Marinated in a flavorful spicy chipotle sauce and grilled to juicy perfection, these chipotle marinated chicken thighs will quickly become a cookout favorite!
If you grill only one thing this summer it has to be this chicken. We are NOT messing around with the big, bold flavors today!
Heat lovers, this one’s for you because we’re packing three big flavorful chipotle peppers into this chicken marinade and they do their job right.
We’re not killing this chicken with the heat, but it does pack a bit of a punch while also being massively flavorful and so freaking juicy.
The best part is that even if you’re not a big fan of heat in your food, you don’t have to miss out on this chicken! You can easily adjust the level of heat in the marinade to suit your personal preference.
Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on having this chicken in your grilling life this summer.
This Grilled Chipotle Chicken features…
- A spicy, smoky chipotle marinade
- Perfectly tender and juicy grilled chicken thighs
- Minutes to prep and minimal ingredients needed
Making the Chipotle Chicken
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Chipotle in adobo sauce
- Yellow onion
- Lime juice
- Brown sugar
- Vegetable oil
- Chicken broth
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs
Choosing Your Chicken
We recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. This cut of chicken is fast to cook on the grill and turns out juicy every single time.
If you don’t have thighs on hand, boneless skinless chicken breasts will work great instead. They won’t cook up quite as juicy as thighs but they will still be delicious.
Tips for Perfect Chipotle Chicken
- Use chipotle in adobo sauce – you can find this in the Mexican section of most major grocery stores. These peppers are super flavorful and lend the most perfect smoky, spicy flavors to this chicken.
- Blend marinade – this easily breaks down the peppers, cilantro, onion, and garlic into a smooth sauce. You can also use a food processor instead of a blender.
- Use fresh garlic and cilantro – these ingredients add a ton of flavor to the marinade.
- Reserve some of marinade – set aside 1/4 cup of marinade for drizzling on the chicken after grilling. This adds so much flavor!
- Marinate chicken at least 2 hours – a good rule of thumb with marinating is 2 hours if you’re in a hurry and up to 12 if you’ve got some extra time.
- Marinate chicken on bottom shelf of fridge – it’s always a good idea to keep raw meats away from fresh produce and on the bottom shelf of your fridge to reduce risk of cross contamination.
Try these ideas for a different twist on this chicken.
- Adjust the heat – you can easily dial the heat up or down in this recipe. For less heat, use 1 pepper. If you’re looking for more heat, start with the suggested 3 peppers and add more to taste.
- Try a different herb – parsley or basil would be great in place of the cilantro.
- Serve with vegetables – roast potatoes, asparagus, or green beans go great with this chicken. We like making a little extra marinade to drizzle over the vegetables for serving.
Stovetop and Oven Instructions
Don’t have a grill? You can still make this recipe! Follow these instructions for cooking the chicken on the stovetop or oven.
- Stovetop: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet (or brush over a large cast iron grill pan) Once pan is hot, add chicken and sear on both sides until chicken registers 165F. Note: if you are using a thicker cut of chicken, such as a chicken breast, we recommend searing chicken on both sides, then finish cooking in a 400F oven 5-10 minutes.
- Oven: Arrange chicken in a single layer on a greased sheet pan. Bake chicken at 400F 20-25 minutes until chicken registers 165F. Optionally, broil chicken 1 inch from heat 2-3 minutes to crisp up the outside.
The amount of flavor we’re piling into this chicken is almost unreal. The chipotle peppers give everything a boost of heat and the perfect little hint of smoky flavor while simultaneously, the chicken grills up SO tender and juicy.
You’ll find this chicken on our grill all summer and strongly suggest you do the same!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
Watch this chicken made step-by-step on Google web stories.
More summer grilling favorites to try next!
Grilled Chipotle Marinated Chicken Thighs
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- 3 medium chipotles in adobo sauce (plus 2 tablespoons sauce)
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup firmly-packed cilantro
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Additional minced fresh cilantro for topping
- In a food processor or blender, combine chipotle, adobo sauce, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, brown sugar, vegetable oil, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
- Pulse or blend sauce several times, scraping down sides as necessary, until sauce is smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if needed. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade and set aside in refrigerator.
- Place chicken thighs in a large bowl and pour remaining marinade over top. Toss chicken to evenly coat in marinade. Cover bowl and marinate chicken in refrigerator 2 hours or up to 12.
- When ready to grill, preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat or lightly grease and heat a grill pan on stovetop.
- Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Grill chicken over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until chicken registers 165F.
- Top chicken with a few drizzles of reserved marinade and fresh cilantro and serve warm. Enjoy!