, the earthy, smoky aroma immediately transports me back into my Great Aunt Vieve’s kitchen.

I have countless memories of being a little girl watching her as she masterfully sprinkled za’atar over her famous Middle Eastern Salad with Lemon, Mint and Garlic.

If you’re not familiar with za’atar , think of it as an all-in-one Middle Eastern spice blend, similar to my All-Purpose Lebanese Spice Blend. In addition to spicing up any salad, it is an ideal rub for grilled meats and vegetables.

When combined with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh garlic it turns chicken breasts into a tender, juicy, and flavor-packed weeknight dinner the whole family will devour. Be sure to grill a little extra chicken – it’s great the next day in sandwiches, salads, or pitas.


22 of Our Best Grilled Chicken Recipes

Drew Anthony Smith

Burgers and hot dogs are cookout favorites, but chicken deserves a place on your grill as well. Cooking chicken over an open flame renders it irresistibly charred and smoky, and chicken tastes great with any of your summer produce. Easy to grill, kebabs are a great choice for a cookout. Chicken satay is a Thai takeout classic infused with traditional Indonesian spices like lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Or try tavuk kebabi, marinated in a thick, flavorful mixture of mint, Aleppo pepper, and Turkish sweet red pepper paste that caramelizes on the grill.

Find all of these dishes and more in our collection of our favorite grilled chicken recipes.

Honey-Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salad

Honey-Grilled Chicken with Citrus Salad

Blueberry BBQ Chicken

Similar to a shrub—a fruit syrup punctuated by vinegar—my Blue Q sauce makes a bracing drink when mixed with club soda or booze. It’s also the first step in a fruity vinaigrette. And as much as it loves smoke, this sauce sees my oven more than my grill. Keep in mind this is not a marinade. Brush it on toward the end of cooking and let the chicken soak up more of the sauce before serving. The final soak is key. Get the recipe for Blueberry Barbecue Chicken »

Cilantro and Lime Chicken with Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad

A simple and fresh black bean salad with grilled corns pairs perfectly with a quick marinated and grilled chicken. Get the recipe for Cilantro and Lime Chicken with Grilled Corn and Black Bean Salad »

Calabrian Chicken Wings

Spicy ‘nduja, a fresh pork sausage made with Calabrian chili peppers, heats up the brick red marinade—teeming with tart lime juice, ginger, and garlic—for these char-grilled chicken wings from celebrity chef and cookbook author Scott Conant. Get the recipe for Calabrian Chicken Wings »

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma

Soak up the flavorful juices of these Mediterranean-spiced chicken skewers by resting them on grilled pita during the final stages of cooking in this dish from Ana Sortun, who uses yogurt’s natural acidity to tenderize tough cuts of meat. Get the recipe for Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Shawarma »

Grilled Chicken and Toasted Coconut Salad (Ayam Jeruk)

For this vibrantly spiced Balinese dish, finely shredded grilled chicken is tossed in an aromatic sambal with lime juice and toasted coconut.

Iraqi Yellow Spice-Rubbed Chicken (Djaj Bil-Bahar Il-Asfar)

This fragrant spice-rubbed grilled chicken was a favorite of former SAVEUR Assistant Editor Felicia Campbell when she was deployed to Iraq.

Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi)

Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Kebabi)

Adobo Chicken Under a Brick

A zesty Cuban-inspired marinade infuses the chicken with flavor, and grilling it flat on a plancha results in delicious crispy skin.

Spice-Rubbed Chicken with Duck Sauce

The fiery chile-based rub on this chicken is balanced by a basting of sweet-sour duck sauce. Get the recipe for Spice-Rubbed Chicken with Duck Sauce »

Char Siu Chicken

Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce (Gai Yahng)

Thai Grilled Chicken with Sweet Chile Sauce (Gai Yahng)

Beijing Chicken Wings (Mi Zhi Ji Chi Chuan)

These crisp-skinned, deeply flavorful wings get their tingly, mouth-numbing spice from Sichuan peppercorns and a finishing drizzle of hot sesame–chile oil.

Chicken Satay (Satay Ayam)

These fragrant chicken skewers are infused with traditional Indonesian spices like lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Get the recipe for Chicken Satay (Satay Ayam) »

Smokestack’s Chicken Wings

These crisp-charred chicken wings are bathed in a spiced butter sauce.

Alabama-Style Chicken Sandwiches with White Sauce

This recipe for hickory-smoked chicken sandwiches served with tangy, mayonnaise-based white sauce originated in 1925, when railway worker Big Bob Gibson dug a pit in his backyard in Decatur, Alabama, nailed a plank-oak serving table to a sycamore tree, and started smoking barbecue for friends, co-workers, and passersby.

Pesto-Rubbed Chicken with Panzanella

Pesto genovese adds herbal brightness to this grilled chicken served over a toasted bread salad, but any flavor pesto will work. Full of fiery chiles and warm spices, the all-purpose seasoning for this dish can be used as a rub on pork, goat, fish, and vegetables, as well as chicken.

Grilled Chicken with Red Onion Jam

A thick, sweet red onion jam makes for a great accompaniment to this herbaceous grilled chicken.

Grilled Chicken in Caramelized Onion Sauce (Yassa Poulet)

This classic Senegalese dish utilizes the marinade by cooking it down into a sweet-tart sauce for the grilled chicken. Get the recipe » Marinated with the traditional Guam-style sauce finadene, a blend of cane vinegar, soy sauce, and aromatics, this succulent grilled chicken is served with annatto-tinged red rice at the cart PDX 671.

Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken (Pollo al Horno)

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Recipe Summary

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 2 red jalapeños or fresno chiles, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 4-pound chicken&mdashbackbone removed, chicken halved through the breastbone
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling

Roast the red bell peppers on a hot grill or over an open flame, turning, until charred all over. Transfer the peppers to a bowl to cool. Peel, stem, seed and coarsely chop them. Transfer the peppers to a food processor and add the jalapeños, garlic, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper and puree. With the machine on, slowly pour in the olive oil.

With a small knife, make 1/2-inch-deep slits all over the chicken halves. Transfer to a large, resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Refrigerate the chicken overnight. Bring to room temperature before grilling.

Light a grill. Wipe off most of the marinade from the chicken. Oil the grill grate and put the chicken on it, skin side down. Cover and cook over moderately high heat, until lightly charred, about 7 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook for about 7 minutes, until charred on the other side. Turn off the heat in half of the grill or rake the coals to one side, away from the chicken. Cover and grill, turning the chicken halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 160°, about 1 hour.


Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken

Let’s be real: boneless, skinless chicken breasts can get boring when eaten night after night. Since they are naturally lean, they have a tendency to dry out quickly if not prepared properly.

To ensure a juicy, tender chicken breast, I love creating quick and easy yogurt marinades. Acting as a natural tenderizer, the acidity in yogurt is my secret weapon to perfect chicken every time.

Similar to lemon juice, it helps break down the proteins in the meat which results in a moist and flavorful end product.

We always have plain yogurt on hand for smoothies, tzatziki, cucumber raita and more so I love using it to throw together a quick marinade. Speaking of raita, this Indian Spiced Grilled Chicken is best served with a cool and creamy yogurt sauce on the side. In fact, I love whipping up the raita while the chicken is marinating.

If you don’t love Indian flavors, feel free to use any of your favorite spices. This would be ideal for my All Purpose Lebanese Spice Blend or you could head to Mexico and add smoked paprika, cumin, and lime juice.