Asian BBQ Chicken

 This Asian BBQ Chicken recipe is always on my most-requested list! That may be because I make it so often for company. And that may be because it’s always a reliable hit. It’s one of the very first recipes I ever posted here on the blog and it was long overdue for a photo makeover!  If you haven’t discovered this one, then definitely put it on your to-make list.  And check out my recommendations for side dishes at the end of this post, because it’s so, so great with a yummy rice dish, and I’ve got several for ya!

Asain BBQ Chicken on Plate

Start with a little somethin’ somethin’ sweet: brown sugar.

And some freshly grated ginger.
Brown sugar + fresh ginger = love.

And some fresh garlic.
Brown sugar + fresh ginger + garlic = supa’ love.

Asian BBQ Chicken Marinade

For a little kick, toss in some red pepper flakes.  It does add a little bite, but not crazy spice.  My toddlers eat it.  They also eat sand and stuff they pick out of their noses, so maybe they’re not the best judges, but take it for what it’s worth.

And some curry powder.  Love curry.

Make this easy on yourself and toss all of this in a ziplock bag.

Now that we’ve got the dry flavors- add the liquids.
A squeeze of fresh lime juice.


Squish it all together, and add your chicken.
And seriously, make it with chicken thighs. Don’t argue with me.

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.

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.  It was soooo good.  The mango sort of melted into the rice and just added this amazing sweet and savory thing.  Loved it.  Kids loved it.  Hubby loved it.  It was perfect with the chicken.

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


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Asian BBQ Chicken on Plate

Asian BBQ Chicken

  • Author: Sara Wells, adapted from Cooking Light


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
34 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.



  1. 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!

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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…..

  7. 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).

  8. 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 🙂

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  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. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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? 🙂

  18. 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 🙂

  19. 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. 🙂

  20. 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!

  21. Love this combination of super bold flavors. Did you make it with boneless chicken thighs? I agree that thighs are SO much juicier, but I find it hard to get a hold of boneless thighs….

  22. I just got your cookbook for my birthday. I get giddy every time I see it in my kitchen. I already have our week’s menu planned out (5 out of 7 recipes are OBB) and am so excited! Love you guys–not only your food, but your wit. What more could you ask for in a recipe site?

  23. Can you please provide instructions how to broil these in the oven since I do not have a grill? I would love to make this and just do not know how long to broil or at what temp? Thanks!

    1. Just place the chicken on a broiler pan or a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under broiler and cook for about the same amount of time, turning once. You’ll have to eyeball it since all ovens/broilers are a bit different- and keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it’s cooking too fast and looks like it’s going to burn on the outside, just move your pan away from the broiler a bit. A grill pan on the stove top works great too!

  24. We really are on the same wavelength these days. First the Bloomin Onion bread I made similar to yours then I posted Hawaiian chicken thighs yesterday! Great minds think alike!

  25. yum this chicken looks great! do you think the marinade would work with shrimp as well? it sounds absolutely wonderful!

  26. I must say I bought myself Our Best Bites cookbook as a Mother’s Day gift this year because my husband didn’t pick up on my hints! I have been making things like crazy from the book and LOVE IT. I have yet to have anyone complain about a single recipe from it. I made the Thai Chicken Salad for a pot luck neighborhood party last week and it was a huge hit! My husband requested the marinara/pizza sauce twice last week, and my picky 22 month old daughter loved the spinach stromboli and oven-roasted broccoli. I also took my cookbook to work to share the love with my coworkers and three of them decided they needed to purchase the cookbook too! I am making the coconut chicken fingers tonight and can’t wait! I have one question, is there listed somewhere the grams of fat and calories per serving for the recipes somewhere? I am counting calories and some recipes I have a hard time finding similar things to so I can guesstimate what my calorie intake would be. Any information you could give me would be great, thanks!

  27. YUM! I am going to have an Asian theme BBQ this weekend, with Asian burgers and now this chicken! Your food is so delish!

    I can’t wait to make it!

  28. Just had this last night, also with the cilantro-lime rice. Chicken is amazing. I like to grill with the bones in. Very juicy and flavorful. I’ve got to work on the rice, was good, but not what I would rave about. Not sure what I did wrong. Maybe I’ll go buy your cook book for my birthday! Love everything you guys do!

  29. Looks so good! I am ready to try the thighs, but can you give me an approximate cooking time on the grill, as I don’t want raw meat but don’t want them over cooked..I know I will need to adjust but any tips would be appreciated!

    1. Amy, it’s actually pretty hard to overcook chicken thighs. You’ll want to cook them 5-10 minutes on each side but it totally depends on the size of the meat. Mine usually take about 5 minutes. If you want to be sure, just use a meat thermometer and cook until it reaches 165 degrees.

  30. Love this! One question…the recipe calls for cayenne pepper but the instructions show crushed red pepper…which one?! I went with the crushed red pepper and it was a HUGE it with my husband and 4 kids. After removing the chicken from the ziplock bag to put it on the grill, I put another round of chicken thighs into the marinade and tossed it in the freezer for later use.

  31. YUM!!! I made this the other night along with the mango rice and they were both SO good! I especially loved that mango rice. My husband said he likes it even better than your pineapple rice. (Which he likes a lot.) I didn’t have chicken things so I just used chicken breasts and they were great. Thanks for the awesome recipes- as always!

  32. Just found your blog! Can’t believe what I have been missing. We made the BBQ Asian Chicken and Fried Rice last night. It was a hit. I thought my husband and I were going to be eating leftovers for a week, but we had to fight with the kids on who got to finish everything off. Both recipes are going in my favorites. I also ordered your cook book right away. I can’t wait to try everything.

  33. My husband made this for dinner last night and I almost died and went to heaven! I was browsing your site the other day and when he spotted the picture he decided it had to get done. We both LOVED LOVED LOVED it, just like everything else we make from your blog, but especially this one. He decided to add some sesame seeds which worked really well. Thank you for inspiring him to cook!

  34. We just had this chicken for dinner and is was great! We made it with chicken breast though. Thanks for sharing!

  35. I made this tonight with your coconut rice and some grilled pineapple and my husband and I loved it!! He said it was the best new recipe I’ve tried in a while!! Will definitely make again!!

  36. ok I live in an apartment and don’t have a grill so I was wondering what the best cooking method would be — I have a george foreman grill so I didn’t know if that would be okay but I seem to always overcook the meat when I use that (maybe just use it but without putting the top down, and flip the chicken like I’m using a regular grill?), I have a stove-top skillet, and obviously an oven with a broil option as well.

  37. Sarah, any of those will work! If you use the Foreman, don’t put the top down on it, just use it like a grill pan (like you said) and flip the chicken. You could also use your broiler. I would coat your pan in foil first because the sugar might burn and make a mess, but the chicken should turn out just fine, just cook a few minutes on each side. Enjoy!

  38. I made this for dinner today. My family loved it! I love when there are no complaints at dinner. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  39. I made this marinade for a BBQ and let boneless skinless chicken breast marinade in it overnight. I got RAVE reviews and everyone asked for the recipe. Thank you, it was AMAZING!

  40. i’m about 5 weeks pregnant… i just saw the picture and this is my first pregnancy craving! i’ve not made this before but i MUST eat this soon!!!!!

  41. IMPRESSED!!! Added your site to my favorites IMMEDIATELY!By the way, anything that has mangoes is just yummm, yummm, good….Cilantro + lime + pineapple = GENIUS!

  42. I made this for my moms 62nd birthday! It was a hit! I used thighs, drumsticks, and bone in breasts. they all were delish.

  43. We really like it! We did cayenne pepper instead of the red pepper flakes (only because I didn’t realize it till right before I started grilling), so next time we’ll try with the red pepper flakes. Thanks for another great recipe!

  44. My sister-in-law made this chicken a few weeks ago and it was delicious!! My husband and I have had it several times since. We have tried several other recipies from this site and have loved every one of them!! We are so glad my sister-in-law showed us your site, we were in a cooking rut! I actually like planning dinner now because I know it won’t be the same ole things we have all the time!

  45. Oh my. This is fantastic!!! Made it last night for supper. It ended up marinating in the fridge for 2 days because my plans changed. I cheated and picked up some fried rice from the restaurant I work next to. Steamed some broccoli and we had peaches for dessert. It was amazing!!! I was excited to make the pizza with the leftovers, but there weren’t any! My husband said, that’s ok, you can make it again next week! Definitely a keeper! Thank you!!! And I hope to try to make your fried rice sometime when I have more time.

  46. The best bbq chicken ever! The thing I like most is that it tastes just how my dad used to make it (and my dad is Chinese, so that must mean something about its authentic Asian taste 🙂 Thank you so much for all the tasty recipes!

  47. This is our family’s favorite grilled chicken recipe! Even my son, who “hates chicken” goes back for seconds. I have made it a few times this summer and have not had leftovers 🙁 I use about 3.5 lbs of chicken thighs for our family of 6. Delicious!!!

  48. I’m a newlywed with a chef for a mother, so needless to say I have not spent a lot of time cooking in the kitchen mostly just watching and being the taste-tester. When I came across your website via my mother-in-law I fell in love with it. Love this recipe it was easy enough for a kitchen-simpleton like me to do it.

  49. aww man. When I was at BYUH we used to have a similar bbq chicken during our shifts at PCC. Man I was missing that stuff… but not nowwww.. cos now I can make it 😉

  50. So amazing! My husband and I LOVE every recipe we’ve made from your site. Thanks! And I made mine with chicken breast, used ground ginger (since I didn’t have fresh on hand) and only marinated it for an hour and half and it was still awesome. But I can definitely see how it would be super super good with the tender thigh meat. My only regret is I did not make more to have leftovers!

  51. Hahah, I love how you say if t here is left over chicken use it on pizza. Left overs?? Of this?? Impossible! It is just TOO delicious! (I made a family size pack of thighs for just my husband and I and we were licking the platter wishing for more!) Wish I had mango’s to try the rice.
    I made it on the inside grill as there is snow on the ground and no one wanted to go out and barb=b-q, but I can not wait to try it out there next!
    (snow on the ground, on the West coast of Canada, in March??? I know… Crazy! I have never seen this before!) Come on spring!

  52. I made this tonight with enough for plenty of leftovers… tomorrow night we’ll use it on pizza! I broiled it in my convection oven and it only took 10 minutes to cook – nice! My husband is glad that I finally decided to make dark meat – he has always wished I liked it. Between this recipe and Spicy Honey Chicken (which we have made twice in the last month), he is very happy with my cooking right now!

  53. I am currently without a grill and ended up without a lot of time the day I planned to make this so I threw it in my crockpot! I added more of the marinade and shredded the chicken about an hour before serving and then used it in tacos. It was sooooo good, I ate 3 tacos and made myself sick (in a good way)! We also used the juice down in the bottom to put on our rice (I did the pineapple cilantro rice). THANK YOU!!!

  54. Made this on the grill tonight for dinner and it is amazingly good! Made it with the fried rice recipe on this site, which I will review there, as it didn’t turn out like I thought. Still good, just different than what I expected.

  55. I have made gobs of this recipe. love it. I even save myself some time and prepare 4x the recipe of marinade and just freeze the portions of thighs in each portion of marinade in it’s own bag. then as its defrosting in the fridge, its also marinating. this way I only have to grate knuckle busting ginger and garlic at one time and I always have this ready to roll, when I am having one of those mommy brain days when I don’t know what to make. I also always make sure I have a can of coconut milk in the pantry too, that way I can pull this out of the freezer, and then an hour before dinner, I start making coconut rice in the rice cooker and grill up some chicken. just add a side of frozen broccoli or green beans and everybody is oohing and aahing. 🙂

  56. Looks delish! I’m trying it this week and wondered if I can use ginger powder instead of fresh? What would be the correct measurements?

    1. You can- I would just check your bottle of ginger and see what it says the ratio of fresh to powdered is. If all else fails, I use a 1part dry to 3 parts fresh ratio (the ratio for herbs).

  57. I made these last night and they were so yummy. 3 boys plus 2 parents loved it which is so rare to hit a home run like that so this is definitely a keeper. Used the thighs and so glad I did. Thanks!

  58. Our family loves any recipe with curry in it so I made this tonight. It was delicious!! I used bone-in thighs because thats all they had at the store. I took the skin off and marinated for 6 hours. Turned out great!

  59. I’m extremely excited about this recipe. I was out of chicken thighs so I’m using steak instead. I can’t see how that would be a bad thing, and leaving out the curry as I don’t have any and we aren’t huge fans of the flavor. Did I mention I’m excited about it?

  60. This recipe was SOOO good! Something I did to make it even better was add some chopped cilantro to the marinade… ahhh it was so good with the cilantro!!
    Thanks for this recipe! Definitely share worthy!

  61. Just found this and was going to make it this week for friends – one of my friends is a vegetarian, do you think I could do a veggie version with just veg? What vegetables do you think would work? Looks delicious!!

  62. Made it with chicken tenders due tos dietary restrictions. My entire family loved it. That says a lot with my picky eaters.

  63. I can’t see the comments on this recipe. I remember that there was a comment on here asking how long to cook in the oven. Do you put it on the broil setting and cook for the same time? I can’t remember. Thanks!

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