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. I’m making this tonight!

    Just one comment: your link to Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple doesn’t go to the right page. Just FYI.

    Feel free to delete this comment.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

    1. Ha, I didn’t even realized I did that! So the answer is, it doesn’t really matter 🙂 Either or…

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. I made this and the cilantro-lime rice this week and both were delicious!! Thanks for the recipe.

  13. 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!

  14. Making this for dinner tonight. I had other plans until I saw this recipe, thank goodness I had everything!

  15. How many tsp does 3-4 garlic cloves equal?? I have the pre-minced refridgerated garlic to make life easier 🙂

  16. 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!

    1. Try using fitness pal and just plug in the recipe amounts/ingredients and it will give you the info.

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

  18. 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!

  19. Yum! I just love marinated chicken on the grill – I can’t wait to try your marinade!

  20. 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!

  21. 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?

  22. This sounds so yummy! How many WW points actually adhere to the chicken? Do you know how to calculate?

  23. 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….