clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Overheard shot of charred chicken thighs

Easy Smoky Sweet Chicken Thighs

  • Author: Emily Brooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: about 5.33 ounces 1x
  • Category: chicken
  • Method: grill


An easy pantry-friendly spice rub adds tons of flavor to chicken thighs. Cooked on the grill or in cast iron on the stove, the recipe is flexible and flavorful.


  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. In small bowl, mix sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Place chicken thighs in gallon zip-top food storage bag, or glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and toss or rub to coat chicken evenly.
  3. Pour spice mix over chicken and toss or rub to coat chicken evenly. Seal bag or cover dish and refrigerate chicken for 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  4. Preheat gas grill to high; place chicken on hot grill grates and reduce heat to low. Cook slowly, turning every 4-5 minutes until cooked through, about 20 minutes total.


For a charcoal grill, arrange coals on one side and cook chicken on opposite side for indirect heat.

Chicken can also be cooked in a cast iron skillet on the stove. Preheat skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium. Cook chicken 10-14 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through.

The brown sugar will cause the chicken to char while cooking, which is why I cook it a little more slowly than other chicken dishes. Turning the chicken frequently allows the sugar to brown or char, while preventing it from burning.

Keywords: smoky-sweet chicken thighs, grilled chicken thighs, chicken, easy recipes, easy chicken recipes