How to Cook Chicken on the Grill: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you want to enjoy succulent, juicy chicken with that delicious smoky flavor that can only come from grilling, then you’ve come to the right place. Cooking chicken on the grill is not only easy, but it’s also one of the healthiest ways to prepare this protein-packed meat. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the steps to ensure that your chicken comes out perfectly juicy, tender, and cooked to perfection.

Choose the Right Cut of Chicken for Grilling

The first step in cooking chicken on the grill is to choose the right cut of meat. While you can technically grill any cut of chicken, some work better than others. For the best results, choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. These cuts are lean and cook quickly, creating a delicious crispy exterior while keeping the interior juicy and tender.

Before cooking, you may also want to consider using a meat mallet to pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and doesn’t dry out.

Marinate Your Chicken

Marinating your chicken is key to ensuring a flavorful, juicy end result. A marinade will not only keep the chicken moist, but it will also infuse it with a delicious mix of flavors. To make a basic marinade, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large zip-top bag. Add the chicken to the bag, seal it, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours before grilling.

Preheat Your Grill

Before placing your chicken on the grill, make sure that your grill is preheated to the correct temperature. For boneless chicken breasts or thighs, preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit). This will ensure that your chicken cooks quickly and develops a delicious sear on the outside, without burning or sticking to the grill grates.

Grill Your Chicken

Once your grill is preheated, it’s time to start cooking your chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard the leftover marinade) and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

To check the chicken’s internal temperature, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s flesh, being careful not to touch any bones. If the temperature hasn’t yet reached 165 degrees, continue cooking the chicken until it does to ensure it’s safe to eat.

Let Your Chicken Rest Before Serving

Once your chicken is fully cooked, it’s essential to let it rest for at least five minutes before slicing and serving. Allowing the meat to rest will help the juices redistribute evenly throughout the chicken, making it extra juicy and tender.


Q: Can I use bone-in chicken for grilling?

A: Yes, you can grill bone-in chicken, but it will take longer to cook, so you’ll need to adjust your grill time accordingly. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety.

Q: How do I keep my chicken from sticking on the grill?

A: To prevent sticking, make sure to oil your grill grates before cooking and refrain from moving the chicken too much while it’s on the grill. If you’re still having trouble, you may want to consider using a non-stick grilling mat.

Q: Can I grill frozen chicken?

A: While it’s technically possible to grill frozen chicken, it’s not recommended. Frozen meat takes much longer to cook, and you run the risk of burning the outside while the inside remains raw and unsafe to eat. Always start with thawed chicken for the best grilling results.


Grilling chicken can be an easy and delicious way to enjoy this healthy protein. With just a few simple steps, you can ensure that your chicken comes out perfectly juicy, tender, and flavorful every time. So fire up the grill and get ready to enjoy some fantastic grilled chicken!