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Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs Thai-Style

Thai-inspired marinated grilled boneless chicken thighs are flavor-packed with coconut milk, spicy curry paste, soy sauce, garlic and maple syrup. Check out the various ways to serve this delicious chicken.

Although this is not an authentic Thai chicken recipe (gai yang chicken), you can still enjoy the Asian flavors with just a few ingredients. Once marinated, it takes less than 10 minutes to get to the plate.

The flavors are a unique way to change up the more traditional seasonings used for grilling. Umami, a hint of sweet-salty and a kick of heat.

For the best results and more intense flavors, marinate the chicken at least 30 minutes at room temperature if your boneless thighs are small and 2-3 hours or overnight in the fridge if they are larger.

I use a gas grill to cook the chicken because that’s what I have. A charcoal grill is more authentic and provides a smokier taste. A grill pan will work as well if you don’t have a grill.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

boneless skinless chicken thighs, soy sauce, garlic, coconut milk, red curry paste, maple syrup, cilantro.
boneless skinless chicken thighs, soy sauce, garlic, coconut milk, red curry paste, maple syrup, cilantro.

Chicken: I use skinless boneless chicken thighs as dark meat is more flavorful, juicier and more forgiving when cooked. They don’t dry out as easily. You can, however, use skin on bone-in chicken thighs (with or without skin), any other chicken pieces or boneless chicken breasts if you prefer.

Marinade ingredients: Coconut milk (which is dairy-free), maple syrup (or brown sugar), garlic, soy sauce and red or green curry paste. I transform the marinade into a drizzling or dipping sauce to add extra richness and flavor.

  • Variations: Make the chicken marinade more authentic with a couple of teaspoons of fish sauce and a splash of lime juice. For more heat, increase the amount of curry paste or add red pepper flakes.
  • Substitutes: If you don’t have curry paste, good substitutes are a combination of curry powder, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and oil. (Just use lemon zest and juice to replace the lemongrass if needed). Or make your own bright fresh Thai green curry paste

Garnish: Lots of fresh cilantro (or parsley if you’re a cilantro hater), a squeeze of lime juice, lime wedges.

Step by step instructions 

thigh in Thai chicken marinade in ziploc bag.
Combine marinade ingredients in ziploc, add chicken and marinate.
uncooked marinated chicken on plate.
Remove and pat dry chicken. Season with oil, salt and pepper.
Thai marinade sauce in sauce pan.
Boil marinade to make a sauce.
marinated chicken grilling on gas grill.
Grill chicken, brushing on marinade after turning once.
grilled boneless chicken thighs over rice on plate sprinkled with cilantro.
Top grilled boneless chicken thighs with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
piece of thai chicken on knife.
grilled thai chicken thighs cut up into a salad with veggies, greens and mango in bowl.
Another serving option for the Thai chicken – in a salad with mangos and veggies.

Tip

Marinate the chicken the night before and have dinner on the table with sides in 15-20 minutes the next day. Or marinate in the morning if you forget 🙂

How To Serve Thai Chicken

Make Ahead

Marinate the chicken several hours or a day ahead. The cooked chicken can be served hot, at room temperature or cold. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between green curry paste and red curry paste?

Green curry paste uses green chilies (and cilantro and basil) and red curry paste uses red chiles (and sometimes tomato paste as well for added color and flavor). Typically, green chili paste is sweeter and red curry paste is hotter, but the spiciness of all curry pastes can be modified to your taste.

grilled boneless chicken thighs over rice on plate sprinkled with cilantro.

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grilled boneless chicken thighs over rice on plate sprinkled with cilantro.
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Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs Thai-Style

Thai-inspired marinated grilled boneless chicken thighs are flavor-packed with coconut milk, spicy curry paste, soy sauce, garlic and maple syrup. Check out the various ways to serve this delicious chicken.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai-Style
Servings: 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, Note 1
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Marinade/Sauce, Note 2

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoon red or green curry paste, Note 3 (or more)
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey or brown sugar) – use less if preferred
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)

Garnish

  • chopped cilantro or parsley, lime juice, lime wedges

Instructions

  • MAKE THE MARINADE: Combine all marinade ingredients in a ziploc bag or sealed container. Mix to combine.
  • PREP AND MARINATE CHICKEN: Trim chicken if necessary. I also even out the thickness by pounding chicken lightly with the heal of my hand. This helps it cook more evenly. Place chicken in bag with marinade. Squish it around to fully coat it with marinade. Marinate in fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight.
    If short on time, marinate 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
  • PREP CHICKEN FOR GRILL AND MAKE SAUCE: Heat grill to medium high, about 425F/218C. Remove chicken from marinade and pour marinade into a small saucepan.
    For sauce: Heat marinade on medium-high heat and boil for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. (this will make sure all germs from chicken are removed). Adjust seasonings – add cilantro, more salt, red pepper flakes, etc.
    Prep chicken: Pat excess moisture on chicken with paper towels. Spray chicken with oil to prevent sticking to grill. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • GRILL CHICKEN: Grill chicken for 3-5 minutes per side or until cooked through and golden brown or with char marks (cooking time will depend on thickness of boneless thighs). Bone-in chicken will take longer. Brush on a little sauce for extra flavor when you turn the chicken. An instant-read thermometer will show an internal temperature of 160F/71C when done (temp will rise 5 degrees f with resting). Don't overcook or chicken will become dry.
    No grill? Then pan fry chicken on hot grill pan on the stove top until cooked.
  • SERVE: Serve chicken with rice or quinoa and a vegetable side. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley and lime wedges. Pass extra sauce. See other serving suggestions, Note 4.

Recipe Notes

    1. Chicken options: I prefer dark meat as it’s more flavorful, juicier and more forgiving when cooked – typically skinless boneless chicken thighs. You can, however, use bone-in chicken thighs (with or without skin), any other chicken pieces or boneless chicken breasts if you prefer. Just make sure your adjust the cooking time accordingly. Bone-in chicken takes more time. 
    2. Variations for marinade: Make the chicken marinade more authentic with a couple of teaspoons of fish sauce and a splash of lime juice. For more heat, increase the amount of curry paste or add red pepper flakes.
    3. Substitute for curry paste: Use a combination of curry powder (1-2 teaspoons), garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and oil. (Just use lemon zest and juice to replace the lemongrass if needed). Or make your own bright fresh Thai green curry paste
    4. Serving suggestions: Instead of white rice and sides, try:
      • In a Salad: Add the chicken to a salad made with quinoa, greens, veggies and mango (pictured in post).
      • In a Soup: Cut the marinated chicken into pieces and add them to a chicken broth with vegetables and noodles. Vietnamese Pho-style soup.
      • As an Appetizer: Spear pieces of chicken onto toothpicks or bamboo skewers and serve with a sprinkling of cilantro and the dipping sauce.
      • In a Asian-themed buffet (see recipe suggestions in post).
    5. Make ahead: This chicken can be served hot, at room temperature or cold. Warm in microwave on high for 1 minute. Or in a 350F/177C oven for about 6 minutes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 564mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3mg
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