Asian BBQ Chicken

This Asian BBQ Chicken recipe is always on my most-requested list.  I often make it for company because it’s such a reliable hit.  If you haven’t discovered this one, then definitely put it on your to-make list!  Chicken thighs soak up a great marinade with flavors including soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, garlic and ginger. Make sure to check out my recommendations for side dishes at the end of this post, because it’s especially great with some of our coordinating rice sides.

Asain BBQ Chicken on Plate

Ingredient Notes

  • Soy Sauce – My favorite brand is Aloha, but feel free to use any brand you like.  With the exception of Aloha brand, I suggest a low-sodium soy sauce.

  • Brown Sugar – this adds the perfect balance of sweetness.  Use light, or dark would be fine as well.

  • Ginger – this recipe calls for fresh ginger, which I think is especially great.  If you’ve never worked with fresh ginger, here’s a how-to.  I’ve also used powdered dry ginger in a pinch and that will work as well, if you don’t have fresh.

  • Lime Juice – I recommend using a fresh lime, as opposed to bottled lime juice.

Asian BBQ Chicken Marinade

How to Make Asian BBQ Chicken

Combine all ingredients in a zip top bag and add chicken thighs.  It’s that easy!

Asian BBQ Chicken Marinade
Then grill it up on your bbq (or use an indoor grill pan or broiler if you don’t have a bbq).

asian bbq chicken plated with rice

One of the reasons I love this chicken is that it can be served with so many things.  You can go Asian-ish, or Thai-ish, or Polynesian-ish.

Serving Suggestions

I love it with this Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple, and it’s also great with Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice, or even Fried Rice.  When I made it for these photos I made some Jasmine rice and when it was done cooking I added a few pats of butter, a handful of both sliced green onions and cilantro, some diced mango and salt and pepper.

And if you end up with extra chicken, try this Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza!


Asian BBQ Chicken on Plate

Asian BBQ Chicken

A combo of sweet and savory, this chicken compliments any Asian or Island inspired meal.


  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 2 T lime juice about 1 lime
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t curry powder
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 t grated fresh ginger
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Optional: sliced green onions for garnish


  • Combine everything but the chicken in a small bowl. Whisk to dissolve brown sugar. Place marinade and chicken in a zip-lock bag. Pop that bag in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, or longer if you have it (even overnight).
  • Preheat a grill (or an indoor grill pan or broiler). Spray cooking surface with cooking spray and place chicken on it to cook. Cook for 5-10 minutes on each side depending on the thickness.  Optional:  garnish with sliced green onions.


When I make this I usually make 1 1/2 times the marinade.  I reserve some of the marinade before adding the chicken and then use it in the last few minutes of grilling, or just brush it on after for extra flavor.
Author: Sara Wells, adapted from Cooking Light
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. This is the BEST chicken marinade! We never have leftovers when I make it and we love it with the Thai Peanut Noodles! So Yummy!

  2. I’m making this tomorrow night with the fried rice—I’ll steam the rice today and let it get good and cold overnight.

    I wonder if I can jump in—I think this would work fine with breasts—just be sure to pound them thin, about 1/4″, and lay flat in the bag to marinate. Be sure to marinate them as long as possible, at least 4 hours. It helps impart the flavor to the breasts, which don’t have much flavor on their own. Thighs are much more flavorful on their own.

    This will be the fourth recipe I’ve tried off this site, and all the others I’ve made have instantly become family favorites. I think my extended family ate about 20 pounds of your peppermint bark popcorn this past winter. I’ve bought stock in white chocolate and peppermint extract. 🙂

  3. Oh, I’m loving this already! I’m going to stick this recipe in from of my hubby and demand it be made on our next sunny day 🙂

  4. Definitely one of our favorite recipes too. We made this a month or two ago and then did the Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza on the grill a day or two later and both were so good! I agree that thighs are definitely the way to go on this one. They just turn out so tender and juicy. Ugh, why do you guys always make me have to wipe the saliva off my keyboard when I check your blog? 🙂

  5. Yep! This is probably my favorite grilled chicken of yours as well … well, this and the chicken veggie skewers with that awesome marinade. I’ve cooked your cookbook just about cover to cover (three more recipes left) without a single disappointment 🙂 You girls are simply the best!

  6. This is so one of my favorites to make…thanks for “reminding” me to make it again soon!

  7. OK, I’m with Amy on this one. I just can’t bring myself to like/eat/make chicken thighs. Even the boneless ones. So will it be so much less wonderful if I use chicken breasts? What if I cut boneless/skinless chicken breasts in half so they are roughly the same size as thighs? Please, please tell me this will work out ok!

  8. The thighs are my favorite part of the chicken. Thighs marinated in brown sugary garlicky goodness, even better.

  9. I now believe you about the chicken thighs. I tried the spicy honey chicken, and even though I was tempted to use breast, I didn’t. The thighs were delicious! I can’t wait to try this recipe too. Love your blog, you girls are awesome!

  10. OK, can I make this with chicken breasts? I just have to ask…I have the heebie jeebies when I eat meat with bones. I’m sorry, I really try, but it just grosses me out… Any suggestions? This just sounds so delicious!

    1. Amy, the recipe calls for boneless, skinless meat so there’s no bones 🙂

  11. You’d think after the weekend I had of eating, I would not be hungry. Nope, I want this for breakfast! Looks delish 🙂

  12. Made this the other day and it was so good. Love this one and your Spicy Honey Chicken. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and love your cookbook :p

  13. wow, what a great flavor pile! also, a very pretty plate! i am in awe you did all that with your kids awake, ha. truly, you’re a champ! loves it, thanks for the post!

  14. This looks incredible! I am always on the hunt for new chicken recipes!

  15. I have never used curry powder before, so I am definitely buying some this week so I can try this chicken! It looks so good!

  16. Hmmmm…may have to switch Teriyaki Chicken (your teriyaki sauce rocked our world!) night over to this one. Decisions are hard!

  17. Will this recipe still taste good without the curry powder? I have ceramic braces with clear bands and curry will turn them a very ugly shade!

    1. ooh that’s no fun Tina! Yes, it would definitely still be good without it, it would just taste a little more like you’re average teriyaki chicken. You might be okay though- there’s very little curry powder in there, and it’s just in the marinade, so it will infuse the chicken with flavor without actually being “in” the dish to stain your teeth. Or at least that’s my prediction 🙂

  18. This looks and sounds delicious. You had me at Brown Sugar! I have got to get a cookbook and am on the prowl today heading to Barnes and Noble. Some of my family lives in Orem, Lindon and American Fork and I should just have them get me a book and send it to me. But I will see if I can find one here. I’m dying to get my hands on one. I love, love, love your recipes (and your post comments).

  19. Oh this looks perfect for summer! Definitely going to try this one 🙂

  20. YUM! My husband and I have made this a couple times and LOVE IT. Definitely a staple grilling recipe for the future!

  21. YUMMY!!! This is my new favorite!! I grilled this and then used it for tacos with some creamy cilantro lime salad dressing (cafe rio knock off)…i could have eaten them all night…..

  22. I have company coming over tonight so of course this is where I came for a recipe. I did a search for ‘company’ and this is one of my choices 😉 It looks fantastic, so this is what’s for dinner!!! Wish me luck! Now to figure out a good side!

  23. This is going into my regular repertiore! My entire family loved this, including my 4 kids. I took it easy on the cayenne pepper but I'll add a little more next time.

    I made this with the cilantro lime rice, it was a nice compliment.

  24. I'm new to cooking (finally learning at a 33!) and after being completely grossed out by the chicken thighs, the dish turned out very well. My 8 year old daughter loved it! She is only worried there won't be enough left over to make the Asian chicken pizza tomorrow AND take some in her lunch.

    Thanks for an awesome site and wonderful (EASY) recipes!

  25. Sara do you ever get tired of greatness?? You rock!! My husband would kill to have you as a wife! I have cooked about 5 meals in 7 or 8 days, that’s good, right?

  26. Sara, I want to frame that picture. I’m not even kidding, I opened it up big and stared at the green onions for like five minutes. You have a gallery piece there, my friend!

    Oh- and it looks like it would be wonderful to eat, too. I looked at the ingredient picture and my mouth started watering! Can’t go wrong with that mix!

  27. Fantastic chicken! Great flavor and thighs are so juicy. My wife turned me onto thighs and they’re great!