How Long to Grill Chicken

Published By Kevin Turner

Last Updated Feb 6, 2024 is reader-supported. If you buy something using the links on our site, we might earn an affiliate commission at no added cost to you. This helps us pay our staff to keep making awesome content for you!

Table of Contents

    Ever been caught in the conundrum of grilling chicken just right without turning it into a dry, chewy mess or even worse, serving it undercooked? Believe me, you’re not the only one! Countless kitchen escapades and diligent research led me to one piece of golden advice – the cooking time does indeed change depending on the cut.

    This article is your ultimate guide to grilling various cuts of chicken flawlessly. So roll up those sleeves! Delightfully juicy grilled chicken is now within your reach!

    How Long to Grill Chicken

    When it comes to grilling chicken, the cooking time varies depending on the cut of meat you are using. For boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it typically takes about 6-8 minutes per side over medium-high heat until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

    Bone-in chicken breasts may require a longer cooking time of around 10-12 minutes per side. On the other hand, chicken thighs and drumsticks will take about 10-12 minutes per side to cook thoroughly.

    Cooking time for boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    Grilling boneless, skinless chicken breasts require a keen eye for timing. Preheating the grill to medium heat, usually around 375 degrees Fahrenheit is critical. Each side of the breast needs roughly six to seven minutes over this direct heat.

    However, thickness varies with each piece of meat so it’s important to use a food thermometer since food safety is paramount when dealing with poultry. You’ll know they are cooked thoroughly once they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

    With proper grilling time, your chicken breasts will come out juicy and bursting with flavor every time!

    More Reading>> Can you grill frozen chicken?

    Cooking time for bone-in chicken breasts

    Grilling bone-in chicken breasts requires a bit more time compared to boneless ones. To ensure that they cook thoroughly and retain their juiciness, you should grill them for approximately 25-30 minutes.

    It’s important to remember to flip the chicken breasts halfway through the cooking process to ensure even heat distribution. Use a meat thermometer to check if they have reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), indicating that they are fully cooked and safe to eat.

    Grilling bone-in chicken breasts gives them a delicious smoky flavor and crispy skin, making them a favorite choice for outdoor barbecues and gatherings.

    Cooking time for chicken thighs and drumsticks

    To cook chicken thighs and drumsticks on the grill, it typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Make sure that the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

    Rotate the pieces occasionally while grilling to ensure even cooking and a crispy skin. Remember to marinate the chicken beforehand to add flavor and moisture to your grilled dish.

    Enjoy juicy and flavorful chicken thighs and drumsticks straight off the grill!

    Tips for Perfectly Grilled Chicken

    To ensure perfectly grilled chicken, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Let the chicken rest before serving to allow the juices to redistribute and keep it juicy. Adjust cooking time for thinner or thicker cuts of chicken to avoid undercooking or drying out.

    Lastly, marinate the chicken beforehand to add flavor and enhance tenderness on the grill. Keep in mind that chicken can only sit out for a max of 2 hours while raw, before it goes bad.

    Using a meat thermometer to ensure doneness

    I always use a meat thermometer when grilling chicken to make sure it’s cooked to the perfect temperature. This handy tool takes the guesswork out of determining doneness. Simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding any bones or fat.

    The internal temperature should reach 165°F (75°C) for safe consumption. By using a meat thermometer, you can ensure that your grilled chicken is cooked through without overcooking it, resulting in juicy and delicious results every time.

    Letting the chicken rest before serving

    Once the chicken is done grilling, it’s important to let it rest before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful chicken.

    Simply transfer the chicken from the grill to a cutting board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing or serving.

    Resting the chicken also helps to retain its moisture. If you cut into the meat right after grilling, all those delicious juices will spill out onto your plate instead of staying inside where they belong.

    Adjusting cooking time for thinner or thicker cuts of chicken

    When grilling chicken, it’s important to adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the cuts. Thinner cuts of chicken, like boneless skinless breasts or thighs, will cook faster than thicker cuts like bone-in breasts or drumsticks.

    To ensure that all parts of the chicken are cooked properly and reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), you can either vary the heat intensity or move thinner pieces away from direct heat while leaving thicker ones in hotter spots.

    By adjusting the cooking time for thinner or thicker cuts of chicken, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly grilled and juicy results every time without overcooking any part of your meal.

    If you need to defrost your chicken, follow these steps.

    How to achieve a flavorful and juicy chicken on the grill

    To achieve a flavorful and juicy chicken on the grill, start by marinating the chicken before cooking. A simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs can add delicious flavor to the meat.

    Additionally, make sure to preheat the grill to medium-high heat before placing the chicken on it. This will help seal in the juices and prevent sticking. While grilling, be sure to flip the chicken only once and avoid piercing it with a fork or tongs as this can cause moisture loss.

    Finally, let the cooked chicken rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Following these steps will result in perfectly grilled chicken that is both flavorful and juicy.

    Knowing the appropriate cooking time is crucial for perfectly grilled chicken. Whether you’re grilling boneless, skinless chicken breasts or juicy thighs and drumsticks, it’s important to adjust your cooking time accordingly.

    Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked to the right temperature and let it rest before serving for maximum juiciness. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to achieve flavorful and delicious grilled chicken every time.

    More Reading>> Can you refreeze chicken?


    1. How long does it take to grill chicken?

    Chicken grilling time varies based on the type and size, generally a thick chicken breast grilling time would be longer compared to boneless chicken thighs.

    2. What temperature should I use when I grill chicken?

    Grilled chicken temperature depends on your preference for perfectly juicy grilled chicken, but most grilled chicken recipes suggest around 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

    3. Can you provide tips for grilling boneless chicken breasts?

    Sure! For perfectly cooked grilled chicken, follow a good grilled chicken recipe, marinate them with grilled chicken marinade before cooking and maintain an optimal gas grill or charcoal grill temperature throughout the process.

    4. How can one ensure perfect grilling of different parts of the chickn like legs and thighs?

    The best way to grill different parts such as boneless thighs or legs is by ensuring each piece gets enough heat; this differs as per thickness hence a thick thigh may need more time than a leg.

    5. Does using gas or charcoal impact my BBQ Chicken Grilling Time?

    Yes! While both cooking methods work well for making perfectly juicy grilled chickens, typically gas grille provides quicker results than charcoal ones.

    6. Is there any specific technique for grilling bone-in pieces like Chicken Legs?

    Yes! You can get great results by maintaining consistent temperatures during the entire cooking period; also make sure to flip over every few minutes until achieving desired doneness.

    Learn More About Grilling

    If you want to learn more about grilling, check out these other helpful resources!

    grilled vegatables

    Grilling Vegetables: Techniques for Perfectly Charred Veggies

    Best internal temp for brisket

    Best Internal Temp for Brisket


    How to Grill Burgers

    best meat for a hamburger

    Best Tasting Meat for a Yummy Hamburger

    wrapped brisket

    How to Wrap Brisket

    grilled ham

    How Long to Cook Ham on a Charcoal Grill: Delicious Grilling Tips

    Kevin Turner
    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you. You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional to grill great food!

    About The Grilling Master

    Hi there, I'm Kevin Turner, Founder and CEO of

    My passion has always been grilling, smoking and BBQ delicious meats that satisfy my inner carnivore!

    I started this website to share my passion and knowledge with you, the hungry reader who wants to prepare the perfect meal. 

    You can leverage my years of experience as a pit master and professional. 

    Send me a message and let's connect on Twitter here.

    As Seen In

    Recently Published Posts