Thai Grilled Chili-Garlic Chicken Recipe

grilled thai chili-garlic chicken

The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Marinating Time: 30 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
564 Calories
28g Fat
13g Carbs
63g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 564
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 35%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 265mg 88%
Sodium 2950mg 128%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 18mg 90%
Calcium 70mg 5%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 785mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Thai chili-garlic chicken is divinely delicious and the perfect dish for summer grilling. The marinade is a cinch to make but don't let that fool you―the Thai taste is all there and then some. We've actually made this chicken in the oven as well―both grilled and oven-baked are delicious (also good if a sudden rainstorm should drown out your cookout).

The best part about the recipe is the ease of preparation and the fact that you will most likely have all you need in your pantry. Regular white vinegar can be substituted for rice vinegar, just make sure you have fish sauce and you're set. Chile flakes or cayenne pepper can be used instead of fresh chile, although fresh chile is always preferable for the health benefits (and I think it tastes better, too).

“Thai Grilled Chili Garlic Chicken is time at the grill well-spent. The combination of a flavorful Thai marinade and bone-in chicken creates a dish that would be an outstanding hit at any barbecue or picnic. The delicious marinade contains honey and brown sugar so be sure to grill over indirect heat for juicy golden-brown chicken.” —Joan Velush

Thai Grilled Chili Garlic Chicken/Tester Photo
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces

  • 1 large fresh red chili, minced, or crushed chili flakes to taste

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup fish sauce

  • 2 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • 2 teaspoon onion powder, more as needed

  • 2 tablespoon lightly packed brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for the grill

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make grilled Thai chili-garlic chicken

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.

    patted raw chicken leg with paper towels

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Stir together the chili, garlic, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, onion powder, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Pour over chicken, being sure to cover all surfaces. Set aside to marinate at least 30 minutes or refrigerated up to 3 hours.

    chili-garlic marinade

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Place chicken in bowl with marinade, and toss to coat, being sure to cover all surfaces. Cover and refrigerate to marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

    chicken legs marinating in chili garlic sauce

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect heat. Adjust the heat on the active burner to medium 350 F to 375 F.

    Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Grill the chicken over the inactive (off) burner, brushing with any leftover marinade after the first turning. Sprinkle with a little more onion powder, if desired. Discard any remaining marinade.

    chicken legs cooking on a charcoal grill

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Grill until the chicken reaches 165 F on a digital thermometer and is fully opaque in the center of each piece, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with this Thai jasmine rice or salad for the ultimate summer grilling dish. See below recipe for a simple Thai condiment you can serve on the side with this chicken.

    grilled Thai chili-garlic chicken with rice

    The Spruce/Maxwell Cozzi


  • Chicken can be tricky to grill. If the grill is too hot, it will tend to burn on the outside while still remaining uncooked inside. We've found it best to cook it over indirect heat.
  • Be sure to cover the grill it between flips so the heat can really get inside. Chicken with bone-in it takes longer to cook, but we've found it tastes better on the grill, as the bone helps hold the juices in.

Thai Dipping Sauce

In Thailand this chicken would be served with a side condiment of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chile (roughly 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, and chile). Taste-test it for a balance of salty, sweet and spicy flavors according to your taste.

Another nice condiment with this chicken is this Thai sweet chili sauce recipe.

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